Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deal With It

I think that's one of the phrases I hate the most; having heard it from numerous people at various times in my life. Today's volunteering did not go so well. It brings to mind things I've forgotten about the work place, probably the most important thing; the people you have to deal with at work. You don't choose the people you work with, usually, but they play such a vital role in what makes or breaks your day and your general outlook. On one of my brief forays into the working world one of the women I worked with sent out such a sub-level freezing vibe that it literally could be felt just by being in the same room with her. Her general outlook on life was one of such beaten-down cold misery she oozed unhappiness. There isn't anyone so bad at the gallery but the first five minutes upon entering I learned gallery manager (hearby called GM) was lacking sleep and wasn't feeling good. Then I sliced my thumb open. Then we spent a cheerful hour putting up shelving with a drill with a wall that had an aversion towards screws (and, funnily enough, I know a little about general home improvement so I asked if there was a stud behind a particular spot where the screw was not going in but was only met with blank stares and the suggestion that we get the hammer and nails out).
Also learned that while my father (and I suppose me, to some extent) may have lofty ideals of hard work and giving 110% ect. ect. not everybody else does. Professionalism differs; while putting in the very last shelf GM was having a hard time getting the screw in the wall and after it popped out for the fourth time she told me, mildly hysteric, to back off and give her some space in which I'm not sure if I should be amused, irritated or understanding. A little of all three I guess.
Now comes the fun part. Seeing how there is a Valentine's auction coming up the gallery sent out letters to local businesses asking about donating something. Most answered, some declined and about forty of them never returned an answer so GM asks if I would call some numbers and try and get some answers.
Do I have to reiterate my feelings on dealing with people and the public? Or for that matter telemarketing and pushing people into 'donating'? I hate it. It irritates the hell out of me. I hate calling people on the telephone, I hate dealing with people on the phone. Answering the phone for a business, not so bad. Deliberately calling people to harass them about giving you things, not so fun.
So even though GM says, 'if you're not comfortable don't do it' she then does a 360 and says,'its good for you to get out of your comfort zone, just try a couple' and calls one of the businesses as an example to have the woman snap at GM saying they've already called.
I do realize how important it is to do things that are not comfortable and phone etiquette is terribly important in a business -so I do it.
And do it rather badly.
First, one of the other people/volunteers/whoever copied down one of the numbers wrong so while I was attempting to call a book store I instead got the wine and spirits store. However, being oh so plucky I pulled that off just fine to have the man tell me they have no interest in us. A couple more and it wasn't so bad, gave the gallery number, got a fax number
THEN I managed to get another number mixed up and called the lady that GM called five minutes previously and harassed her a bit further in which I wish I had kept my big fat mouth shut about telling GM because instead of saying, 'well, that's okay' or even laughing about it (I mean, come on - comedy of errors here) she says, 'well that's not good. This is bad.'
I am in two minds about this.
First, we did have a lively little discussion about my comfortable-ness about telemarketing (and it is exactly that) in which I stated I was not comfortable and not even good at it but I did it anyway so she shouldn't be too disgruntled when I gave warning and freaking A this is my second day at the gallery.
Second, this is probably one of the most important things that I've done in a long, long time even including finishing college. My people managing skills are sub-level. So even if GM is cranky and not altogether pleasant to deal with today, even if I'm screwing up and am embarassed over it, even if it's not a good day it's experience that I really, really need to go out and be in the world. So I'll be there next week too.

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