While sorting the mail, I found the dumbest ad:
For 99 bucks, you can learn how to be the best receptionist! I never read beyond the covers because this made my brain hurt, especially after having two admin jobs under my belt. On the back cover, it claims to teach valuable lessons like how to answer the phone, be pleasant and blah blah blah. Really? Who in their right mind would attend this class? You could learn a new, more useful skill for that much, or you could buy 200 Cadbury Eggs. Either would be a better use of time and money.
If you’re considering pursuing a receptionist’s career(?), my first word of advice would be “Don’t.” If you refuse to take that advice, then rather than go to this lame class, keep your hundred dollars and let Miss Prentice share her vast knowledge of an administrative specialist…for free…and in much less time.
1. The Phone Voice
Anybody can learn how to answer the phone, but having a”phone voice” is an unteachable trait, like being pretty. It has something to do with pitch and stressing of syllables and sounding like you give a crap. Advanced phone people can sound like magic rainbow happiness on the phone while rolling their eyes and scowling.
2. Learn to Lie
Lying is essential, and any admin assistant must learn to do so with haste. You’re not going to tell a solicitor, customer or coworker that the person they are calling is not interested in dealing with his/her nonsense. No. They are always “in a meeting,” or “out for the day,” or “just leaving.” Playing dumb is another useful form of lying that makes life a lot easier for me. “Huh? I have no idea what you’re talking about…”
3. Talking About the Weather
What is only thing everybody in the office world have in common? We all breathe the same air. I talk with people about how good or bad the weather is every day. It should be your default conversation setting.
No matter how much responsibility you take on, and no matter how good a job you do, you will aways be underestimated by your coworkers because you’re “just the receptionist.” Do you know how many people think I’m 18 and fresh out of high school? I have a college degree and will be 26 next week!
5. Busy Work
In addition to all the tasks the receptionist is already assigned, people assume the person at the front desk does nothing (Yes, people have said behind my back that they wished they had my job because I do nothing but sit around and relax all day), and they will dump their busy work on the less fortunate. These projects range from data entry to sweat shop-like labor (like inputting boring payroll data, mass mailings, or making 300 gift bags in a day).
I remember getting an Admin Appreciation Day card from a manager at AMC, and with the card she said “We appreciate what you do…when you do your job.” She thought I did nothing but eat popcorn and hang out with my friend Brian all day. Little did she know I did accounts payable, HR auditing, movie time data entry, and operations paperwork auditing. Oh well, at least they remembered the card. My company forgot last year. Being forgotten is another facet of being underappreciated. It happens all the time.
7. Learning about People
For some reason, People open-up to me at the front desk, delving into many unexpected aspects of their life. I’m like a human Redbook Magazine or like Lucy from The Peanuts, giving advice on beauty, relationships, careers, sex, etc. Even more startling is learning more about people than you ever wanted to know.
For instance, one of my couriers talks to me about his love life. He’s recently and bitterly divorced, and he was excited about a breakfast date. When I followed-up, he told me that she missed the date…because she was in jail…for a DUI…which was ironic because he met her at an AA meeting! Today, I learned that he is meeting the girl he fell in love with over a year ago after not contacting her for six weeks…which goes against his therapist’s advice. Mind blown. On to the next lesson.
8. Friends in Handy Places
As the receptionist, I have found the most beneficial relationships I’ve established in the office are with staff outside my company. Being buddy-buddy with the maintenance crew, janitorial staff, building management, delivery guys and the mail man has been fun and useful.
9. Taking on Tasks
This is a difficult balance for me. You are taught that taking on every responsibility and project possible will prove your worth, talents and skills in the workplace, but I beg to differ. Why would the company promote me if I already do everything they want and more for a lower price and no office? I partially blame my lack of assertion on my old manager because she never had my back. If I was being overworked or bullied, another bully was not the person to go to for help. I think learning to say “no” sometimes is valued even more in today’s work climate than being a yes-man all the time.
It is too easy to lose sight and faith in yourself in this line of work. Fight it! Don’t let the office world bring you down. Find something to express yourself (Within reason. My office couldn’t handle a full dose of Prentice.). For me, it’s the fridge poems. Cling onto this outlet as long as you can, and hopefully things will fall into place around you.
A seminar on being a better receptionist is like having a seminar on being a better corrugated cardboard box. Listen to Ms. Prentice, foals, SHE knows what’s up, and she’ll give you your advice for FREE.
foals? as a business owner I know you are not what I’m looking for in a receptionist! Actually I wonder why any of you are even applying for the job of receptionist. It is the first person a client sees and has contact with when entering an office. You are the person who sets the tone of what the company represents when the client arrives. Ask what your responsibilites will be an if you are not qualified or able to fulfill them, dont bother to waste the interviewers time and leave.
Oh, I totally see where you’re coming from, but have you never had a job you didn’t like? It happens to lots of people all the time. I can’t speak for all the commenters on this thread, but I can tell you I wanted the job when I applied. I thought it was going to be a great opportunity. I learned after getting the job that is was a bad fit at an even worse company, and what was I gonna do? Just quit? That wasn’t an option. I needed the money. Also, just because I hated my job did not mean I didn’t do a good job. As a matter of fact, I was wonderful at it. I completed every ridiculous task I was given with professionalism and a big ass smile while answering the phone. You’re right. The receptionist is a very important role, but many office folk do not understand that; and bullying and mistreatment ensue. This is just a place for receptionists to laugh at their situations and blow a little steam. 🙂
Very useful information! I’m a Receptionist in Hong Kong. : )
Ha ha! I’m glad you agree. Being a receptionist is more difficult than people think. We have to stick together! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Fuck .. Me too
I’ve been at my first receptionist job for just over 2 months. It is by far the most excruciating experience of my working life I have ever had! I’m looking for a different job now and unless I find myself in the direst of circumstances I don’t think I will ever take a job like this again.
Loved your post, it made me feel better – thanks for writing it!
I know exactly where you’re coming from, Yoshi. Receptionist is by far the worst job I’ve ever had, and I’ve cleaned bathrooms and been in the food industry. I will do anything in my power to never make this mistake again. Good luck with the job search. It’s tough out there right now. I’ve been looking for two years.
why i am 18 an wanted to be a receptionist
If that’s true, go for it, and good for you. 🙂 That job just wasn’t the best fit for me. I thought the class was silly because the basic lessons it taught were not that difficult for the average person to figure out. Be kind. Be polite. Be helpful, etc. Good luck with it. I hope you have a great experience with any job you take-on.
To be a good receptionist you should greet the customer saying “Good morning how may I help you or good afternoon how may I help you do you have an appointment”? Can you please sign in and take a seat.
Always be polite on the phone especially in the front desk.
Ooops! Did I leave that out? Very true, Princess April Ann. That is how to be a “good” receptionist. To obtain the status of “outstanding” receptionist, additional skills are necessary, like teaching adults how to address envelopes and scrubbing sludge out of the marketing department’s mini fridge with style and pizzazz. To be “the best” receptionist, you must do all this and pretend you like it…while constructing an escape pod under your desk with nothing but paperclips, coffee stirs, Google and a prayer.
Your post is hilarious!!! I’ve been looking for a job since October 2009. I registered with two temp agencies providing them with two resumes: Administrative Support focused resume that only list earning a bachelors degree and a Public Relations focused resume that list earning a bachelors and masters degree. The agency called me telling me about a receptionist position. I was floored. I was given a series of questions to prepare for a phone interview one in which I’m totally stumped: What skills do you want to learn in your new position? LOL I’ve done everything in that position. I just need a job at this point. But I know I can’t be that honest.
I understand that, Wendy! I’ve learned nothing useful while being a receptionist thus far, but it is a humbling job that teaches patience. It also sharpens your acting skills. 🙂
i agree with this aticle hundrands, i personally enjoybeinga receptionist what i dont enjoy is the way people treat me or the position, its like its a job for ‘stupid people’ or you are stupid when you are a reception, cause apparently you just sit and do nothing, i dont even think people know how hard it is to operate a switch board and having to be ‘happy’ all the time
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Well, with the attitude you have, that would be $99 wasted. Get over yourself.
So, I should just not laugh at a situation I’m not happy with and pretend it’s the best job ever? I’ll tell you, Miss Happyreceptionist, that despite having terrible bosses, mind numbing work, disrespectful treatment constantly and a measly income for my services, I was great at these jobs. I always did exemplary work, and if I had to make jokes about it on a blog to share the ridiculous nature of my job environment at the time, so be it. You can’t turn your hell job into a gem, but you can find humor in it and keep sane until you move on to the next phase. I’m glad you seem happy with being a receptionist (I assume you are by your user name). It just wasn’t for me, and I still think that class is a scam and a load of crap.
Im also a Receptionist and im very happy with my work and im trying to do very good job thanks for this
Okay this is so true. Am a receptionist in Tanzania honestly its not an easy job
i get lots of problems filling some stuffs in the office but am getting along its my first work so am trying hard……Thanks for this its helpful
It’s a hard way to enter the workforce. Don’t let it taint your outlook, and keep working hard. Just remember to ALWAYS keep an eye out for opportunities! That person who thinks you are great on the phone could actually be your way onto a new career!
You’re absolutely right!
