Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Friday, October 29, 2004
  It finally happened...Part 4

Part 3

The GM broke the silence,
"AC, if you look at your overall numbers compared to other people, they are very low. You are on the low end of production for new requests for service. This type of wasting time is just a symptom of your substantive failings as an advisor."

I had finally come to a place in my passive-aggressive life where I would not roll over again. I was going to say how I felt this time and really defend myself...

I drew in a breath and started to speak. At once I felt like I was on the inside looking out on somebody else speaking. There was no awkward pauses, there were no "well...", or "uhh...", none of those verbal devices we use while we try to think of what to say next. No, this was flowing smooth.

"My numbers are low? Well, this is great. After working here almost five years without any kind of review, you've picked now to offer me some constructive criticism. I would have enjoyed knowing what you really wanted for these last five years."
My eyes were very wide, my voice had raised in volume.

5 seconds passed...
They both sort of tilted their heads, wrinkled their brows, like a guy I remember from college always looked at algebra equations with fractions in it. I don't think they expected a such a strong response.

The GM stuttered for a second, then started again, "But you must have noticed that your numbers are low. You must have noticed that you don't clear as many transactions as the other people. All we are asking you to do is take a look at your numbers in comparison to the others."

It was not the same arrogant tone that I have grown to hate. He was not superior, or demeaning. It sounded like a father talking to a wayward child he loved dearly.

That had the opposite effect on me. How dare you treat me like shit for the rest of the workweek, almost never greet me in the hall, and then act like we have some sort of relationship.

"Oh, I've looked at my numbers compared to everyone else. Let me tell you what I have found. I perform more quality-assurance calls, I perform more billing update calls than some of your veteran top performers out there."

Larry interrupted, "You don't do as good of a job as Rico, and he does the same sort of advising as you do! His numbers are great!"

I wasn't ready for this. Rico is actually my friend even though he is a not a great worker. Like all of us, I didn't come up with an answer for this until much later. Instead, I chose to ignore Larry and try to hammer away at the GM some more.

"All of the things that you guys go on and on about being important, cost-analysis, complete billing addresses, advising customers about market changes, I do all of that. Do I get any kind of reward for that? Do I get a pat on the back? Not at all. Meanwhile, you give all the credit to your veterans that never do what you write about in all these memos. I've looked at my numbers, and they are good when it comes to the things that you have told me are important. Maybe I should become like these guys and only do the calls that are easy. Is that what you want?"

"If numbers are so important, why have you never told me what numbers you want from me? The fact is since you have not told me what you want, I do the best I know how, I take care of the customers the way your memos tell me to."

The GM awkwardly replies, "You must have known we give you some consideration besides purely basing your performance. I mean we can't tell people that they must hit so many numbers, it's impossible."

"I believed that was the case, I believed that you weren't grading me on my numbers, that is, until today..."

I continued to stare at them both.

The GM managed to gather up some arrogance again, "Getting back to the original reason for this meeting, that is your waste of time and company resources in things we can't bill out.You do know, we are here to make money, that's what its all about."

"I'm very clear that you are here to make money and how important that is."

The thing that really gets me is, he did not get any of the meaning of my response, nor do I think its possible for him to. I continued, trying to lead this towards a more conciliatory tone, with just once more zinger left...

"I can see where you are coming from about this. I understand. I guess I was a little confused about these offers, because Larry told me to give out information for free before, and I thought it was ok..."

Larry was burning up, I had probably damaged our relationship forever. I did not care, he ratted me out, he needed to know it worked both ways.I decided I would build a bridge at this point. I was becoming very tired, and it was hard to keep my emotions in check.

"Look, I know I have a problem wasting time, and I really made a mistake to day. I promise you both I will never do this again and will make a real effort to not waste time and see how I can increase my numbers. Is there anything else you need from me?"

They just shook their heads "no". I think they were tired also.

As I got up to leave, the nice guy reappeared instantly,"Do you want me to close the door on the way out?"

The GM shook his head "yes", and they were silent as I left.

