If you are a business, or perhaps just an individual writing a thank-you note to follow up on an interview for a potential job, please, I beg of you, stop spending your money on nice envelopes. Because the person you want to impress is not the person who will see them. I am the person who will see, open, and then throw away the envelope. And winning my favor with your paper product selection will help you in no way whatsoever.
This could possibly be the title for a gay porn film but today it is the title of my mini-story, subtitled: Two People Who Were Over-Confident Assholes To Me
A delivery guy and a plumber.
I’m nice to the delivery guys. I’m extra nice to the ones who are nice back (i.e. if you smile and make eye-contact you’ll probably get Christmas cookies). Why my request that a very heavy box be rolled an extra 15 feet while still on a dolly should be met with such extreme outward display of anger, I am not sure. And who calls someone “lady” in that tone of voice? Other than Jerry Lewis?
If I were a contract worker, I’d probably avoid showing up and insulting the receptionist and moving things about on her desk, but hey, I’m the receptionist and not the plumber, so there we go. Thanks for telling me I need to buy new American pens and get rid of “these fucking Mexican and Chinese pieces of shit.” He also took out of his own pocket what I assume are pens he would similarly describe, and left them all over my desk. Because receptionists are not only responsible for all of your unwanted waste, they are the perfect receiving end for your racist rants, so cleverly disguised as an eloquent political statement. And I assume plumbers are the experts on the manufacturing of pens, our office supply mandates, and the reasonable reuse of some pens someone brought back from a Holiday Inn. He also referred to me as “dear” which I found distasteful.
In case anyone reading is interested:
- Papermate and Sharpie: made in Canada
- Pilot: made in Japan
- Pens from the Holiday Inn: they don’t print that stuff on the actual pens, who the hell knows/cares
A friend suggested that I look for receptionist-themed memes, and I quickly abandoned my ongoing filing task to do so. There are surprisingly few memes about being a receptionist, at least when compared with any of the following meme-themes:
1) Sleeping with the receptionist
2) Wanting to sleep with the receptionist
3) Thinking the receptionist is a raging racist asshole and comparing her to Hitler.
Anyways, I thought I’d share my favorites:
This last one, with the graph, is my favorite. Minus both the two purple pie slices, and subbing Twilight books for other books, that’s a lot like me! The purple pie slices can be replaced with “drinks a lot of hot tea.”
As we draw ever closer to the end of the year (or the end of the world, if you are a Mayan calendar conspiracist) we may all be reflecting on the past 11 and a half months, thinking about what changed, and what stayed the same.
Some of us may judge ourselves on whether we accomplished major goals, or a resolution we made as we said goodbye to 2011.
How about you? Did you stick to your New Year’s Resolution? Embrace unexpected change in your life?
I made a simple New Year’s Resolution with the hope of feeling extremely satisfied in actually completing it. It was too easy to mess up. What was it? Watch Wayne’s World (one and two) before 2012 was up. Some might argue I should be embarrassed that was my resolution. I’m just embarrassed it took me until mid-December to do. And I only did half of it. But let’s be real: Wayne’s World is a cultural classic, and I’m glad I saw it, but it is literally 20 years old, so it was a little dated, and I don’t feel like I need to see the second one. So I’m stopping there.
A few days after watching Wayne and Garth stick it to the man, I realized: I did set a less goofy resolution, and I accomplished it! When I was filling up my champagne glass one year ago, I did not think I was capable of doing this, so I simply said: I want to prepare to apply for a yoga teacher training, and prepare for leaving a job I found stressful and unfulfilling. Well, guess what? I completed my first 200 hours of yoga teacher training a few months ago. I’m about to start teaching at the studio where I found yoga (a big-time honor), and I have a new day job.
To quote two long haired fictional characters, Party on!
So, I couldn’t recall if I read an article that the TXT wines (LOL!!! Reisling, WTF!!! Pinot Noir, OMG!!! Chardonnay, etc) were surprisingly good, or that they simply exist.
So I bought one, and decided to find out. Not like I was going to bring it on a date or anything. For girlie-nights-in only.
Unfortunately, I will never know if this wine was remotely drinkable. As I locked my biked up before yoga class (prior to dinner plans) the bottle quickly slid out of my bag, and shattered all over the sidewalk. I was initially upset, at my future as an empty-handed-guest, and as a civicly-irresponsible litterer, but then I realized, I just shattered a shitty bottle of wine called “LOL!!!”
So I laughed out loud.
Unfortunately, I got a shard of glass in my eye. Fortunately, I was wearing contacts that perfectly protected me from harm.
Lesson learned: do not buy TXT wines. Surely, no good will come of the experience.
I get why contemporary politics in American frustrate a lot of folks. Why neither party feels like a representation of their values and their voice.
But I am grateful to be living in a day and age (and country) where I can vote. I still reel when I remember women haven’t yet had the right to vote for a full century! There’s no way I’m not using what so many fought so long for me to have.
