Since I was 16 years old, I have worked on and off in the customer service industry – specifically referring to call centers. Some larger than others. I didn’t really like it, but it’s where I fell into. And interestingly enough, it’s hard to get taken seriously when you apply into a different industry with no prior experience or educational experience. So, from this, I will leave you with an idea of what it is like to be a customer service representative. Again, call center based.
I used to like people, to some degree. Granted, my social anxiety has always been a big factor in why I didn’t approach people. I mean, hell, why do we even call people shy anymore? Can’t we just relate to those individuals (including myself) as socially awkward fucktards? Sure, it’s not “pc”. I get it. But it’s a funny in your head kinda thing, isn’t it?
I guess customer service experiences vary. From the tadpole to the big ass fucking toad. If you are unfortunate enough to be a tadpole, then watch it. Not only are you going to be paid a slim unlivable wage, but if make too much for medical assistance and you have to pay insurance – you might as well get a part time gig as a panhandler. There’s plenty of dirt. Dig in!
No matter how I word things, it will most definitely be picked apart by anyone who experiences life differently. Sure, there are the people who find great success in that field. And I tip my invisible hat to you sir or ma’am (or ms if you prefer). I just found myself not enjoying my experiences.
I know that everyone has THAT boss. You know, the one that never seems to get in trouble. He always has his favorites – and you’re not on that list of favorites. Tho, it’s interesting how he never seems to be working! Imagine that…. Or the woman that can’t seem to keep her nose out of her superior’s ass long enough to see the irony of how downsizing has worked in the past. And she could be part of that outplacement program. I’ve heard of someone who even had to train her own replacement because of outsourcing! It’s sick!
I won’t go into socioeconomic or political agenda here. Not worth my time, not an argument I’m willing to endulge someone of.
Like I said before. I used to like people. I’ve always been a little weird though. I’ve always been chatty. As you can tell from my prior blogs. If I know someone well enough to be comfortable with them socially, I will talk. And probably talk a lot. And sure, sometimes my pleasantness becomes a distraction. So then call times can be longer. So the stats don’t add up to where the upper management want them to be. I’m on “the watch” list, so to speak. I get talked to about ways to curb this “habit” of mine. Hell, maybe even throw in some shadowing.
At a prior employer, I was working a lot of mandatory overtime. And I don’t deal well with pressure. It was just too hard. Especially juggling school, work, and family. The company I worked for had an Employee Assistance Program. And I had utilized their website, their materials, and even called them from time to time. There was one night where my manager was out for the night. And there were no other available managers around to ask if I could use the phone to call out to the employee assistance program during my shift. I just needed to talk to someone and vent. That’s it. So I asked a lady that sat next to me – she had the same job title I did. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably shouldn’t have listened to the bitch.
I went into a private room where employees would have our monthly one on one type sessions with the employees bosses. The rooms were all just glass. Well, except for the door. So, I wasn’t hiding anything. I wasn’t calling an anarchy help line or trying to stir up gossip with a friend or something. I still ended up doing the mandatory overtime and I was talked to about it the next day. And not in a good way either.
The customers that I’ve dealt with, although many were pleasant – there were many that were not. I’ve dealt with sexual harassment both on and off the floor. The majority were calls that were placed in. I worked with an outsourcing company that was paid to do customer service for a phone company that doesn’t exist anymore. A caller kept calling my department and using lingo that one would use when calling our department. Except in a crude sexualized manner. And then he would start masturbating. The swearing, berating that we don’t know our jobs, or even just trying imply that they a class above us all. Again, most callers were good. There are always those calls that make you want to jump right out of your skin.
