I know it has been too long since I even attempted to blog because the whole homepage on tumblr looks completely different. Guess I just needed something to procrastinate. Maybe this shall be remedied because internet is pending at the casa and I’m using my refund check fall quarter for a computer that is a little less… fritzy.
In the meantime, I’m going to listen to entirely too much John Mayer and reflect on important things… like Richard III.
=) Happy SUMMER!
— Steve Jobs (via caseyardoin)
If you know me, you probably know about my enthusiasm for holidays. Yes, I love most holidays, but even more than that I love the “feel” of a season, decorating, baking, cooking. I’m a celebrator. I celebrate. I LOVE to celebrate. My depression (or whatever) definitely has it’s phases, and when it is low it is really low. Things tend to all happen at once and I balance…balance… balance… topple hardcore, all while trying. I say that because there is no denying that my mood coincides with seasons. I know it is deeper than that, because the map of my emotional highs and lows is pretty extreme. Anyway, with each new season I always feel this renewed sense of hope, the turning of a page. Big changes all happen at once, and for one reason or another, I tend to associate them with whatever season.
This fall, a lot is happening. We have, of course, the classic whining I feel inclined to do about all my failures and the giant disappointment my life has turned out to be. But, I thought I’d try a little something different this year - since that seems sometimes to be all I care to blog about, whether it be fall or graduation, etc. Well, the weather just changed, but here’s the funny thing. Taylor’s first weekend after moving back ended up being a 4-day weekend… and so was mine. Saturday and Sunday it was rainy and overcast and on Monday we had the MOST beautiful fall weather to play in for two days before returning to work. I know it is going to be really hot again before we truly kick into fall (this is Louisiana, after all), but I just feel very .. happy! I am sure the four days off really helped me out the most.
Lately, I’ve been obsessing over how much I hate waking up and going to work. I would come home and shower and eat and immediately go to bed, trying to get rested up so that maybe the next day wouldn’t suck as badly. I would meet up with my friends and complain about not being where I want to be in life. It isn’t just what I do… it’s not even mostly about what I do. It’s about the slavery, the fact that even when I do go back to school and get a degree, I might have to settle for a job I don’t want. I might get stuck in it. And I will be working, and organizing everything *I* want to do in my life around work. Weddings, anniversaries, vacations, extracurricular involvement; no matter what I want to do in life it will always take rearranging everything to fit in with work. That upsets me and I had really been feeling down about that. But I realized that when I think back on my life, I don’t ONLY think about work. Even though I have had some pretty notable work experiences and surely haven’t forgotten them, that is not the first thing I think of when thinking back on my life. I’m not sure when it hit me, but I had a realization that I was ruining my own life by allowing myself to obsess over the parts of my life I was losing due to work. I know everyone works, and every job has good and bad parts. That’s not the point. The point isn’t even WHAT I do right now, the point is that I was wasting my free time making work worse than it had to be. So, going into this weekend I told myself I wouldn’t think about work. I wouldn’t think about how much I love it or how much I hate it.
It’s only been in the past week or so that I truly am starting to feel pretty excited. I know that change has already happened and more change is on the way. I am at such a temporary crossroads in life that there is no reason for me to take everything so gravely and allow it to overwhelm me the way I do. It’s very blatantly an exaggeration that my mind creates and it is so unnecessary and harmful. I need to learn to let things go. Today a lady frustrated me on the phone and while I wanted to tear up and complain about it and let it ruin my day, I really really tried. I kept repeating in my mind to let it go, and to be honest I don’t even remember what she did to make me mad now. Yesterday I sat down after work with Taylor and told him about the things that happened in my day like usual and then really tried not to obsess.
Aside from all of that, I am really trying to focus on all the AWESOME things that are coming up!!!! These are mostly things I love about fall!!!!!!!!
1. Leggings! I really like dresses. Sun dresses, I mean. They are so cute and fun and bright and summery. However, WHY THE HECK ARE THEY ALL SO SHORT!? Like, seriously??? How do girls ever bend down or … move in dresses anymore? Hence leggings!!! They are awesome and comfy and warm and they make me feel like nobody is going to get a free show.
But seriously. I’m 5’2”!!!
