For the past year, I have worked with Amanda Ingram, who is the 15 year old daughter of my co-worker, Carrie Beauchamp. Amanda’s job is to file, make policy changes, take payments, and of course, answer the phone. It is a typical job for a customer service representative. No matter where Amanda is in the office, when the phone rings, she usually says, “I’ve got it.” Of course, that is her way of letting us know that we don’t have to stop what we are doing to answer the phone, but for me, her statement brings back years of teenaged memories…memories that the kids of today will most likely never have.
When I was a kid, we had just one phone in the house. It was the family phone, and my parents had five girls in the house. Over the years, mostly as each of us became teenagers, and had more friends, and especially boyfriends, we wanted to be the first one to the phone. It was especially important to get to the phone before our little sisters embarrassed us by talking to our friend or boyfriend and saying something that we might consider stupid or otherwise embarrassing…or simply embarrass us just by answering.
In our house, as in the homes of most of our friends, the younger kids just wanted to get to answer the phone once in a while too, but we assumed that it couldn’t be for them anyway, so they should just stay away from what we considered our own personal phone. I even recall being annoyed when the caller had the audacity to want to speak to one of my parents. What did they need to be talking about anyway. The older generation couldn’t possibly have anything important to talk about…could they? At least that was what we thought, with our typically self centered teenaged minds. It wasn’t that we were selfish, because I don’t think we were, but all teenagers are self centered to a degree. They think of themselves and their needs, as well as their insecurities, which were the main reasons that we didn’t want our younger siblings, or even our parents to answer the phone. You just never knew what they might say.
These days, with the invention of cell phones, we all have our own phone to answer, and most of the time, we don’t want to answer the phone for someone else, because that is…just annoying. Still, with the dawning of Facebook, and the fact that our friends can also reach us there, has come a new, and sometimes even better way for siblings to embarrass us in front of our friends…hacking our page. So, in that way, the kids of today can say, “I’ve got it.” And I guess they do.
For the past year, I have had the distinct pleasure of working side by side with my granddaughter at The Stengel Agency. Yesterday was Shai’s one year anniversary. She is our CSR, and her job is to answer phones, take payments, keep our filing up to date, and all the other odd jobs we give her. This has been a great opportunity for a high school student, and she has done a great job of it.
Not many people get to work with their kids or grandkids, and I am blessed to be able to work with both. There is a loyalty that goes along with working side by side with family and friends, and that is what you will find in our office. There is no need to micro-manage anyone, because we all just do our jobs. Shai comes in after school, and works until 5:00pm every weekday. When she first started working in the office, she was nervous about answering the phones, and dealing with customers, but as time has gone on, she is very comfortable greeting customers, and talking on the phone.
Kids go through many changes as they journey from childhood to adulthood, and I am proud to say that through those years Shai has excelled in several key areas of that journey. At 10 years of age, she cared for her great grandparents during the last 2 months of that summer, when they were both quite ill. I was very proud of how capable and responsible she was. We knew we didn’t have to worry about them…Shai was on the job. She also babysat my niece’s 3 boys, and they knew their children were in good hands…not to mention loved. And now, she is proving herself in the office. We know we can count on her to do her job to the very best of her ability.
Shai, I don’t know what your future plans will be, and while I love working with you, I will support you in whatever you do, but I will tell you this…you make a good CSR, and I believe that as time goes on you will get better and better at it. And thanks for the great…but fictional picture. I know you didn’t really drop those files, but it definitely adds flair to my story. Congratulations on a great first year!! Love you very much!!