Monday, May 08, 2006

His Majesty the Queen of Washington Heights

I am not a person who's really "into" titles.

Back when I worked in Corporate America, I was always mildly disgusted about how seriously people took their own titles; one company had so many "Vice Presidents" that it couldn't possibly have meant anything.

Fortunately, I am now in the Socialist Republic of Nonprofitia, where titles tend to reflect less one's corporate caste than merely a job description. Once, on a quiet afternoon, my colleagues and I decided that we would all promote ourselves: I was voted Senior Vice President for Inappropriate Commentary.

Officially my title is Administration, Finance & Human Resources Assistant, which is short for The Guy Who Does Everything for the Company That Isn't in Anyone Else's Job Description, which doesn't fit on a business card.

This weekend we had a board meeting, and tonight is the company's biggest annual fundraising event, so today was inordinately busy, what with major donors and board members coming in and out, and the phones ringing off the hook confirming time, location, dress code, seating requests and the like. Naturally the receptionist called out sick. It was decided that today would not be a good day to have a temp working the switchboard, since board members and such need to be handled delicately. Can't risk dropped or misdirected calls, or, God forbid, wrong answers. So the powers that be decided I should just sit at the front desk today.

I was fine until another employee, giving a tour of the office to a board member, introduced me thusly: "This is Andy, the receptionist."



Darius said...

Yeah, but "receptionist" is still better for a title than "chicken suit guy."

I always try to "connect the dots," it's become very fashionable... I guess that particular dot may be too far back in the posts.

Seriously, thanks for the link and I'll be linking back as soon as I can get my blogmeister to set up the blogroll for me...

Anthony said...

I trust you glared.

little-cicero said...

Nonsense! You should be honored. They trust you not to screw up for goodness sakes. I'll bet your boardmembers started off as people who were trusted not to screw up, and on up the corporate ladder they climbed!
"The tree of progress can only grow in the firm soil of reliability"- little cicero

Brent said...

Not "Vice President in Charge of Reception" ?? At the corp I work for anybody and everybody is a VP. We even have VP, Senior VP, and Assistant VP. I personally think we need a Dept of FU.

Travis said...

My former roommate was a receptionist. When he answered the phone he had to give some ridiculously long answer...."hello, thank you for calling XXX, my name is Danny, how may I direct your call?"

He was someone who was easily annoyed, and I am a bit of a shithead....So, naturally, when I had nothing else to do I'd block my number and call his phone numerous times, only to hear him give his lines, at which point I'd hang up.

*evil laugh*

Andy said...

Eh...we raised $1 million+, so I guess it all worked out okay.

Silus Grok said...

Congratulations on the fund raising... and don't sweat being a receptionist... you were acting, it was just a part!

: )

kr pdx said...

Now Andy, I know I was indulging in delusions of grandeur, but I think you've taken on a bigger fight: Queen of Washington Heights??? You can't be that high in the line of succession! ;)!

DJRainDog said...

kr: There are a LOT of Queens in Washington Heights; it's not really a monarchy (that, by definition, would require no more than one). Andy's just one of the prettier ones. ;-)

kr pdx said...

the high number was why I was giving him a hard time. I figured competition must be fierce ;).

But if it's a shared/ broadly applicable title, well then that's different.

But can you imagine the pageant?

Jarred said...

In my previous company, they not only had a lot of Vice Presidents (and no small number of Executive VP's as well), but they kept having constant "restructurings." So trying to remember who was the VP/Executive VP of what at any given time was quite the chore.

Of course, my old employer has been a customer of my new employer, and I just finished that project. When one of the VP's from the customer first got involved halfway through the project, my coworker asked me what his position within the customer's organization was. My response? "I don't know, I haven't received the internal memos announcing the latest restructuring since I came to work for you guys."