Friday, September 08, 2006

Cardboard Personality

A personality must be a prerequisite for a job on a helpdesk, when ninety percent of your role is customer facing (on the telephone, I give you but nevertheless customer facing). Apparently I slipped through the cracks of our stringent interview process, which included an online SHL assessment. In the past people would say that I lacked an overt personality. I was shy, quiet or reserved. However, no one would be bold enough to say I had a cardboard personality. Now, I will be the first to admit that I could never light up a room with a smile and warm glow. I just never have been the life and soul, but I like it that way. People skills have never been high on my list of talents, yet let me for the record say they are something I am constantly trying to improve. In my previous job I was extremely nervous, but you could understand as it was literally customer facing, in an office of some five hundred with no telephone to hide behind.

My colleague deserves an entry all to himself, but I do not think I have the time (or the energy) to catalogue his comical moments. Most would be highly unsuitable for a family friendly blog, such as this. Let me put him into the broad category of office joker and leave it at that. He is the first person to actually say I lack a personality. While I will agree that my lack of vocal greetings at the beginning and end of the day, has left much to be desired but I have been making a effort. To be fair to him, his generation and my generation are a world apart, but while that does not excuse my rudeness it does shed a little light the differences between our world. Perhaps the best way to describe him, is one of those people that will say out loud what the majority of people are thinking. While this is not generally a bad thing, too much honesty can get you into trouble.

I take the comments on board, positive criticism is always worth hearing, although perhaps never this direct and harsh. Sure I have a monotonous tone on the telephone and can sound extremely despondent, although genuinely do not mean to do so. I come across as I hate being on the end of the helpline but I actually enjoy my job. Compared to some of the jobs I have had, this is the least stressful and the most rewarding.

Unfortunately a personality transplant is not currently available on the NHS and would bankrupt my company BUPA scheme. What are the alternatives? To try harder? To talk more? The strange thing is none of my work colleagues will know the Andrew that started college some eight years ago. If I have a cardboard personality now, I must have had the personality of a goldfish back then. There has been a major improvement, believe me. My fear would be on our company website, my manager writing some interesting biographies for the world to read. Perish such a thought!

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