I can think of a useful receptionist course. Teach me to answer politely when 4 phones go off at the same time, all the time (thank you boss!) without getting annoyed about it.
It would also be useful to be able to speak to those who approach the desk while I’m speaking to someone on the phone and the other three phones keep ringing.
The best of all of it is, people never see me busy! They are blind when I’m busy but they always seem to catch me when the chaos is finally over and peace and order has returned to my little receptionist island… I swear if I hear “don’t fall asleep!” one more time…..
And people like to focus their anger at the receptionist. I’m a victim of bullying from eight to five. I mean verbal abuse. Plus I have to apologize to people I don’t know… for other people’s mistakes.
Hey, I used to care about the troubles of other people…. now I just know how to pitch my voice and know when to say “oh? Really?” or “Oh, that’s terrible” or “Wow! that’s great”. Seriously, when people start talking, if I’m not careful, my eyes instantly start glazing over.
I’d rather put my money in a degree in something else and get out of here as soon as possible.
Until then, maybe the course can teach me to convince my boss that I have a right to a lunch break like the rest of my colleagues?
A woman after my heart. You will escape, Janine. You will escape and blow the world’s mind. For now, just hang in there, try to stay sane and cling to anything that is remotely rewarding/fun (like writing a novel behind their backs, fridge poems, keeping a blog, etc).
Hey! That is also what I have been going through. I make the least out of all the people in my office but whenever there’s mistakes or problems occur, who do they look at? Me. Who’s responsible for all the mistakes that people make? Me. Eventho I don’t even know how it started…
Girl, I feel your pain. I was blamed for so many things I had no control over. It’s ridiculous. Keep your chin up, your mind open and your humor at the ready. Better things will come, and you will rock the sit out of them! Use this shitty job as an arson for a promising career!
Oh my gosh Janine, the truth is so real. I have moments of complete chaos and then it dies down and somehow EVERYONE notices. People will say variations of “don’t fall asleep” like “look alive”. I am definitely dying on the inside. I hope you escaped your verbal abuse and bullying.
HAHA omg you are so funny girl! This is probably the most hilarious and true things I ever read. I’m so glad to have read your blog because I really feel the same way as you do. I am also a Receptionist. Sometimes I feel I cannot please people all the times. And also I’m not their servant that they can tell what to do all the time yet not appreciate the work load that I have. I just want to thumbs up for you. We all, Receptionist should support each other afterall we only have each other who can understand what we go through.. 🙂
Thumbs-up accepted! And, yes. We do need to support one another…and share all those ridiculously ridiculous tales from the front desk.
Infact these things are really true. I am a receptionist now in Nigeria & 90% of what is stated here is what i experience.Though i’m looking forward to further my education as a mass communicator.
That’s fantastic, Joyce! What a great goal, and thanks for the shout out. I think the best way to survive a receptionist job (or any job you can’t stand ) is to remember it is but a stepping stone to the next chapter of your career. Keep dreaming, keep scheming and don’t settle!
hello girls am really astonished with what you all have said. for real been a receptionist is just something else my God!!!! am just new the job but am already thinking of what next to do or where next to fit myself hmm i really take it as a stepping stone that’s the only thing holding and comforting me for now
There’s nothing wrong with a job being a stepping stone in your career. 🙂 I think in many cases, a receptionist job is exactly that, a way to get some experience and a foot in the door with a company. Some people really like that position and kind of work, so don’t let this blog post deter you or rain on your parade. It was originally written as satire, as a way to laugh about a job I did not like. But if you ever have a rough day at the front desk, you can always vent here. Lol.
Infact this is a good piece.They are indeed true.
I am a receptionist aswel in Tanzania,its absolutely true and yes very few people appreciate and actually respect me but but i have this phillosophy of mine that keeps me going and that is there is nothing great and easy so i want to be somebody important so i am going to save for my masters degree or my financial management postgraduate and that will be it i am so determined!so i get appreciations or not its okay i know its notn going to be for too long
Evelyn am a Tanzanian too I go thru the same way you feeling. Give it time everything will be fine
That is a beautiful philosophy, Evelyne! It can be hard to deal with the stresses and disrespect of being at the front desk of an office, especially if your bosses and coworkers are particularly terrible, but you have the right mindset. Keep that chin up, and keep your eyes on the prize! You’ll move on to greater things before you know it.
Thank you for making this crap job I have since nearly 4 years feel a bit better.
I can relate to almost everything you wrote on your blog, I am a receptionist for a Marketing Agency and it is dreadful.
People don’t care about the receptionist, but they always run to me when they need something to post, filing, binding, there’s no more Milk or “I can’t work out the coffee machine”, and you right you have to keep your chin up and sanity otherwise you’re going down.
I have been on a couple of interviews and I am still waiting to hear feedback from the last one.
Can’t wait until I leave this terrible job for good.
What are you up to now? Did you escape?
I love your comment on the milk. Lol. I hope your interviews went well! Did I escape? I guess in a way I did, if you count a couple layoffs. Lol. You know a job was bad if being laid off was a blessing. Now I’m looking for a new path to make ends meet, which includes working on my freelance writing, marketing and voice over career (and any other promising tidibits that come my way). It’s not consistent, but I hope either it will eventually, or I can find a job I like. Either or a combo meal of both would be lovely!
I’m so nervous! gonna work in macau as a receptionist nextmonth. So i have to be ready since i don’t have any experience yet, this would be helpful! thanks!:)
Please don’t go into a new job with the attitude my blog persona showcases. There is a small chance you may like the job (or at least the company). I have never had luck with receptionist jobs, but some people have. I’d keep an open mind when starting there, and I advise you to keep your expectations neutral. don’t get your hopes too high, but also don’t jump in already bitter. I mean, even though I hated being a receptionist, I always took pride in my work and did an exceptional job. You never know where opportunity will show it’s fickle head, so even though it’s probably not going to show-up while you’re at the front desk, do your best and keep your eyes on the prize. Any experience, good or bad, is worthwhile so long as it makes a great story!
Wow, I just was browsing through the internet to keep myself busy here at work while I finally had just a bit of down time and not having to pick up the spills of the coffee everyone leaves for me to pick up after themselves.. Whew, you have no idea what a breathe of fresh air it is and feels to have read your blog. I have gone through everything you have posted and so glad for the support. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for my job, but yes it is a pretty hard job to swallow mentally and financially… My boss actually paid for me to go to this seminar.. I am wondering what to do should I just go for an hour and then ditch the seminar and go run errands for myself or stick it out and give you guys some feedback.. Help!
Hahahaha! I know that feel. The receptionist world is a love-hate relationship, in that I loved having a paycheck at all but hated most everything else. That seminar looks pretty awful, but if you go, take notes, keep any materials and PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT IT!! I just have to know. Hell, if you go, I want to interview you for a blog post (or if you like writing, you can do an article that I would be more than happy to post).
I was a receptionist for 1 week before I quit. The staff treated me like shit and customers were rude both on the phone and in person. There were way too many duties for me. I had to scramble to answer phone calls one after the other, search for name cards of customers, greet customers, organise the office, take down voice mails, set appointments etc and my manager was a bitch. I had to rush for lunch since they only had 1 receptionist (me) and sometimes my lunch would be delayed until 4 p.m. I wonder if people know that the person on the other side of the line hates talking to them as much as they hate talking to the receptionist? Did I mention the pay was just plain pathetic and the working hours were insanely long?
The moment I found another office job I quit! Now I’m earning a lot of more and my work consists of only filing and data entry. I end work earlier and am a happier person. The staff make an effort to include me in meetings, share stories and don’t treat me like crap just because I am a temporary staff.
I went in thinking I could handle being a receptionist and came out having mad respect for receptionists
That’s awful, Hannah! I’m glad you were able to escape quickly. It was less than a month before I realized taking that receptionist job was a huge mistake. It is ridiculous how awful people can be, especially to somebody who works so hard and does so much. I’m glad you found something better. Success stories always make me happy.
heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp me somebody, anybody because am wearing the same shoes, am a front desk officer in nigeria. my bosses keep yelling at me and telling me how incompitent i am, can u imagine? i started the job just 3 weeks ago and its my first job, the company didnt even train me on the job and they are aware that its not my field at all, i studied industrial physics and i find myself under an administrative career just to make ends meet. mhen! i take a long face home almost everyday just becus of the way am being treated with resentment by my bossess, my co-workers are courteous though. Lord please help your children.
