top 10 pet peeves of a receptionist

My first job out of college was a receptionist for a mid-size telecommunications company. Obviously not my dream job, but it was 2009, I was in loads of student loan debt and I couldn’t afford to be picky. The job had its ups and downs (mostly downs, but that’s a story for another post), but I quickly learned that coworkers, callers and outside visitors alike have no idea how to properly deal with a receptionist. I complied this list of my biggest pet peeves during the 14 months I sat behind the front desk.
1. I am not a mind-reader. If you call and ask for “John,” but don’t know his last name, which office he works in, what department he works in, or any other discernible information about him, chances are I can’t help you.
2. Although the reception area may be larger than your cube, it doesn’t mean you can take up permanent residence here. Do not scratch your crotch, talk on the phone with your “bros” about your E-Trade portfolio, throw a tennis ball against the wall, or do any other unnecessary activity in or around my desk. I have work to do, too, and believe it or not, watching you walk around reception with your hands down your pants is not conducive to a productive work environment.
3. My desk is my personal space. It is not your coffee table, makeup vanity, filing cabinet or bongo drum. Just because it isn’t closed in with cubicle walls doesn’t mean it’s public domain. Anything you leave on my desk can and will be thrown away.
4. My computer screen may be visible while you’re passing through the office, but that doesn’t mean you need to comment on whatever I’m looking at. I don’t come over to your cube and comment on your fantasy football team, your not-safe-for-work YouTube videos
5. Being rude to me will get you nowhere but an empty phone line. What makes you think I want to help someone who’s practically yelling at me over the phone? Even worse is when you call and ask me a question, only to express dissatisfaction with the results. Oh right, I forgot…you’re the expert on a company you don’t work for. What would I, the eyes, ears, and human phone directory of said company, know anyway?
6. I may be a receptionist, but I’m not stupid. There’s no need to speak to me like I’m 5 years old. I have a college degree and enough intelligence to know your patronizing tone is only going to get you sent to a dead-end voicemail.
7. LISTEN. I can’t even count how many people thought my first name was the name of my company, or, when informed of my name, totally butcher it and call me ‘Alice’ or ‘Alyssa.’ Also, if I say the name of the company and it sounds nothing like what you’re calling for, there’s no shame in admitting you have the wrong number. I had people try and convince me they were calling a dentist’s office, an insurance company and a gumball machine manufacturer. One woman just kept shouting over me that she needed to schedule a root canal. I hung up on her.
8. I’m not your personal assistant. I won’t address your Christmas cards, make copies of your daughter’s Dean’s List certificate, or put a stamp on your traffic ticket violation. Actually, I’d do all of that and pick up your dry-cleaning if you gave me a significant raise.
9. I’m not your therapist. I do feel bad that your girlfriend dumped you, that you’re hungover, that you’re broke, etc. However, there’s only so much sympathy I can send your way because at the end of the day, I don’t care. I have a litany of my own problems to deal with (one of them being this job) and like I said before, I don’t get paid enough to listen to you bitch.
10. Leave me alone. Not all the time, because I get that my job is to help you/listen to you/etc., but sometimes I may be upset/angry/annoyed and want some privacy. I’m a big crier; I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m bored. I cry at my desk a lot simply because I can’t leave the phones and because I don’t have cubicle walls to hide behind. (Sometimes I have cubicle envy.) I appreciate the concern, but nine times out of 10 I just want to be left alone.
These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time you interact with your friendly neighborhood receptionist.

10 things i learned at fenway park.

Field On Sunday, I visited Fenway Park for the final game of a Red Sox/Yankees series, and while the Yanks were unable to pull off a sweep, I saw and heard many interesting things. I will preface all derogatory statements by saying this was my first professional sporting event, so behavior like this most likely occurs at arenas/stadiums/baseball fields across the country. Also, I am a card-carrying Red Sox Hater, so suck it, Boston fans! (I kept this vitriol to myself on Sunday night, for fear of bodily harm.)

1. No matter how cold it is, people will gladly and repeatedly shell out $8 for a beer. Despite it being May, I was bundled up like it was late November, and I couldn’t finish the one beer I bought because my hands were too cold to hold the cup. This did not deter anyone around me; one girl had eight beers during the course of the game. Yes, I counted. This girl spent upwards of $60 in a three-hour period. This is mildly concerning.

2. Kevin Youkilis has questionable taste in facial hair and at-bat music. I could be very wrong, but from what I could hear over the incessant shouting (more on that later,) seemed to be Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Really, Youk? Out of all the songs in the world, you choose this one to announce your presence at the plate?

3. “Sweet Caroline” was a bit of a letdown. Maybe it’s because I had it built up to be this big spectacle, but it was just like drunken karaoke en mass. It was still cool, but not as memorable or mind-blowing as I hoped.

4. Red Sox fans chant “Yankees suck!”…even when the team they’re playing isn’t the Yankees. Obviously I didn’t experience this firsthand, but I heard about this at the game, and many people have since corroborated this fact. Again, I’m fully drinking the Red Sox Haterade, but does anyone not think this is incredibly pathetic? I get it…you eternally hate the Yankees and their 27 World Series wins, their players’ high salaries, etc. But to chant “Yankees suck” when you’re playing the Braves or the Marlins? It just makes you seem petty and bitter. Be a little more creative.

