Who Is This? What’s Your Operating Number?

I really like my job. I’ve been there two weeks. I was hired as the Head of Human Resources (I’m the only Human Resources person in the office so I head it) and Sales Rep. Depending on who calls, I am also Secretary, Program Coordinator, Camp Director, and according to one grandmother in Malvern Pennsylvania, That Very Nice Young Lady.

The company I work for is a full service turnkey solution. I have no idea what this means. All I know is we operate cool academic summer camps for kids, that colleges enlist our services and we build each camp from the ground up. We exist behind-the-scenes. We hire the teachers, develop the curricula, and enroll the students. If I do my job right, a parent of a perspective student has no idea that he or she is speaking with a third party provider.

I have six phone lines.

We run six distinct camps at six distinct colleges. When a parent calls–assuming that I am not making a paper daisy chain or googling my name–I answer the phone. That part isn’t so hard. It’s what I say into the phone next that makes my job an exhausting exercise in location.

Hello, (insert name of summer camp here), this is Rebecca.”

The first hurdle is putting the right camp with the right phone line. If I mess that up, I have to cough or pretend the school has a cute nickname that just happens to sound like the name of another school. The worst is when I say the name of our company. (Remember, we’re supposed to be an invisible turnkey.)

Um, there are also two phone lines just for our company.

OK, so let’s say I’m spot on. I’m representing the right college. I’m in a sales frenzy! I’m in the zone!

Mother of potential camper: “Performing Arts sounds ideal for my gifted-beyond-her-years-Sophie. Now tell me all about Troy, NY. How would you describe the Troy Farmer’s Market? At what angle does the evening light strike the campus quad?”

Me (scrambling to paraphrase website):



I am not in Troy. I have never been to Troy. I am in Brooklyn, in a Dumbo loft, with an unobstructed view of the Empire State Building, counting barges go by, wondering if the car plant across the street is giving me cancer. God forbid the caller is actually FROM Troy and asking about the weather, and I say it’s sunny here in Troy, where I most certainly am, then find out the people of Troy are snowed in and there’s been a rush on canned food and some hungry family just ate their frostbitten neighbor.

And when that happens–not the cannabalism, but my confusion–the guys I work with laugh and play me the following soundbite from Star Wars:

If only I had the smooth caller recovery of Han Solo. We’re all, uh, we’re all fine here in Troy.


3 responses to “Who Is This? What’s Your Operating Number?

  1. so happy to see you join the blogosphere. i hope it sticks on you. as for not renewing your phone, it seems the problem has been remedied with the EIGHT phone lines we can reach day becca on. enter problem, problem solved. now, just give us those digits.

  2. what is a operters nuber
    what does it do

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