I felt like a limp ragdoll. I was still hot with emotion, and still was trying not to hate them. But there was a new feeling inside: self-respect, dignity, the soul was still there...

Click Here to Read the Epilogue.

Thanks for reading...


Thursday, October 28, 2004
  It finally happened...Part 3

Part 2
"...When the call volume slowed down, he said, "AC, do you have all your requests finished for now?" "Yes I do." "Come into the general manager's office, We want to talk to you."

I'm sitting in the general managers office, with my supervisor Larry. I was amazed it finally come to this point. I had never been in here in trouble before, not to this point. Normally, Larry would bark at me, I would acquiesce and that was the end of it. I've never argued or talked back before.

I originally liked the GM when I first met him, but the lack of real action, raises, reviews, and mixed signals have made me realize he really does not care about the employees. He's just another souless cog with sharper teeth and bigger pay.

He breaks the silence.

"What is so difficult about following instructions for you? We have spoken to you about this on several occasions and you continue to disobey us. You are not to write these requests or handle these jobs without the offer-code." He is leaning back in his leather chair, with his leg crossed. His pastel tie and coiffed hair are mocking me, like his patronizing demeaning tone.

I replied, "I did not write it up. I knew we could not bill it out, so I was just giving the customer the information to get him off the phone."

The GM continues.

"AC, if you look at your overall numbers compared to other people, they are very low. You are on the low end of production for new requests for service. This type of wasting time is just a symptom of your substantive failings as an advisor."

I felt the blood rush to my face. My face tingled like I had just got a hypodermic full of Niacin plunged into my veins. I could feel my heart beating faster, and my breathing become more shallow.

In that instant, I could see the faces of teachers, and other employers, I could see the words of report-cards, performance reviews, and all of the words, and images that have seemed to mock me as long as I have been on this earth. "Does not focus... A busybody...Talks to his neighbors too much...Gets distracted easily...Could try harder...Not able to handle multiple tasks...".

It all rang in my ears, and flashed through my mind in milliseconds like I was hooked to a T1 connection from the pit of hell.

I've been an anonymous cog for a long time. I've always known what to say when I wanted people to like me, or when I wanted to avoid getting yelled at. I knew what they wanted to hear, and I knew what would get me out of this office with everything intact. I had done it often enough, apologize for being human, apologize and promise that I would be the best worker ever. Thank them for the opportunity to do better. Then go back to being the same old guy and hope they did not notice me because I showed up everyday, and did not make trouble so I could get that soul-sucking paycheck that makes me feel like a cheap whore who lost everything that makes me human inside.

But somewhere, from deep inside, there was rage burning. I had swallowed my soul too many times. Night and day since I have started this blog, I have wrote down how I really feel. My thoughts had taken shape, and were finally lucid. No longer is it just a knot in my belly and confused ramblings trying to justify my existence.

Yes, I waste time. Yes, I have room for improvement. But I am not without merit. Finally, I would not submit like a peasant without any kind of arm to defend my self against ruthless oppression.

My mind and heart were jam packed with thoughts and truths about this horrible place like a 30 round clip on an AK-47 rifle. I was about to pull the bolt back and release the first cartridge into the chamber. I had nothing else to lose. I had finally come to a place in my passive-aggressive life where I would not roll over again. I was going to say how I felt this time and really defend myself...
(continued in part 4)


Wednesday, October 27, 2004
  It finally happened...Part 2

Part 1

"...Somehow, through the din of twenty call center workers talking at once, my boss heard what I was doing. Over everything, he starts yelling, "You will not handle that call! Do you understand me! Without that offer code-you will turn this customer down immediately!"

I had told the customer that I would call him back with the information directly. He was already off the phone when the yelling began. I don't know why, but the tone in his voice started me yelling as loud as him, "Larry, I am not writing him up, I am just making one call for him!". Larry responded back, "I've warned you about that, you know better! Do not do anything without that offer code!". I don't remember how long it went on, but evidently I snapped and we were both screaming without using our "inside voices" as my sunday school teacher used to say. The guy in the cubicle next to me yelled at both of us saying "Would you guys quit yelling?! My customer can't hear anything! It's very unprofessional!"

