“Charlie, do you have a minute to spare?”
This is the question I am asked the most at work. I am usually asked this when I get in the door (coat still on, lunch bag still in hand, and book bag still attached to me); when I come out of the bathroom; when I am eating lunch; when I am knee deep in filing; when I waist deep in a project for my boss (the executive director, by the way); when I am getting ready to go home for the day…you get the picture.
Yes, I understand that everyone has times like this in their jobs, but this happens every day. It is nonstop. The people who drop by my office. The phone calls and emails I receive. I’ve learned how to prioritize – I have to in order to survive with some of my sanity in tact. I love my organization, even if at times, I wish for something more lucrative. But I like that I am in the public sector and suspect that I would lose my soul if I even stepped into something corporate. But that’s for another post.
I am bombarded with questions all day long – who isn’t? Some of these questions require answers that I’m not knowledgeable in; others require me to do some digging; most questions I can answer off the top of my head. But if I am working on a project, I usually push off the questions that I can answer for another day. Most of the time, this doesn’t work.
Two of my friends, both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fans have a motto: Better Call Charlie! I laugh, mostly I sigh and grin, a bit chagrined. I don’t have the answers to every question. But sometimes, I’m the only one accessible enough to answer a question. I suppose that’s what most people like about me. I am approachable and I do try to help everyone.
Sure, sure. Even at the cost of myself. I hear it’s a trait of the female gender. I’m working hard to reverse that in myself.
Others swear up and down that I actually run the place. Not true, I tell them. I don’t make the hard or money-related decisions. I couldn’t possibly tell you what to do if an actual crisis with a client actually happens.
But I can damn well tell you that I know who to turn to for help.
And even though “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to give, it seems that I’m the only one who says it.
Okay, it’s usually comes with “but I can find someone to help you get that answer.”