And as far as party choices, for whatever B.S. is in American politics today, I am proud to be a registered Democrat. (Cue parade of liberals, if you must). If the absurd, divisive lines between parties must be the way they are, then so be it. I will always choose the party most committed to protecting civil rights. Never could I justify casting my ballot for an elected official if their platform seeks to deny someone’s personhood and their equal rights based on gender, creed, ethnicity or sexual orientation. To hell with whatever that decision means for my taxes. There are things that are more important than money. I have an obligation to my fellow man (and woman) to believe that, and to act upon that belief when I cast my vote each November.
All that said, I was prepared to accept the results of today’s election, whichever way it may go. I know I’m just one vote. I know things are far from the powers of my control, and I know that millions of people in this country do not share my views.
But when I see something like this:
I know that if the Republicans take the White House this time, I’ll never dismiss the feeling there was deeply disturbing conspiracy in action, and a strong suspicion the election was rigged somewhere along the line.
I am all for bringing back the traditional ballot so we have a paper trail. With digital voting machines, there’s no way for a reliable recount or audit. If we can’t bring integrity to our own electoral process, we sure as hell better stop trying to “spread democracy” in other countries.
I am drinking tea out of a Yale mug. I merely intended to get a pint glass full of water, but as always, the dishwasher was running, and the only drinking vessel available in the kitchen at work was a Yale mug (many of the people I work with went to Yale). I hate drinking out of it, although I do really like its size, shape and weight. It makes me feel like a fraud, like someone is going to come up and ask “Oh you went to Yale? Me too!” and I’ll have the embarrassing job of saying I just like to drink tea at work to keep myself busy.
Often I forget that at one time, I had a dream, possibly downright intention, of attending Yale (or Columbia). Ha. If I could only speak to 18-year-old-painting-major-me, I’d say: “Things will turn out a little differently than you think. You’ll be a receptionist, but don’t worry, you never had to live in Connecticut, and you’ll have plenty of access to Yale mugs!”
When no one was looking, I took my trash can to re-empty into another trash can. I am not supposed to put food trash in my bin to ward off I’ve put no less than 40 wrappers in my trash can from miscellaneous Halloween candies (thanks to an order Amazon mistakenly sent my way) in my trash can in the last two work days. I emptied it into another trash can that says “DO NOT PUT FOOD TRASH IN THIS TRASH CAN PLEASE” only because if I walked all the way to the kitchen, people would see what I was doing, and I would feel exposed in my candy-binge-eating. In a rushed manner, I tried to hide my wrong-doing by rearranging the trash to cover said Reese’s wrappers, and found myself failing miserably due to the sheer amount of them.
Just after a month into Reception-ing, I’ve learned a few things beyond how to meter mail, schedule conference calls, and refill the candy jar. In no particular order:
- At my next job, I would like to continue wearing [nice-ish] jeans to work.
- At my next job, I do not want to have to wait until someone is available to cover the desk for me, and then humiliatingly announce that I “will be right back” so that I can use the restroom.
- You (by “you” I mean me, and everyone else, but lately mostly me) will gain weight quickly if you keep eating all the free pastries leftover from morning meetings. Being a receptionist will not pay so much that you will feel emotionally or fiscally comfortable buying larger sizes of pants, because you know you can’t wear yoga pants to work, so seriously, watch out and stop eating everything in sight.
- A nice chair and access to natural light will make your day better, no matter what your occupation is.
- Almost no one ever does anything interesting when you are watching them from a security camera.
- Open floorplans work for architectural offices because architects are very quiet and almost exclusively work with their headphones in, all 90 hours of their workweek.
- 95% of people are incapable of filling out simple forms correctly.
- Caring a limited amount is an asset if you are a receptionist, because so few people you will encounter in your working day will give a second’s thought to you. Your ego will be constantly bruised if you care too much. If you don’t have that problem, then you are free to eat overripe bananas and enjoy e-books like Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” on your computer during work lulls of unpredictable lengths.
- Whenever in doubt in almost any situation: smile really big and make eye contact (this may be your most effective and positive asset in the job).
This week, I’ve come to the realization I do not always have to deal with people who provide terrible customer service. For example, I like my doctor, but the front desk people are so lacking in compassion they leave me with the urge to cry like a schoolgirl in a way very few things in life do. So, I realized, duh, I’ll get a new doctor.
There’s a lot of jobs where being friendly and helpful is really the essence of what’s required. Everything else is something a monkey could do. Or something terribly advanced that tech-people do, which is why they work in anti-social, unlit and windowless basement rooms most of the time. No one is really expecting them to be friendly.
But generally, expectations for people to be nice is high. Or it should be. Because life is not a sprint to 5:30pm or a race to the weekend. So all that stuff before Friday night rolls around should be full of interactions worth our limited time on this earth. Being mean to someone is a shit option, and both the giving and receiving end should be avoided at all costs.
In light of that, where is Randy, my regular UPS guy? He’s upbeat, friendly, makes eye contact and smiles. The first few days I thought “maybe Randy is sick or on vacation” but now I’m starting to get worried. I hope Randy is okay, first of all, even though I don’t know him, but he certainly seems worth the sentiment. And second, my new UPS guy is proving to be a major stick in the mud. He clearly hates his life and his job, so his twice daily visits with me are becoming routine low-points.
Please come back, Randy. You are missed.