I think I’m starting to get out of my own way: re-examining my box

If there’s anything I’ve written about the past year that I consider to be my own personal pet peeve about…well, my person…it would be my chatty, hyper tendencies in public.

There have been plenty of times I’ve wondered why I can’t buckle down and be serious. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an office or line for a service, or appointment where the person at the front desk looked like they had a few Red Bulls and an adrenaline shot to chase their happy pills down.Related image

Okay, maybe that’s a bit much, but when I look at myself compared to others behind the desk… that’s what it feels I must look like.

I’ve been trying to keep in mind a more professional demeanor and to not be such a people-pleaser, to keep focused and just give bare information (which would save my throat in the long run, that’s for sure).

My Sister By Choice asked me a couple of months ago to think about that little pet peeve of mine, that maybe I should embrace that as something that make me…well, me, I guess. That maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about being too perky or upbeat or weird on the job.

I just don’t like that I feel so unprofessional when I am that way. I worry that I come off as annoying and trying to be a comedian (I’ve had some clients ask if I ever tried to do stand-up a few times). I’m sure not everybody appreciates my humor, but I just can’t help trying to make people at least chuckle or grin a little if they’re in the waiting room or there’s a problem and they’re bored.

I just have a hard time telling whether or not I do it more so they’re having a good day (and get out the door quicker–or seemingly quicker), or I do it just because it makes my day go a helluva lot faster.

But then again, I suppose when you have to repeat the same type of information to 40 different people (give or take a few) each shift, then maybe it’s for what’s left of my sanity.

And funny enough, I probably don’t have to say most of the info I give them, but I just want to be clear so they don’t call up or come back all pissed off at me, like “why didn’t you say that before?”

I tend to over-anticipate what questions and concerns are around the corner, and since some people have to come a long way for service, I don’t want them coming back over and over again because of one little thing.

I don’t work for the freaking DMV, for crying out loud.Related image

But today, I had a bit of weirdness. I don’t usually work the afternoons, but my boss asked me if I could work a really busy afternoon next week, and do that periodically. She said the reason was we get the most tutoring kids and other clients on that afternoon, and she wanted somebody up front who tends to be more welcoming and outgoing for the public than the usual person (who is great at his job, but tends to be “morose” much of the time.

I think those were the descriptors she used.

But it surprised me. Apparently, my overly-chatty and perky demeanor doesn’t phase my boss at all (the under-boss, however, might be another story).

I should’ve figured that. I know she keeps me around because she has to, but I guess she likes me the way I am, too.

Her whole “trusting me” thing should’ve clued me in sooner…but I don’t think behavior figured into it.

So why do I worry so much about not looking and acting like every other receptionist-type out there?

Dunno whether to shrug it off and be all zen about it, or bash my head against the wall for missing something big. I guess I just felt I was too out there and holding myself back in the job market because I was too chatty and crazy.

And maybe I am…but perhaps it’s time for me to consider that those jobs where I’d have to be all stiff and unapproachable might be ones I wouldn’t want anyway.

Can’t believe that hadn’t occurred to me before.

And something about that opened a door in my box…and I’m curious where it’ll lead.

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