Finally Larry-the direct supervisor shut up, but I could tell it wasn't over. He gave me that look like a mean dog on a chain just out of reach of biting you. I called the guy back and gave him enough information to satisfy him and went back to work. Twenty minutes later Larry yelled that I had not completed an information request that was twenty minutes old. He barked at me when I asked him a question about something else.

Normally Larry settles down after an hour, but he was in a foul mood, and I had really pushed him too far this time. The thing is I have done this sort of thing before. Once he had told me to give the customer a freebie and get them off the phone because to handle it completely would have been more trouble than it would have been worth. I had done something wrong and had wasted company time and resources-no doubt about that. But it was something that I had done often, and had been told to do before by the same insane person who was screaming at me today!

When the call volume slowed down, he said, "AC, do you have all your requests finished for now?" "Yes I do." "Come into the general manager's office, We want to talk to you."

Continued in Part III

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
  It finally happened...

Today was a very momentous day. It will take several posts to work through it, partly because I'm still kind of numb. In my first post ever, "Why It's Like Purgatory" I explained how there is so little real feedback, and so much yelling and evasion, no one ever knows where they stand.

Well, today I found out where I stand with the company. But even better than that, my bosses found out where they stand in my eyes.

I still have a job, and there was no violence, maybe a little cursing. But there were some strong words on both sides. Like I said before, I'm still trying to piece it all together in my head.

Before I tell you what happened, I need to say something about the blog. It's important to me that people don't see this blog as simply my method to justify everything I do. I've got some bad work habits, and I am not the ideal worker. The blog is more my own waste treatment plant for the toxic thoughts and emotions that flow through my psyche. I'm still very glad that you guys are here for the process and it helps to know people are reading these thoughts, sort of like a confessional.

Alright, enough touch-feely-gobbledy-gook, lets get back to the story.

It started out with a call from a corporate customer that needed help with some information about two different investments. I tried to find a way to bill it back to his credit card company as a benefit, but he did not have the offer code. I decided not to write it up, and just was going to give him the info he needed. I was giving him a quick freebie to get him off the phone and do some P.R. for my customer, the credit card company.

Somehow, through the din of twenty call center workers talking at once, my boss heard what I was doing. Over everything, he starts yelling, "You will not handle that call! Do you understand me! Without that offer code-you will turn this customer down immediately!"

To be continued in part II

  Jeni's Journal

Here's an excellent blog that you should carve out some time to read:
Jeni Journal

My favorite post was entitled :
"Writing and Advocacy"

It is part of a book she is writing and is incredibly moving.

She also deserves some hits because she is a Bengals fan. With their record, any fan deserves a little joy in their life... (grin)


Monday, October 25, 2004
  Making Blog Explosion Work for You...

Those of you that are using Blog Explosion know that it is an incredible way to raise your traffic. But to those of you that are new to it, I have a couple of ideas that make it work even better.

First off, if you are patient and keep surfing for a while, you can get a lot of mystery credits. I have won 100 credits at least three times, and normally win around an average of 15-25 per time if I will surf 20-30 pages or more.

Second, try to "bank" as many unused credits as you can. Don't just put them back into your accounts to get traffic. You can only put 25% in unused, but if you save them up until you have around 100 or more, you can make the best use of them. This leads me to my third point.

All of us have posts that aren't so hot. Not everything on our blogs is going to be incredibly fascinating. But when you have a day where your post is smoking, when you have put into words the mysteries of love, world peace and comfortable shoes, combined with smoking sarcasm-this is the time to crank up your blogplosion credits. When I have a post I think is good, I try to transfer 10-15 credits to my account so I will get the full benefit of it.

If all you do is surf until you have a bunch of credits, but spend them all at once, you may have people seeing the same post repeatedly, and that could guarantee you less traffic in the end.

