And So Begins My New Life

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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why My Boss Frustrates Me, Sometimes

From the minute I started working at the funeral home I was instructed on how to answer the phones properly. For example, if the owner was out to lunch or gone for the day, or simply unavailable, I was taught NEVER to say they were out to lunch or gone for the day. I was told to tell callers they had stepped out of the office momentarily, and ask to take a message or try to help them myself. Seems simple enough, right?

Today the phone rings and I answer it. The caller was looking for the owner, who was not in. So I say something like, "I'm sorry, he stepped out for the moment, might I help you or take a message?" The caller gives me his name (only his name, nothing more...) and says to let the owner know he called. Simple. I acknowledge the information and hang up. My boss says, "who was that?" "Oh, that was Mr. X, he said to let the owner know he called." My boss starts in on me with, "That was the guy from the casket company about those two caskets we're trying to send back. You should have tried to help him!" So I pointed out that I had asked if I could help or take a message, and that the caller simply left the message. So my boss answers back, "but that was important. You should have tried to help him, or let me talk to him and see if I could help him." So I answer back, again, "but he didn't want help, he wanted the owner." My boss tells me that I should have been more specific in asking if I could help him and what an important call it was and how I should have passed the phone to him. I told him I had no idea who this person was or what he wanted, as I'm not only fairly new to the job, but I have never even lived in this part of the country before, so how am I supposed to know, by name only (not even a mention of the company he was calling on behalf of) who is important and who is not. It was very frustrating and put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

This is not the first time I have acted on his specific instructions, only to be chastised for doing what I was told to do. It pisses me off every time it happens. Thankfully, it only happens about once a month or so.

3 Comments:

Anonymous coral said...

What a minefield!! i usually make people give me their names, and numbers and insist on the name of the company (hey, I'm not perfect, what if wrote down something wrong?), then you also get a good hint of what is needed. Good luck, I worked for someone like that once, I said to someone else, if she told me how to do it correctly from the beginning she wouldn't be yelling at me later. And they agreed.

3:53 AM  
Blogger Sank said...

Sounds like a classic management paradigm, do I was thinking not what I said. Solution is more structured communication, perhaps a call log with specific information, like company and such...

9:28 AM  
Blogger Granimore said...

Most of the time, when I ask if I can take a message, I'll get, "No thanks, I'll just call back later" or something along those lines. I can't make them leave a message.

Today the owner told me I was free to give out his cell phone number, so that will help avoid this situation in the future.

5:18 PM  

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