Friday, November 7, 2008

Mr. Allan and Mayor John

Grunt work comes with every job. This week I was tasked with creating a spreadsheet of major employers in 7 nearby counties, along with contact information and corporate social responsibility or community giving policies of each. Curb your anticipation - this fascinating document remains undisclosed at present.

But grunt work also comes with unexpected amusements. In putting together this database, I found out that a major government contractor for security services is called "Pinkertons". Just the name I would have picked for a company that "specializes in security, fire, and emergency services". Don't worry, little Johnny, Pinkertons is on the way!

Further research revealed that Pinkerton National Detective Agency was a U.S. security and detective agency established in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton who became famous for spoiling an assassination attempt on then-president-elect Abraham Lincoln (credits, wikipedia). The Pinkertons I found were not the same agency, but were probably inspired by Mr. Allan.

Interesting, hm?

My best grunt work experience was at Take Pride in America, the volunteer arm of the US Department of Interior. I was calling mayors across the nation - the U.S. has a lot of mayors, by the way - to solicit interest in our mayor partnership program to help care for public lands.

I was getting used to cold professional secretaries or endless automated phone options when I placed a call to a mayor in a small New York town.

Woman answering phone: "Hello?"
Erin: "Hi. My name is Erin, I'm calling from Take Pride in America [blah, blah]. May I please speak with Mayor [LastName]?
Woman: "Who?"
Erin: "Um. Mayor [LastName]?
Woman: "Oh. Okay. Hold on." pause, sound of phone being muffled with hand. "John!! JO--HN!!!" pause, phone unmuffled. "Hold on. I think he just went to the bathroom." muffled. "JO-OH-OHN!!" unmuffled. "He'll call you back in a few minutes."

True to her word, I had a delightful conversation with Mayor John after he relieved himself. I don't remember if he took up our partnership offer.


Denise Eskelson said...

Oh my goodness! Loved the story about the mayor. Good to know that people in high places exhibit a great degree of professionalism. Hope your "job" is coming along nicely.

Sarah Black said...

So John was in the john?

Chelsea said...

Pretty sure my tenth grade algebra teacher was Mr. Pinkerton. It's a name you don't forget, I'll give it that much.