Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The New Receptionist

Me : Excuse me, this gentleman needs to send me a fax & am out of business cards, can you please give him the fax number?
Her: Excuse me ma'am are you staff?
Me : Yes.
Her: Where is your access card?
Me : My office is on the 7th floor. My access card doesn't work here.
Her: Then you should hold personal meetings in your office - not in the reception.
Me : This is not a personal meeting.
Her: Meeting your banker is personal business.
Me : He's not my banker. The bank is a client. This is a business meeting.
Her: No one told me you are staff. I haven't seen you before.
Me : I'm sorry. I didn't know it's my job to walk around from desk to desk letting everyone know I work here.
Her: I need to know so if you get calls or visitors so I can direct people to you.
Me : Then it's your job to find out who everyone is & where they work.
Her: At least you should introduce yourself when you walk in here. To be friendly. It's the New Year.
Me: Please forgive me if I don't take a lecture on friendliness from you very seriously. You have been extremely rude - for no reason whatsoever. And you have embarrassed me & the firm infront of a major client. I hope you don't greet all visitors with this attitude and you know what? I think I will do something to make sure you don't.
Her: You shouldn't threaten me. If you have a problem, take it to HR.
Me : Thank you. I think I will.

I don't get it. Why was she being so bitchy? I mean, I don't often have to visit other floors but I had a visitor who ended up on her floor by mistake. We only needed to talk for a few minutes so instead of dragging him upstairs to my office, I offered him a seat at the reception area where I found him. And I did smile & say hello to her when I first joined him there. It's not like I ignored her. What is her problem?

The thing is I don't really want to complain about her. They fire receptionists & secretaries for practically no reason here. You see a new one every other day. And I don't want to cause anyone to be fired. Especially not on this season. And the woman looks very young & obviously pregnant. It's not just that I feel sorry for her. It's against my beliefs. We call it 'qat3 alarzaq'(causing someone to lose their livelihood) and it's very haram.

But she made me lose my temper and say I'll complain so I have to do something. And she was very rude despite all my attempts to stay calm & reasonable & not make a scene.

I keep writing emails to HR & then deleting them without sending.

Bummer. Not at all how I wanted to spend my first day back at work.:(



Blogger Puppy said...

Hmmm very interesting conversation :)

From first glance I thought that the girl has PMS, but then you said she is pregnant and stuff, anyways…:)
One of the main reason that conversation went in that direction is because:

yes you have smiled, you said hello, you greeted her, but you forgot one of the main Carnegie rules is “to make the person you talk - feel important” You know, no matter of her position she likes to feel herself important, like any of us. You needed her to do something, yes she is receptionist, why not to make her feel important and have everything you want? Yes I understand you didn’t expect that reaction, so plain hello, smile should do all the work. But intonation, the way you say things are very much important. However you never know this pregnant women with their high level of emotions. Sometimes when I am in hurry and busy, I have this ordering tone :(
And as I obviously see that she didn’t allow you to send the fax or gave u the fax number as a show gesture that she is important and she mean smth and ppl are dependant on her.

As for email to HR, I wouldn’t do it, because she is pregnant, because its New Year, I think she will leave to maternity leave anyways if she was obviously pregnant. Let her go, it just wasn’t her day, its hard for pregnant people to sleep, to walk, to work.

As I understood you are not that often being on her floor, so let her go :)

I understand its hard to tolerate such behavior, once I was faced with my colleague accusing me in all sins in the world on the meeting, which has nothing to do with me, I generally reply to ppl and make them regret, but I barely holded myself, all I told her to behave and that I have written off her rudeness to her pregnancy. Yes that was very unhappy moment, but since everyone saw how subjective she was, everyone said “thank you, Puppy, don’t bring this conversation further” since that pregnant woman managed to cry in between. Imagine? How professional meeting we have? So god knows what is in their minds, these pregnant women’.

There is on Egyptian word I know ma3lesh, so ma3lesh LouLou.

1/02/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger moryarti said...

well said puppy

1/02/2007 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Alluring said...

Oh send the damn email, work has ethics and has nothing to do with being pregnant or not.

A receptionist is the face of the company, if she's rude, people will complain either to you or HR, and believe me, it better comes from an employee rather than a client.

1/03/2007 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger Forsoothsayer said...

so, are you supposed to continue everyone's riz2 until the end of time regardless of whether or not they do their job well?

1/03/2007 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger Safiya said...

It's not like you're making her lose her job through spite. She does not sound well suited to the job.

As for "feeling important", the fact she's being paid to work there should give her that feeling.

I would have sent that email and followed it up with a phone call. But maybe that's because I'm sour.

1/03/2007 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...


If someone persists in not doing their job they will eventually get themselves fired. It's just that as much as possible you should try not to be a direct cause of that.

Secretaries & receptionists are so easy to replace here that they rarely get a second chance. The last time someone complained about a secretary to HR, she was terminated & her visa was cancelled in 48 hrs.

In an ideal world, where she would get a warning or a suspension or whatever, I wouldn't be so hesitant to take things to the appropriate authorities. But it's hard to convince myself a pregnant woman deserves to be fired & deported just because she said something I didn't like.

I decided not to send the email.

1/03/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger tooners said...

why would they deport someone - just for firing them? can a company do that there? that seems awful harsh... but i don't know the culture and such there.

personally, i don't think pregnancy has much to do w/ rudeness and i don't believe that you should have to bend over backwards to make someone feel good, even if she is pregnant. i believe in someone doing their job w/out being rude or ungrateful and such. but, that being said, i also disagree w/ it being haram to say something that could cause her to lose her job. there's nothing wrong w/ wanting someone good.

1/03/2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

I am really surprised with the comments here.
LouLou, good that you didn’t send an email to HR, that was kind gesture. If you would send email, that would show that your “feel important wish” turned to be something that cause trouble. Respect!.
If she meant not to work there, she will not :)

Have a good day everybody


1/03/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...


"why would they deport someone - just for firing them?"

Expatriate workers here are sponsored by their employers. It's your employer who provides you with your residence visa. If you lose your job, you lose the visa. Unless you have another job lined up & the first employer agrees to transfer your visa to the second. Otherwise you have 30 days to leave the country or be deported.

1/03/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Lunatik said...

Loulou, with all my experience of being abroad and working with many people, just forget it.

I have never been working as a receptionist, but I could think of several reasons for her behaviour.

I agree with Puppy here. Imagine how many people this lady should handle per day on phone and in the face-to-face conversations. Usually people who are in close touch with public should be really nervious about everything. Also, they are usually less paid (experience of my close friend).

Once I've made an international call to an embassy (no details) and ask for the information. I was redirected to another phone number which was wrong. Then I called back and asked lady to recheck the number. She shouted at me and suggested to call on another week to the number she gave (she didn't bother to recheck). That was an embassy staff, not secretary...

So, stop thinking of it.

1/03/2007 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger askandarani said...

when i read your post, i remembered one of our mangers, he always said, el rez2 beta3 rabena, we ma7adesh beye2tay rez2 had. in other orders el reza is gods gift, and no one can deny it.
he was talking to managers to be tougher in taking decisions

1/04/2007 02:25:00 AM  
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