Workforce Profiles look at the people behind Workforce WindsorEssex’s 76 In-Demand Jobs. Each week, we talk to a different professional for an inside look into their work.
The first face people see at the office of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Parish is Pat Bombardier. She started her career working in dental offices and then joined the church staff four years ago.
Receptionists greet people coming into offices and other establishments, direct them to the appropriate contacts or services, provide general information in person and by phone, and other tasks. You can learn more about it on our Career Profile.
We chatted with Pat on a busy day in the office and asked her about her career, getting started, and her advice for doing great work:
How long have you been working?
I’ve been a receptionist for twenty-four years. I was a housewife until my daughter turned twelve and then I went back to work. I went to St. Clair College’s medical secretary program. I did the nighttime program, a two-year course.
How did you start at this job?
I belong to this Parish. The advertisement came up that they were looking for a secretary and I applied. It just happened that I worked at a dental office as a secretary and he retired. It all worked out that he retired when this came up so here I am.
What is your job like?
I answer the phone. I book masses. I take care of first communion and confirmation. Everything in general.
Everything I do is my favourite. I love every part of it. You greet people and I love seeing everyone. It gets hectic sometimes, but you just have to deal with it. Other than that, it’s the cat’s patoot.
How is this different than your previous receptionist job?
The difference with the dental office, you had to put through forms for insurance. Other than that, you answer the phone and take care of paperwork; it’s all the same. The difference is that here; you are using the computer but doing different things like masses rather than insurance. Dental is more of medical and this is religious.
What advice would you give to new receptionists?
Be courteous. People are always looking for a happy and friendly greeter. You are the main person that they see, so they want to see a happy person. You can get loaded down, but when they come in, it’s your call to be happy.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned?
My computer skills. I thought I had computer skills until you have to start learning new programs. The challenge is the computer. There is always something new.
When I worked as a receptionist twenty-four years ago, there was no computers. Now everything is on the computer. A lot of people are paperless, but I’m still a paper person and need my sticky notes. Paperless is great, but I’m still old school.