I still can’t get over the call that I got working for the outsourcing company – emphasis on the program for travel. The man who threatened to not feed a group of under privilaged boys until I moved them into a more satisfactory hotel than the one they were currently staying in. He had the young boys say hi to me over the phone – moving the receiver close to their mouths so it was clear. Not knowing that there were problems at home. A neighbor was murdered right through the wall from us. He wasn’t even dead before the emergency responders wheeled him out of his apartment. But he had been bludgeoned with hammers and baseball bats by numerous assailants. And he also didn’t know that the woman he spoke to on the phone had to work while her good for nothing husband (at the time) was sleeping while their toddler child run amok in their apartment. Locked into her room while he avoided her. When he would wake up, he’d open her door and throw a few ketchup packets in to satisfy her hunger. Sure, I don’t need to inform my callers about this to try to make myself more human to him. I shouldn’t have to. I know that there are very cruel people in this world that will do or say worse than what he did to me on that night. But every time I talk to a professional about it, I end up in tears.
We all bring shit into the workplace. Whether it’s a past or present issue from home or somewhere else. The movie Tammy illustrated it fairly well when she arrived late to work after hitting a deer and having no one that could pick her up to bring her in on time. I’m not saying she was right in her approach once she got there… but we can’t all just sluff off our lives at the door. That we somehow go into “work mode”.
I guess for me, I am cynical. I will be the first to admit it. I also know this. But every person that walks into their job as a customer service representative or beyond is a person. I think that one call was the straw that broke the camels’ back. Some might argue that I’m giving that caller power over my life. That could be true. I do accept that idea. I also accept that I am working on things. That I might not be the ideal self, but I am who I am. Right or wrong.
I wish people could just see for a minute that working in customer service should not be so terrible. That we shouldn’t use social standing to hold over on someone you are presently seeking help from. That we all have our training. If you sign something digitally or otherwise, you are bound to the terms you signed to. So your need to feel superior by berating someone who makes $8.50 an hour who might have a family at home to support doesn’t deserve that crap. Hell, no one does. But does it matter when that person is in the moment? Might be pmsing or had an argument with someone they care about or love. Or lost someone they cared about or loved. Does it make anything any easier? Well, maybe someone will just throw a pacifist hand your way just to throw the numbers down a bit and satisfy upstairs. Or maybe they just don’t want to deal with your bullshit and have the clearance to say something the other guy/gal couldn’t. Who knows. Either way, there isn’t really an excuse. If you’re hungry, eat first before you call. Do what you need to do to satisfy your immediate needs and when you’re more rational… come back. Call. It’s not always that easy, I get it. But if your tv is broken or your flight is overbooked and they can’t get you on an alternate flight ANYWHERE or really hardly seem to want to try …. that isn’t necessarily a situation that can’t be worked around. I assure you, being called a piece of shit… a lowlife, a waste of space, or whatever else thrown at me will help you wind up in any different of circumstances. FYI.
I write this because in less than 8 hours, I go into the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to try to swallow my pride to get a part time job to help support Darrian’s need for braces. I am absolutely terrified of what I’ll see when I walk in the door to the building. Or rather who I will see or what they will say. Or what my responses will be to what they say to me. I can’t tell you enough how terrified this makes me. I may not be sitting in a wheel chair. My disabilities aren’t necessarily visual. They are real. And so, here I go to try to face my demons again. To pave the way to not be the piece of shit layabout that costs you your tax paying dollars… I guess. (Sorry, just real tired of seeing and hearing about how these people on foodshare are wasting resources, or that people are getting away with having disabilities that are fictional. I can assure you, I have paperwork. I am not broken physically. But I sure as hell feel like it.
Just as a disclaimer at the end. I guess the main reason for posting – not just pure venting is because I have this incredible need to feel like I need to explain myself to people. Like I have to prove myself. And I haven’t done anything wrong, so I shouldn’t have to. See, this is where therapy comes in! When the head and the heart can’t come to an agreement. Come, have a seat. Now, let’s talk about you.
Take care…. Oh, and thanks for reading. I know I don’t say it often, but it really means a lot to me anytime someone reads my posts. Just a nice feeling.
So, thank you again.