Industrial Physics?! PrettyKIS, you are probably the smartest gal in that office. Isn’t it crazy the disrespect you get simply from taking the receptionist job, even if you are overqualified, educated and talented?! Don’t call the administrative role a career. It’s not. It is but a stepping stone (a slimy, icky, jagged one) toward something better. Try to not sweat the small stuff and try to find humor in just how absurd the office climate and its nastiest inhabitants are. I know that’s easier said than done. Keep your eyes open for new work while you suffer at the front desk AND networking opportunities. The handful of people who I liked and who respected me at the office still keep in contact with me, and some of them have been great resources for new work and opportunities. Let me know if anything particularly funny happens at work. I’d love to hear your stories!
woow! what a big relief to have gone through to this site. i have been a receptionist for 5 months now, company, salary and bosses – wise .. i don’t have any complaints at all, just some other co – workers who thinks about themselves are high & mighty more than the bosses. Yeah kinda little boring and irritating job, you got all the blames most of the times. Just i never allow them to pin me down all the time. Still i don’t feel comfy about the job, since i have been a supervisor before, and i worked more on the secretarial job. Now am not so sure if i will renew my contract or am not even sure if i can finish my one year in the company 😦
What a great attitude, Aleaceim! That’s the best way to handle the situation. I understand how going from a supervisory role to receptionist is a serious shock. I was a movie theater manager/supervisor for years before trying something new and taking the receptionist job in hopes of a new opportunity. It’s tough, especially when you are judged based on the receptionist role and not your skills, experience, education, talents, etc. Unless, you find something comparable to the salary and benefits elsewhere, I would recommend sticking to this job until you find something better. I learned the hard way that jumping out of a crappy job hastily can land you in…yet another crappy job. You seem like a bright and amazing person, so I know you’ll do well!
I really do appreciate all, cause I’ve gotten more insight about a Receptionist & their duties. What baffles me most are the different perspective of the Job of a Receptionist.
It’s true. From around the office to behind the front desk, there are many perceptions of working reception. Lol.
I start my first job as a receptionist Monday. I got it through a temp agency. I’ll be working there temporary (or be given a permanent job) or until the places I interviewed at give me job offers or tell me they’re not interested. I’m glad I found your blog, while googling what a receptionist does since I still have no clue what will be expected of me or if I’ll be given any proper training. This is my first job since I graduated college not too long ago. Super nervous!
Like I tell any gals starting a new job at the front desk, please don’t read this and go into a new job with a bad frame of mind. You never know when opportunity will knock, so at least give it a chance. Granted, it’s good to also not jump into a receptionist job with your hopes too high either. Go in with an open mind and brace yo-self.
Thanks for the advice! It really helped during my first week of work. Its been about a month now and I’ve survived! 🙂 I was told that working there as a receptionist I’ll be able to see what positions I would be interested in when I move up in the future. I am still learning where to forward calls. Yeah… I really wasn’t told what to do in certain situations so I wing it. The former receptionist and a long time employee told me to do just that since people who call in well you can never make them happy so might as well do what they ask even if its forwarded to the wrong person. I’m sure I’ve gotten people mad but hey I’m doing what the customer wants. As for mail sorting, well I’m about 95% accurate. Im only human. Here’s to one month of being a receptionist!
That’s great! It sounds like you’re getting the hang of things. Yeah. There is a LOT to learn at the front desk that most people don’t even realize, especially if the office is accustomed to how the previous receptionist did things. Lol. I hope this job continues to be a good experience for you. Thanks for keeping me posted, and don’t hesitate to update me more. I love to hear everybody’s receptionist stories! 🙂
This was awesome for me to read as I am actually 20 years old as a receptionist started when I was 19! BEST. Information. EVER! I love everything in here and it’s soo true about people thinking we do nothing.. my boss actually put herself into my partners and I shoes and said that it wasn’t easy at allo and that the work is very challenging. I also love your suggestion to keep my head cool by doing something creative when things are starting to overwhelm me. Awesome work and thanks so much!!
I’m glad the article made you smile, Alicia. Some gals take the list a little too seriously, making me feel like my tongue in cheek humor turned quickly into foot in mouth. Lol. Your boss seems pretty cool. None of mine would have EVER done that. The creative project idea is great, especially if you are an artistic soul in the first place. It keeps you grounded, and if you can find a way to incorporate it in your job, even better!
bukola: I like dis post cos its not easy being a receptionist with bullies frm ur superiors,bt after reading tru am a bit comfortable now.thank u .
i really enjoyed this post. I am a receptionist in Slovakia (central Europe) and Im having a “afternoon shift” today (from 12.30pm-9pm) and since I cant be on Facebook or other pages because behind me is a wall made out of mirror and the wall of this building are pure glass and everyone can see-through or can see a reflection of my monitor behind my back and I have to be very representative because we are very important company 😀
So.. the reason why I am googling “how to be a better receptionist” is because Im working here around 2 months (next week it will be 2 months, wow) and I am in trouble. But beforehand, this is like the first time I have a full-time job and PLUS Iam attending daily classes at my university – media communication (and many I have missed because of this job 😦 ) But I took it as a very good start for my career, in fact, any career.
We are also something like “post office” so we are also accepting mails from outside the company and from co-worker etc. the last week I was called to see my supervisors. I thought that must be some basic routine (although we have like 3-month test period in which they can you kick you out without saying a reason etc and usually the “supervisor talk” is after those three months..)
So I was like okay. Then I was sitting there listening to things like ” you ARE TOO FRIENDLY, STOP THE SMALL TALKING WITH CLIENTS” etc… I was like ok..my collegues do the same, but ok I am here new they are here like forever… Then also came ” try to be busy, make “busy work” because we can see you doing nothing very often ” a that is bullshit because here on the MAIN RECEPTION = right behind the entrance to the building, so in winter is here like minus million degrees and noone gives a…. and here is four of us! and when they do some daily-basis things I just sit and wait for some guests to guide or answering emails and it is pretty natural that I just “sit there doing nothing” but okay..
But then they said the reason why I was called there in the first place. It was because reputedly I lost some envelope in which was bigger amount of money! WHAT? that the man gave the envelope to me and he described it like ” to girls sat in the front, one was calling and the other one was talking to clients I went back and there was the third one eating, so I gave it to THE NEW ONE! – he even doesnt know my name! …. and they said I lost it (it should have been sent to another city), but they found it in another place in that tiny room. Then they told me that since I am a trainee they could kick me out without telling me a reason but THEY SO WANT ME THAT THEY GIVE ME 2 WEEKS WITHIN I can show them HOW MUCH I WANT THIS JOB…….
I was crying (after the meeting in the bathroom) I was stressed. I dont remember that situation with envelope, in fact, no one does from my collegues.
So that is a loong situation with me as a receptionist. I love paper work, I love office work, I hate pretending something I am not – like NOT A FRIENDLY PERSON WITH BIG SMILE AND SMALL TALK, but hell yeah I can be representative.
So I really found myself in this piece and on one side I am hoping they will kick me out so I can focus on my studies because I am slightly behind every lecture and course but on the other hand I really want to keep this work, at least half a year because of my CV…
Girls here are telling me to run away because I have very good english (I dont know if I have 😀 ) skills and here in small country like Slovakia is the number one skill in finding a job.
So… I have 2 week to work my ass off to show them how much I want this (do I?) and also to catch up a lot of school work because the midterm is coming!
Yeah … I am going to read everything you have here 😀
Oh my goodness! You poor thing. First off, your English seems pretty good to me. I had no problem reading your comment. It is sad how awful people are to the receptionist, and I completely understand what you’ve been going through. A lot of the same drama happened to me and then some. I hate to see this job interfering with your education. School is very important. It’s also hard to balance being grateful for a job (I don’t know how hard it is to find a job in Slovakia, but here in the states it is tough.) and yearning for something better: Something more. I was laid-off from the job I was working while I wrote this article, and still part of me thinks it a blessing in disguise and the other side feels rejected and confused while trying to find the next step in my career. The best advice I can give is to have some kind of activity to make you look busy (Something fun or creative if possible. I wrote a novel.), do your best while working there, keep your chin-up and don’t let those people bring you down. And don’t let them make your grades fall. keep an eye out for better work. You seem like a smart and talented girl, and I know you’ll find something awesome!
Keep me posted on what happens!
wow! this blog has given me a boost of energy and a cheer up when I needed it most. My company is a rapidly growing one and I dont think they have taken into account the difference between a receptionist providing support to 30 people now providing admin support to 200+ people. There is only SO much a person can do! No one seems to even care about this! I got this comparison from one of the IT guys….he told me how tired he was all the time because when he joined the company there were maybe 80 people we are now 200+ how can one IT guy provide IT support to that many people? plus set up new work stations including phones, computers, passwords, e mail etc. Impossible. I thought this could apply to me as well. I am a receptionist and I feel all the things you mentioned above and I feel I might even lose my job over it since I am not supposed to complain and have already been in trouble once over voicing my opinions about mountains of dishes! When I came to this “company of the future” full of promise I never thought I would be scrubbing out microwaves and fridges, and doing mountain after mountain of dishes, or loading/unloading 4 dishwashers a day till the skin on my hands starts peeling off. I am exceptionally furious today since I found out HR is not on my side and will never have my back. I feel the people here are mostly nice and I like the fast paced environment but it would be nice to be appreciated once in a while instead of constantly being taken for granted.
sorry for the rant! but im just at my wits end and SO SO SO frustrated!
