In life we all act differently depending on who we are with and the situation at hand. In almost every situation we act in a different way, with our friends in public, with our family members at home, with coworkers, and most importantly our boss in a work environment. Depending on who we are with you could say our personality changes. As humans we know how to act in every situation, at work you would dress more formal, whereas going out with a group of friends you would dress more causal. Along with our looks changing, we also change our behaviors, the way we talk, sit, the tone of your voice, etc. At a doctor’s office, the receptionist must play a defined role. She has to act polite, caring, professional, and must remain discreet about her patient’s information and conditions. The receptionist is 27 year old Hispanic woman, she works at the doctor’s office from 8 am to 5 pm. She is acting in a professional manner, well maintained, dressed in scrubs with closed toe shoes. I would describe the receptionist as upper middle class social status.
The receptionist sits at her front desk in the middle of the doctor’s office and greets all the patients. She is in charge of all the paper work, appointments, and all the patient’s charts. While analyzing the receptionist in her work environment I noticed many front stage behaviors and backstage behaviors (concepts used to describe the relationship between the roles actors play at a given moment and the various audiences these roles involve). For example, she would talk to almost everyone with respect, especially her patients and boss. Then when no one was around, I noticed that she was very rude to her coworkers. By looking at her coworkers facial expressions it was obvious to see they didn’t like the receptionist.
When the boss was around the receptionist would act very professional and caring towards everyone. Right when he would leave the room she would start doing different things that I’m sure wasn’t involved with her job. I noticed she was on her cell phone a lot, texting and talking in a very rude way to people and mostly about her personal problems, even though she was supposed to be working and taking care of her patients. When the boss would walk into the room she would quickly hide her cell phone and act as if she is working. The receptionist never noticed that I was observing her every move therefore I was able to see her front stage and backstage behavior. We all have these behaviors, but I was shocked to see that this receptionist showed both her personality sides at a professional working environment.
Using an approach, like dramaturgy, helped me to analyze social interaction in a more interesting and complex way. If I had been just simply observing the receptionist I would have never payed attention to her backstage behavior. By using a dramaturgical approach I noticed how her personality would change depending on if the boss was in the room or not. This approach provides us with a deeper understanding on how humans think and act. In life most of us only show our good side to people especially at work, therefore I was surprised to have been able to see the receptionist rude side.
I think if the receptionist had known that I was observing her she would have acted only in front stage behavior. This assignment was very beneficial to me it helped me to take a deeper look at what microsociologists do. Now I have a different perspective on how people act. I knew that humans act differently in public than they do in private but I had never seen it happen in real life which made this assignment so much more interesting to me. I think it is really important to know how to act in every situation. Some people do not understand that a work environment needs to remain professional whereas going out with your friends can be more social and personal.
Overall I enjoyed this assignment because it opened up my mind to bigger ideas. It made me think if a person can act like this in work environment imagine how they act with friends, people they like, and just imagine seeing people they don’t like in public. It made me think that if the receptionist wasn’t scared to talk rudely to her coworkers in the office imagine how she would act if she saw them in public. From now on I think I will always be using the dramaturgical approach because it provides us with a richer meaning and deeper understanding of human behavior.