2. Boots. Boots. Boots.
Yes, I will be mourning the slowly but surely dying appropriateness of sandals. I love my summer sandals this year and have been wearing them with everything. But, you know how I am always cold? Well, suddenly my knee-high boots are in-season again!!!! Shins, get ready to be warmed!!!
I love hats. I love them. I know this is more winter than fall, but they are still more fall appropriate than they are summer… right?
(Taylor Aswell, I guess this means you can get away with wearing that wool hat soon =P)
4. Baking and decorating!!! See below!
4a. Halloween is coming!!!!
You will hear about this from me for the next two months. There is no way around it. Cookies? Cupcakes? Cakes? Yes, PLEASE! Finally will have an excuse to use my kitty cat cookie cutters (well, I guess I never really NEEDED an excuse)! Lots of orange icing and chocolate and sprinkles and shapes! Man. Not to mention pumpkin carving, costume shopping, drink prepping, party planning, corn mazes, hay rides, bales of hay, candy!, themed alcohol, fun fun fun fun and fun! horror movies? yes please! Man, I could… and will… write a blog about how awesome halloween is. But first, I am going to have to have some visuals so that it won’t be a repeat of this post. haha
Seriously. I love Halloween.
4b. Planning for the holidays!
Seriously, it might blur on over into Winter, but Thanksgiving is a fall holiday for me. It reminds me of elementary school, hand-tracings made into turkeys, bright fall colors, coloring cornucopias, reminding each other (and ourselves) of that which we have to thankful for, school plays, parties, breaks… Thanksgiving has a lot attached to it in my mind, and I do really love it. Fall is when you remember you have a family. It’s a time to find out who is cooking what… and where… and with whom… etc. I know this is stressful, and this is what I hear people complaining about most often. Sure, Thanksgiving can be stressful. Family makes everything way more stressful than it has to be in a lot of cases, but they are still family (and this goes for whomever you choose to celebrate your holidays with, blood kin or otherwise). It’s nice for me, with my mom so far away - I always see her in the fall. It’s nice. Planning my holidays is nice to me.
And under planning, I needn’t neglect to mention that the day after thanksgiving… it’s Christmas planning time!!!! woooo hooooooo! When every day is a party and there are so many treats! (But that is for another post, months from now)
The point of that is.. planning for holidays rocks. And appreciate your family, even if you think they are annoying.
4c. Carving pumpkins and wreaths.
And themed outfits.
Well, you get the point.
5. School supplies are everywhere!!! I LOVE school. I miss elementary school every day. Man, I LOVED it. There’s nothing more exciting than walking into a store and seeing aisles overflowing with fresh crayons and markers, scissors, tape, glue, paper, notebooks and pens, binders, etc everywhere. I love it. I cannot think of fall without thinking of the elation that came with the first day of school for me as a child. It’s not much different than my falls at Tech. The best times. Mmmmm.
7. Fairs! If you have hung out with me for a while, chances are you’ve heard me say “Man I sure could go for [insert fair food here]”; this is simply because fried, sugary food is delicious. Funnel cake? Seriously? I love powdered sugar. I love it. I also love fried batter (hence my love for corndogs!). I could eat cotton candy endlessly, and - the stuff in the bag at the grocery store just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Sometimes you just need the real deal. The sticky, pink, grainy, sugary, fluffy goodness of freshly made cotton candy. I thought I loved fair rides until Taylor and I went to the state fair last year, but i still plan on going back - maybe no wristband, but a couple of rides. I love the stands. I love festivals because I love perusing booths - whether buying crafts or learning something at an educational booth. I love it. I just love events, and in the fall I have so much more energy to do things.
8. Parks are AWESOME in the fall. Maybe I’m using awesome too much. Parks are tubular in the fall… gnarly, even! Love picnics and trails and swings and see-saws (though I haven’t seen one of those bad boys in a while). Tennis, disc golf, even just plain walking around. I just feel so much more awake in the fall because it is so rad!
9. Last, but certainly not least… FOOTBALL! Man. It’s so fun (to watch, I’ve never gotten to play). It unites people in a way that nothing else does (likewise it often pits people against one another, whether it be in jest or in all seriousness.) There’s nothing better than awesome weather, sitting on a patio with your friends, having some beers and blasting the pregame show from the inside of the house. It’s awesome. And it feels so right!!!! So excited for the start of the season tonight!! (This is the first regular season game I’ve gotten to wear my “new” jersey for!!!) Something else to unite friends, make snacks for, look forward to, it makes sundays more awesome, it gives people something to talk about… man. =)
Well, there are more (probably better ones that I have forgotten to write down), but I am trying to prevent this from becoming a draft… you know what I mean!!
