Our lives revolve around numbers, especially those of us who are a part of the multifamily industry. We obsess over occupancy numbers, rental rates, market rates, competitive analysis of what our competition is charging and how they are faring in comparison to our properties. We worry over square footage, cash flow, budget adherence, maintenance costs, how much that recent snow fall will cost to remove and whether or not it will add excessively to our Overtime budget (if we even budgeted for any overtime!) We worry about the number of move outs each month, whether or not we can cover that number with an equal number of move ins and how much traffic we need to cover any other upcoming move outs. We obsess about everything.
Every January, someone usually gives us, or we buy a calendar, planner, or date book and update our Outlook calendars. We try to re-train ourselves to remember to write the correct current calendar year. However, until recently, I never realized how annoying numbers can be, especially when we are, as a person, reduced to being known only as a number.
Having the unfortunate experience of facing a somber medical crisis, I began the journey of visiting first, my family doctor, then a myriad of specialists, hospitals, outpatient clinics and so on. I never realized how much medicine has changed until then. It used to be I could call my physician’s office and the receptionist would say, “Yes, Mindy, sure, let me see when we can get you in today,” She would proceed to take my information as to my symptoms and simply tell me my appointment time. Those were the days when I might have had a strep throat, or bronchitis or simply a sinus infection. In fact, those were the days when they would often just call in an antibiotic, thus bypassing an office visit completely. It wasn’t that I called a lot for myself, but as a busy teacher raising two children, the people who worked in the office usually got to know the family pretty well since when your child gets sick, usually the whole family does.
After the first phone call to my doctor’s new office (he is now not a solo practitioner – Egads! I suppose no one is anymore!), I was greeted by a Call Center first responder whose first remark was, “Date of birth, please.”
Oh? Okay, well it’s 11/24/----.
I answer that I have moved from the previous address and provide the new information so she can update their system.
It is then that she asks my name. Really? That is the third question???? The kicker is that she tells me the name I provide is not the one she has in her system since they must now only use the Formal Given Name as Listed on one’s Birth Certificate. What???? But nobody knows me by that name and I refuse to even acknowledge my parents were stupid enough to name me that in the first place. Doesn’t matter. You must allow them to use that name, though you may prefer your middle, nick or whatever other name you always use. In the end, it turns out, that doesn’t even matter anyway, as the only thing they ask me each time I call (and it can be three times every week right now) is “What is your DOB?”
The pharmacy is exactly the same way, too. Nobody cares that you like your nickname and hate your “given legal first name” as they continue to ignore your requests to call you be your preferred name. Everyone in the medical profession, at every single stage of your treatment will ask you FIRST what your date of birth is.
I wonder, is this how Residents feel when they send you emails, call on the phone, or come into the office? Do we only know them by their apartment (or worse – UNIT NUMBER)? I usually recognize Residents by name; however, after experiencing the trauma of the medical profession, I will strive to never refer to anyone ever again by only his or her unit number. How impersonal can you be in one of the most PERSONAL BUSINESSES there is?