Saturday, November 15, 2014

How being a receptionist helped me become a little more extroverted

I have worked receptionists positions in the past but they never lasted long so I never really had the chance to fully experience the daily challenges and personal obstacles this position has to offer. I either left for greener pastures or I was very lucky and got promoted quickly. My current job is a pretty good gig but it has it's challenges. One of the many challenges I face is twice a year, I receive a lot of customers coming in for presentations. They come in droves. This is can be very overwhelming for me at times. I never considered myself a people person and this is sometimes very difficult for me to deal with so many people, all at once. I used to make horrible small talk with people (or so I think). I always worked in a position where I had very minimal interactions with people and this job really put me out of my comfort zone when I first started.

It was very difficult at first but I managed to suck it up. I looked at it as a challenge and as a personal obstacle to overcome. It was hard having a "communal desk" where I have to keep everything in order. It is still very hard for me to not get angry when people touch my things too. People tend to forget, it doesn't mean I sit at the front desk, they can touch my stuff without asking or when guests tend to come around to stand next to me and invade my personal space.



Thanks to working this position, I noticed that I acquired many interpersonal skills and am much better at interacting with people and am more self confident when doing so. I also learned to be a pro at small talk and got used to being interrupted constantly - which is coming in handy with a small child who likes to talk! You can still be an introvert and blend into a very extroverted world. I learned to be polite but firm, to subtly tell people to eff off when they are being unreasonable. Nowadays, social interaction is everything in the workforce.

It also helps me in other areas of my personal life, such as dealing with the daycare and other parents.You have to be a people person and play well with others without letting them walk all over you. Doesn't mean that I dress all in black, I am not friendly, especially in my position, I need to be approachable. I feel it is a fair exchange for allowing me to wear what I want. I also feel like I should put in a little extra effort because of my appearance. I want to show people that not all goths follow those negative stereotypes. I really do want clients or even other more "normal" or conservative parents to feel comfortable around me. I want my coworkers to feel comfortable coming to me with questions or when asking me for stuff. This is very important in an any office.

This position has enabled me to appreciate the receptionists more when I go to the dentist or doctor's. Not only do they have to deal with clients but all the different personalities that come with working in an office. Patience is really not a virtue that I really have but it has taught me to be more tolerant of others,especially when it comes to stupidities! I think anyone who wants to learn leadership, interpersonal, management skills should work this position.

 There are many tools I have learned while working this job that will definitely serve me well in a more senior position later on.I am so thankful I stuck it out. It is a great experience in personal growth!

With a lot of work, determination, and overcoming personal obstacles, you can work in an extroverted position while being an introvert.It takes time but well worth the effort

12 comments:

  1. I don't know that I could ever go back to a really social job like that! It is hard enough for me pretending to be extroverted!

    I know what you mean about wanting to present well as an alternative person. When I am dressed really alternative I make more of an effort to be polite to strangers than when I look more normal, as I feel like I am representing other alternative people and can either help change people's views or help reinforce them. The number of old ladies who I have had lovely chats with at the bus stop while having blue hair and visible tatts seems to prove that people are less scared of things like that than society thinks, and mostly all it takes is a nice attitude.

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    1. It took a lot of time for me to adapt to my job. I felt like it could be useful for me later on and I am sure it will be. I love it when old ladies approach me and tell me how their grandkids got tats or piercings. I love that it is a little more acceptable nowadays than it was a couple of years ago :)

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    2. One of my fave moments from my old job was an old lady showing me the tattoos of flowers she got on the back of her hands for her 80th birthday now that she was old enough not to care what anyone thinks!

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    3. LOL awesome! What I like the most about my office is that the majority of people have tats. Some people are just covered in them and I think that is really cool

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  2. I wonder how I would do in a job like this. I'm honestly afraid of trying. I'm not introverted, but I'm not extroverted either, so I have no idea of how I would do, HAHA.

    It's just so sad when older/conservative people don't feel comfortable next to you. I used to think "so what? I don't need to please anyone", but when I stop to think about it, that doesn't mean I can't look receptive and such.

    I never had a real job - I've only volunteered -, but as soon as I get to university I will see if I can get a job, and I already gave up a lot of ideas I was having so that I don't have many problems with "normal" people. Most part of those ideas were just that, not a real plan, so it doesn't make much difference, haha.

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    1. Dont be afraid of trying and if you do get a job, I am sure you will do fine! It is always good to have ideas and know where you are going.

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  3. College professors are usually introverts who have to put on a good extrovert face. I'm usually very exhausted after teaching. This is probably why I don't mind commuting so far. It's my transition period.

    I'm with you though... I can't stand people touching things on my desk without asking usually because said items don't end up back in place.

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    1. Yes, people might think I am a snob or something because on my lunch hour, I sit alone. I read or I talk with my hubby. I need that downtime. After supper in my house, we have "quiet time" where my son knows that his parents need that at least a half hour, sometimes more to decompress. It is not easy to always put that extroverted face but I play my part well. When I tell people that I lean more towards the introverted side, they get really surprised. I can be bouncy and friendly but people don't energize me. I need time alone to recharge my batteries.

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  4. Hm...you just made me realize, that, for being an extreme introvert, I only had jobs that require an extroverted, social, people person; I worked as a receptionist / personal assistant, an au - pair, a social worker and a call center agent...seriously, it's funny. But apparently, I have pretty good social skills and I can blend in very easily, I only prefer to be left alone in my free time. Obviously, I keep my distance, but it usually works; most people I meet at work or other places where I can't just shy away from social contact, think that I'm a friendly, easy going and social girl...:)

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    1. It is funny how easily we can "blend in" but sometimes it is very exhausting for me. People often think I am super outgoing too. I like to think that I am outgoing but need more alone time than most people. My ideal job would be something a little more secluded but those are few and far between these days.

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  5. I started my career as a receptionist, and even though I too am a introvert, I relly loved it (most days). It's a great start if you don't really know what field you want to get into, since you get to be a part of every department and can get a feel of what they are doing there. I ended up going into accounting afterwards.

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    1. Yes, that is very true. Funny enough, this is where I am getting my training in accounts payables. I was an assistant for years, I kinda missed that because I only dealt with one person, occasionally clients (which was by email) and it was great! Perhaps a position will open up in my company and I will get it. We shall see. This job has taught me so many valuable skills!

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