I picked up favorite coworker’s phone line this morning as she had stepped out of the office.  The person on the line asked for favorite coworker.  I told her I was not favorite coworker.  She went on to speak to me as if I was favorite coworker so I interrupted her to let her know that favorite coworker was out of the office.  She said “That is ok, you’ll be able to help me.”  She then asked for the number of one of the grad students.  Now, I have nothing at all to do with the grad students and unless I know the student personally I would not know their number.  To top it off, this particular grad student is studying in another hospital completely.  So I told her that I could put her on hold for favorite coworker as I did not have the number.

Her tone got nasty as she told me that she didn’t want to be put on hold, she wanted the #.  I told her that I don’t have the number as she is at a different hospital, and I have no way of looking that up.  (Understand that this woman and I both have exactly the same resources of looking up numbers.)  She told me that perhaps I could give her the number of the doctor who is mentoring this student.  I told her that both the student and the doctor are at a different hospital and I don’t have access to their phone numbers any more than she does.  She told me she had just called that hospital and those people weren’t at that hospital.  I told her all I could do was put her on hold or have favorite coworker call her back.

And then……she called me useless!

Oh I was steamed!  I hung up the phone and was shaking.  Not a nice way to start the day!  Favorite coworker came in and I told her who had called and that I was just called useless.  Favorite coworker shot this woman an email letting her know the numbers.  I, quite frankly, continued to stew while having a little more coffee.

Shortly thereafter I received a call from the woman again.  I am happy to say that she apologized for her attitude.  I was surprised to hear the apology.  She tried to explain herself.  I could not tell her I thought it was OK.  I’ve never treated anyone like that on the phone and I was not about to tell her that her attitude was excusable.  I just thanked her for her apology and firmly mentioned that she should have an email from favorite coworker indicating the numbers.

I might still be a little steamed.