Name: June Miller
Job Title: Nursing Unit Clerk, Receptionist
Where: Vancouver, BC
Current Employer: Currently in college
Years of Experience: 35
Relevant Work Experience: Administrative Assistant, Health Care Worker, Activity Aide, Barber, Personal Assistant
Education: GED, Secretarial Certificate, HCW Certificate
Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for median receptionist salary data.
Receptionist Salary and Job Description
Working for a temp agency can be a great way to try out different jobs or get your foot in the door at a desirable company. On the other hand, it often means frequent changes in work schedule and location. To deal with these unique challenges, temporary employees must be flexible, learn quickly and have great communication skills. In this Salary Story, we hear from June, a former temp who worked successfully in various positions. She offers advice on how to adapt to a new job and describes some of the challenges and rewards of choosing to work as a temporary receptionist.
PayScale: What is your receptionist job description?
Customer Service: Greeted people coming into the office and/or other establishments, directed them to the appropriate contact or service and provide basic information. Operated a 32 line phone system to answer, screen and forward telephone calls, taking messages as required. Provided information to customers and the public regarding goods, services, schedules, rates, regulation and policies in response to telephone/in-person enquiries. Office Management: Established and coordinated administrative policies and procedures. Analyzed incoming and outgoing memorandum, submissions and reports. Coordinated the preparation and submission of summary briefs and reports to the executives, committees, and shareholders. Conducted research, compiled data, and prepared papers for consideration and presentation by the executives, committees, and shareholders. Met with individuals, suppliers and others on behalf of the owner to discuss issues and assess and recommend various courses of action. Liaised with departmental and corporate officials and with other organizations and associations. Assessed requirements of an establishment and developed specification for equipment, material and supplies to be purchased. Purchased general and specialized equipment, material or business services for use or for further processing. Established delivery schedules, monitored progress and contacted clients and suppliers to resolve problems. Clerical: Created and maintained indexes for classification systems. Operated information retrieval systems and responded to requests for records. Reviewed files periodically to ensure they were complete and correctly classified. Sorted material that was to be filed according to particular filing systems. Filed material in drawers, cabinets, and storage boxes. Received and registered correspondence, reports, text and other written material for typing. Mail Room: Maintained and operated copier, fax, cutting, coiling, postage, folding/stuffing, hole punch machines. Created contract booklets, notebooks, pads, posters via desktop publishing. Coordinated and ensured completed mass mail-outs via couriers and/or Canada Post.
PayScale: How did you get started doing this type of work?
I was a barber for 20+ years and a woman on the bus said I should be an office temp. So, I took some tests and they hired me to go to various offices to work in reception, administration, payroll, accounts receivable/payable.
PayScale: What do you love about your job?
I enjoy interacting with people, and sharing my experience with them. Learning is a wonderful part of my day. I worked with a company that sent me to many offices and each office would put me in a position, walk away, and I would have to learn everything on my own, prompting me to write various job descriptions books, so girls after me would at least have an idea. When I worked for a very large company in their mail room, on my route of mail delivery, if I was lost, or did not recognize a name, I could ask anyone, and they would totally help me out. ONLY place that did this. Other places gave me the, "Well nobody taught me, so why would I help you?" It was tough, but it gave me strength to move forward, rather than give up.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
MY very biggest challenge is facing people that call me names because I am a very hard working person, and they believe after a point, that I am trying to take "their" job from them. I can tell them that I work very hard, for the absent girl, and I want to be called back if they need help again. When I go home knowing that I achieved more than what was on my list, I can relax and sleep well at night. People can say ignore these people, but these people are in EVERY company.
PayScale: What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in this field?
The first person to impress is yourself. When you get up and go to work, you must ask yourself if that is where you want to be, and why. You have to be able to ask questions. You have to ask questions. Be clear, concise, and show you care. If someone told me June, not everyone is like you, so watch out, That would have been terrific. It would have made meeting unkind, ugly personalities so much easier to handle. I would have handled them differently. I would have known that these people have other problems, that probably have nothing to do with me or work.
PayScale: What are the most interesting things that have happened during your work?
The craziest thing was the president of one company came up the staff elevator, rather than the private elevator for executives. I did not know or meet him, because I was new. He waved a hand at me, and started passing reception. I chased him, saying, "Sir…Sir, can I help you Sir? You are going into a restricted area, and I must ask you to wait for your party here at reception." He laughed and said okay, young lady, where do I wait, and I gave him a chair, and his brochure. While looking through the brochure, he asked, "Have you met the president yet?" I replied, "Not yet, he has his own elevator, so I don't think that I will be meeting him on this side. I heard he is very pleasant, and funny, too. So that rocks." He repeated that rocks, then showed me a picture of himself in the brochure. With the word president under his name. At our annual staff meeting held at a large auditorium, with approximately 1200 staff at this particular meeting, he invited me up on stage, and told the story, saying that my dedication to the safety of my team was incredible, and commendable. It was a wonderful moment. Although, I was the only one there wearing a red suit, while all the others where wearing dark blue.