I will say that aside from all the things that I am looking forward to because it is fall, there are many things that I am looking forward to because of this one particular fall. I’m becoming more accepting of my transient state of being… for now. I’m learning to embrace life and drop my troubles when I leave the office, unless I’m just venting to someone, but I’m REALLY trying not to dwell on things. I am excited about making this the best period of time it can be, and looking forward to the next phase. It seems far away, but I know it will be here eventually and am trying to use that to comfort my nerves and impatience and to enjoy the now. I’m excited about Taylor and Floyd getting settled in, me going back to school whenever that may be, my life evening out. I’m excited about all the fun I still have time for because I want to. I’m ready to be settled into a place. I am happy living with my dad for now, though. We get along great and it’s not really as big of a deal as I sometimes lead myself to believe. Decorating will be more fun when it is my very own place, but until then it just means I get to help my dad and then turn around and help Taylor… soooo double the awesome? So many more adventures to come, I think I Just needed a refresher because I have been so down, I’ve mostly been too tired to do anything BUT give up. I’m not sure how long this will last, that’s why I decided to write an upbeat blog before my mood took a nose dive… I try to take advantage of the good moods!!
Hope everyone else is as excited as I am! Sorry for all the typos and for the general rambling. At least it is not a draft! Woop woop for small goals =)
Most of you know quite a lot about my employment background. It is very diverse. I’ve dealt with people at pretty much every job I’ve had - except when I did data entry, which is to this day still my favorite job of all time. Anyway, jobs of the past that included customer service were face-to-face (for which I received awards!) and on a managerial level, with really angry dudes. But being solely receptionist for this long has taught me a lot of things. Not only about people, but also about myself.
Let me say that I’ve started to think about working as a receptionist the way some people think about working in food service. It’s a necessary evil. My experience this time around has been completely different from the last time, but it has also been much more humbling… or traumatic =P. First and foremost (and I will say it again before the end), the place I work has nothing to do with my actual job. As in, I work with really nice people at a really good employer. I don’t have a problem with where I work, and I am pretty sure that being a receptionist in most places would suck just because that’s part of the job description. Why do you think there are always a million receptionist positions in the paper? Besides, I am not trying to make a career out of this, nor have I ever been. I try to remind myself that I should be greatful to know this is just a job for a short while and that definitely gets me out of bed most mornings; I’m nervous about the day when I really am in a career, what if I am miserable then? How will I comfort myself? That is scary. Anyway, this blog was something I wrote weeks and weeks ago so …
Sometimes, people will treat me a certain way or say certain things that truly blow my mind. I will think to myself, How on EARTH can anyone think it’s okay to act like that??? I knew that anonymity made people act in the most terrible ways, but I didn’t realize people were so eager to disrespect someone who is is genuinely trying their very best to be courteous. I genuinely try my hardest to be considerate of everyone I meet or talk to on a daily basis. I try to keep in mind, at work and away, that you never know any particular person’s story. We all have secrets. We all have demons. You never know what someone goes home to, or how your words could affect them. Nobody likes being discouraged, and I don’t believe negative energy does anything but foster negativity. People too often think that criticism is constructive by definition. Which of course, it is not. I think my biggest pet peeve is the lack of manners. Let me say that in another, more clear way, you would be shocked at the lack of manners some people have. And I don’t mean EVERYBODY. There are some people who are doing their best and just don’t know any better. Then there are people who know better. Who know better and that is exactly why they are rude, because they think they are better. I really try to be consistently patient, giving each person a fresh start. I don’t think it is fair for someone to be punished because I’m upset by someone else.
I try to live my life in such a way that everybody feels as though they are equal. I try to give everybody respect, patience, and as much genuine help as is in my power. What I hate is when people take advantage of my help, or attack me for something that is out of my control.
Unfortunately, though, in today’s work place, it’s really hard to expect people to truly be putting 100% into their job. I would say that the majority of people I encounter (in their workplace, such as in restaurants, stores, businesses) give 50% or just make it painfully obvious how miserable they are. Hey, nobody likes their job, but that doesn’t mean other people should be punished for it! Isn’t it bad enough that one person is miserable? Why spread the misery? Why can’t people just be kind to one another, especially strangers from whom you expect a service. Until given a reason to act otherwise, just give people a chance.
