I will never sit in this chair, behind this desk again, or type on this keyboard again. I will never post to Medium using this computer again. Strange to think that this is the last time.
Today is my last day here, working as a receptionist, and tomorrow I’ll start my new job.
I feel ready to leave my current job behind, and to embrace something new and exciting.
I’m not feeling wracked with anxiety, but as the 24 hour countdown hasn’t begun yet…
Actually, I feel more excited than I do scared. I feel ready to leave my current job behind, and to embrace something new and exciting. To put myself out there and learn everything I can from new experiences.
But, I think you can also learn a lot from working as a receptionist for a year and a half. To that end, maybe I should examine what I’ve gleaned from this experience…
How to handle a variety of people with a variety of, let’s say, concerns.
Sometimes complaints is a better word, and sometimes they are legitimate complaints. Most of the time, though, they’re not.
The company places an annoying amount of emphasis on what they call their “hospitality curriculum,” which is formatted as a five-letter acronym with four detailed points corresponding to each word that each letter stands for. I can only name one point out of the 20 and only because we’ve gone over it more than once in the team meeting setting. It’s also the only one that I have to use fairly regularly when dealing with people and their concerns. My manager would be thrilled to know that during my job interview, when I was asked how I handle any worked up customers, I was able to recite this principle: listening to the complaint, empathizing with the person, apologizing for the situation, and then assuming responsibility for it.
Some people make it harder than others. (I think I’ve gotten very good at looking like I care when I really don’t.)
How to handle various situations, even when IDK WTF is going on.
It took time for me to reach this point, and even now I still feel a tendency every now and then to avoid things instead of dealing with them. I’m introverted by nature, and as a millennial, I grew into adulthood preferring email and text messages to phone calls. Face to face interaction can be both anxiety- and fatigue-inducing. But those are, in essence, the heart and soul of my job. I got used to them by handling them, over and over.
I wanted to pawn a phone call off on my manager one day because it involved letting a member know that we could not refund the money she’d been paying to us for months, because it was her responsibility and not ours to ensure that she’d canceled her membership. If there’s anything I’m certain of, it’s that people can become irate when it comes to their money. So I wanted her to call so I wouldn’t have to, and then a little while later, I picked up the phone, dialed the number, and took care of it. I felt better for having done so.
Other instances occurred when I worked the closing shift for over a year. Occasionally, an instructor wouldn’t show up to teach a group exercise class, and I’d have to figure out what to do about that, if anything. Or that time a health crisis suddenly occurred — I felt very lucky that evening because I had two of my coworkers in the back, and between them, they had handled essentially everything, including calling EMS, by the time I was informed what was happening. I made the requisite phone calls to management, and then made sure to be available for anything else that was needed. There was nothing more we could have done, but what we did do made a huge difference, we later found out.
How all kinds of people have their own stories to tell, and how easy it can be to make someone’s day just by listening to them.
Especially at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m., not fully caffeinated or even rested, I don’t always feel like sharing conversation with gym members who can talk about anything. Anything at all — sometimes it’s the weather. Sometimes it’s health, usually their own or that of a family member. One couple told me all about how their granddaughter landed the role of Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray Live!. Another, Mr. Abel, told me about his daughter’s dissertation and sent me a copy to read. (These conversations did not all take place so early in the morning.) One always gives a thumbs up every time he walks by my desk, and I’m pretty sure he likes it best when I give one back.
I don’t always want to listen (or thumbs up), and I don’t always really care. Sometimes I’ve worked for ten days in a row and I just want to be alone at home, recuperating from all the peopling. But I’ve heard a lot of great stories from these people, and I know I’ve brightened a few days just by smiling, saying hello, and listening to whatever they’ve had to say. It’s easy to make a difference to people, because it doesn’t always have to be a big one — and even when I don’t feel like doing it, I always feel better afterward for having made them feel better, too.
I hope I’ll still find opportunities like those.
In May, I wrote about how I turned down the chance to be more than a receptionist because I was happy with where I was.
Why I Just Turned Down The Opportunity To Be More Than A Receptionist
I have two Bachelor’s degrees and I work as a receptionist. I make $13 per hour and consider myself lucky that this job…
It’s still relevant, but this is one of those times in which external circumstances dictate change. I don’t think I would’ve felt this way months ago, but now I feel like this change comes at the right time. It helps that it’s a change for which I’m excited.
Not long after I started working at this job, just before graduating from college, the company that I’m leaving to work for reached out to me asking about my plans for after graduation. It felt too soon to leave the job I’d just gotten, but not only that; I think I wasn’t ready to work there yet, doing the thing that I’m about to start doing. I’m ready now.