Why do office folks refuse to do their own dishes?!?!?! That and the fridge were an ongoing battle for me. Are you chummy with the IT department? I was, and they were the nicest bunch in the office. It is unfair that you are not allowed to express your issues and self worth. I had that problem with both my receptionist jobs. One fired me when during a “How much do you love working for us?” powwow I mentioned that I thought it was time to renegotiate my contract. I mean, I was originally being paid to answer phones and do front desk stuff, and like what happened to you, my job expanded into doing a lot of their money handling, marketing and even babysitting their kids while answering the phone and greeting guests. They replaced me with their babysitter who had no college degree. Wow. At the cosmetics company, marketing would dump all kinds of time consuming and ridiculous projects on my desk, and payroll did the same. My best advice is to do the best you can, and if this job ends-up seeming like a dead end (Like, if you realize after trying to move-up that nobody is going to pay you more and move you to an office when they can just force you to take extra responsibilities for free…), start looking for new work. The receptionist stigma can be damaging, and it may be best to start fresh with a new company who respects your experience and skill set, if you can find a good fit. Just remember you are smart and awesome, and you deserve a great career, even if those ass hat supervisors are too unobservant to realize it. Keep me posted on how things go!
I’m a lady aged 22 and l been working as a receptionist for two months. l got the positive and nicer side to it. i have been getting many opportunities after the temp job as a receptionist. jobs keep coming out and m y pay is very good. one thing l love about being a receptionist l get time to study as l am doing an online degree. to me l know its a great start l have made connections in that short time. And mostly l do all my work wholeheartedly and l think that’s the other or main reason all is working out for me.
That’s wonderful! It’s nice to find a happy receptionist story and hear proof that they are not a myth. 🙂 You seem to work for a company that respects all of its employees and understands the importance of proper training, development and moral support. Kudos to you, and keep up the great work!
great post. you nailed it on the head, that is for sure. 7 years as reception for me, in the same company… 5 in an office that went from 250 to 500 people, no shipping dept, just me. phones rang once per minute.. anyway. i worked my ASS off. when i left for a new office, did they miss me? nope,they just complain about the new people. they are on receptionist 2, one per year. and instead of saying, hey, maybe SHE DID a BANG up job, they just give the new gal grief. I worked so very hard, i gave so much of my life to them. EVERY role i apply for outside of reception, i am told i am over or under qualified for. I watch the ‘new people’ in the same level as me get ahead, but not me.
listen to this wise women, friends, she ain’t fibbing. if you ARE good at reception they will never let you leave. If you are bad they will just make you suffer or fire you. I am smart, capable and motivated, but after 7 years i am also tired, depresed at the lack of decency and un motivated.
I work for a global company, one of the ‘top 50’ in Canada.
Sure, i make good money, for reception, and starting wage for everything else.
I am happy to read this blog and the other comments.Even i am a receptionist but its my second company and a second job.In the first company wer i worked, had lot of good and bad experiences.I tried my level best there to complete my entire work in a heavy busy schedule but very few people appreciated me and now wen just came out of dat company,my colleagues started appreciating me for my work as they started facing problems without me der.As i was a fresher wen i joined der,i had no much knowledge about any of the work but now i feel i have learnt a lot of things.I THANK dat company for giving me so many opportunities to learn different things and softwares.I worked a lot and sometimes got tired working.This has made me more confident and able person,than i could really be .I hope your understanding what i am trying to say.I suggest all the one who read this blog that “Hard work is the key to success”.without working hard you will never be successful.Hard work gives the experience and opportunities.So just go through all the situations and try to extract good things from those bad situations.But sometimes i too feel receptionist is the lowest post.but, when i read such above blogs my selfrespect increases.Thank u soooo much.
Hard work is a key component to success. I agree, even if when I was a receptionist my hard work never really paid off. I still learned a lot and found inspiration through this blog. I think any experience, even a bad one, is worth while so long as A.) You learn something and/or B.) It makes a great story!
am a receptionist at an insurance company it is my first time being a receptionist and I seem to do more wrong than right not directing calls accordingly, can barely speak up on the phone and am afraid to ask questions and that’s where I mess it up, Please help
Ah, Portia. Don’t be afraid of the phone. Having to direct calls can seem intimidating at first, but so long as you are polite and friendly, it will be fine. NEVER be afraid to ask questions, especially if it makes your job easier.
Answer the phone with a greeting like “Hi. Thank you for calling [Insert Company Name Here]. This is Portia. How can I help you?” Then the customer on the phone will tell you who or what he/she needs. If you need to ask another question or two to decide where to direct/screen the call, this part of the phone call is a great time to do so. Remember, you can always say “Could you hold for a moment, please?” Then put the caller on hold while you figure out what to do.
If you make a mistake, just apologize and move on. There’s no need to dwell, and never forget that you are the gatekeeper! You have more power in that position than you think, especially if people start getting rude on the phone. 🙂
agree! trueeeeeee….i’m receptionist from MALAYSIA 😉
Well, welcome to the club! It seems using and abusing the receptionist is a universal language on Planet Earth, because I have met so many other gals from around the world on this blog! Crazy, huh? I can’t wait until some alien from another galaxy finds this blog and posts about their crazy receptionist job on their planet. Lol.
I posted earlier this year about starting off as a receptionist.I survived 3 months of being a receptionist and got promoted last month to secretary of one of the departments. It seemed like no one really wanted me to move up but I did and it seems like a few people even the president likes that I moved up. Yay!
I hope I’m able to survive being a secretary as well.
If you’re a new receptionist take it one day at a time. Theres usually always at least one person who’ll be glad to answer any questions you have. They’re hard to find but do exist. Worst case just wing it.
I love Love LOVE this! Thanks for following up, and I’m glad things are looking good for you. Congrats on the promotion. You’re right. I think once you establish your receptionist role, the office has a hard time supporting you because that would mean starting a new receptionist from scratch (It’s ironic how unimportant the role can seem to an office until you leave your post). It’s also true that you can usually find somebody to help and support ya, and if not, “WING IT” is great advice. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks again for the update, and keep us posted on any more juicy developments!
hahaha! This blog made me laugh so much. I mean, I knew that it was a tough gig, but seriously, I thought it was job based. I’ve had several different jobs, but this receptionist job was the only one that I seriously have lost hair over. I’ve worked for the same company for the past 7 years, as receptionist, and the only reason they could keep me is that the owner is an absolutely amazing person and I was truly blessed to know him. Everyone else can go suck on a rock.
And yes, I took that course too…waste of a day, but it was paid for. So I didn’t care. Funny thing is, that now this company wants me to share that information with everyone else. I think I’d rather share your blog. 🙂
Seven Years?! You are a saint! I shall dub thee Saint Maurice: Patron of Office Shenanigans!
I did not take that course but would love to know more about it. And HELL NO! Don’t share with then the info for that class or any details to the inner workings of what you do. Informational power is your greatest strength at the front desk! Lol. Heck, I’m pretty sure the summer hours phone message from 2010 is still on my old company’s night mode. 😉
I am a receptionist in Pennsylvania. I work for a company that has it’s on collections department. I get talked down to a lot by Vps and customers. If I don’t know something people are very rude and can be hurtful. Everyone gives me busy work!! I put together the benefit packages every month for the company. It’s a pain in the rear. I would say my one pet peeve about this job is that I am not allowed to leave the desk. I have three breaks during the day and if I have to use the bathroom i basically should hold it until a scheduled break. If I need to go now and i call someone up to relive me even for a minute so I don’t get a bladder infection, I get super dirty looks. This job has it’s pros and cons. In 5 months I will be able to apply for any other position in the company. I think I might just do it.
Oh how I know that feel, Girl! My bladder and mind will never be the same. Lol. Isn’t it sad that it is easier to get a bathroom pass in sixth grade than it is as a grownup?! Le sigh.
You DEFINITELY SHOULD apply for a better position as soon as you can. I mean, why wouldn’t you? I just hope your experience is better than mine was. I found that people A) Get too comfortable/dependent with you at the front desk, B) Would rather pay you less to do lots of work for receptionist pay, and C) Forget your are a grown woman with experience/a degree/credentials/potential/etc. Keep me posted! I love to hear back from readers!
Love it! Love it! Love it! Makes me feel much better and that someone understands!
Thanks! I have to say I feel the same way you do about finding people that also understand. The responses to this article definitely makes me glad that I wrote it. 🙂
Thank your for this site. I’ve found so much of what I’ve experienced, others have also. Work has been unusaly difficult.I was spoken to three times about 1 incident, including one at a staff meeting (talk about over kill). Never have I been given a compliment on my job performance from boss or co-workers (maybe one if you count “I wouldn’t want your job it’s too hard” or” If I had to listen to all the crap people tell you I’d hang up”) but make one mistake and you never hear the end of it.
This brought me to search and find you. Thank your for the space to vent.
You’re welcome, Colleen. It always makes me happy to see new people find this blog. I’m glad you like it, and happy venting! 🙂
Reblogged this on devils and black sheep. and commented:
Thank you, you basically took the thoughts out of my mind and put it in a well-written article. I work as a receptionist at a law firm and I hate it.
Gurl, you are better than that job and can work past it. Blow their minds, move on, and make them wish they were better to you! 😉
I work as a receptionist at a law firm and I agree with all of your points! I get paid $10/hr with gas( like 55 cents/mile is a lot) for useless, mentally-draining shit like filing, mailing, and delivering packages across town. I also have to call people to tell them what’s going on with their case and they end up screaming at me, when they should be screaming at the lawyers. I’m not the one handling the case. I also deal with police reports, serving motions and subpoenas. My pay is shitty compared to what I do.
I’m looking for a new job, so unfortunately, I’m still stuck as a receptionist until something else comes up.
