Friday, October 04, 2013

Heard: But I Can't Find Her on the Roster?

I work for a NGO with a board of directors mostly comprised of ambassadors, Members of Congress, former administration senior staff, etc.  I work closely with the President of our organization and sit (very inconveniently) by the lobby of our office.  Due to my proximity to the front desk, I can hear every call that is received and typically, based on context clues, with whom the caller would like to speak.
When our receptionist is out, we have an intern cover the front desk to greet visitors, answers phones, and receive the mail.  Not a difficult task, by any means.  Well, today a seemingly bright, young undergraduate intern was sitting at the front desk.  He received a call and began the conversation politely, "Good afternoon, [organization], how may I help you?"  I smile, thinking to myself this must be one of the good ones.  He asks the caller to hold for a moment.  After roughly 20 seconds of silence, he picks the phone back up and says, "I don't think that person works here...Are you sure you have the right number?" And, then, another disturbingly long pause, "do you mind holding for a moment?"
He puts the caller back on hold, walks across the lobby to my desk and asks who [insert the boss's name here] is.  I look at the intern, very disturbed, and reply, "That is the president of the organization."  His response: "Oh....I can't find her on the roster."  That is because, as instructed, he is supposed to put the calls to the executive office to me.  This is not only verbally taught but also highlighted in bright red at the top of the extension list.  

So, he wanders back to the desk (mind you this has now been roughly 4.5/5 minutes), and transfers the call to me.  Who is the caller?  The Chairman of the Board of Directors (and a very prominent politician in DC).
SMH, intern.  SMH.