There are plenty of things that I do in my job that aren’t technically part of my job description.
Dealing with angry residents who either want the paper and don’t get it delivered or those who don’t want the paper but do get it delivered is one. Dome runs for hot chocolate/mocha/coffee refills and/or muffins is another.
And counselling sobbing callers? Yes apparently that’s right up there too.
Now I now there are a lot of sad people out there but, still, this week I have had to deal with THREE criers. Three. And two of them were fine: I was interviewing them about sensitive subjects and it got a bit much. Maybe a little Un!Comfortable (TM Sars) but still.
Please no more.
Allow me to recreate the scene.
Crazy-Caller: (Opera music playing in the background) Hello I’m calling because I’m upset about a story I read in the paper.
Me: Uh huh, and what was the story about?
CC: It’s this article about the school principal who is a finalist for an award.
Me: Well what seems-
CC: I mean I don’t know this guy and I’m sure he’s done a good job (muffled sobbing starts) but, shit I mean, think it’s ridiculous to have this award after all this crap (punctuated by loud, wet sniffs) with outcomes based education and the principals who have ignored the wants of the teachers and parents!
Me: Well yes, I mean obviously we don’t have any control over-
CC: It’s like rewarding them for being fucking nazis (not so muffled sobbing)!
Me: Uh well it’s obviously something you feel very strongly about so would you be interested in writing a letter to the editor?
CC: I’m sorry, I’m sorry (more sobbing).
(Meanwhile the opera music playing in the background has become increasingly loud and is now almost deafening)
Me: Yes, well with a letter to -
CC: I’m sorry, I’m sorry I can’t hear you!
Me: (Shouting over the music) Would you be interested in writing-
CC: (Shouting and crying) Wait! Wait! I’ll turn the music down.
(Time passes. Eventually the music is turned off.)
CC: Okay I’m back.
Me: (Repeats line about letter to the editor)
CC: (Immediately starts crying again) I don’t think I can, I don’t think I can. It’s just, I wouldn’t even know where to start.
Me: (Trying to be soothing) Right, right.
CC: (Relentless sobbing, interspersed with gasped apologies)
CC: I’m sorry, I’m so sorry to bother you with all this shit (bawling by now), I’m so sorry. I hope you have a great day.
Me: Uh don’t worry about it, I mean we always appreciate feedback-
CC: Thanks, I mean thanks for talking to me. (More crying)
Me: Don’t worry about it, uh, try to have a good day...
(call ends as CC goes off to kill himself and I eat another biscuit)
UPDATE: This guy just came into our office and asked to see me to give me a letter to the editor that he’d written and I did the responsible and mature thing… by pretending to be out on a job.