BBJ Entry 016: Not My Job


[FYI: The title “BBJ” refers to Bill’s Business Journey]


“Can you please help me?!”

I was a phone rep at a bank. Don was the father of one of our car loan customers. The customer, Lisa, had moved to Mexico shortly after buying her car. As a stipulation for the loan, customers were required to provide proof of insurance for their car. Since we had apparently not received proof from Lisa, the system automatically added our own insurance to her account, significantly increasing her monthly payment. This was the reason for Don’s call.

“I’ve sent in the documents I received from Lisa several times,” Don added in polite exasperation. “Every time I call, I get a different rep and can never get this resolved.”

Unfortunately, handling documents was not my job. There was nothing I could do as a phone rep.

So I changed my job title to customer service rep.

“Let me look into this personally, Don, and I’ll call you back,” I told him. On my next break, I ran down to Data Entry. A bit of research revealed that we had indeed received documents from Don several times. The problem was, they were in Spanish. Apparently, no one in DE spoke Spanish, so they did nothing with the account (yeah, I know). I called Don back to report.

He replied, “You’re the only person who’s told me that. I’ll get you the English documents immediately.”

“And I’ll keep an eye on your account,” I promised him.

A second trip to DE two weeks later revealed that the English documents had arrived, but the specific coverage was not clearly stated. I called Don to let him know.

My third trip to DE met with success. The final document, with the coverage information highlighted, had arrived and was being processed. The monthly payment would finally be corrected.

At my final phone call to Don, he was elated and effusively grateful. By the time I hung up, I felt like a hero, and I loved it.

But apparently, not everyone does.

Years later, at 4:55 pm on a Friday, I was 5 minutes from finishing my temp job as the receptionist at a small fire alarm installation company. There was only one other person on site, an executive, when I received That Call.

“Where the heck are you?!” the construction foreman roared into the phone. “I’ve got a deadline and a crew here that can’t do their job till you people do yours! You need to make it happen right now!”

I could see my executive in his office on another line, so I promised the foreman I would personally deliver the message – and its urgency – as soon as the executive was finished.

“I better hear back from him in 5 minutes!” the foreman roared once again before hanging up.

I waited patiently in the executive’s open doorway, determined to be a hero once again. After I quickly explained the situation, the executive looked at the clock on the wall and said, “OK, let’s get out of here for the weekend.”

Yeah, I know.

I tried again, and he said, “We’ll just deal with it on Monday.” And we got out of there for the weekend.

Perhaps the executive decided not to be a hero because that particular problem really was not his job. But I suspect that what he actually dealt with on Monday was the entire company having no job.

This blog chronicles my adventures with my public speaking and presentation coaching business, Rhetorio Presentation. To learn more about it, visit the main site at For presentation-specific tips, scroll down the right-hand sidebar for the 3 presentation categories: #1: Think, #2: Show, and #3: Tell.

2 comments on “BBJ Entry 016: Not My Job

  1. Tom Nunes says:

    So tipcal of what happens today. Too many People just do not care. The Winners do! Service is a key to success in this too busy world.

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