There are a thousand stories I could tell from my time as a
receptionist here at Stanley Consultants. But, what it has really
boiled down to is being there to help people. I started in the mail
room; where everyday, five big bags of mail were dropped off for
sorting and delivery. Five of us delivered mail to several buildings
in downtown Muscatine, walking about six miles a day. I really
enjoyed getting to know members a little during the eight delivery
routes made daily.
I transferred to the receptionist area and found it to be a busy place, where there were always opportunities to do something for someone else. With new technology, the reception desk has changed a lot over the years. Nearly every call used to come through the switchboard, and was then directed to the correct person. Most of the calls were from members calling in on our WATS line, a long distance phone service. Each of those calls had to be logged with information about who called, when they called, who received the call, the member number, and the compressed code. The compressed codes were used to charge calls back to a project. With hundreds of calls coming in every day, it could be hectic trying to answer calls, log them, as well as track people down to deliver messages.
Talking to people every day, sometimes multiple times a day, allowed friendships to form with people that I often never met face to face. I felt great when someone would call and say how good it was to hear a familiar voice, especially from members working overseas and away from home. That connection happened with all sorts of people; clients, members, and people off the street. Every call that came in, every person greeted in the lobby, had to be equally important. You can't judge them, it doesn't matter who they are. I've been called the "Voice of Stanley," but it was really great to be there and continue to build that connection. In turn, people have trusted me with watching their children, holding their rent money, teaching them how to tie ties, helping pull out stitches, and sharing their stories with me.
There have been many funny moments where I had to work hard not to laugh. Did you know that Vince Gill and Randy Travis (better known as Jim Kill and Randy Grammens) work here? Besides helping our celebrity members, there were other very happy calls to make, especially being able to announce births and share news that relieved a waiting member's anxiety.
One story I can remember is when an elderly woman misdialed, wanting to find out why People's Court was not on television at 4:30 anymore. She said that she would visit her husband in the nursing home, then go home and watch that show to relax. I couldn't do anything about it, but I think it helped to listen.
At times listening wasn't fun, especially when a call came and I needed to deliver the news of a death or tragedy, or talk someone through a crisis. It could be hard to keep it all together, because I got to know these people; as well as many spouses, children, and grandchildren.
It isn't the big things that made the job worthwhile; it has been all the little things. There hasn't been a day that I haven't looked forward to coming into work. Taking care of people, that is really what is important in that job.