Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dear Selfish Co-Worker

Dear Selfish Co-Worker,

I see we keep having the same problem repeatedly, so I thought we could finally hash this out. As you know, I am the Receptionist for the company we both work for, and you, despite your belief that you are a higher and more powerful entity, are Janitor Girl. Though your father founded this business, you sold your part of the company to your brother, who now owns the entire operation. Your brother hired you to be Janitor Girl. Your job is this: take out the trash, clean the windows, vacuum the carpet.

Basically, anything that involves cleaning is your responsibility three days a week. Your brother did get tired of your constant complaining and nagging, though, and decided to allow you to sell pianos two days a week. Or rather, on Wednesdays you sell pianos, and on Saturdays you mostly take out the trash because you are only allowed to talk to piano customers if the first Piano Salesman (who actually plays the piano and probably lived when the first piano was invented sometime between dinosaurs dying out and the black plague killing everyone in Europe) is with a customer already.

My job is Receptionist. I am the Face of the Company. I am the first person people see when they walk in, the first person they talk to, the last person they see, and the last person they talk to. I am the voice of the company. I am the giver of general information and the kind voice that answers their calls. Also, I am Security. Note the security monitor with a live feed going at all times. Also, on Thursdays I am in Sales for Band Department. I do not have to concede customers to everybody else. I may speak to anybody I want at any time I want.

Basically, you are the lowest ranking employee. And when you complain to your brother about something you don't like (which is a lot of the time because you seem to think you're the boss) he tells you to shut up and get over it. Which is the right thing to do. Why do you complain when Manager Man (who IS the boss) tells you to clean the windows? You are the JANITOR. That is what you get paid to do. If you don't like your job, go find one elsewhere that doesn't fire you for showing up hours late without calling first, and doesn't care when you call in two out of five days a week. And that doesn't care if you take off hours early any day you want.

I'll just say this now: another such job does not exist unless you start your own business. And if you were smart enough to do that, you wouldn't have sold your portion of the company to your brother for a fraction of what it was worth. That was very stupid on your part, and it proves my point that you aren't smart enough to start or maintain your own business. So you're just stuck here with the bread crumbs your much smarter brother leaves you. My condolences on your obvious stupidity.

But back to the point of this letter: every employee here, even Manager Man himself, takes over my desk every now and then so that I can take my thirty minutes to an hour to eat my lunch. Somebody does it every single day, for me or for Monica, who works on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Even the Piano Salesman you are so desperately trying (and failing) to replace volunteers cheerfully to sit for an hour so that I might eat. It is not, as you well know, a difficult job. In fact, while I sit at my desk I answer e-mails, check my facebook, write blogs, and generally goof off or read books while on the clock and getting paid.

We are now getting into full swing Band Season, which is our busiest time of year. And Saturdays are always our busiest day of the week. (We'd probably be busy on Sundays, too, if we were open, but we are not so it is irrelevant.) When it is incredibly busy on Saturdays, and everybody except for you is with a customer, it is only fair that you take the desk long enough for me to eat. I know that you want to scoop up every possible dime you can, and would like to try to talk to people buying flutes so you can try to convince them to buy a piano, but the law says that every single person working in the United States is entitled to eat lunch.

Even me.

And since my job is so important (answer phones that are constantly ringing, watch security cameras to prevent theft, check receipts on the way out the door, greet customers, direct customers and answer general questions about what we sell, rent, and lessons and repairs) somebody must do it at all times. This is why I work from open to close five days a week, why I am allowed to have overtime every week. Because my job must get done.

Don't misunderstand me, I don't like having you take the desk for me. You are the most incompetent receptionist I have ever seen. You claim to have done my job when your parents first opened their doors in the sixties. If you did, it is no wonder they replaced you. Here is a list of the things you do wrong while temporarily sitting at my desk.

1. You answer one line and then ignore the other six that are ringing. The hold button is there for a reason. You say, "Thank you for calling *name of company*, please hold." And you hit hold and do it until you've answered all of the lines. THEN you go through each line, find out which department or employee they need, and connect them. EVERY call is important. You cannot ignore them.

2. When you page a call, you often don't hit intercom, and just skip straight to thirty. This would not be a problem if it didn't matter, but alas it does. When you neglect to hit intercom, the page does not connect to the system and so all you are doing is speaking into a phone that is not playing over any speakers. Thus, nobody can hear you and the call is ignored.

3. You do not understand the concept of "Page twice, and if nobody picks up, take a message." A Receptionist must occasionally take a message. We have a message book that makes carbon copies for that purpose. It is annoying to the other employees to hear the same call paged six times when they are all with customers and therefore are unable to take the call. You stress them by failing to operate with standard protocol, not to mention you irritate them. Despite the fact that you hear this every time Manager Man asks you to sit, you fail to do as asked.

