Learning Pain’s Name

I started a new role at my work approximately 3 months ago. Where I work there is a lot of movement and I am the 3rd person backfilling the role this year. The lady I work with however has been in her position for many, many, many years – especially given the movement. She is well known and is a wealth of information about the organisation and has been pretty invaluable to me in my learning. I noticed something funny after my first couple of weeks and that was that people would walk past our open office plan area and greet her as they normally did – ignoring me in the process. I wasn’t’ mad or offended – they didn’t know me, probably thought I wasn’t going to be around for long or we just hadn’t been introduced and it’s weird to greet someone if you don’t know their name.

Having now been in this role for a little while I’ve noticed that some of the people have learnt my name or we’ve been introduced and will now greet both of us as they pass through and others still just greet my colleague and act as though I am invisible. It’s semi awkward when my colleague is away for the day and they actually do need to come and speak with me and have to acknowledge the fact that even though I’ve been here for so long – they don’t know my name and what I do. It’s not awkward for me, just for them. All of a sudden they need my help and it’s a little weird.

It got me thinking about how skilled we become at avoiding things in our life.

I used to be an expert at avoiding pain. Out of habit you walk past something and greet the familiar and while you may wonder about the strange intruder – you aren’t prepared to make yourself a little uncomfortable and introduce yourself – ‘Hello pain, I don’t think we’ve met before’. It becomes easier and easier with time to pretend that pain doesn’t actually exist and you spend your time greeting and focusing on the familiar joy and good times. Meanwhile, pain is over there growing in skill and importance and just waiting til the hurt becomes so big you eventually trip over it.

I think they thought I would eventually move on – that they wouldn’t need to get to know me. Why spend time on someone that wouldn’t be there for very long. She probably can’t help me with my query – I’d prefer to talk to someone I know. I’ll come back later when someone familiar returns.

The problem with pain and avoiding it is that eventually the joy goes on leave and all you’re left with is the hurt you’ve been avoiding for the last 3 months. By that time – pain is a fully fledged integrated member of the workplace and you actually have to go through her to get your work done. You actually need pain’s help and while it might have been a little uncomfortable walking up and saying ‘Ok let’s get this over and done with – pain, I acknowledge you’ its way less awkward than the alternative.

Don’t pretend your pain isn’t real, that it’s going to go away on its own or that you can avoid it. You can’t. The more you avoid it the more painful it becomes. The longer you refuse to learn pain’s name, the more it shouts ‘I’m here and I’m going to let you know about it’. The longer you pretend its invisible – the more comfortable and integrated pain becomes. The longer you think it’s going away the more intent it is to stay.

Yes it might have been a little awkward at first, but if they’d just introduced themselves – maybe I could have helped them, maybe pain could have become a friend. I believe that it’s possible to turn the thing you hated most into your greatest triumph. Don’t be afraid of dealing with pain, put a name to it and start dealing with it.

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Tips for Success

I’ve had a lot of jobs. So I don’t know if that makes me qualified, or if after a lot of hit and misses I can just tell you what not to do, but overall, I’d say I’m a good administrator. I’m glad to no longer have ‘Receptionist’ as my work title, but I know how it’s done. That’s for sure.

Here are my top ten tips to keeping your job as a Receptionist:

  1. Be on time. The occaisional late day is acceptable and happens to everyone, but everyday? The traffic won’t change, you have to change to suit the traffic.
  2. Listen. If you don’t understand an instruction, or you didn’t hear it correctly. Ask again. Repeat that phone no. back. You might feel stupid at the time, but you won’t feel as stupid in the long run.
  3. Take your lunch break out of the office. Don’t sit at your desk. This basically goes for all roles but especially for receptionists. It looks unprofessional to eat at your desk and when a client arrives in Reception, you can’t swallow and tell him/her ‘Sorry I’m just on my break, let me find someone to help you’.
  4. Keep a working to-do list and calender. If the system you have doesn’t work, change it.
  5. Prioritise. Complete one job at a time and unless you are the BEST multitasker ever.
  6. Know your staff and your clients. You should know which staff accept telemarketing phone calls and which can’t stand it. You should know what clients to put straight through and which to grill for more information.
  7. Don’t take lots of sick days. Receptionists are normally young and people assume the worst. Better to be sent home than to be at home and have them in the office assuming. I’d say a working goal is no more than half the amount you are allocated per year.
  8. Limit your personal chatter, internet use and phone time. Companies only have a certain amount of tolerance, if any, for these things. Learn your company quick, don’t always follow other employee’s examples.
  9. Proof. Nothing worse than a typo in a phone message or on a contract. Double check who you send that email to. Things can always get awkward.
  10. Breathe.Some people just don’t understand how important Receptionists are. You run that office.

