Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Split personality

I work for a construction company. I deal not only with the actual guys out on the job but the guys at corporate behind the big desk as well. I see lots of hard hats, utility belts, 48oz Big Gulps, and boots every day. I talk to architects, company managers, pay-roll clerks, and the occasional telemarketer. Depending on the situation, I am either down-to-earth and cutting jokes or very professional and succinct. There is a H-U-G-E difference in Phone-girl and Desk-girl.

For example, Desk-girl would never say, "Thank Goodness it's Friday! I've been waiting all week for the weekend." Actually, Phone-girl would never actually say that either...but I hear it at least once a week. As Desk-girl, I keep the guest company until it's time for them to meet with the guys. I usually find something to chit chat about.

"Say, that's a really long braid. You lose a bet?"
(Guy with braid) "No, I belong to Hell's Angels. I grow my hair out and donate it to Locks o' Love and ain't nobody gonna mess with me."
"All right then."

(I can't make this stuff up.)

Phone-girl laments with the caller that "Monday just came way too fast."
Desk-girl laughs when coworkers come in wearing sunglasses Monday morning.
Phone-girl enunciates and politely directs calls.
Desk-girl has an awfel suthern axe-sent
Phone-girl asks the caller to please hold.
Desk-girl yells "LINE 2!!!"
Phone-girl is cheerful.
Desk-girl gives "the look" when one of the guys brings a stack of papers to send at 4:57.

As phone-girl and desk-girl, I do have fun at work. I just cater to the situation. I know enough "building-talk" to fake a conversation for 5 minutes. When a crew member comes in, I usually have to pretend I know what I'm talking about for only a few minutes. The guy leaves thinking "she knows her stuff." In the meantime, I just knocked 2 and 1/2 minutes off my hour. Additionaly, I can be quite dignified for those two minutes on the phone. I know when to drop a courtesy laugh, a quick "yes ma'am", or agree with a joke. The person hangs up feeling great about our conversation and I just chipped away another 2 minutes. You see, I'm a people person. I just like for the individual to feel comfortable while conversing with me. As long as they are happy. Give me any situation: I can adapt.

In an unrelated side note, I'm thinking of going into politics.


Saule Cogneur said...

A while back when my group was moving offices, I found myself in an adjacent, uninhabited office looking for cubicle dividers. One of the building construction guys came in and rummaged through a huge bin of tools.

Him: "Say, have you seen the 1/2" drive?"
Me: "Sorry, I haven't noticed it kicking around."
Him: (observing me continuing my own search) "What tool are you looking for?"
Me: "Actually, I'm just a student. I'm trying to find dividers."

For some reason, I was proud that he thought me one of the maintenance guys rather than an annoying grad student. It's nice to fit in sometimes. Then again, maybe it was just the fact that I spoke American as a first language.

Thomas said...

As someone who works in Politics . . . you have too much class and integrity to make it in my business.

It's one thing to have a "split personality" - it is another thing to be two-faced.

Thankfully, you are not, nor could ever be, two-faced.

(Okay, I am just having a bitter moment as the state budget is about to come to a close; a lot of the people are just okay.)

Dorky Dad said...

Well, you have my vote if you go into politics ... and you run for office in Minnesota.

And I spend most of my life faking knowledge. It's awesome when people think you're smart.

Burg said...

Hell's angels, huh? That'll teach you to talk to people.

Craig D said...

...and then there's Blog Girl!

charlottalove said...

Craig - blog girl is my favorite!

thethinker said...

Wow. Politics. Maybe being able to fake like you know stuff in conversations will help you in politics, too.

Diesel said...

I can't even manage one decent personality at my jobs. I'm always Surly Guy.

michelle said...

charlotte have u ever thought about the other side of the conversation? what if they are thinking the same thing? on the phone, they are just saying the right things at the right time but really only are hoping to slice more time on the time card... or have no idea what ur talking about when u ask them if they lost a bet but just go along w/it? btw have i ever told u my experience w/hell's angels? dont get scared, it wasnt a face-to-face incounter...just a long conversation i avoided by faking asleep.