Receptionist, Anyone?

Prompt 1: Write About Your First Job

My first job didn’t last 3 hours. I laugh now, but it was a total nightmare. I’d just finished high school and was spending all my time at home with nothing to do. My big brother, J, suggested that I apply for a receptionist job at this restaurant he’d worked in a few years back. Only, he forgot to mention that his boss was the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time.

Armed with a scanty resume and the confidence of the never-been-employed-before, I swaggered into the homey, blue-themed restaurant and sat down with the owner, Mrs. Evil. A sixty to seventy-year-old woman, with some hints of youthful beauty hanging around her eyes. Almost entirely engulfed by the wickedness etched onto the rest of her face.

It didn’t take her 2 minutes to notice that my dress was ‘too form-fitting’ and that I could ‘maybe try a petticoat.’ I pinched myself to stop my eyes from wandering to the calendar. She then asked a series of very invasive, very irrelevant questions, all of which I answered with a practiced smile.

By the time she was shaking my hand, I was just about ready to bolt. ‘I’ll see you this evening for your orientation.’ She said. ‘I’ll be here. Thank you, once again.’

I really should have never gone back.

The orientation went well by any standards. Mrs Evil wasn’t around, and the other women at reception were a delight. We sat there for hours, leafing through the accommodation books, practising phone calls, and judging the men whose rings you could see poking through their trouser pockets, turning in from a day of ‘business meetings.’ And the young, pretty women who looked like they’d prefer to just get on with it and go home.

Judgement, laughter, and tea from a thermos; thus went the night of orientation. I was ready to be a receptionist. I went home at around 5 AM, changed into my uniform, a white blouse, black pencil skirt, and simple black shoes, propped my mother’s black purse onto my shoulders and made my way to hell the restaurant.

I got there, said hi to everyone, placed my things at my new desk, helped a satisfied-looking businessman check out, then got to cleaning. I moped that office like you’d brush your tongue before a date. One hour later (it was a big office), the floors were sparkly, and you could see through the windows.

Just as I was about to sit, Mrs Evil sauntered in. ‘Stand here let me see you.’ Well, hello to you too, ma’am.

As the very experimental person I am, I had gone for a pristine white blouse with classic front-collar frills and a knee-length skirt with a small but stylish V slit. Mrs. Evil took one look at me and announced that I was dressed for the streets. She then proceeded to call a series of well-dressed girls with whom to compare me. They looked like nuns. Old, depressed nuns. Clearly, Mrs. Evil had something against style.

With the uniform fiasco over and me promising to wear ‘plainer’ clothes the next day, I set to the tasks of the day. The phone rang. ‘Hello, this is Glen Restaurant, I’m Cynthia from reception, how may I help you today?’ ‘Come to my office’ It was Mrs Evil.

If you can’t guess why she was summoning me this time, I’ll tell you. Apparently, my ‘phone-receiving mannerisms’ were too flirty and too chic for the clientele. Honestly, I think she was just worried about her husband’s roaming eyes. You could tell because she only employed drab, older women, who again, looked like old nuns. (No offence, I loved those women.)

After a 30-minute lecture on phone prudery, I started to walk out of the office. My patience was on its last lives. ‘Oh and maybe walk a little less like a model and more like you’re here to work.’

Now, the dressing, I understand. The phone, that was just old people madness. But the walking? This was a straight-up witch hunt. I say this because no one I know, including my brothers, has a manlier walk than me. In the dark, I could as well be a 30-year lumberjack walking home from a say at the mills. My friends have theorized that I walk like that to intimidate people. It could be, but by God, no self-respecting model would walk the way I do.

‘Is there a problem? It feels like you don’t want me working here.’ Mrs. Evil, clearly taken aback by my gull to address her directly, suddenly looked like she wanted to cut my eyes out and eat them. She sat up as straight as he bad back could allow and said, ‘You know what, how about you go home and rest. I’ll call you.’ 😮

The bitch. I couldn’t bring myself to express all my thoughts, mostly because I didn’t want to spend the night in prison. So instead, I said, ‘Sure you will.’ Then I sashayed my butt out of there. Almost tripped at the doorway. (She called my brother to report my rudeness btw).

And that, guys, is how my career in the hotel industry started and ended. In 3 hours. This story is a legend among my family. Every time there is a lull in the conversation, someone will just say, ‘hey, you remember that time Chie was employed for like 30 minutes?’ and everyone will laugh. Incidentally, the duration gets shorter and shorter every time someone tells the story. 😂🤣

Life lesson, though, this was the day I learned that I will probably never go far in employment. I tried once more, but this time my short, pot-bellied boss liked me so much, he wanted to show me by taking me on a weekend trip out of town.

I guess you can say that I am like a wild silver fox (if you won’t say it, I will). Nice to look at, but probably shouldn’t be released onto the streets. 

Also, rather than let my clear lack of interest in anything social put me down, I decided to lend my talents to jobs that require little to no human interaction. I also perfect my results so I can call them up when someone points out my lacking social skills. ‘So I forgot your birthday, but I fixed your AC and it’s working marvelously.’ This, my friends, is where your girl shines.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

2 thoughts on “Receptionist, Anyone?

  1. This has left me in stitches. U got character, gal. U don’t let the world dictate it’s terms but u make the damn rules.


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