22 May 2008

As with many receptionists, I am paid hourly. I am not a salaried employee; therefore, any time over eight (8) hours a day or forty (40) hours per week that I am on the clock are paid out in overtime, which, at my rate of pay, is a pretty penny for my company. They like when I do not accrue unnecessary overtime - meaning, they want me to take my lunch breaks on time & in full. I like to please my company, so I try to do this whenever possible.

Not only that, but quite frankly, I like my lunch break. I like being able to go into a room with a cup of Starbucks & study for my night classes, or read for fun, or just be by myself, away from the phone. I value this time. I don't get much of it. It's only an hour, after all. But it's the most relaxing hour of my workday.

So why, then, do people feel the need to interrupt me during that lunch break?

It's not that I make any effort to hide, as I probably should, during this time off. I sit in the same room, every day, or I eat lunch at my desk. So it might appear that I'm working when I'm not. However, when I tell you I am eating lunch, perhaps the best answer would be, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I'll come back when you're done! Enjoy!"

Here are some things not to say or do when I am on my lunch break:

1. Say, "Oh, I'm sorry... could you just do this one thing for me, really quickly?" Well, yes, I probably could. But I don't want to. I'm not being paid right now. This is not a paid break. Furthermore, if it's going to be "really quick," why can't you just do it yourself?

2. Say, "Well, I need you to do this for me." I don't even have a response to this. I've been asked to skip my lunches, take later lunches, sit at my desk during lunches, etc. just so that there's someone here to greet someone's particular client. During my lunch, someone else is always available via phone paging system at the client's disposal. There is an extension they can dial to reach someone else in the office, in plain view. There's also a little service bell on my counter. They do not need me to be there to greet them when I need to be eating, & you certainly don't need me to be there either.

3. Come find me in the break room to tell me that someone is here from FedEx and they need a signature. ...you do realize you have a name, and the ability to sign that name, correct? Yes? Then do it, for sobbing out loud. You don't even have to sign your real name. You can sign a fucking happy face if you want. Be a leader! Show some initative! Insert other random motivational crap! Just don't make me walk all the way to the front to sign the goddamn form - my soup is getting cold.

4. Call me on my cell when I'm out of the office getting my lunch for something that isn't an emergency. And when I say emergency, I mean emergency.

Emergency: someone called the office with a bomb threat & you need me, as the only person out of the office, to go to the police & get a bomb dog, which I will gladly do so that the few friends I have in the office are not killed at the hand of some pissed off client who didn't get the service he thought he asked for.

Non-emergency: you can't find the packing tape. If you call me for something like this, I will find the packing tape for you when I get back to the office, & promptly tape your phone to its cradle so you can't make any other annoying-as-shit calls for the rest of the day.

5. Call me on my cell when I'm out of the office to pick you up something for lunch too, from an entirely different restaurant, & have fifteen specifications about it. I generally don't mind grabbing other people food when I'm going to lunch, assuming they want to eat at the same place, or somewhere next door to it. I do, however, mind when someone calls me with demands that I go across town to another restaurant to get them their goddamn pan-seared tuna salad sandwich with avocado slices & half-diet half-regular soda. I will cut you. I'm not a caterer, and you had your own freakin' lunch break, if I'm not mistaken. Order in, or find someone else to be your bitch. For an hour a day, it's not my job.

So, dear non-receptionist readers, next time you're in your office and notice your receptionist is gone from 12-1 or 1-2... just remember that if you interrupt his/her lunch with ridiculous/stupid/unreasonable demands, he or she will probably be all sorts of grumpy when returning to work, & will probably find a way to get back at you - for example, eating your lunch from the company fridge tomorrow.


20 May 2008

Welcome, y'all.

Typical of new blogs, I will be posting herein a general description of what this blog will be about in terms of content. Just to give you a general reference for things you can & cannot expect from me.

Things I Will Try to Include
1. Emails or questions from readers or other bloggers regarding reception, administrative work, or general office asshattery.
2. I like lists. I make lists for everything in my life. So I'll probably write a lot of how-to lists, including, as my first installment, how to approach your receptionist to get her to do something for you.
3. General musings on office life from an "outsider" perspective. What I mean by that will be explained in future postings...

Things You Will Not See
1. Sympathy for office idiots.
2. Specific mentions of my job, or any emailer's or blogger's job - unless given prior authentication from said emailer or blogger, all personal information will be kept confidential, including my name. I'm not stupid, & I don't want to get fired.
3. Legal advice. I am not a lawyer, nor do I have access to many people within the legal profession. If there is a pressing or particularly interesting legal question, I may venture a guess or send it along to one of my lawyer friends, but for the most part, this will be mostly simple venting or commiserating with other like-minded individuals; not so much dispensing legal advice regarding your recent job change.

Please, do feel free to email me thoughts, suggestions, stories, questions, & comments, as I am always looking for new material to include in whatever creative endeavor upon which I embark. I am generally receptive to well-thought-out, grammatically correct emails.

Until Next Time,