By Kaitlyn Steffenhagen
Sigh. Another hang-up. For whatever reason, whether it’s my tone or my approach, people just don’t want to talk to me.
I am a Phonathoner. I am of a unique breed, dedicating my (paid) time to speaking with alumni and friends of the College about the Kalamazoo College Fund, which, in case you didn’t know, pays for your scholarship—a worthwhile endeavor, I would say. Which is why I cannot understand how some people are so against it.
I think I’m a friendly person. I greet people on the street. I like children and cute animals. I’ve never been prone to random acts of violence, and I don’t have the voice of a child molester.
Yet there are just some people out there who must think I’m going to come through the phone, hold them at gunpoint and force them to write out a check to the school. Though sometimes I think this would be an easier way to get funds, it’s not my job. I’m simply calling to speak pleasantly with past K College students, which is why I cannot understand the rudeness that becomes me and my fellow Phonathoners.
I’ve had hangups, insults thrown at me and just general contempt come through the phone. I’ve been brought to tears because of a rant against me personally, and this is not uncommon amongst other Phonathoners.
Have some compassion, people. We do this job because we honestly like talking to you and hearing your stories, but one bad call can ruin a Phonathoner’s entire night. Really, we only want to talk to you for a little bit and we’re all nice people–that’s why we were hired. You can at least hear us out. The rudeness is just inexcusable.
That being said, one nice person can make your entire night pleasant. I’ve enjoyed many wonderful conversations with alums. I appreciate their stories, memories and past experiences. It makes Phonathoning more than a job and it lets me connect with another generation who might have gone through the same things that I’m going through now. I love those alums who genuinely want to have a conversation with me about K College. These are the discussions every caller wants.
So when you graduate K and receive a call from a current student at the school, don’t hang up, don’t insult them and don’t be rude. They really do want to talk and engage with you. Make someone’s day and extend some pleasantness; it can really go a long way.