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A day in the life of ...Richard O'Sullivan, Administration Officer

Richard O'Sullivan

Image Credit: R. O'Sullivan

The RAS Reception in Burlington House is where everybody starts their visit – and it's where they come if anything goes wrong. And Richard O'Sullivan is likely to be the person they ask to sort it out.

Richard O’Sullivan 

I work in Reception with responsibility for meetings and room bookings, among with all sorts of other things. So when I get in in the morning I open up and check that the rooms are ready, with tea, coffee and water, that the laptops are ready and the Fellows’ Room is well stocked. Then I sit down and tackle the emails.

I organize room bookings for meetings, which can mean a lot of planning emails beforehand. If it’s a small meeting, up to 15, I sort out the teas and coffees myself; if it's a bigger meeting, I coordinate meals with the organizers and our caterers. For the Specialist Discussion Meetings, I print out the programmes and print and send out the posters to Points of Contact beforehand. I let Fellows and visitors into the building, making sure they sign in, so we know who’s in the building.

In Reception, we are the first people that Fellows and visitors see and we can usually help them do what they need to do. It’s also my job to assist with running safety checks and making sure the lights work, so I carry out a weekly walk round the building. If it’s just a matter of changing light bulbs, I’ll do it myself – unless it’s in one of the chandeliers, when I have to call the electrician to go up to the heights.

I also fix Fellows’ cards when they don’t work, and regularly have to explain that the door cards work only between 9 and 5.30. I do sometimes wish visitors could be a bit more considerate with the fabric of the building – it’s old and it can be tricky to fix when, say, a door has been slammed one time too many. And I’d love it if all the Fellows read the notices about food and drink in the Lecture Room and paid attention!

I like working here. We’re a very close-knit team in Reception and we work well together. We keep an eye on everyone’s birthdays and get cards. Working in this famous building is great and it’s a very nice location, although you can be tempted to spend too much money on your lunch break! I enjoy showing people round the building, people who come in to have a look around and new Fellows who haven’t been here before. They send me some very nice emails back to thank me. I’m quite into astronomy so I love working here.

The Library is amazing, Sian our librarian, showed me a glass plate photo of a Total Solar Eclipse in 1898 – really impressive. And I love that we’ve got a piece of Newton’s apple tree! My family and friends didn’t really get the significance of these objects apart from my Dad!

A good day is one when everybody tells us what’s going on, nothing breaks down, deliveries come in on time and meetings run smoothly. It can be a bit quiet at times but there is always something to do. I have come from working in private practice and also hospital A&E where I worked for 4 years as a receptionist which was a great experience meeting people from all walks of life.

In Reception, we are the first people that Fellows and visitors see

I regularly have to explain that the door cards work only between 9 and 5.30

I'm quite into astronomy, so I love working here


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