Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sometimes, my daily interactions with human beings leave me soul-crushingly annoyed and exasperated. My favorites are the ones who have clearly never been to the campus before, and come to me expecting me to be the Ultimate Authority on All Things Campus Related (which i basically am). They ask me where a particular office is, where they can find a particular person in that office, who they can talk to about a particular issue, and they expect me to be able to provide an immediate, correct, helpful response. And 999 times out of a thousand, they are justified in this expectation. After all, i was a student here for 4 years, i spent two years as a student worker in the Admissions office, and i have been working here full-time for just over a year, while simultaneously taking graduate courses here. I know this place pretty well, and i am a receptionist/administrative assistant. By definition, people with that job title know very nearly everything worth knowing about their workplace.

So i am not annoyed by the confused people who come to me, seeking wisdom and guidance. That's what i'm here for. What i am annoyed by, what makes my blood boil, what makes me want to slap the mustache off of the face of the gentleman who was just in here, are the people who come in confused, and try to somehow transfer their confusion to me, as if they know everything about what they are doing and i am trying to distract them from their ultimate goal by giving them campus maps, direct extensions, and a guided tour of the building.

The gentleman who was just in here asked for a particular person (we'll call her Susie). Susie works in the Facilities department, the offices of which are located in the student center. He had come to the main administrative building, which most people do, since it is the first building you see when you enter the front of the campus. It also has big white pillars and huge front steps, and looks all official and important, like a capitol building or a library.

I told him that Susie worked in Facilities, and that her office was in the student center. I was about to offer him a map or directions, when he mentioned Human Resources, and said that Susie had asked him to meet her in the HR office.

"Oh! Okay. Well, she doesn't work in HR, but that office is in this building. Susie works in Facilities, like I said--"
"She directed me to meet her in HR," he snapped.

Let's review what happened here: he came into my office, gave me no information about who he was or what he was doing here, and asked for Susie in HR. When i (gently and enthusiastically and immediately) explained that Susie worked for Facilities, he became irritated and insisted that Susie had directed him to HR. Which she may well have done; maybe he's a new hire and needs to meet with HR for paperwork. However, he asked to meet with Susie in HR, which is highly unusual (Susie rarely takes meetings, and doesn't work in HR), so i tried to clear up his confusion. But he continued to insist on his own rightness, as if certain that if he said enough times that he was meeting with Susie in HR, i would remember that that was the secret code and would give him Oreos and take him to the meeting. When i began directing him to the various offices and people he was looking for (all two of them), he continued to insist on meeting Susie in HR. When i began (again) directing him to HR, he started interrupting irritably, asking questions that i hadn't yet had the chance to answer. "It's on the second floor. You take the elevator--"
"Where is it?"
"If you take the elevator, it's on your left--"
"As soon as you exit the elevator, turn left and you'll be there."

He left irritated, and probably still confused. I stayed behind, secure in the knowledge that Susie works for Facilities, that the HR office is on the second floor to the left of the elevator, and that his mustache looked stupid.

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