Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Thursday, July 01, 2004
  Help Wanted: Multi-tasking, Aggressive, Team Player, For a Hands-On, Fast-Paced, Challenging Environment With Incredible Opportunities For Growth!

I always keep an eye peeled on the help wanted ads. I send out resumes and go on interviews from time to time also. As much as I hate my job, at least I can look carefully for my next job and not settle again.

I remember the time I got a really crappy job because I had not learned how to read the help wanted ads. Here is the ad I applied for:

"Looking for dynamic individuals for distribution, sales, and customer support for our line of industrial strength air cleaning equipment. Please call to set up an interview."
It was selling vacum cleaners door to door.....

It was out of some crappy warehouse in a bad part of town, and it was a really bad experience. My wife laughed at me when I finally admitted what I was doing. But I was out of work and they were paying me for training so I stayed with it for two weeks. Would not repeat that part of my life for a lot of money.

You see, like all social arenas of life, the employment arena has its own specialized vocabulary and sub-language that communicates larger ideas and concepts through short combinations of words or phrases. Let me see if I can help others from falling into the same trap I did. Here is a lexicon of common phrases used in help wanted ads and their meanings in the real world:

"Multi-Task": Of course, the regular definition of this means to be able to do more than one thing at a time. But what it really means is that "We don't have the capital to hire enough people to do all the work well, so we hire fewer people that can scurry around like rats and do it half-ass"

"Team-Player": Please check your soul, will and ability to form independent opinions at the door. You belong to us now, resistance is futile....

"Fast-Paced":Closely related to "Multi-Task", this means not only are there not enough people to do the work, but it means that "We make policy decisions as we go and rarely think ahead, be prepared to be in a continual state of panic because we are unable to plan."

"Aggressive": You are going to work with assholes, a stun-gun, pepper-spray, and a bayonet may not be bad additions to your attache case...

"Hands-On":You only thought you would be managing people, instead you will be doing half the work yourself. Buy some odor-eaters and Dr. Scholl's insoles.

"Challenging": Refer to "Aggressive".

"Opportunities for Growth": This can mean several things. Either something is based on commission, or they want you to open your own franchise. Either way, keep away...

"Flexible Hours":Of course, this means that the hours change at the whim and need of management. You flex for them...

"People Oriented":Looking for someone who thrives on being abused continually by the ignorant public for things they are unable to change, but must be the scapegoat for."

"Dynamic":Ever-changing, this company has the potential for quick growth, or to go under in the next week, when this week's checks all bounce, including your paycheck.

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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

Email:anonymous.cog at

"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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