I have been a receptionist for a month now and I am still not sure if I am happy. I don’t mind the work at all, it’s the people in my office I am having trouble with. Most of the employees are men and it’s like pulling teeth for them to even want to speak to me. They are in and out my front door all day and they usually walk by me so fast with their head down. This is after I have already said my first good morning. My question is do I have to talk to them and make eye contact with them every single time they walk by my desk? Also, I am a shy person at heart, although great on the phone and with visitors to the company I feel that my other coworkers may pick up on that and choose not to talk to me. How do I become more approachable?
I’ll be real with you, TinaMaria. These men are not ignoring you because you are not approachable. I remember being ignored all the time at the front desk. More than once, my supervisors made me so upset that I just cried at my desk…and nobody…I mean nobody noticed. The receptionist is often an afterthought to many office regulars. But yeah. Unless you are in the middle of some task that keeps you from guarding the front door, you should still greet them, but don’t let it hurt your feelings if they don’t respond. But do enjoy the handful of people who take the time to talk to you. They make things much easier at the front desk! 🙂
Yeah this article pretty much sums it up! The joys of being a receptionist with education right!
I’ve been basically demoted to a receptionist at my company from Customer Service (a case of firing the old receptionist and “Oh hey this is temporary until we hire a new one” to “temporary is turning into permanent”) ..from a Fortune 500 company no less… and what you’ve stated is what the daily routine basically is and what is expected.
From an outside perspective, I was in a department prior to being up here and the whole office treated our receptionist like a joke/very poorly. She had a… particular personality with having a military background but I found it rude that people were so hostile towards her. (She actually did Avon on the side – smart girl)
But I’ve noticed that even though my title was/is still CS representative, since being the receptionist I’ve noticed a huge change in how people treat me and regard me. I’m not longer “my name” but “the receptionist” or “the girl up front” and people are quick to point out how “easy” the job is and how nice it is to do nothing all day.(You’re telling me, I blew 70k on schooling to do this apparently for people to also think I’m 18-19 and fresh from HS).
And in most cases, like you said…despite what you do, no matter what, you are NEVER noticed for accomplishments. You have to have the professional fake phone voice too, I laughed when I saw that because 90% of the time we’re making faces on the other end of the call. I also never thought it would be possible to get tired of the internet until being up here. I agree that you do get a good rapport with building staff/janitorial..I think the most laughs/enjoyment I get are from the Couriers and building mgmt/security.
And my gosh, I hear you on that one about angry clients… be ready to deal with so much misguided anger that nothing will phase you after hours. I guess (in most cases) the only good aspect is that we just transfer them (and don’t take anything to heart – they aren’t yelling at us but the company/department). The work is pretty mundane (I’m ecstatic when I get Customer service work on up here) and I end up finishing everything within an hour only to get the “You’re not busy?” sarcasm from management. I’d say receptioning is definitely an entry level money making job, I’m finding it hard to keep my sanity though because I’m an active learner always wanting to do more and BE more. ( I picked the wrong company apparently). And a lot of other employees and sales reps I have good rapports with have also noticed that I’m withering away in such a lackluster position. So I’d say if people are feeling the same way I am, definitely continue to seek employment elsewhere..receptionist work isn’t for everyone.
The market is just so bad that we have to settle anymore, I’ve been searching for a new job elsewhere (one that will actually hire me too.. A temp for 1.5 years isn’t worth it once you’re getting up in age where you need benefits/401K)
Yeah, girl. I totally know that feel. It’s tough, but I know you will find something great. Keep us posted!
I started a receptionist job about 4 weeks ago now. Today was the first time I was shown how part of the filing system worked because the admin assistant keeps claiming she doesn’t have “time” yet she spent only five minutes telling me what to do and often runs out of the office to do things like buy a belt, or buy CHristmas presents, or make brownies!! This is on top of her regular breaks. She hasn’t been doing any filing for the last 2 months so there’s a lot to do, and I can’t help but judge her time management if she couldn’t find 5 spare minutes to help me learn a job that I could then help her with. My previous job I was one step away from management so this is a big step down for me, but because of my past experience, little things are bugging me like judging others’ time management. When I had new staff, I would always make time to train them because holding them back doesn’t make a productive workplace, and having a new person know jobs means it’s less that I have to do, and I can do my other work while they do that stuff. I’m getting so bored that I’m frustrated. I have a “maual” which goes over the jobs I need to do but I’ve been told by others in the office that it’s terribly outdated and there are things in it that are done differently or aren’t done at all. There’s at least a couple of new jobs that aren’t even in it at all! So it’s not like I can work off that to guide me throughthe day.
And uh, today i was asked to buy more milk, but not with a “hey we’re out of milk can you get some” way but it was more like “look at this milk, it’s out of date yuck, how have people been having coffees” way. I am a person, just flipping ASK me or tell me. No need to be passive aggressive.
And the DISHES. Seriously we’re all adults, how hard is it to wash your own cup after you finish your drink.
I’m already contemplating looking for another job if things don’t pick up in a few weeks when the holidays are over and done with.
It’s good to know I am not the only one. I do think though that working as a receptionist could be a good experience but it all depends on the atmosphere your boss creates. Sure there are those exceptions, racist people for example. But if your boss is able to create a strong positive vibe then everybody will follow. My advice for anybody in the same situation is to start searching for a company that respect itself and its employees. Good luck out there !
Did you deal with racism from your boss, too?! It’s true. Your supervisor and other bosses/executives make all the difference. If the office culture is somewhat toxic to begin with, the receptionist has no chance. Good advice, too. A good company is hard to find nowadays, and if you come across the opportunity to work with one, DO IT! 🙂 Good luck to you, too.
Hotel reception is without doubt the worst job I’ve EVER had. The main part of the the job is the ability to stand for the entire shift of about 8 to 10 hours. After about 5 or 6 hours the soles of my feet started burning but it gets a bit better when they go numb after about 7. My knees and ankles swelled and I’d go dizzy with heat, but if I went and stood in the back with all the computer banks they are air conditioned to the max so I could take 60 seconds to breath (no longer though or security will wonder what Im doing in there). I was screamed and shouted at by irate guests on the phone if they are disgruntled, two phones going off at once with the tone going on and on, and on, and on, while your trying to stay calm and help Mr/Mrs angry. Meanwhile a pile of work from some other department is dumped on the counter for you “seeing as your doing nothing”.
People dont check out on time so I couldnt cash up, people try to check in from 9am onwards even though they are supposed to arrive after 2pm. The early check-in requests clashing with the late check-outs and causing mayhem for housekeeping who end up snapping at me like its my personal fault. Housekeeping allocate rooms but guests want different ones so I get either a bad review of a guest for not upgrading or room moving, or snide remarks of housekeeping for ‘messing up their rooming lists’. Guests who cant get through to the kitchen phone for room service so I have to keep trying the kitchen all the while trying to check in other guests or take up irons and ironing boards/ softer pillows/ harder pillows/ bigger quilts/ fluffier towels, while I can hardly walk for the pain in my feet.
I couldnt keep up with the amount of policy changes regarding the best method of dealing with disgruntled guests so we didnt get slated on review sites. Of course, all the managers knew the best way of doing this and were very forthcoming with advice, but should a real life situation ever present itself they would rather watch from a a mile away to make sure they dont have to actually show how any of it works in practice (mostly because they dont want their name dragged through the mud on internet review sites).
I had to balance the cashier for the health spa, bar, restaurant and reception and do the banking that the accounts dept should have done (except apparently “we do nothing on reception”) so were free to do it for them along with all the paperwork, balance the various credit card entries with the fortronics, cash up and make sure the safe is balanced.
In house credit reports had to be completed on behalf of the accounts dept on individuals and various companies, in addition to maximising sales for add on products like newspapers, tuck shop items and jewellery, and when we werent doing all that we were updating the guest registration cards into the system which could take a couple of hours just stood motionless on feet that felt like they were being stabbed with knives, all with a smile and a ‘can do’ attitude, and all on minimum wage.
The shifts started at 6.30am on an early and a late could finish after midnight so eventually my social life faded to nothing as I was so physically and emotionally exhausted I would stay home and fall asleep in a chair to conserve my energy. With absolutely no respect from colleagues or appreciation of how difficult a job it is I am so glad its over, and NEVER again.
Wow. That sounds terrible! It takes all the things I hated about different jobs of my past and throws them together in a chaotic clump of career-killing crap. You poor thing. I’m glad you’re not there anymore. They don’t deserve you, and you deserve better. 🙂
Thank you 🙂 yeah they went through so many staff. One girl only stayed a week! I was there 5 months and in that time there was 100% staff turnover. It amazes me the bosses dont look at the figures and wonder why. It came to a head when a manager in another dept wouldnt let his kid work reception and I woke up and smelt the coffee!
Hi purrrenticce, I really enjoyed your article it was funny and oh so true! Every bit of it! I am also well educated but have been stuck working on a reception desk for years, although it is for a large multi-national company. I have applied for other roles within compnay for which I was well qualified for, but yes you guessed it, they saw me as ‘only the receptionist’ and didn’t think I could do the job. No matter how hard you work and how much you do as a receptionist, everyone thinks you sit on your ass all day doing nothing, it’s a fact. Anyway, thanks for making me smile 🙂
I’m glad I made you smile, Noreen, and I hope things work out for you. 🙂
You are so cool! I do not believe I’ve read something like that before.
