The Realities Of Working As A Receptionist

by - May 09, 2018

Not to start this post by being overly dramatic, but being a receptionist is literally just being a slave to all of your co-workers. People think receptionists are so well off just having to sit at a computer all day, which yes, can be a lot easier than working in retail - however, it isn't all it's cracked up to be. We spend most of our days bending over backwards for people who really just can't be bothered to complete a task themselves and aren't even that appreciative of you for helping anyway. I pretty much spend my 9-5 shifts on the verge of a mental break-down whilst trying to smile as big as I possibly can. To be fair though, my co-workers have worked out when I'm not in the best of moods, and that is when I go extremely quiet. Once I go quiet, everybody knows to step back... or some feed me cake. Gotta love the ones who feed me cake. 

I see a lot of people complain about receptionists being quite rude, and whilst we genuinely don't mean to come across this way, sometimes our job can consume us and it becomes difficult to not express the stress we're feeling. Because of this, I thought it'd be a good idea to make a blog post on the realities of being a receptionist and the reasons why we have resting bitch face 24/7. 

Here is a *accidentally* long list of realities when working as a receptionist: 

  • You can order all the stationery in the world for yourself and people will find a way to take it and never return.
  • I have been working as a receptionist for just over a year and people who have worked here for 10+ years STILL can not use the printer/computer for the life of them and expect me to just stop what I'm doing to be their technician!  
  • People look down at receptionists as if they just sit on a computer all day doing nothing, yet really, our heads are ready to explode from all the admin jobs we have to do by deadlines AND the irrelevant, little, SIMPLE jobs we have to do for other staff members who really just can't be arsed to do it themselves.
  • Leading on from the point above - if you're having a good day and become overly kind to people, telling them you'll do the simplest of things things for them that they can easily do themselves... Be prepared for them to forever take advantage of you and expect you to repeatedly do what you agreed to do for ONE day.  
  • In fact, they'll neglect all tasks that can be classed as admin and just throw them at you left, right and centre. Can they use a printer? Course they can. Will they actually use the printer? Nope.
  • Having a bad day? Forget that, because everyone is going to make small talk with you about the weather whether you like it or not. Smile through those gritted teeth. 
  • The constant phone calls we receive and have absolutely no idea about because a) people obviously don't check their voicemails and b) thanks to all staff members who don't give us a HEADS UP about expecting phone calls. 
  • "We currently have no rooms available to use"... Oh, okay, that's fine. Just hover around reception like a new room is just going to magically appear and open up for you! Maybe next time actually book a room before making your travels to the building?
  • If you're expecting a peaceful dinner break with no interruptions - think again - as everybody who covers you on reception will at least come to you once or twice throughout with a bunch of questions.
  • Holding on to that one pen that you've managed to save from being stolen? Say good-bye to it, as one person will remove it out of your hand without even asking and then never give it back.
  • Make sure you learn to be a psychic as well, because people are going to expect you to know exactly why they are visiting, baring in mind that there can be like five different sessions going on in the building at the same time. 
  • You're also expected to just know everything in general, even if it has no relation whatsoever to my job role. "Where are the laundry room keys?", you tell me mate, you use them more than I do.
  • You can ask the question "how can I help you?" and suddenly be able to write a whole auto-biography on this one client. 
  • Co-workers can sometimes stand around reception having not the most appropriate conversation while clients are around the building and you soon enough want the ground to swallow you up because you're the one who's going to get reported.
  • Reception is the most important place in a building, as it is first point of contact and allows people to have their first impressions on what to expect from us. So, why do people treat it like a god damn dumping ground!? I don't clean for the sake of it people, I don't come in to your team rooms and dump all my stuff around your bloody desks. 
I don't in any way want this to look like a whiney post. My job as a receptionist has recently just gone from being temporary to permanent, and whilst every single one of these points happen on a daily basis, I do genuinely love the job I have and appreciate having the opportunity to work in an environment where the staff are like a huge family and grow close bonds with the families who use our services. 

Working in a Family Hub is so rewarding, as I am able to support families who may struggle financially, physically or mentally. At the end of the day, I am here to try to make a positive impact on somebody's life and if I can do exactly that, there really is nothing to complain about. Plus I get to cuddle all the newborns and grow friendships with the children... Can anything really be better than that!? I know that there is not one job out there that could top what I do right now and I will never doubt working in this career, however, we all have our bad days and receptionists get all the hell in the world from people because they are usually the only face people see. It is an incredibly demanding job and we aren't actually being grumpy for the sake of it, we're literally just protecting ourselves from not breaking down in to tears in front of y'all. So I do apologise on behalf of all receptionists if we come across a little shitty now and again. But hey, everybody has their bad days and we're only human - the least people could do is respect that and we'll have absolutely no problem being our bubbly selves. 

Most receptionists who get the most harassment are the GP one's and I found the most perfect article from the Daily Mail to show you guys how draining our days can truly be. Please read here.

Are you a receptionist? How do your days treat you? Are they similar to mine? Let's have a little chit-chat in the comments!

Shelby xxx

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