4. When you do bother to take a message, you fill the slip out messily and often you put the wrong information in the wrong space. Also, you fail to put the time and date on them. When going back to the carbon copies because you need a number, how are you supposed to know when the message was from? Or if it gets buried, how long has the customer's call gone un-returned? And, no offense, but I've seen five year old children with better handwriting than yours. You are the only person I know of that can make a an M look like an R. How do you do that?

5. You are temporarily in charge of security. This means you have to SIT IN THE CHAIR. You have to check receipts and watch the feed. If there is no one at the door, then someone could just grab a guitar and walk out the door. So when you just walk to the back, or wander around, or step outside to smoke without getting a replacement for yourself, you are risking a lot of expensive equipment. Which is bad for the store. Duh.

6. You ignore most of the incoming customers, failing to greet them and count them (which is also part of sitting at the desk: we must have a customer count) which not only throws off the sales analysis for the month (how many people looked versus how many actually purchased) but makes people feel like you really don't check receipts so they might try to steal. We work with expensive and sometimes rare and unique items: we cannot afford to have things stolen. So PAY ATTENTION.

This letter is already longer than I intended. I am merely saying that if I could have my pick of anybody in the entire store to take my place for the thirty minutes to an hour that I leave to eat some food and enjoy some peace and quiet, I most certainly would not ask you. In fact, I never ask you. I learned long ago that you think you are above sitting at the desk. You are afraid that sitting at the desk will cost you a sale. (Which it won't on your janitor days, and you've only ever sold two pianos in the entire year you've been in sales because you can't play and you don't know anything about them and you have an abrasive personality that rubs people the wrong way.) And lack of sales means lack of commission. So you worry about your money. So I don't ever ask.

However, today EVERYBODY was busy, and I am entitled to a lunch according to the State of Texas. And contrary to what you might believe, you are NOT greater than the State of Texas. Since I come in first, I get to go to lunch first. And somebody has to sit. Manager Man told you to sit because you were available, and you weren't going to sell anything today anyway.

I could have taken half and hour, but you ORDERED me to hurry up when you relieved me of my duty. If you had asked, I might have taken a simple thirty minutes. But you flat out told me, in an extremely rude and offensive tone, "Hurry up and eat. I need to make money." Well, I'm not particularly fond of being ordered around by my inferiors, and I have absolutely no respect for anybody who is motivated by monetary gain. The tone was like the rotten cherry on the mud pie. I decided immediately to take a full hour to spite you. (In hindsight, you did mange to irritate the hell out of every other employee in that full hour, but I felt satisfied, and I'm pretty and smart and adorable. So they will forgive my minor torture to them.)

I come back after my lunch, rested and in a better mood. Your response to my sincere, "Thank you" was completely unforgivable.

"I missed a keyboard sale because you wanted to eat. I'm not going to sit for you anymore."

There are a few things wrong with your statement. First of all, your so-called missed "keyboard sale." You are NOT ALLOWED to sell keyboards. That department belongs to Domino, Byron, and Dizzy in that order. You have been told repeatedly that you are, under no circumstances, allowed to sell a keyboard and take the commission. That is the territory of the previously mentioned gentlemen. When you try to take keyboard sales, you are messing with their money, and it can make the difference in them being able to make a payment on a car or a prescription or rent. You wouldn't want them selling a piano from under you, would you? No. You would pitch a fit if they tried, and you know it. In fact, when you found out that on a day you called in and Piano Salesman called in, Byron sold a baby grand, you made such a big stink that BOTH locations were in an uproar. Notice how you didn't win that battle, though. The sale stuck with him, and your brother told you to shut your trap because you chose not to come to work.

Second, the way you chose to word the first. "I missed a keyboard sale because you wanted to eat." The tone implies that I selfishly did something I didn't need to do just to keep you from making money. I'm not sure where you're from, but in my world, people need to eat to survive. It is not a WANT so much as A NEED. As in, I need to eat to survive. And while I could have waited to eat, the day did not slow down. It would have been just as difficult to go to lunch at four as it was when I tried to first go at one. I actually didn't get to go until one-forty five. If you had just sat down when you first told to, you would have been able to steal that keyboard sale from Byron or Domino or Dizzy. And that wouldn't have been very good, but your own selfishness got in the way of further selfishness. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

Your last statement is simply laughable. You can say that you will not do it ever again, but in the end you know it is not your choice. When Manager Man tells you to do something (and he doesn't ask you, he commands.) you do it. There is no "I'm not going to" bullshit hassle about money you're dreaming of making. He is the boss, you are the Janitor. Boss trumps all except Owner. You are neither.

In the end, you are no better off than you were before. Because you did say you were planning on taking a keyboard sale, I will have to report that to Manger Man. It is against the rules, and Byron, Domino, and Dizzy happen to be my friends. I hate seeing them cheated by a greedy bitch who thinks making a paltry twenty five dollar commission is more important than another human being's right to eat. And you would have tried to cheat them had I not so selfishly decided to eat some lunch.

Boo. Freaking. Hoo.


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