So nice to discover another person with unique thoughts
on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up.
This website is something that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!
Thanks so much! All that flattery has my heart aflutter. I’m glad it made you smile.
Also, I tried sending you a direct email, and it didn’t work for some reason. 😦
South Africa – Lol I stumbled on this site after googling ‘Being a receptionist worst job ever’ while having a good cry in the loo. Where do I even begin…. Well I’m glad to know that I am not the only one that is going through something like this. I am 26 years old and I have been a receptionist for 5 years for this company and I am also studying towards being a Teacher. I so can’t wait to wualify & do what love. I hate how people look down on you, I hate how people do not respect you and will speak to you like you’re stupid. I swear they be like “I’m having such a bad day, let me take it out on the Receptionist”. Everyone goes out on Secretaries Days, Bosses Day, Golf Days, weekend conferences and I stay behind on my own, taking messages for everyone while they are out having fun. I swear its like I’m invisible until someone needs to give me work ‘so I don’t fall asleep’. My Director doesn’t make it easier , yesterday we walked in and screamed at me because the welcome mat was scew (sp) and the whole office heard. I also hate how people never want to relieve you!! The company has grown so much over the past 3 years which means more phonecalls, more filing, more data capturing, more visitors for me! And still they patronise me and say they wish they had my job coz its stress free coz all I do is answer the phone and sit and look pretty all day!! When the lady in Accounts suddenly left I was asked to take over Creditors while sitting at Reception, I did pretty well for a few months and when they needed someone to fill that position permanently they overlooked me and chose someone from a totally different dept and trained her to be Credit Controller. One perk though is that I use the internet and their stationary for my studying lol. Hang in there ladies… One day we’ll escape!
Well I’m glad this post could add a giggle to your cry in the loo, MadamSpeaker. I used to have those myself when I was at the front desk (I actually realized I could cry at my desk without being noticed.). Being a receptionist was hands down the worst job I ever had. I would sooner wait tables than deal with that again. You seem to have a great attitude though, and you have an escape plan. Keep your eye on the teaching job prize, and keep me posted! Thanks for writing, and good luck with your ambitions and that pesky office scene. 🙂
I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed
to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive.
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Oh snap, Mona. I’m flattered you think my blog looks like it costs a pretty penny, because I’ve always been doing this on a pretty penny pinching budget. Lol. Honestly, I was blogging for free on WordPress and just upgraded my account to a paid URL within the last year or so. I don’t recall it costing that much to buy the domain, probably less than fifty bucks. I did it to expand my blog into my personal website for voiceover, copywriting and marketing. As for the appearance, I found the background design in a free stock image site, and my best friend drew the picture of me that I use in my branding. I would recommend starting a free blog and playing with it. Most blogging sites are simple and cater to people who are not coding gurus (like you and me). Then when you’re ready, upgrade and make it a website. Be sure to keep in mind all the wonderful resources around you to make your content awesome (friends, colleagues, coworkers, etc), and just have a good time with it. Keep me posted on how it goes!
This is just hilarious! It’s so nice that I am not alone in hating my job and that everyone in the office thinking I’m an idiot just because I’m not an engineer. I work at a tech company and am ordered to stay at the front desk all day, eat my meals there, and have no real responsibilities (even when I ask for them because I’m so bored). At the same time I am looked down upon for not ever really being “busy” when it is impossible to get anything done during business hours because I am so confined. What little tasks I do have, i finish too fast. No one knows that when I arrive at 7am (hours before others), I am running around like crazy opening the office, doing a million things. But I only really have that small window. To make matters worse everyone can see my computer screen so I basically look at work related websites all day, which drives me insane! The hours go by so slow. Anyways, my point is thank you for this hilarious post! It really helps to know I’m not alone in my frustrations and also that I shouldn’t get so down on myself since it’s really not that serious.
I’m glad you enjoyed this, Sara. That was exactly what I was going for. Good luck with the job. I know it’s a pain in the ass, but you shall overcome!!!!
I am writing a book on experiences by receptionists. In some instances, the people receptionists work with, are sometimes not as bright as the receptionists are. In the workforce these days, some receptionists might have degrees OR work experience that others in higher positions do not have. It is astonishing to me what receptionists (sadly) go through. There are so many rules & regulations in the workplace, so much about no bullying, respecting one another, etc; yet nothing appears to be enforced when it comes to receptionists. I know the book is going to help so many people, not only younger people who are starting out their careers and see themselves at “the front desk”, but also older people who my choice, or not, are having too sit up there now. Thanks for this blog!
This book sounds awesome! I’ve always meant to write one as well, but it would be a little more on the sarcastic and humorous side. Keep me posted about it, and let me know if you want any help.
I do Enjoy reading all the Post from your Blogs..
I am a receptionist at the same time a treasury custodian in our Resort!!
I can say that I really got so many ideas from those comments.Its my first time to be in line with these kind of work.and I must say also that its really so hard to adjust first with the people whom you work with. You have to learn first what your co-staff behavior is,because If you don’t know anything about them..you cant probably survive.Many people now a days whose to unpredictable when it comes to work behavior.
I’m just so thank full that my manager gives me full courage to do more and be more dependable as others didn’t think I can.
Looking forward to read more of your inspirational advice..thankyou ^^,
I have been trying to get a receptionist job or a data entry clerk or even an administrative assistant and it’s getting me nowhere. i”m looking to gain experience and be more than just “entry-level.” With the economy being so rough, it’s hard for anyone to gain experience or even get hired because they have little to none. I graduated with a degree in communications and my first job was retail. With all the internships that I had, I really want to be an administrative assistant, receptionist, or data entry clerk. Do you have any tips or advice on how to get started?
You sound so much like how I was out of college. I had a communication degree, and I stuck to my movie theater job for year or two before taking the receptionist job out of desperation. I don’t know what kind of advice to give. I don’t regret the receptionist job now, but I sure did then and for a long time. It was a bad fit that went nowhere. A long and lame lesson learned. I think the best advice I could give is to not jump the career gun just to escape from your retail job. Make the right job choice, not necessarily the first to come along, and if the new job starts giving red flags, start looking again and do your best until you find the next step. And really try to think about the kind of career you want to have. Good luck!!
The receptionist job, in general, is usually the one where the employee gets the most abuse. You see and hear the most about people you work with and customers, but in general, y ou are treated like you are invisible, ignored, taken advantage of and not appreciated. If you have self-esteem issues, this is the WORST position you could have. I suggest looking UP if you can, UP to a higher position. Wait for it, look for it, whatever, skip this though. If I had it to do again, I would. Best of luck.
This post made me laugh so much.
I am a receptionist (they gave me a fancy title of ‘Project Administrator,’ but I accept my fate lol) for a business consultancy agency. I am being made redundant in November, which is the biggest relief ever, but not financially as I have a young family to support. To top it off, a majority of jobs in my area are for receptionists/administrators.
I have been offered an amazing opportunity to go work in a solicitors as a Audio Typist, which would be useful as I start my law degree in October, but in all honesty, the hours are lousy and I might aswell type slave on my forehead for the wage they’re offering but atleast it’s semi-relevant to my hopeful career path.
Being a receptionist is shitty. For any mistakes, you get yelled at even if it doesn’t take place in your department, you’re the one responsible for making the whole office circulate without fault (atleast I am. Lately my manager has been giving me his work to do – I have had to google alot because my area is not finance) and you have to learn to lie. My manager knows I need this job, so if he’s late or can’t be arsed to something, then I am the one expected to cover for him and make up some half-arsed excuse. We also have equality & diversity monitoring and we’re meant to be telephoned interviewed by an independant company privately, when actually were forced to do our interview in front of the head of HR – so that’s not uncomfortable!!!
Roll on bigger and better things – Hopefully!!!!
Anyway great post. Made my day whilst I am doing my pathetic job lol
HA! My old receptionist job did the title thing as well. By the end I was an “Administrative Specialist.” SO FANCY!!!
I’m so glad this made you smile. That was really the point of the original post, to make sarcastic light of a crappy situation. 🙂
Sounds like you have your Project Administrator hands full. I hope you do roll on to bigger and better things soon. Good luck, and keep me posted!
This is a great article and so very true. I am a Receptionist in Seattle, WA and I often find myself in sticky situations. You’d be amazed what people confess to the front desk!
Thanks, and I know, right?! People divulge some pretty wild stuff to the receptionist.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next post thanks once again.
When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time
a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
Strange. I don’t really know if there is a way for me to do anything about that. I believe there should be a link at the bottom of these emails you receive that say something along the lines of “Want less email? Modify your Subscription Options.” Click that hyperlink, and you should be able to change your notification settings. 🙂
Wow, wonderful weblog layout! How lengthy have
you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look
easy. The whole glance of your site is magnificent,
let alone the content material!
Thanks so much. I started this blog in October 2010 as a satirical space for documenting all the silly shenanigans I dealt with as a receptionist. Once I started a new career path combining voiceover and promotional marketing, I decided to convert my blog into a personal website. I love to write, and probably the hardest thing about blogging is being consistent with posting. I get caught up in other things and forget to write about stuff.
