Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Joys of Underemployment - Really

I have a secret to tell you, I like being underemployed.  I know, I know this is against everything that I am supposed to believe, everything I was taught at that fancy private business college but it’s the truth.  I get to work around 7:50 every day and, quite literally, the moment that clock hits five I am the first one out the door.  I am the Speedy Gonzales of punching out and shutting down.

I am a receptionist.  I have the same job that I had just out of college.  I answer phones, I e-file documents, I take care of the mail.  This is what I was hired to do.  There are a few other jobs that I have taken on to fill my day, things that wouldn’t normally be trusted to “just a receptionist” and I’m glad for them but it’s still not rocket science.   There are a few things I won’t do, I won’t get your coffee, I won’t  file your work so you can spend the afternoon chatting in the kitchen, (unless your name is on the building)I won’t screen your calls – a girls has to have her limits.

When looking for a job after leaving the hellish field of life insurance sales I applied for anything and everything.  I just wanted to work, needed to work.  I sent my resume to my current employer after reading the posting and thinking “I can do that in my sleep” and didn’t expect to hear back because I am so over qualified.  When they called the next day I took the interview, with a 5 year employment gap beggars can’t be choosers.   A good amount of the interview was about my (over) qualifications and I was honest with them:  “As long as I’m busy I will welcome a low stress job.”  And that’s what I have – I could stand to be a little busier though.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not running around with “Proud Receptionist” stickers on my cars – when someone I graduated college with asks what I’m doing now I am pretty embarrassed to admit that if we worked together I would be getting their calls.  I have to remember that their lives look nothing like mine.  I glad that they don’t have the stress of a wounded warrior – even when things are going well it’s a weight I carry around always.  My employers here know all about him and have been great about the days I’ve had to go home and let him rest or go to immediate VA appointments.   When I leave work I LEAVE work, I don’t bring things home, I don’t stay awake thinking about phone calls I transferred to the wrong person – none of that.  

There are some disadvantages to being the front desk girl, the biggest is that I am constantly talked down to.  I am not an idiot, don't treat my like one of your kids.  When people call I say the name of the company, several times a day someone responds with "Hello ABC Company this is..." hahaha, you were pretending like the place I work is my real name...so funny - no.  When I take my break someone sits at my desk.  Get away from my desk and no you may not reorganize it.  And finally the pay, it's not BMW type money but we don't need that, I am paid for what is expected of me so if I spend the afternoon reading a book I don't feel bad about it, I am not being paid to be busy every second of the day.

I still take pride in my work, I think when you are underemployed there is the chance of becoming complacent and sloppy, I’ve made a point to not let that happen.  I know I am not curing cancer but if I don’t do my job correctly no one in the office can get anything done.  I just had my review and my boss had nothing but good things to say about me which always feels nice.  Now, I don’t plan to be a receptionist for the rest of my working life, we are actually in the process of moving me to the sales team but it’s a long process.  I told my new boss that I hope the compensation of the new job is enough to make me want to add some work stress to my life because as of right now we are making ends meet while I am on a working vacation.  I’m excited to see what the next professional step will be but for now I am enjoying  getting paid to hang out and answer the phone every few minutes of so, and there isn’t a damn thing wrong with that.

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