Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Identity Crisis

As of last week, I've been at my new job for 4 months, and actually working out of my office for at least 3. Now, without getting too in depth about what I do, I work for a government agency and am the only attorney in my office. There are actually 2 agencies in my office: Agency A and Agency B. Although I work for Agency A, there are only about 18 people in the entire office and we all share a receptionist. And the kitchen is smack in the middle of Agency B's end of the office, so I see these people every day.

To get the full effect of the conversation I'm going to describe, I have to give you a little background on the physical layout of our office. The offices are laid out kind of in a U-shape with Agency A on one end and Agency B on the other. The receptionist is down on our end and the only way to get in and out of her office is to walk all the way down and come in the back way. Ergo, if you're walking down to our end from Agency B, you walk by every Agency A employee's office before getting to reception. My office shares a wall with reception and in fact has a 3 foot by 3 foot window on said wall. Until about a month ago, anyone in reception or the lobby could see directly into my office while I sat there doing work. In fact, they called it the attorney zoo. I got sick of watching everyone make copies, so I finally papered over the window to enjoy my privacy.

Anyway, all of this is leading up to a conversation I had last Friday. Our receptionist was out for the day, so some of the employees from Agency B had been filling in for her. I was at the Court House and was in a bit of a rush when I had to call back to my office and speak to any one of my coworkers. Like any government agency, we have a 4 minute directory to go through to get everyone's extension. And even though we have offices, a lot of times no one is in their office and able to pick up their phone. So if you hit someone's extension and they're not there, you can't then back out of the voice mail to try someone else's extension. You basically have to hang up and call back. So instead of wading through the whole schpeal, when I called I zeroed out to talk to the fill-in receptionist. When she picked up, this is the conversation that transpired:

Hi, this is Heidi **, the attorney for Agency A. I need to talk to someone from Agency A, but I couldn't remember any extensions. Could you peek around the corner and let one of them know I'm on the line?

Who is this?

This is Heidi. The attorney.

And what office are you calling from?

I'm from YOUR office. I'm the attorney for Agency A.

Well, I need to know what office you're from before I transfer you.

I am from YOUR office. This is Heidi. I am Agency A's attorney. I'm calling from the Court House but I couldn't remember any one's extension number. I just need to talk to someone from Agency A.

And you name is Heidi... what?

It's Heidi ***.

Oh. And you're an attorney?


And what office are you from?

By that point I was just irritated and flat out told her to open her connecting door to Agency A and just see if anyone was back there and to tell them to pick up. One of my cowokers eventually picked up and was very formal. Not having time to deal with it, I just told her what I needed to tell her. Later, I asked her about the whole thing, and she said that the receptionist finally came back and said that there was this Heidi person on the phone who claimed she was an attorney and was demanding to speak to someone in Agency A.

Seriously, am I invisible.

Then, on Sunday at church, one of my brother's friend's dad introduced himself to me. He's the type of person that is always joking around, so I just played along with him while he told me he was friend's dad, etc etc. It was only later that my mom informed me that he thought I was my brother's girlfriend. This wouldn't have been quite as funny were it not that I've been going to church with him for 15 years, was friends with his two daughters, and had been over to their home on a few occassions before many moons ago because he was also a coworker of my dad.

I'm not sure how to handle these late developments