I am a receptionist. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from a very good school. I like my company, but regardless of my education, I still have to deal with the aforementioned nonsense. People call me a “little smarty pants” because I know which button to push to refresh email.
Oh, Little Smarty Pants. You’re a hoot, and I think with that attitude you will go far! 🙂 I had a boss who got excited once because I was able to turn her PDF Flyer into a JPEG. GENIUSES, WE ARE! lol
I have a question! How do you deal with company policies and rude callers? Every policy in my company throws me under a bus when talking with a customer or employee on the phone. Like how we can’t give out an employee’s extension or email address. Even if it’s an employee calling from one of our other properties. I work for the Home Office. We are not allowed to give out extensions. I know if I ever did, I would get into serious trouble. Of course, this means dealing with nasty employees who treat me like garbage because I am not giving them what they want.
Just this morning I had a guy call in asking for a certain benefit admin’s extension. I said, “I am sorry, but I cannot give out extensions. It’s company policy not to give them out.”
He said, “That is the stupidest freaking policy I ever heard of.” And proceeded to take it out on me. Once he was finished he told me to just transfer the call.
I transferred his call and he called back 2x and then I transferred his call with out answering. I will not be yelled at for doing my job like I was told.
I just read this as I am sitting at the front desk, understanding everything that you had to share!! Perfect- I needed this today!
I’m glad it made ya smile. That was kinda the point of the article, to make fun and light of a lame situation. It gets better! Good luck with the grind. 🙂
I am really confused on choosing the right job for me. I graduated with a degree in Tourism. I have always wanted to work in either airline or hotel. I tried my best in many applications, yet no luck. I have moved abroad and was given a chance to get a working visa. I got 2 job offers. One is transport ticket shop seller and receptionist in a hotel. Both have public facing customer service experience. Yet the ticket seller doesn’t need to take phone calls. I would say a very easy one. No rotating shifts, only Monday to Friday and no public holidays, most specially pays more. On the other hand, It is my first time getting a job offer in a prestigious hotel. It would be very nice to hear from others when they say “WOW” after asking “where do you work and what do you do?” and answer “receptionist/front desk officer in an international hotel”. However, they will only pay me less than what I will have to earn with the other job. It will also be hassle and very tiring to work in a rotating shift and will not enjoy holiday as I will surely work even on my birthday. The only reason that I want to have this job is because it will be a good career path and I can use the experience for future applications. It is just so hard for me now because there is this other job that gives me more motivation because of working schedule and the salary as well as how easy the job will be. Can you please help me by giving me an advice? Thank you.
Hi, Zay. First, let me say CONGRATS! Two offers is awesome! I also want to say that this sarcastic article is really for a more corporate office setting, not so much hospitality. If you really want the hotel job, you could always try to negotiate better pay and benefits based off your other offer. Companies often expect new hires to be unassertive and willing to take any offer, but negotiating is rarely a bad thing. You could express how flattered your are to be offered the position and how much you would like to work with them. Then ask if there is any room for negotiation. After this conversation is done, you have to make a choice. If the hotel job you want most works with you on this, great! If not, you have to make a hard decision. My career has had many weird and unexpected twists and turns, so I don’t know what to tell you. Only you know what is best for you. I don’t think the ticket seller job is going to be detrimental to your career path, so if that’s a thought you are wrestling with, that is my opinion. Good luck, and keep me posted! 🙂
I’m a beauty salon receptionist so the work I do is a little bit different, but for the most part the same. I am underestimated a lot of the time because I am the youngest person at my work (I’m 20), yet I work the most hours besides my boss. I am the only person who works behind the register so if my coworkers are busy while a customer is verbally harassing me, I don’t have anyone to help me. I agree that receptionists are often taken for granted. I have been a receptionist for almost two years, and I am thinking about moving on.
Two years? That’s about how long I made it for the second admin-esque job. I think that kind of position is meant to be a stepping stone in the career pond (especially since you’re 20). Good luck! I hope you get through the receptionist gig successfully, maybe learn a good thing or two, and then move on to something great.
Im at my desk RIGHT NOW and THANK YOU SO MUCH for making me feel better about my position!!!!! Everything here is sooooo relatable. I was beginning to think i sucked ❤ ❤ ❤
You’re most welcome. And nah. It’s totally not you who sucks. Trust me. 🙂
I am only 3 months into being a receptionist. I got a master’s degree in museum science, but sadly their are no museums in my area. I feel super lucky to even get this job though since it’s not strange to have a masters degree and work part time for minimum wage as your first position in a museum. I basically like being a receptionist (I’ve had and done much worse as an intern in a museum), but the boredom is driving me crazy! I’ve been taught never to be seen on your cellphone, on facebook or the like. I try to keep myself busy with cleaning, but the showroom is now immaculate…People do give me busy work, which I actually appreciate, and I’ve even asked for projects. But I am still literally bored to tears! Any advice???
That stinks, Bored Lady. I had that problem at one point when I worked the receptionist job that inspired this post. My boss, who was crazy, moved my one busywork job at the time to her department and said “You better look busy, or I bet they’ll fire you.” Yikes. I ended-up writing a novel and doing a writing internship. It made me look busy with Word and Xcel documents open, and it was sweet revenge. (I did not like my job there, and my experience was very negative). I think it’s a great idea for you to take initiative to take on extra tasks, but be careful about it. I was volunteered to do LOTS of tasks for multiple departments, and it became too much. I would barely get everything done and then be given more because “receptionists are lazy and never have work to do.” On top of that, they got used to me doing it, so the idea of promoting me and losing that resource was horrible…but not horrible enough to give a significant pay raise. It sounds like your scenario is more promising though, so if there is a department there that either pertains to what you do or is a department you’d like to work within, tell them and ask if you could help out. 🙂
Hello Prentice! I am also a receptionist and I was having the worst morning from feeling unappreciated and being talked down to. I stumbled upon your blog post and it really speaks true to me and cheered me up to know I’m not alone. Thank you!
Awww! I’m sorry you’re having a crappy day. I’m glad this blog could make you smile. It will get better. Just be a strong receptionist! 🙂
Hello Prentice! I am also a receptionist at Villa trapp, the Original Sound of music family house, i have been working there for last 5 or 6 months, it is a great place to work ,i am sort of human being who is very friendly with everyone but sometimes i get really negvative comments,at my face they are so good but when they leave the villa, they write really funny things,i just went throw your topic today and it is great for people like me ,,i would love to improve my skills if any tips it will be kind of you,thank you
with alot of love and respect
Mansoor Zalmai from Salzbrug
THIS IS VERY DIFFICULT TO ME.
WHAT CAN I DO NOW?
FOR ME I DO NOT KNOW.
Ah man, Valens. I understand. The receptionist struggle is real. Take a deep breath, know this job will pass, and try to find something that will help you get through the day (like a blog, fun task, the few decent people at your office, cat pics, etc). And if any opportunity for fun or expression or a better job arises, swoop in and take it. 🙂 Good luck, My Friend!
I tell you this is the best thing I have come across in a long time. The thing about it is….the people in the company do look at you as if you are an air head who does not have a clue. What they don’t know is I have an education AND own my own graphic design business . I applied for a “9-5” for a steady income and the benefits. It makes me sick that some judge the position and the person. The sly remarks, the looks are a bit unnerving sometimes but hey….I get a check every two weeks. 😉
I totally understand that, Ladybub. It sounds like you have a pretty good head on your shoulders, so good luck, take those looks and remarks like the champ you are, and enjoy that steady paycheck. 🙂
I hope it’s really not as bad as you say! When I was a host in Las Vegas, my favorite part of the job was booking and changing reservations, answering the phones, taking notes, greeting guests, etc. Because I enjoyed that and because I’m a very personable person I thought being a receptionist would be a good job for me and I’ve been trying to get a receptionist job for a while. I finally have an interview for one on Friday and this post made me so nervous!!
On the other hand, I hate retail and working in restaurants (I’ve done both) so even if I hate this job-if I get it-it won’t be any different in that it will suck just like all the others! And that’s worst case scenario; I might actually like it because of the cute receptionist wardrobe I’m going to buy along with cute stationary!
Congrats on getting that interview. I hope it went well. Honestly, I think the coworkers and company make all the difference in the world. If it is a boring company with stuffy people and no room for you to grow and develop new skills, it could be a bummer. On the other hand, a great company with awesome employees and ample opportunities for you to have a fulfilling day would be great. I clearly had experiences with the former, and hopefully yours will be with the latter. Good luck! Let me know how it goes. 🙂
I guess I am in the minority here, but I love being a receptionist…
Dude, that’s awesome! I’m glad you have a job you enjoy. You’ll get no scruples from me. 🙂 Like I mentioned to another commenter recently, I think the company and coworkers make a huge difference in whether a receptionist job is a positive or negative work experience. It sounds like you found a good one, and that is so great. I hope the job continues to be a something you love and only grows into more success. Thanks for sharing a success story!
