Hello, my name is Esprix. It is not “the new guy,” nor “the temp” - I have a name, and since I do like it so much (after all, it was a precious gift from my parents especially for me), I would be just tickled pink if you’d use it. Use a mnemonic if you’re having trouble remembering it, if it helps you any.
Yes, I am the lowly receptionist. Worse yet, I am a temp. However, it might behoove me to explain to you that “temp” is not short for “contempt,” which is what you seem to show me as you pass through the lobby. I work for you just as much as your secretary and all of the ladies in the back that do your grunt work on your every whim, including digging through files and pullling up information on the computers that, yes, we know you have the capability to do, but you are too unintelligent, uneducated or stubborn to do yourself. It would be to your advantage to remember that if we indeed did not do these things you ask (and by rights we could ostensibly teach you how to do it and make you do it yourself) you would not get them done at all, because, as pointed out, you may indeed be too unintelligent, uneducated or stubborn. Furthermore, I’m the one that answers each and every one of your incoming calls - treating me disrespectfully does not make my job any easier, and any frustrations I have with you may cause me to not go that extra mile for your clients, such as scouring the office when they are looking for you and you have (accidentally, I’m sure) forgotten to tell me that you were leaving, or would not be back, or just decided to take a four-hour lunch break. Voicemail is nice, but no doubt your clients will tire of it quickly, so be nice to me and I will help you out in any way I can.
No, I do not make as much money as you. This, however, does not make me a lesser person. The fact of the matter is that you know absolutely nothing of me, except that I am the receptionist. Do you know I just moved here from Philadelphia? Do you know that I am a singer and sometimes actor? Do you know I can as easily engage in conversation about office politics as I can about the state of world affairs, or human rights issues, or many, many other topics you might wish to discuss. You might want to give it a try, instead of looking down your nose at me.
And I might add to those clients that call in, if you are unprepared, do not make me seem the fool because of your ineptitude. Not one, but two of you called in today and had no policy number, didn’t know your agent’s name, didn’t have any social security numbers, and the names of the family members about whom you were inquiring were as generic as “John Smith,” so trying to find the specific one to which you are referring is near impossible. And if you have the paperwork in front of you, please do not be irritated when I have to put you on hold while you are tying me up for 20 minutes while you search for the very, very basic information I need to help you, information you should already have at your fingertips (see the list I just quoted). I operate a switchboard, and calls come in constantly, so yes, I will be required to put you on hold probably several times if you’re going to tie me up for more than the thirty seconds it would normally take me to forward you to the person who actually can help you (whose name you have either forgotten or neglected to write down). If you’d had all the necessary information as soon as you dialed the phone, you wouldn’t even be talking to me at all. Really, I need the information so I can help you. Oh, and if I transfer you to someone who can help you and they are unavailable and you get their voicemail, pressing zero and coming back to me to “find a live person,” or to ask me if they are in today? I’m sorry, but I cannot “find a live person,” as I am unable to leave my desk, because, as I previously mentioned, I have many other calls to answer aside from yours; similarly, I do not keep anyone’s schedule except my own (Monday through Friday, 8:30 am until 5:00 pm sharp, if you must know), but I can tell you one thing - if you got their voicemail, they are not in. And, yes, no matter how much you may protest, your agent is the only person able to help you - I am not an agent, I cannot help you, and if it were that urgent, you should have taken care of it sooner.
Back to my fellow co-workers - please, feel free to say hello as you pass through the lobby. I do not bite, growl, snap, or condescend. As a receptionist, it’s my job to be friendly to everyone, and, believe it or not, that means you as well. If you are Spanish-speaking, you can even say, “Hola!” or “Como estas?” I have been here long enough to understand what you mean. Once you get to know me (as I mentioned before you most assuredly do not), you’ll find I’m quite pleasant and friendly, and, although it is unprofessional of me to admit it, I will treat the work you need me to do for you with more respect as a result.
Finally, I have only been at this job for a few weeks. Despite your impressions that just anyone could do my job, it’s not true, and so, yes, I will be making a few more mistakes before I become as perfect as you. So, when I do make a small error, please do not either berate me, belittle me, nor condescend to me. I promise, now that I know how this minor inconvenience has upset your delicately balanced day, I will certainly never repeat it again.
Is there anything else I’ve forgotten?