Just like you, I have a certain set of skills in my everyday position. Mine involve listening, advising, and interpreting manuals, policies, and guidelines. Every once in awhile I am rewarded with a handshake from someone who is appreciative. I enjoy my role.
Today, I was requested to do something different. Today I got to wear another hat.
Due to an overwhelming staff shortage and the January flu bug, we were caught unawares. Today I got to be the front-end receptionist person. I used a key that hangs on a red lanyard to open the grate, took off overnight messages, and met numerous wandering folks looking for directions. I even got to make a PA announcement.
I heard about someone’s difficult drive to work this morning; and that someone else can make 50 samosas in an hour. Through the “this is between you and me” lean-over-the-counter conversations, I heard that someone else talks too much and that someone else is lazy. It is amazing what people tell you when you are the receptionist.
I pressed buttons on a telephone that I was not familiar with and had to adjust the chair. I think that I only dropped one phone call. I had to be sure “that the desk was covered” before I left the room. Staff tell you where they’re going, how long they’ll be gone, what deliveries to expect and who not to disturb or you`ll be sorry. It is a world with no privacy.
What I learned today was more than mastering the telephone system. It was about how much everyone, almost without exception, wants to connect and have someone to talk to, to share something about themselves.
If you have a front-end person (who enjoys their job), give them some glory the next time you meet. They live their day in a fishbowl of interruptions, and still keep smiling. They juggle everyone`s needs, including yours.
And don't ever forget, they know a lot about you!