Monday, April 23, 2007

The Decline of Reception

Today, I drove to the Westside to visit with a client, drop off some books, and pick up some books relating to a different project. After parking in the delightful business park, I took a load of books inside.

Now I have never seen a receptionist at this particular client's workplace, though there is a reception desk. So I stood at the empty reception desk with my books propped up. And I stood. And I stood some more, because I'm at least trained to be able to stand still and be mindful, if nothing else.

The reception desk looked out over a small sea of workers at computers, who were all assiduously avoiding eye contact with me, as well as avoiding talking to one another. So it was peaceful. Except that I wanted to put my books down.

Eventually I put the books down on a chair, went out and got more books, and took six trips back and forth between the car and the chair. No one spoke to me, so I eventually made myself at home on top of the books to wait for the client.

Now, having been a receptionist, I can tell you that it may not always be the most interesting job in the world, but it is an important one. You make people feel like they matter, like their time is valuable, and like they are waiting with a purpose. The receptionist is also a matter of security. We often think of our work stations as somewhat secure, as if someone could not just wander in off the street. Except, of course, in my story, I basically did wander in off the street, leave some packages, perch on them for a while...