Thursday, March 11, 2010

It Rolls Down Hill

I'm a fairly new hire at my current job. The receptionist was ill, so I was asked to take her place. I have lots of experience at reception and have learned how to direct phone and foot traffic to the correct departments with some skill. So, it shouldn't pose much of a challenge. However, you have to consider the environment. Our clients are all business owners and very demanding. Our staff is very casual about answering their phones and take their sweet time returning calls despite the urgency of the caller. It pains me to hear a person desperate to resolve some matter, directed to the right department, and then given no response. Now, our company pays for nearly every employee to have a cell phone, allowing them to be fully mobile and fully accessible. So, the customers call, and call, and call--their fury growing with each call--and the only ear they are accessing is mine! All I can do as the receptionist is transfer their call. It is infuriating. But the saving grace is that when the phones aren't ringing, the receptionist is free to surf the internet, email friends and family, etc.

I winced at the prospect of filling in as the receptionist, but decided to tolerate the task by promising myself a leisurely communication with a beloved cousin via email. But the department head wanted to spend a third day on downloading ringtones for her new company cell phone, so she passed her work to another clerk. That clerk, in turn, passed her work to me. Reading in my facial expression that I was not pleased, she assured me that the work had been done. I simply needed to check her work for accuracy.

Again, I was content. I accepted the task and began browsing the documents. I discovered that while all of the documents had been completed, they had been done wrong! And so, what should have taken half an hour, suddenly became an all-day job. And with a deadline of tomorrow too!

I love hard work. I love busy work. I love detailed jobs. I even love deadlines. But I have no intention of doing all of the work myself! Besides, if you do all of the work, you bear all of the responsibility. And that isn't a fair burden for a new hire.

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