I think I am too sensitive sometimes. People can be harsh. People are very presumptuous. I shouldn’t let people make me cry or make me panic. It’s not an effective way to handle situations. I realize that even though I receive the negative impact of most people’s problems, they aren’t truly directing it at me. Even the people who accuse me of whatever it is they accuse me of, I know they are just looking for someone to blame.
A lady accused me of not passing on a message recently and it frustrated me more than most things. I don’t like being accused of things that are not true. As it turned out, the person was not in the office and I just didn’t realize it. I took a deep breath and told myself that she was just going on what she knew, which was too little, but what she knew was she had given me a message to pass on and hadn’t gotten a call back. I probably would have been frustrated, too. And while I don’t really have the kajones to even call anywhere, if I did I wouldn’t yell at someone for that. Not because I didn’t feel that way, but because I am too scared of people. I’ve absolutely felt that way before. I felt that way many times when trying to force financial aid to stop giving me the runaround last year. Obviously, someone was dodging my calls, but you never know who, so what’s the point in blaming the girl at the front right?
Ha. Yeah, right.
But that leads me to the whole point of my post.
1. I am a human being, a greeting before you just yell a name into my ear would be nice. But, if that’s too time consuming for you (believe me, sometimes I have a lot going on as well), then at least say their name in a way that doesn’t make me feel like you genuinely think I’m some sort of answering service.
2. Part of my job description includes finding out who you are. Sometimes I might even need to ask what your call is concerning. Please do not get mad at me for doing my job. If you want to offer your name in your greeting, all the better - let’s save ourselves some unnecessary chit-chat. If you do not want to offer up certain information, I don’t have a choice but to respect your free will, but I don’t think a snarky comment deserves to go along with it. What are you improving, really?
3. If someone is off work, not in their office, on another call, in a meeting, or busy, snapping at me does not magically make them available. Displaying your general frustration has the same effect. If anything, it makes me less inclined to help you if and when there may be a slight chance I can.
3a. I’m not allowed to give you someone’s cell phone number. If they wanted you to have it, then you should have it. I am sorry that you “used to have it” and are now going to have to go through [insert a great amount of trouble here] to retrieve it. I just can’t. I’m willing to bet that not 100% of people that tell me this ever had the number in the first place. As House likes to say “Everybody lies!”
3b. Do not demand that I do anything. You are not my boss. I will go out of my way to help you if and when I can, but I do not have to. If you call for someone unavailable, I do my best to get the message to them. If they are out of the office and you need something, I will send them an email in case they check it before they check their voicemail. If it is something that needs their attention and you can at least give me a general idea of the nature of the situation, I will send them a text or call them. I don’t really like doing it, but I will if it is needed. However, for you to suggest that I call somebody on their off-time, it rubs me the wrong way. I’m not trying to screw you over, and I am not out to get you.
3c. Most of the time I have absolutely no idea where someone is, if they are at work today, when they will be back, why they are out, etc. I know that is frustrating and you will probably be mad at me for not knowing, but there is absolutely no way for me to know where everyone is at any given time. I do hate when it seems like I am giving the runaround or when someone isn’t returning your calls. And if I were the caller, I would probably blame the receptionist for not knowing if someone was in or not. Truth is, I go weeks without seeing some of my coworkers. I sit in an office in the front of the building and answer phones and greet guests. I don’t really get a chance to do much socializing because my attention is on doing my job. I try to give callers the most accurate information, but sometimes I just don’t know that someone is not available. I hate being blamed for something I’m not sure how to prevent. Should I do a roll call every morning? Is that what you suggest, angry caller? Jeez.
4. If you are at the wrong place or have the wrong number, I will do my best to help you find what or where it is that you need. Sometimes people are looking for help, and those are the people I really don’t mind helping out. But for you to expect my help, and then continue to request my services? That’s very frustrating. There are people who call and ask for all kinds of information about other places. Often they don’t like it when I don’t know. I can’t even count how many times I’ve just had to google stuff for people. But that’s not the worst. I have had people demand I call other places for them. One incident in particular a lady was looking for someone she had spoken with earlier at some other place of business. She asked me to call the business next door to see if this person worked there, which I did and she didn’t. Then this lady got mad when I didn’t know where she was talking about, that I didn’t know the place of business or address based on the directions she had been given earlier. She then asked me to find directions. I pulled up google maps and did a search and showed her the screen, but she needed me to do it on mapquest. All of this and the whole time the lady had a cell phone. The worst part is I would say less than 50% of the time people don’t even thank me for my efforts to help them. They just get mad that I don’t know enough about random other businesses in the area.
