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I spent summers during high school working for temp agencies, often as a receptionist during staff vacations. It was great business experience. It showed me how a busy office operates, taught me proper business etiquette, and forced me to get really good at typing! All valuable skills for my future career.

One thing that a receptionist will learn with some experience is that in terms of priority, customers standing in front of you always come before customers on the phone. If someone has walked into a business, the receptionist should give them his or her immediate attention. If the phone rings, the caller gets placed on hold while the receptionist finishes assisting the customer in front of them.

With everyone practically carrying “the world in their pocket” via their smartphone, sometimes we forget to prioritize the existence of others in our presence, or real-world experiences, over the demands on our attention from calls, emails, text messages, FaceBook and Twitter updates, and check-ins (especially to see who else is there, as if the person we came with is not enough.) Not to mention the pull to look up the answer to the question that’s been bothering us, or to check the weather for tomorrow while we’re thinking of it, or to see how far it is to our next appointment.

All of these things add a new and rich dimension to our lives, and I’m an avid user of most of these fantastic communication tools. However, consider this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”

Those are moments that can only happen when you are present in the life that you are living at that moment, and not the one happening inside the little box in your hand. Personally, I’d hate to miss one of those moments that King describes. I think it serves me to remember what I learned during my years as a receptionist.

Thanks for reading!