To Do Lists That Matter

I write a to-do list every work day. Some days (most!) it’s huge and then like today, it’s really not. There are so many things I want to get done on the weekends and weeknights that I just never get to. Yet I can always achieve everything at work. The answer! A to-do list for life! This is my current to-do list.

  • Go to Harvey Norman and get a photo of Tegan and I and Laura and I at their respective weddings printed for the empty frames sitting on my desk.
  • Clean out my shoe closest. I have so many shoes in their I don’t wear and it takes me too long to find the ones I do.
  • Transfer all the Kindle files I was given onto my actual kindle. What use is it on a computer?
  • Pack up my books into a box. I own 200 or more books, and they just don’t fit on the bookshelf at Mum’s.
  • Start a book for 2012. Should at least include some goals, some pictures, some thoughts.
  • Sew that button back on those pants I’d normally wear all the time.
  • Bake some cookies.
  • Queue my tumblr up to 100 posts.
  • Tell my sister 6 things about why I love being her sister.
  • Paint my nails. Cut and colour my hair.
  • Vacuum my car.
  • Make some serious calls about this year.
  • Purchase some supplies for university this year.
  • Make myself a pretty calender/planner.

2012 is all about things that matter.

Gratefully Shot

After 60 days of photographing things I’m grateful for (365 Agradecido) I am definitely learning a thing or two about how to be thankful.

  1. Coffee Machines

While my new work’s coffee machine actually makes fairly rubbish tasting coffee (after 3 attempts I think I’ll stop) – the very fact that my work has a coffee machine is a huge upgrade.

2. Grocery Store Hair Dye

You woudln’t believe how fast my hair is growing. I have noticeable regrowth after 3 weeks of new hair colour. So I’m very grateful that fixing it, only costs $20.

3. Cupcakes

My new boss bought me a cupcake today. This  makes me so happy.

4. Hannah Pinches

This lovely lady deserves a mention. We went out for dinner and movie last night – she’s honestly just really good company. I laugh a lot when I’m with her and it’s very reassuring to hang out with someone who gets all your references, quotes and jokes.

5. Mum’s Jewellery Collection

She honestly owns a ridiculous amount of jewellery. I could borrow something every day for a year and she probably wouldn’t notice. This is my favourite that I’m loving at the moment.

6. The Adjustment Bureau

I’m glad people still make decent films. It’s so rare to go to a thought provoking movie that isn’t just.. really weird and creepy. Every Christian should go see this. It’s funny how so much of the movie identifies with our worldview and yet how so much of it doesn’t fit in at all. It really helped me cement what I believe about fate, destiny & will. Emily Blunt is also amazing.

7. Bones Drama

Bones is finally amping up the antics when it comes to realtionships drama. So much slow moving tension building up over seasons.. and then Season 5 is just bringing out the big guns in terms of surprise drama.

8. HOLIDAY

20 days until I’m on holidays for 2 weeks! A week in Tassie and then a couple of days either side (due to the amazing amount of public holidays in April) is going to be just SO lovely. Plus Dave & Mel’s wedding. Yay!

9. Jesus

10. My new work. I’ve alluded to how much I love it already. But I really do. Grateful & Thankful and Happy.

Status

Last night and also this morning I was feeling a very great  many things that I could and wanted to use as a facebook or twitter update. So here they are in list form.

