Receptionists do a lot more than smile and answer the phone. But you wouldn’t know that by the way many companies value their contribution to the firm. Or the way people think about them. Often, they are treated as “lower class” — even within the firm they work for.
When I was thinking about writing this, I googled receptionist and saw that many people wonder why they are so rude. They also ask if receptionists are obsolete. Certainly a very different take than the one I set out to cover here.