I had the privilege of working for the same company as Prentice when she was our receptionist and Prentice was an AMAZING receptionist! Don’t let the article fool you; she was a bright light in a dim atmosphere and her demeanor gave the impression that she loved her job. And she was more intelligent than most of the executives she performed tasks for. Prentice is amazing and one of the hardest workers I know! I miss you, Prentice!
LOL! Thanks, K-Dawg! I did try my best. All satire aside, there were a handful of cool peeps there (you being the cream of the crop)! I mention to commenters that the people at a company make a big difference in your experience, and it’s so true! That place was pretty toxic, but people like you and some of the others made it so much better. I’m glad I could do the same for you. 🙂 I miss you, too! ❤
Excellent information. The receptionist is often a customer’s first point of contact with a business. If receptionist doesn’t show professional qualities, business can lose its goodwill and customer. Thanks for sharing this article.
Hi Im Charm . (20) from Phil .
Im really happy to see this blog and read stories of amazing receptionist in the world 😀
I also work as Receptionist in a Japanese company here in Phil. Supervisors are nice (Japanese)
but sometimes i feel underestimated by my co-workersbecause i’m just a receptionist.
I’m a working student taking up Bachelor in Education
dealing with other people is quite easy for me (staying humble) .
I’m looking for how to become an effective receptionist because i don’t have idea how I will improve myself in speaking. how I will sound professional.
how to deal with a frank caller 😦
hope you help me ..
Hi, Charm. I completely understand the feeling of being underestimated. That stinks, and it is often a part of the receptionist job. I already had my degree, and I was often disrespected. It sounds like the people at your office are pretty nice though, so that’s a plus!
I think the key to communicating in that position and dealing with rude callers is patience and politeness. As you work there longer and longer, you will get to know regular callers and visitors, and you can figure out who you can joke around with. It sounds like you are already very friendly and kind, so you should do great.
Might I also recommend taking advantage of your college classes to help you build skill and confidence in your speaking? Taking some Communication courses and Public Speaking could be helpful. If your school has a theater department, taking an into class could be awesome for you as well, because you would likely work on stage presence, improv, and projecting. Use those elective courses to your advantage. 🙂
So I’m actually eighteen about to be fresh out of high school, I want to go into business and would like to be a receptionist but I have no clue how to go about it how did you stumble upon your first receptionist job?
I’ve had a few admin/receptionist jobs. The first one was a kind of promotion when I worked at a movie theater. I reached a pay cap, and taking on all the admin assistant work was the solution. My first traditional receptionist job came after that. A friend of mine was working in the customer service department of a cosmetics company, and she recommended me after seeing if I was interested (I was looking to leave the movie theater job after college). My third and final job like this was with the acting studio where I was taking lessons. I was out of a job, and my coach got me the job at the front desk.
If I were you, I’d take a look on all the job hunting sights and craigslist. I also found my state’s Department of Labor website to be helpful when looking. If you are still at school, are there any resources there that could help you? If you have any family or friends who work for a company, especially one that may interest you, I would inquire with them. It never hurts to get a referral when job hunting. Good luck! Let us know how it goes. 🙂
This is good to know but I work in a small law firm where it is just me and the attorney. There is not a lot to do so I am looking for ideas of things to do in the really slow times so I am not just on my phone or surfing the internet.
You shouldn’t feel obligated to work outside of your job description, but on the other hand, showing initiative and using your spare time constructively could make you look and feel more productive. Is there some kind of research or work-related project you would enjoy delving into? If you’re in school or hope to attend someday, you could take that time to study or read-up on law. If you have other ambitions, maybe you can find a way to bring that into the office. Or, you could ask the attorney if he/she needs any extra help with anything, from research to making some phone calls to filing/sorting forms, etc. If you do start taking on new responsibilities, make note of them, so later on if you get an evaluation or want to negotiate a pay raise or promotion, you can show a list of what you’ve done to contribute. Finally, opening up your day to alleviate other people’s workloads is kind and helpful, but if you start feeling overwhelmed or taken advantage of (doesn’t sound like this will happen, but just in case), try to establish some boundaries. It’s okay to say no, especially if it is done so in a respectful way. Good luck with everything! 🙂
Just so you all know, you don’t have to be “young” to have questions… (long standing reception/admin assistant here)… just a question in regards to not being told when the next “meeting” is going to be held (even though I check with PA/s a couple of times a day). ANY tips??? Thanks in advance.
You’re absolutely right. Survival tips for receptionists in need is an ageless endeavor. 🙂 I believe I just responded to your original question below. Sorry for the delay.
The job I had when I wrote this article was with a company that had two conference rooms. There was a scheduling program in place, and they could book the spaces or ask me to do so. This kept different departments from double booking rooms, and it helped me to know what was going on. If they don’t already have something like that in place, I would suggest it. If they do, I would insist on having access to it.
I would like advice on how to deal with being front desk and not being told when someone is coming in/when they can go into the boardroom. We tend to have long board meetings and I am given none of the details (even though I ask at least a couple of times a day)! I have been working here for over 12 years and I frankly hate looking like an incompetent idiot or being treated like one.
Our association is also going through a review and even though I have a lot to do (our manager has left as she can’t work in this environment anymore), I have a feeling they see what I do as unnecessary work (the new director seems to want to take on everything), anyway, I think I know who is going to be gotten rid of first.
Any survival tips or should I just move on!
That stinks, Michelle. It sounds like your office has a case of “Downplaying the Receptionist.” You seem to do a lot there, and 12 years?! I think their behavior is unacceptable.
I would continue asking for a rundown/schedule of boardroom use. Heck, I’m shocked they don’t have you booking the room and/or aren’t using some kind of calendar to make sure multiple people aren’t trying to use it at the same time. Does that ever happen? You could suggest a sign-up for the boardroom (you can use a sheet or scheduling software). Then everybody, including you, would know who is using the room when. If you are the first to take initiative on this problem, it could look good for you.
Speaking of that, have you been documenting new responsibilities you’ve been asked to take on? I think it’s important to have a copy of your most recent job description AND a list of what you are currently expected to do. I think when multiple departments call on you to help them, they don’t realize you are also helping others simultaneously, hence the vibe that your position is unnecessary. Make that list and make your case at the next review. Let your supervisor know what an asset you’ve been with a list of your duties. I was hired to just do the front desk for two different places, and over time, I was tasked to assist with all kinds of things, from imputing accounting paperwork in the system to building marketing materials to actually writing marketing copy. That’s much more than answering phones and saying hi to visitors.
Whether to leave or stay is really up to you. Do you like it there overall? Is the pay and benefits worth the trouble? Would you be happy if these couple issues were resolved? Is there another kind of job or career track that is your dream? No matter what you decide, be sure you either have a new job lined up or have a little money saved to buffer your job hiatus before quitting. Good luck! 🙂
Thanks so much! I really was finding it very overwhelming, so, couldn’t really think straight! I have found that documenting all my new duties has made me feel a tonne better and I definitely will let them know at my review. I have also finally gotten my point through that I need to know what’s going to be happening in our boardroom. My colleagues are getting better at telling me and their executives are better at telling them
I think it’ll take a while to realise how much I do, but, that’s okay. I’ve booked a holiday mid year, just after my review and that will help I think
Thanks once again! 😊😊😊
I would like advice on how to deal with being front desk and not being told when someone is coming in/when they can go into the boardroom. We tend to have long board meetings and I am given none of the details (even though I ask at least a couple of times a day)! I have been working here for longer than most people now and I find it hard when I am treated as a newbie.
Our association is also going through a review and even though I have a lot to do (I also do a great deal of the administration work as almost all the administration have left because of the changes). I also have a feeling they see what I do as unnecessary work (the new director seems to want to take on everything), anyway, I think I know who is going to be gotten rid of first.
Any survival tips or should I just move on!
When I searched about receptionist, I found your writing – it’s true in some places which receptionist is not considered a professional job (such as in Vietnam).
I am working to bring the French Services to my place – at least in French, they consider Receptionist is a professional job with potential career paths such as Personal Assistant/ Secrectary/ HR admin general => Project leader/HR Executive ….
I have customers who used to be our receptionist 10 years ago. The faults may be belong to our boss/co-workers if they mistreat this position…
Been doing reception work for most of my 30 plus years in the workforce. It makes me laugh because people love to look down their nose at the job and claim that it’s “nothing” or “anyone can do that.” Yet you see specialized courses like this one, job description are more and more requiring BA degrees for the position, and when an opening occurs there is a LOT of competition! I went for a reception position at an architectural firm that had well over 100 applicants, some of them with s architectural degrees! Any way to get a foot in the door, I suppose. At the end of the day, it all comes down to having the right attitude.
this information is very useful thanks dear for this i am also a receptionist in mumbai …
Mumbai Means India
I love my receptionist job it is in a very clean and calm atmosphere. Thank you universe! I was working as a customer service representative at an office supply warehouse across the street from a cemetery. It was literally sucking the life out of me. I remember a few months into that job one of my bosses came up to me and said “you’re too happy” at first I laughed it off but it really irked me and then I started subconsciously hating my job and the people which trickled down to hating the customers. I’m really happy my boss told me a few days after the Christmas party I was going to be replaced then he changed his mind. By then, it was too late at first I was upset and shocked now I feel it was a blessing in disguise. Never stay at a job because it’s comfortable but soul crushing.