  • I just spent $100 at the grocery store. I am one person – how do I cost this much?
  • I just spent $100 filling up my car with petrol. Actually I didn’t even fill it all up – I stopped at $100. Should have bought a small car.
  • Thanks to the trolley guy who saw my confused look and my obviously intential pout as I was looking for where to leave my trolley. He came and collected it from me personally.
  • Farmer Wants a Wife is a very weird show. I still don’t really understand what’s going on and it frustrates me quite a bit.
  • When you have to look left, then right, then left again to cross your own street – it’s time to move back to the sticks.
  • It’s very possible I’m the worst uni student ever. Week three and I’m yet to start anything.
  • If you go to put your bodywash in your hair and put your underwear on back to front – then it’s probably time to start getting some more sleep.
  • Why is it you always notice the ladders in your stockings after you’ve left for work.
  • Playing words with friends with friends is good, but playing words with friends with your Dad is the best. I miss him.
  • “Cos I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it”. I see what you’re doing here Rhianna. Very .. clever? Songs that like that should be banned from the radio. Or from ears.
  • Today I wanted to wear a scarf, beanie and gloves. Our office is so cold cos my boss likes the air conditioning down. His solution to complaints – bring a jacket. I’ll show him.

Pet Peeves

Top Ten Pet Peeves of an Office Receptionist

  1. When a colleague repetively asks for you to “hold their calls”
  2. Always being interupted for projects you are working on with the phone. You can’t hold your calls if you’re a receptionist.
  3. Needing relief for lunch breaks and bathroom visits. It’s especially bad if you need to go a lot – everyone knows about it.
  4. Phone callers who won’t answer where they are from or where they work or what it’s in regards to. “Just tell them it’s Ben” is annoying when you’re just following telephone procedures.
  5. Telemarketers you can’t hang up on. Door to door salespeople you can’t hide from.
  6. Phone callers who make bad jokes like. “How are you today” “Good thanks” “Yeah you’re looking pretty good too” – Stupids, you can’t see me! I’ve heard this joke before!
  7. People stealing your pens. Hole punch. Stapler. Etc. Just send me a request and I’ll order those items for you.
  8. Despite the “wash up after yourself” sign – receptionists always end up washing up people’s disgusting lunch leftovers.
  9. Colleagues who lie and then ask you to lie. “Just tell them I’m in a meeting.” How about – just take your phone calls!
  10. Being a receptionist. Full stop.

Actually don’t hate my job – just some observations I managed to make on a not so great day.

If you are a culprit of any of the above – stop it. Just stop it.

Love all receptionists, past, present and future. xo

Off the Radar

to anyone who regularly checked my blog in the past, i’m sorry. ever since i was made redundant at my last job, i’ve been a little bit mia. it’s been an interesting stage of life and while parts of it i have greatly enjoyed.. i’ve sort of felt out of the loop for the last 2 or so months.

SHOUT OUT TO ALL THOSE IN HOSPITALITY.

I have been meaning to do this post for  a while. I have a few friends in hospitality who whinge a fair bit about the industry. Blabla long hours, blabla sore feet, blabla lame customers. I kind of thought they were all cry babies, no offense guys, but that’s what I thought. I would like to take back my thoughts, which thankfully were rarely verbalised until now, and actually congratulate you on what is a difficult industry to work in.

In this current job climate, I didn’t want to take the risk of being jobless for the next 6 months and as Centrelink has screwed me over time and time again (Laura, that Centrelink expose is still in the works) I got a casual job as a waitress. Having had little hospitality experience (try none actually) but decent connections (the good old family kind) I got a job at a fairly classy joint serving rich and snobby people lots and lots of alochol and other assorted foods. It’s kind of hell.

Seriously though, really short breaks, 11 hour shifts, cranky customers, cranky coworkers, being felt up by some drunks, 4am wake ups, losing your car in carparks at 2am, excruciating pain in the foots, spilling champagne all over snooty guests, working on a four level building and not being able to use the lifts, stinking like beer, wine stains. It’s not a job I will be sad to say goodbye to.

However – I am grateful to have some source of income, which is more than a lot of people can say. I’m looking forward to some more blogs… my inner nerd and need to talk about myself has been suffering.

Feeling superior – A story

Considering my age, financial position, level of education, work experience and job title – you’re going to find this post a little haughty. Which is maybe a good thing – I’m feeling a little haughty.