5. Some people don’t shut up. At all. I had the pleasure of sitting near a young gentleman who spent the entire game, and that is not a hyperbolic exaggeration, shouting at the top of his lungs. He yelled negative things at the Yankees (“Swishah! Yah mom’s a whore!”) and positive things at the Red Sox (“Don’t pull a hammy, JD! We need you!”) I have never wanted to wire someone’s jaw shut so badly. It was just non-stop shouting for nine innings. He wasn’t the only one, of course; there were thousands of others joining in to create one loud, Boston-accented ruckus.

6. There were so many physical altercations in the stands that the game could have been called WWE Raw: Chowderheads Edition. In the sections surrounding me alone, there were three scuffles in the bleacher seats, a girl-on-girl fight that involved major hair-pulling, and an incident where a guy spit in another guy’s face from point-blank range. The latter two skirmishes happened within 10 feet of my seat. I assume this is a common occurrence at Fenway, possibly made worse by the heated rivalry playing out on the field and the free-flowing booze, but it was still ridiculous. It got to the point where people around me stopped paying attention to the game and started scanning the crowd for fights.

7. Wally the Green Monster apparently has a female counterpart, who just looks like Wally in drag. You can just barely see her near home plate in the picture above, but Internet research has not led to any conclusive information on her name or why the Red Sox need two terrifying mascots. Although I’m one to talk; the Yankees’ former mascot, Dandy, is the stuff nightmares are made of.

8. Based on the cheers, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis are the favorite players among Sox fans. Alternately, A-Rod got the loudest boos and Derek Jeter got the least, so I take that to mean he’s the one Yankee player they can tolerate. Some of the A-Rod taunts were a bit off-base; a guy next to me kept shouting, “Hey A-Rod? How’s Madonna?” It appears this man stopped reading gossip columns in 2008.

9. Sox fans (and the few Yankees fans in attendance) love them some Lady Gaga. “Poker Face” came on between innings and the place went nuts. Beers were raised in the air, fist bumps were exchanged and everyone was loving it. I didn’t see that coming at all.

10. I squealed like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert when Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan appeared in the bullpen. I’m shameless.

Regardless of all the nonsense, Fenway is a historical landmark and a unique sports experience. Having taken in the luxury and splendor of the new Yankee Stadium last season, it was interesting to visit Fenway, arguably on the opposite end of the baseball field spectrum. There’s something very cool about an almost hundred-year-old ballpark in the middle of a big city, and I’m glad I got to experience a game there, especially one as high-profile as Red Sox vs. Yankees.

yes, i gave in to peer pressure.

I joined the thousands of people who are willing to share 25 random facts about themselves on Facebook. (The New York Times even wrote an article about it.) Since I like writing about myself so much, (hence this blog) I’m going to repost my 25 facts for everyone’s reading enjoyment.

1. My hair is currently its natural color, which it hasn’t been in 5 years.

2. When I was younger, I was terrified of Pee Wee Herman. (And I still kind of am.)

3. My feet are two different sizes (7 and 8.5) and I HATE shoe shopping because of this.

4. I’m severely tone deaf, which anyone who’s heard me do karaoke at Nuddy’s can attest to.

5. When I was 12, I got my hair cut really, really, really short, and when people see pictures of me from that time, they ask who that boy is. I’m scarred for life by this and subsequently never cut my hair shorter than shoulder-length.

6. I hate when people touch my neck or throat.

7. One of my biggest fears is never getting married and being alone for the rest of my life.

8. I’m a firm believer in karma…what goes around comes around.

9. In middle school, I was convinced I was going to play basketball for UConn…until I played rec basketball and absolutely hated it.

10. I talk in my sleep all the time, and I occasionally sleepwalk.

11. I had braces for 5 years and I’m still not happy with how my teeth look.

12. My brain is like a sponge for trivia/pop culture facts. Sports trivia, not so much, but I’m trying.

13. The fact that I’m graduating TERRIFIES ME. Nothing in my life has been scarier than this and I feel sick thinking about it.

14. I wish I had better style…I tend to dress like I’m 15, which is probably why a lot of people ask me when I’m graduating from high school.

15. I love makeup but I always need help putting it on.

16. The smell of books is one of the best smells in the world.

17. Contrary to popular belief, having webbed feet does not make you a better swimmer. I can barely tread water.

18. I have very bad road rage.

19. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people and I hate talking on the phone.

20. I can’t inflict any sort of pain on myself….plucking my eyebrows, ripping off Band-Aids, etc.

21. I like the idea of the beach, but once I’m actually there, I hate getting sandy and salty. I’m terrified of the ocean, too.

22. I read Twilight and I HATED IT. I’ve read hundreds of books in my life, and this horrible piece of crap ranks in the top 5. Nothing you say can convince me otherwise.

23. I don’t like relying on other people, especially when it’s for something I know I’m capable of doing myself (such as driving.)

24. I’m incredibly self-conscious about my iTunes library and I always wonder what people would think about me if they looked through it.

25. I’m incredibly, horribly jealous of people who can wear flip-flops. I’ve even researched surgeries to undo webbed feet.