Scared on the Front Desk

Ah, the front desk. I have an interesting relationship with the front desk at the admissions office. Juanita, the receptionist at the front desk, truly makes it look easy. She is so calm transferring calls, greeting people and filing paperwork. Going into the summer, I knew I’d have to work the front desk a couple times when Juanita is on vacation. It seemed simple enough. At least, Juanita made it appear simple enough. In the first couple of weeks of orientation for the job, we learned how to transfer calls, how to greet people, and how to generally appear to have things together. I felt like I was ready to go the first day I came to the front desk.

I was terribly, terribly wrong. My first day at the front desk, I think I dropped three calls, was incredibly inarticulate when greeting people and was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Most of the time, I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or just start smashing the phone until it stopped mocking me. Whenever I saw the red flashing buttons on the phone, I felt like I was in a scene of a horror movie. Every time I dropped a call, I assumed the worst. “What if that was Obama on the phone? Or the Dalai Lama?” Most of the time when I drop a call, people generally call back. But, even when they do call back, I feel intense guilt.

On this emotional roller coaster, my colleagues came down to check in on me from time to time. I think some of them had legitimate concern for my health. Yet, others simply laughed at my misfortune. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say it hurt me more than they could ever know. The only laughing that should be happening while I am at the front desk is my own laughing. Even if it is a laugh of insanity, it should be the only laugh allowed while I am at the front desk.

Now, every time I’m not working the front desk, I thank my lucky stars. Every day, I make sure to tell Juanita that she is THE BEST, because I have no idea how any person can do that job as calmly or efficiently as Juanita does it. Whenever I come down the stairs, she has the biggest smile on her face even though she has 3 different calls coming in, AND on top of that, she makes sure to tell me to eat my fruits and vegetables with every meal. If there is a Juanita in your life, make sure you tell them that you love them every day. I know before I had to sit the front desk, I had no idea how difficult the job was. Some superheroes just keep it on the down low, I guess… though I see right through Juanita’s disguise!