All my students



I hire university students to answer the phone for me and greet visitors.  The job is very much in demand, as it’s not very demanding and leaves them lots of time to read and study.  You’d think it was a clerical job, but it’s not really; it’s mostly about customer service.  They have to be able to talk, and elicit information from people.



I try to find students who are charming.  During the interview process, I just try to converse with them, and see where the conversation leads.  If they’re talkative and cute and funny – well, that’s just what Doctor Loren ordered.  I need them to be able to draw people out, help them express themselves; a lot of callers and guests aren’t quite sure how to phrase their queries, and need someone patient and sympathetic.  Our students need to be able to participate in a dialogue.



I myself am not so good at this.  I monologue, I lecture, I hector.  Look at this blog!   It’s a one-way conversation, isn’t it?  All my own work, all my own words.  Blah, blah, blah!  I love it!



But I am not so good at the ol’ give-and-take.



Which is why I am so grateful for those patient charming students, good and thoughtful listeners.



Last summer and fall, I hired a wonderful young woman, very tall and willowy, who was incredibly diligent and very helpful and very patient.  The callers all fell in love with her.  The deliverymen – UPS, FedEx, coffee, pest control – were all transfixed by her.  The FedEx Ground guy, who was six-five and well over three hundred pounds, used to just stand and look at her from a distance, as if he were afraid to come too close.  She is in Washington now, coming off her first job and entering (I think) her second, and she still writes me faithfully every two months or so, and I am delighted to hear from her.



Last winter and spring, I hired a young man named Ethan.  He was a wise guy, clever and funny and very good with people on the phone; he graduated with a degree in public policy in May, and checked in with me just a few weeks ago from California, and I think he is doing just fine for himself.



Last summer I had a young medical student, and then a huge football player, and they were both wonderul with people, both on the phone and in person.  Now I have a small group – a new graduate student in public policy, and a graduating senior in medicine, and a grad student in something political I’ve never quite grasped – a little of everything – and I just love listening to them talk to people.  They are so goldurned good at it!



Excuse me.  I am having a Mister Chips moment right now. 



I don’t know how teachers do it.   I’m too soft.  I’d be in tears the whole time.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: