An emailer recently presumed to tell me who I am, what my job title is, and what my duties are—all without knowing to whom she was speaking. Unfortunately she was wrong on all accounts except my name. This is actually not that uncommon, as I have a very common name.
I was named after Mama, and Daddy was in the Air Force. In the military everything you do, everywhere you go, as dependents you are identified by your first name and your sponsors last name and last four Social Security digits. People were always mixing me and Mama up. I can’t tell you the number of times I went to the Base Hospital and they pulled Mama’s chart—even when I would tell them my middle name. Therefore, when I hired on at VA eighteen years ago, it did not phase me when they too had mistaken identity issues. At that time there were at least eight Others in the VA system nationwide—(I say at least, because I was number nine)—they have probably multiplied by now. One of The Other eight also worked here at my VA until her retirement about 8-10 years ago. Prior to that, VA mixed up our Employee Health Records and Canteen Bill on a routine basis. When she retired, I thought that would be the last of it. I don’t know what I thought would happen. I had a PollyAnna Moment. They closed out my EPD (Employee Payroll Deduction) card. Five years after she retired I still fielded the occasional telephone call for her. Since she's been retired about a decade now, I thought perhaps we were done with the mistake identity. PollyAnna, PollyAnna, will you ever learn?! Maybe not…. Although I thought I knew who I am after 56 years of living, the emailer believed she knew me better and she proceeded to tell me about myself….
The original email talked about Travel Vouchers. The local Other worked with travel, but I don’t think she did anything with vouchers—so I’m really not sure why the emailer would have been sending it to her—unless she was working from a back log of over eight years ago. I am in the habit of returning emails and telephone calls to inform the sender that they reached the wrong person, so they will not be expecting a response from me. I also tell them I am a Registered Nurse/Patient Care Coordinator at my VA—just to clarify. Most people thank me, then find the correct person. No problemo. Not this emailer .
I received a second email telling me I was in fact the correct person because "you are a travel voucher processor and per CGE you returned the voucher to the traveler." As I read her email I could envision speaking to a child or not-so-bright adult, while shaking her finger in their face.
What I thought:
Sorry to bust your bubble toots but you are wrong on all counts. I don't do vouchers, haven't a clue what CGE is, and the only travelers I deal with are Bandit and Moggy.
However my employer frowns on less than professional interactions, so this this what I emailed: "No. As I stated in my last email, I am the Patient Care Coordinator on 2K. You have the wrong Mary Robinson." I thought that was succinct (people say I tend to be a bit wordy) and easy to understand...
The third time she interrupted my exceedingly busy, more problem-prone than usual day, was not with an apology for the mistake and the two follow up annoyances—where she in essence told me I wrong—and I am evidently unaware of who I am.
Nooooooo, her email said, "Sorry if you are not the person Mary Robinson."
What?! IF I'm not the person?! Of course I'm the person. Of course my name is Mary Robinson. I'm just not the Mary Robinson you are seeking!! Are you a bot?! (Sorry for the insult to bots all over the world.) Have you beenreading my responses to your emails?!