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January 6, 2011

Am I stressed?  YES! 

Yes!  Yes!  Y.  E.  S!

I am stressed…okay, not as bad as I was earlier today, but stressed.  After all, stressed is my normal state of being. 

Today, my stress level hit an eleven (most only go to ten!) because of work.  I’m a senior account executive for an insurance brokerage.  Pretty fancy title, eh?  Whatever.  It’s completely bogus.  My boss sprinkles titles around like gum.  I could have been Vice President of Smoking in the Hall, if I really wanted.

There’s a lot of variety to my job, and today, I was to conduct benefits open enrollment meetings for a golf club’s employees.  I do suffer from stage fright.  This means that I don’t sleep well the night before a meeting, and I get really blotchy.  I can’t wear anything with an open neckline, for fear of looking like I suffer from the heartbreak of psoriasis.

I don’t know why I worry about it.  The minute to you put an insurance packet in someone’s hands and mention something like benefits, their eyes glaze over and their jaws go slack.  I just about have to set myself on fire to get their attention.

I was already nervous about today…this client is not particularly nice at renewal time.  I always try to arrive between 15 and 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.  This allows plenty of time to corral the carrier reps and get all of our information handed out.  Today was no different.  I arrived thirty minutes ahead of time.  We were expecting four insurance company representatives.

Two weeks ago, I sent out an Outlook Calendar appointment to all of the scheduled speakers, the client, and my boss.  In it, I spelled out the location info (two,) times and the fact that for the first meeting, we’d need a Spanish translator.  After the first meeting, we’d caravan for the short ride to the second meeting.

I included my cell phone number, as both locations were difficult to find.

10:00.  The employees – all Spanish speakers – were seated in the meeting room.  No carrier reps yet.

No habla Espaniol.

10:15.  No reps.

Now, I’m compulsively checking my cell phone’s ringer.  Did I turn it off?  Did I not feel it vibrate and miss a call?  Is there an email?

Nothing.

10:25 (!)  My cell phone rings.  It’s the medical insurance rep.  She’s at location #2.  No…the Spanish enroller is not with her.  Wasn’t she with me?  NO!!!!!!

10:35.  Still no reps, but another phone call.  It’s the dental rep.  SHE’S at location #2!

10:42.  The medical rep calls again.  She’s driving on the correct road now, but she can’t find us.  SHE’S DRIVING RIGHT TOWARD ME…aaaaaaannd, there she goes.  I frantically waive her down.

Her Spanish is as good as mine.  We Shields and Yarnell that it will be just a few more minutes.

As I run back outside, I see that the dental rep has pulled up.  Two down!

10:47.  My phone rings again.  It’s the Spanish speaker.  She’s at location #2, but security won’t let her leave.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  Don’t these people read?

“Put security on the phone!”

Apparently, nobody bothered to notify security that there was a meeting today, and since it’s in a gated community, they couldn’t let the rep just wander around, willy nilly.

Also, this rent-a-cop was new, and didn’t know about location #1.  He’d never been there.  Wow.  Sleep tight folks.  Your club dues at work!

I convinced him to let her go about her business, got her back on the phone, and gave her directions to where we were.

Back inside, I dusted off my best Spanglish, to let them know that we were just a couple of minutes from starting.

Suddenly, my boss breezes in with a huge container of cookies.  Oh, sure!  She’s the good guy!

By 11:00, the Spanish enroller made it and we got the meeting started.  At that point, I could do no more than say, “Here’s Lupe.”

With today’s job market, you would think that people would find it important to do their jobs well…especially with a new (to them) client.  To be running as late as they were, to have neglected to Google or MapQuest the directions, to fail to call until AFTER you are scheduled to be standing in front of your new group, presenting, is a major occupational flaw.

I’m going to have to learn more Spanish than what’s on the Taco Bell menu, bring my own packets and either draw maps for all of my carrier reps, or pick them up myself!

So, yes.  I was a little bit stressed today!

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