5. Don’t get mad at me or have an attitude with me for something that is out of my control. If you want something that I don’t have access to, that is all there is to it. I just don’t. I don’t have a limitless database of information about everything that goes on in this office. In fact, I probably know the very least about what goes on at my office. If you call and tell me someone called for you and you don’t know who it was, don’t get mad at me because I don’t know. Telling me you think it was a man or a woman doesn’t help me. At all. Especially if that is the ONLY information you have. Also, if someone is not available, don’t get mad at me. If you are a creditor and you think the person is screening, maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but getting mad at me is not going to do anything but piss me off. People really think I have more control than I do!
Anyway, like I have said. Being a receptionist sucks. It sucks and there is no way around it. You deal with angry callers, rude callers, and mean callers. You have to see almost everybody who walks in the door and I have definitely mastered awkward silences and the same conversation about the weather one million freaking times. I try to remember faces and names and I try to stay on top of my tasks, who is coming by to pick up what and what callers people are expecting. I try to remember what time the mailman comes, the bugman’s name, and which service men are the ones to minimize the conversation with. I try to be helpful, though sometimes I am sure I do more harm than good.
My respect for customer service is elevated by every job I have working in it, but this time I truly have found myself on the front lines and realize it is tough. It makes me wince with regret all the times I yelled at whomever answered the phone in Financial Aid, knowing now that just because someone answered and couldn’t connect me with who I needed to be connected with didn’t make it automatically their fault.
I hope that this truly does affect the way I treat people in a positive way. I feel like it has affected me in a negative way, thus far, and that was another reason I decided to finally post this status. I need to remind myself that every experience in life MUST be a learning experience. If I don’t learn from this and all I do is complain and become a total recluse who runs away from any hint of conflict, then I am just letting my life experience harm me and that is the complete opposite of my very own thoughts about life. I haven’t done a great job at really being level headed about the way I look at things. I am constantly irritable and frustrated and in a bad mood and I waste all of my free time dreading work and wondering if the next day will be a disaster. Today, I realized that this should be a humbling experience, and instead I think it has made me a little mean and a little arrogant. I say arrogant because I am starting to have such low expectations of people. Because of that, I am letting it affect my expectations of everybody. Assuming everyone is wrong for no reason.
Instead, I should be greatful for the things I have and for the people who are not like that. There are plenty of callers who are so pleasant and kind and patient. There are moments when someone says something so nice that it totally makes me feel like I am completely okay and at peace. A lady one day sat up front and just complimented me for at least 5 minutes and it was so sweet. I really and truly try not to take those moments for granted, I genuinely try to meditate on them and allow them to be the fuel that keeps me going, but MAN - sometimes I let the rude callers totally destroy me. Sometimes it is as simple as a tone of voice that has my face twisting up and a couple of tears squeezing their way through. I feel stupid when I let those people get to me. And furthermore, while I try to be appreciative of just the normal Johns (and Janes), sometimes I forget to. Or sometimes I get overwhelmed by something other than how they are treating me and I lose sight of the person. I really hate that, but I am plan to make a special effort to be greatful for those calls. Instead of spending my day dreading a call that will ruin my day, I should be enjoying the average calls, the calls with pleases and thank yous.
So, yes, guys. This is my much awaited and gravely disappointing post. I’m tired of writing even though there is more I could say. Whatever.
Included in my drafts on Tumblr are a list of how not to treat a receptionist and reflections on how the people in my life have shaped the “chapters” that are so clearly defined. Also there are rantings about how greatful I am and how hopeless things seem.
Yes, my attention span sucks and I lose sight too easily. Maybe I need to get my macbook fixed and find a new coffee shop so I can reestablish myself as a non-dummy.
In other news, life is pretty good. Late summer, as usual, has me on a wine kick. Ready for things to change! Woop Woop!