February we had a chance to talk about loving ourselves because let’s be honest, most of us do not do it enough. As Spring is all about new beginnings in bloom and allergies I wanted get kindness in practice early. Turn over that new leaf as the sun finally creeps back out and be nice to one another. Like seriously, it’s not that hard and the recipient of that kindness will be grateful for it.
As I’ve mentioned in a 5 Myths about Millennials, I am a receptionist. Sure, it’s not glamorous or particularly interesting. I sit at a desk to answer phones and take messages for people across the country and even Canada. I start bright and early, 5am so I can head out the door at 1:30 in the afternoon. So as you can imagine I talk to A LOT of people over the course of 8 hours. It blows my mind how rude someone can be to the receptionist.
Let me start of by saying, I get that some people are just having a shit day. Their loved one has been arrested, someone died, they were in a car accident. I get that, I really do. However, that does not give you the right to call me all kinds of awful names and tell me I’m useless because the person you want to speak with is not available. Just no. I am not a c*nt because the person you are looking for has not returned your call. That has nothing to do with me.
Also for the entitled people who say “just do as I say” you are not my boss. You do not sign my checks, I am going to do what they ask me to do. So if my boss asks me not connect calls because they are in a meeting, guess what, you get to leave a message like everyone else. It’s just plain rude. I have rules just like everyone else and I’m not going to risk my job because you are impatient.
To the person who calls back after waiting an hour on a Monday morning. Stop yelling at me because it’s busy and they have 20 other people are also demanding they get a call right away. It’s Monday. Allow people a grace period, we aren’t sipping tea in the back and ignoring you. I want them to call you back just as much as you want that call back. If someone spoke to your loved one the way you are going off on me, you’d be ready to fight.
Here’s the skinny in the receptionist world. We want to like you, we want you to hang up feeling like you have a new best friend. We really want you to know we hear you and we will tell said person we called. Our job is hard. We deal with lots of personalities and need to be “on” for the entire 8 hours we work. But we are humans too. We’re tired, we get stressed and have bad days but we never take it out on you. It’s simply not your fault. As a receptionist, I still need to find the grace to show kindness to you no matter what is happening or even how you are treating me.
There have been people who hurt my heart, they say the very thing that set off a roll of negative emotions. Calling people useless is never okay. You never know where someone else’s mindset is. You can make the difference in our day just as much as we can make a difference in yours. I even appreciate the person who says “hey, I’m really frustrated right now. I’m not trying to be a dick to you.”
The Kindness DO and DON’T List
As a receptionist, I can tell you exactly how to get through a call efficiently and with little damage to anyone. We know you need something, that’s why you’re calling. Follow this list and you will find you and the person you are speaking to will breeze through this conversation in much better spirits.
- DON’T assume we know exactly why you’re calling. We aren’t mind readers, tell us exactly who or what you need.
- Do say your name and if it’s different please spell it, don’t make us guess.
- DON’T immediately start the conversation off barking orders. It’s disorienting and confusing to say “hello?” and get “John Doe!” Uhh okay? Are you John or do you need John? What the hell is happening? See numbers 1 and 2.
- Do take that extra moment to let us confirm your information is correct. Taking that extra moment will make you feel more confident that someone will be in touch. Trust me.
- DON’T assume we remember your specific conversation from the day before or two days ago. Do you know how many people we talk to? Let me tell you, it’s well over 100! Not a joke. We barely remember who we spoke to 2 hours ago let alone two days.
- Do be kind, be patient. Again, we are here to help and we will do the best we can with what we’ve got. We aren’t here to leave you hanging, we got your back.
But For Real: Kindness
We will have compassion and patience with you even when you treat us like shit. It’s just who we are. Although, we would rather have someone treat us with kindness just like you would. It does not take a lot of effort to show a little kindness to someone and when you do that in times of stress, it is all the more appreciated. It will mean little to you to say “please” and “thank you” but it will mean the world to the other person.
If you have looked at the news recently, we are already awful to one another through the keyboards. Let’s try something different, the way we are going about things is not working. Kindness, in reality is a small thing to ask with a huge impact to leave. You will have no better friend than the receptionist.
In Love and Kindness!
Kindness is not an act. It’s a lifestyle. – Anthony Douglas