Well, I’m not in school, so you’d think that that’d be that. But as someone once said, “You misunderestimate me.”
One of the things I am required to do every year in my job, around this time, actually, is to do a self-evaluation. Most years, I hate the exercise, though a couple times, I relished in the opportunity to vent about something. Most recently, four or five years ago, I ranted about the “new” place and how much of a PITA it was. (And it was: it was a month before we were fully functional with consistent phone and Internet.)
Most of the time, though, I have to make up something that doesn’t sound as though I cut and pasted everything from the previous year’s narrative. (Not that I haven’t done this at all…)
So, let me try out a first draft here:
We get reference questions, I do reference questions. I’m not afraid of taking the sucky ones, the ones we all know there is no real answer, but we try to approximate one anyway. I get a lot of feedback from reference questions because I’m pretty thorough in explaining what I can and cannot provide. I think this begins in the reference interview. I recall at least one advisor at staff training noting that she liked to call me – specifically – to hash out the question in a comprehensible way. I know I do that well.
I like giving help to the interns and even the newbie, who used to be an intern.
The Census data, with the American Community Survey’s 1-year, 3-year, and (soon) 5-year releases, are getting more complicated; glad I’m going to those biannual Data Center meetings.
One of the things I do that is not in my job description is to answer the main phones. Since we went from two people up front answering them to just one, I probably respond to it about twice as often as I used to. I specifically requested (and got) a phone with the main lines on it so that I didn’t have to sprint over to get them.
Now, is it “my job” to answer the phone? At some level, no. On the other hand, we in the central office expect the folks in the field to answer their phones regularly; how can we do less?
And who are the people calling? Some of them are our potential customers, needing to be directed to a local center. But others are delivery people and visitors wanting to get buzzed into our offices; people from our field offices; SBDCs in other states; members of the state legislature and Congress, or generally their staffers; people who need to be directed to the Department of State’s Corporation section, among others.
Let me say, without false modesty, that I am really good at answering calls. A couple times just in the past week, I was complimented by people on the phone who were 1) stunned that it was a real person on the other end and 2) pleased that I was able to give them definitive answers rather than push them off to someone else who may or may not be able to help. I swear, I think I’ve found a calling – no pun intended: after I retire some decade, I’d love to be a 211 operator.
Lessee, what else shall I write?