Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Is Wrong with People?

secretary, legal, stupid,
I am a legal secretary at a law firm that has four partners, six associates, two of counsels and 8 secretaries/paralegals. While the receptionist is on lunch, I answer the phones. It's only an hour, but every day I learn to hate phones and the general public a little bit more.

Conversation 1:

client: Attorney X, please

me (sitting 10' away from Attorney X, who is clearly on the phone): He's on another call, would you like to leave a message?

client: He's trying to call me.

me (listens to Attorney X's conversation for 30 seconds. He is clearly not leaving a message): I'm sorry, Attorney X is having a conversation with someone on the phone, would you like to leave a message?

client: He just called me 5 seconds ago.

me: He's probably going through his messages and returning calls. I can take a message for him and have him call you back.

client: hmph! He just called me! How can he be on the phone with someone else?!

me: headdesk

Conversation 2 (within 5 minutes of Conversation 1):

client: I need to speak to someone about my will.

me: Is someone here drafting your will already, or . . .?

client: I was talking to one of the girls about it.

me (it wasn't me): Which secretary were you talking to?

client: I don't know!

me: Well, there's Jane, Joan, Janet and Jean. Was it one of them?

client: How would I know?

me: Okay, which attorney are you working with?

client: Why do you need to know that?

me: Ow!

Seriously, what is wrong with people?


  1. Next time, tell them whether they'd like to talk to Jane, Joan, Janet, or Satan.

  2. I answer phones all day long. It isn't even my job, our two receptionists are just really bad at theirs. Anyway, I get people on cell phones with terrible accents, who freak out when you can't understand them. I hate that.
    That and speaker phones. People, when you call someone, pick up the damn handset. You sound like you are in a tunnel.

  3. One word: narcissism.

    Some people think the world goes around them, that we're all here to serve them, and that their thoughts and intentions should be plenty understood without words even.

  4. I used to work at a cable company answering tech support calls. You eventually learn that when calls are graded that tone means you sound friendly but not necessarily are friendly.

  5. Lorena: I think you hit that nail on the head. "What do you mean Attorney X isn't just sitting around waiting for me to call?!!?!!"

    Beamstalk: I learned that one working customer service for the now defunct Fleet Bank. You could get away with saying just about anything as long as you sounded happy about it. Fortunately, at Satan, Lucifer, Perdition & Greed, P.C., they don't give a shit about tone. We're lawyers, damnit, and soulless tools of Satan don't care about your feelings!

  6. What's wrong with people?

    1) They believe that the world revolves around them.

    2) They are sheltered within a bubble that keeps them insulated from the outside world.

    3) Many people are idiots.

  7. Recovering Catholic nailed it.

    But to add, the more you dealt with calls the nastier you became, where I worked. There were always a few people that genuinely happy all the time, but most of became cynical to tech calls. I think it still affects me today. I still loved the job, just was forced by the ex to move.

  8. you really do become cynical. the first month at Fleet, I believed everything everyone said. "I've never bounced a check before!" "I have no idea how that happened!"

    now, i'm suspicious if someone tells me the sky is blue.

  9. "You could get away with saying just about anything as long as you sounded happy about it."

    When I worked for directory enquiries about eight years ago I discovered that, when ending a call, "thank you" and "fuck you" sound identical if said in a cheery voice. Not that I ever said that, obviously, and, even if I did, you can never prove it.

  10. My wife works in retail sales in a large store in the mall.

    She's had people trying to return items that they didn't buy there, but insist that they bought it "upstairs".

    There are two other chain stores that have more than one level, where my wife works does not, never has, and people have actually accused her of trying to hide the upstairs.


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