We often find ourselves logged into a conference call waiting for other participants to join. In some cases, there are people in other locations who are also on hold and, well, chitter-chatter starts and the next thing you know, a conversation is taking place.

Apparently this happens to lots of people. And sometimes, not fully aware of exactly who is participating in this “on hold” preliminary portion of the conference call, someone begins to say some things so ill-advised, embarrassing and ridiculous, they may find their jobs in jeopardy.

In a recent survey about conference call habits in the workplace, the conference call company Intercall asked participants if they had experienced any such embarrassing on hold moments.

And boy, did they get some stories.

Here are some doozies that should remind you one more time, “There’s no such thing as a muted speaker phone when you’re on a conference call.”

Things people have witnessed while on-hold during a conference call

| Someone drawing an obscene picture on an online whiteboard that could be viewed by all of the conference call participants.

| A home-based telecommuter screaming at her dog and cat who were engaged in a fight.

| Being told that participants from another location had to leave the conference call because their building was on fire.

| A co-worker explaining how her son was arrested the previous night.

| Hearing someone go into great detail about a date he went on with a lady who was not his wife.

| Having the polite greeting, “How are you doing?” turn into a long and detailed answer about a person’s hemorrhoids.

| Someone’s “Baby Got Back” ringtone going off in a serious part of the call.

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