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A day in the life of... Annie Hogan

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A day in the life of... Annie Hogan

K9 in the RAS Library

Image Credit: A. Webb

Annie Hogan will be a familiar face to visitors to Burlington House, but as Membership Officer, what does she do?

I look after membership which includes Fellowship applications, renewals, journal subscriptions and voting, plus I’m one of the team on Reception. That means that, if I’m the first person in, I go round and turn on the lights, get a cup of tea and sit down at my computer to start on the day’s emails before the phone starts ringing.

When the post comes I sort it out and allocate it to the right people. There’s usually quite a bit for me, but in January there’s a lot extra and most of it is membership-related. January is a very busy time, with all the Fellowship renewals and the Direct Debits to be processed. It’s a terrifying amount of money to deal with – more than my flat is worth – and I have to make sure there are no anomalies in the data. I get the phone calls when something goes wrong and journals don’t arrive or Fellows can’t log onto the website. A lot of the time I’m explaining to people how the system works – I try to be as accommodating as possible, but there are some things that we simply can’t change. We’re learning from Fellows too – for example, we’re hoping to send out renewal notices earlier, because it’s such a busy time before Christmas for so many Fellows.

In reception we’re on the frontline and we deal with everything. I genuinely like people and my role is to be welcoming but sometimes it’s hard to be in the middle of a complicated job and have to break off to help a visitor or take a phone call. Some days I can’t even go downstairs to print things or get lunch because it’s so busy! I get lovely phone calls from Fellows who call up to talk about the latest things they’ve done, including one recently who’d been to the arctic circle to see the aurora. I find this fascinating and I really enjoy these conversations. Then again, sometimes we get emails and calls that ruin the day. We get a lot of calls from people who have seen something strange in the sky and want to talk to an astronomer. When I explain that we don’t have anyone who can do this, some callers are unbelievably rude.

I enjoy Specialist Discussion Meeting days – we get a lot of nice people through the door and I enjoy meeting them. Council days, however, can get a bit fraught, there’s a lot to organise including various bits of information to collate for the reports.

The public lectures are great fun, even though they take time in an evening. Sometimes I get to sit in on them, which I really enjoy. Working the Open House Saturday was great fun, as were the Lates sessions last summer. And when we had a book launch here with a Doctor Who theme, we had loads of visitors coming to see the Library and K9 was hanging around.

One of the things I enjoy is tracking down “lost” Fellows. We get quite a lot of returned mail when people have moved on and not told us of their new postal address. It often involves irate emails about fees and journals, but I’m not psychic! I get to do detective work on the internet to track them down in their new places. So, if you don’t want me chasing you through cyberspace, let me know when you move house or change your email address!

I get the phone calls when something goes wrong

I genuinely like people and my role is to be welcoming

Let me know when you move house or change your email address

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