Finding Joy in an Angry Phone Call

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017

I work in an office on the Hill so I answer a lot of phone calls, many of which are complaints. While this might not be the fast-paced, politically charged day you hope for when you imagine your time in DC – it is essential to the process and valuable experience.
When the intern coordinator for my office asked what my goals for the internship were, one of my answers was to “make a positive impact” whether that was on the office, on the district, or even on one project. I wanted to know that I left something better than I had found it. The dozens of phone calls I answer every day provide dozens of chances to make a positive difference.
There are certainly phone calls where I spend twenty minutes holding the phone far enough away from my ear to ensure that the yelling from the other end doesn’t cause permanent hearing loss, but those aren’t the calls that stick out to me.
I have had the opportunity to encourage a high school student that just caught the political bug and is calling their Congressman for the first time to continue calling and seek out opportunities to become further involved even if they can’t vote yet. I have helped school teachers plan school trips for their students and helped a new citizen experience their capitol for the first time.
My goal is to always make sure that the people of the district feel that they are being heard, even if their only goal is to yell. This has led to me developing relationships with constituents that call in frequently – some of them even ask whomever else answered the phone to tell me they say hello or being told that they appreciate me making their concern personal.
I am not going to tell you that there is joy in every phone call, but you can find it in many of them if you listen hard enough.

Rachel Thompson
Office of Congressman Will Hurd
Washington, D.C. | fall 2017