Once upon a day not so long ago in a lunchroom at a workplace a girl was reading a book. As she paused to take a bite of some boring noodles, one of the few other book readers at work, asked her what she was reading. They then engaged in a conversation about their holidays and whether they were able to read many books and which ones etc etc. The contents of this conversation are not central to the story. The girl had read about 8 or 9 – which she thought was a pretty good effort. And he had read 3 or 4 – which is also a good effort, considering he does have 3 kids under the age of like 5.

At this point in the conversation, a  coworker pipes up with “Well it’s nice for you guys – I’m just too busy to read”

So I just simply said “Well.. I guess I mostly read instead of watching television”

“I don’t watch television either, but I’m still too busy to read, you’d understand if you had children Steff” replied the haughtier than usual coworker.

I shut my mouth at this point. One, because I’m trying not to be a stuck up cow and two, because all the other parents in the room were nodding in agreement.

End of Story.

This frustrates me SO much. I had so many comebacks for what I wanted to say in return. The best one was me rattling off a list of all the things I do like work full time, study part time and all the things I do with church etc etc and how I still manage to find time to read and the worst one something about if she didn’t spend so much time being haughty and… etc etc. If you really wanted to read, you would. Even if it was a chapter or so every couple of nights before you fell asleep.

I hate that line – ‘I’m just too busy’ and my new favourite line to hate –  ‘I’ve got kids you know’. Just because I don’t have children doesn’t mean I’m not busy AND just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you CAN’T read.

If you don’t like reading, then say so. Don’t pretend like you enjoy it and you can’t find a spare 15 minutes every day. If  you loved reading so much like you claim, you’d find 15 minutes for it.

Levels of Success in a Workplace

I’ve figured out the three levels of influence in a workplace so you can easily determine when you’ve made it!

Level 1 — You make your own tea and coffee but also make it for other employees

Level 2 — You make your own tea and coffee’s

Level 3 — Someone else (normally a level 1) makes your tea and coffee for you. Sometimes a level 3 can also manage to have lunch bought for them and if they are very influential, or scary, have their dry cleaning done.

Photo curtesy of Blaine Swanborough

Photo curtesy of Blaine Swanborough

I look forward to the day where I am level 3, right now I would be content with a level 2.

An Apathetic Spirit

Finding the Cure

 

I am truly convinced that reception desks breed apathy. At least this reception desk does.

 

I think any job that involves repetitive, monotonous activities have great potential to bring out the lethargic in the most passionate of people.

 

Before children are exposed to the world’s cruelties, I think they are naturally passionate little human beings.

Babies are passionate. You can hear it in their screams for food or for a nappy change. Children are passionate. They love their toys and they love lots of toys and they passionately hate it when you take their toys away.

Somewhere along the line – our passion fades. I can think of only one person excited about a loss of passion.

 

From the moment you are born, it seems like your passion, zeal and enthusiasm for life is threatened. Passion can feel like running uphill with a 20kg backpack instead of leaping and bounding across the top of a mountain. Keeping passion feels like fighting a battle you’ve already lost. I guess that’s what losing passion is – giving up on fighting for things you care about.

 

We were made for far more than apathy.

 

I know I’m a naturally excitable person. I’m so excited about the release of a children/early teens movie that I’ve got a count down on my Facebook. Most if not all of the injuries I’ve sustained are bruises and bumps from the times I got way too excited by something that I ran into a wall, or fell off my chair. I think excitement and hype are different to passion. I still find myself excited about things. But realistically, they aren’t really things that matter. (Although Zac Efron does matter to Jesus!).

 

My life is full. But not full of the things I’d like. It’s full of discontent, disappointment, apathy, sickness, printing, folding, stapling and the most irritating noise of all which is a telephone ring and I feel as though I’m suffocating. I sit by myself all day doing nothing of significance and I know how excited Satan is by this.

 

I know deep down, I’m really passionate about a lot of things. I’m passionate about God’s kingdom, people, communication, love, justice, writing, singing, friends, the restoration of families and about His church.

 

I’m choosing to be moved by my passion. I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’m guessing it’s something different to what I’m doing now.

 

I get excited by hype, but passion moves me.