I walked into JLS…of course after making a pit stop for coffee and an egg sandwich …can’t start a day without needed caffeine and energy boost…thank goodness there’s a Starbucks nearby.
The company’s high rise penthouse is located on the corner of State street in downtown Boston. When I walked in, the office environment definitely carried an air of corporate professionalism and formality with its white walls, dark blue carpets and glass windows with a view of the city skyline.
I first encounter a tall gentleman with pale skin and short brown hair sitting at the reception’s desk. He introduced himself as Tyson Knightley from the shipping department in a noticeable robotic, monotone and serious voice. Tyson looked about my age in his mid-twenties with glasses perched on a pointed nose. Under those glasses, contained sharp and focused bluish-green eyes. He was wearing a blue shirt bearing the company logo with the sleeves rolled all the way down to his wrists. He also had a pair of brown pants but they looked a little big for his slim figure…not exactly a knight in shining armor…but hey…it’s the inside that counts?
He then led me to the main conference room to wait for where I met Margaret Potts, the general sales/office/human resources/personnel manager (that is a lot of hats to wear!) She looked old enough to be my grandmother with short white hair and glasses, donning a blue blazer with a long black skirt. Margaret, in a soft voice, first welcomed me to the company and gave a brief history of JLS and shared her enthusiasm success around the world.
She then gave me a tour of the organization. JLS’s headquarters is divided into two sections with the reception lobby in the middle. The left section is mostly composed of the sales/marketing and shipping team along with the office of the CEO. The software engineers, IT, product development, and finance are located in the right section. Both sections were mostly made of office and little cubicles.
During the tour, Margaret introduced me to the people I would be working with including Lumiere and Francesca (she goes by Frankie) on the accounting team. They are overseen by Lee and Sean, the CFO and Controller, respectively. Then there are Liz and Fearne on the sales team working under Mr. Cogsworth. I also met Pippa, Scott, Duncan and Simon who work in the IT department…so any issues with my computer system or email…I go to them. I also met Chip who works with Tyson in the shipping department.
Later, I met with two members of the marketing team, Rachel and Jodi. While they were sweet when they greeted me, I heard Jodi quietly smirk under her breath “well let’s see how long you will last.” This made me wonder how long did the last receptionist stay and why did she leave? And were there many receptionists before her? Rachel’s comment further made me question whether JLS is as a hostile corporate environment as most one percent companies are. But I decided to just shrug it off.
Wow…so many names to memorize…it doesn’t help that the employees don’t have name tags by their cubicles or offices…I wouldn’t suppose Margaret would welcome the idea of inviting all the employees to participate in a huge ice-breaker where I can learn everyone’s names and they can learn mine while learning more about their fellow colleagues like their favorite animal that happens to also start with the same letter in their first name. Right…you expect that of a Fortune 500 company? Hey! I bet Google, Facebook, and Twitter does it! I suppose it will take me a couple of days to match names with faces especially when sorting through the mail and distributing pay checks. Thank goodness for LinkedIn!
Anyways, after meeting with almost everyone, Margaret emphasized that since I am the “face” of the company, I must always dress in business-formal attire and no jeans (yes even on casual Friday). Personally, I don’t have a problem with it because I love fashion and dressing up to look my best. So..I am thinking a strong combination of Olivia Pope and Jessica Pearson with a hint of Rachel Zane?
She then left me with Tyson to further train and help me get familiar with my duties as a receptionist which include answering phone calls, processing subscription orders, booking meetings, ordering food and necessary supplies for special events, cleaning the kitchen, and locking the elevator at the end of the day. As he was talking, I could not help but notice he still maintained his monotone voice and acted very straight-forward and to the point. There was no sense of compassion or enthusiasm. When I asked him a question, he would only give me a short answer and go back to what he was saying as if he was memorizing a script. I wondered if this was just his business professional voice. Or maybe, he’s just shy and a little reserve when meeting new people.
Finally, I officially began my position as a receptionist of JLS. The job is actually not so complicated. I just have to make sure that orders are stamped, copied, and processed to Frankie by the end of the day while answering phone calls and making sure the office runs smoothly in this fast-paced environment. Thank goodness I am a talented multi-tasker! The phone calls can be a challenge especially identifying whether the caller are salespeople or they are the business partners/clients of JLS. Chip suggested at least, just direct those calls to the voice messages. Hopefully, my past experience doing those phone banking calls for state representative Mollie Wong’s US senatorial campaign last summer comes into play.
Soon, the end of the day came by quicker than I thought. I did not realize how tired I actually was when I handed Margaret, the elevator key. I was happy and relieved to go home and snuggle with Phillipe. Fortunately, the commute from JLS is 20 to 30 minutes back to my apartment on one train ride.