Lastly, Blogplosion is only one tool to gain traffic. The best way is still more personal-that is good,old-fashioned networking. Leave comments on blogs you like, put up a blogroll, promote other people's blogs. If you find a post that is really good, link to it and tell the author and your readers why you think this is good writing. If someone links to you, you should link to them unless you aren't crazy about their writing, or don't want to have too many links.

Some people think this sounds phony, and self-serving. I disagree. This type of networking is being kind to others, and that is always a good thing to do. Where this becomes phony is when you start expecting links, even demanding them. Or maybe you are acting like a used-car salesman, and badgering people.

Just do good to others without thought of reward, and you will get links from people you can consider friends. You will also develop a community of like minded blogs. That's the great thing about the blogosphere, there is room for every kind of thought, and you can find others that share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, October 23, 2004
  Murmurs of Mutiny...

"We should all just walk out one day!"

The coworker that said this was entirely serious. She is a tall blonde in her 40's with a couple of kids and bills like the rest of us. But she was not kidding at all. She has always been a top performer, and is very responsible. But she and other people have actually discussed walking out on a busy day and leaving the phones ringing, with the bosses to answer them. She has even got some of the younger workers, and 4 of the veterans interested. I only heard about this week, but it certainly does not surprise me.

I haven't decided if it's the right thing to do yet, because I don't know if the management here would be able to do anything. I'm sure thats what they want us to think anyway. I'm also concerned because to do this now when we are losing so many customers may just be the impetus the company needs to close down, or fire a bunch of people.

All of the employees talk about that something has to happen, good, bad, right wrong. We're all straining and hoping for any kind of change, even bad news is some kind of news.

I do have my own plans to leave the place that are coming along well. I can't explain any more without putting things in danger. I will let you know as soon as things change one way or the other.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, October 22, 2004
  Eating, eating,eating,eating....

I lost it today...

I was so bored...
I mean REALLY bored.
No, you still don't get it, I mean, "four-hours-left-no-reading-no-internet-no-talking-unless-to-a-customer-but-they-are-all-jerks" bored...

So, since I don't smoke, and had already went past the point where caffiene had any affect, I did something else to ease my pain.

I started eating. My lunch, the rest of the lunch of my cubicle mate's lunch, then I went in search of more.

I found myself standing in front of the pathetic vending machine. It is stocked by some malcontent who puts snacks in there I never see anywhere else. No Three-Musketeer bars, but jerky and zero bars!

Long and the short of it, I spent all my money on things I did not like just so I could find something to do.

I'm pathetic.
I suck.

Are you going to eat that?

Thursday, October 21, 2004
  The Mad Tech Speaks...

Check out another denizen of Call Center Purgatory:

"The Mad Tech Speaks"

Funny stuff and razor sharp all you need is...ok...insert your own answer here...


Wednesday, October 20, 2004
  Profit and Loss...

Things have not been improving at the call center lately. We have continued to lose some of our corporate customers, besides the individual investors. I know due to the reduction in staff that money must be a problem. Last week when it was not busy, they sent some temps home for the day and severely restricted overtime.

Of course this worries all of us. But what I find myself wondering about when our management will be held responsible for this loss of business. I always wonder what the people at corporate are thinking about the continual loss of business. There must be some bean counter somewhere who is reporting to the president of MegaAnonymousCorp that owns us how the call center is losing money.

But things have been getting progressively worse little by little for the last 3-4 years. It makes me wonder how long it takes someone to consider a change in management. I know they can only blame the workers for so long until they start thinking of changing management.

When people here have complained to management about the lack of pay raises and how things are going so bad, all they can say is that they aren't getting any bonuses or pay raises either. I think they are as depressed and cynical as the rest of us.

Change of management is not only a good idea, I believe that is the only thing that may save this place...


Tuesday, October 19, 2004
  One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest...

This is one of my favorite books and deals with some very important themes about society and power.

Check out this insightful series of posts about the same book at Elmira's Blog.

Also, to those of you new to this blog, here's a link to my thoughts on the book if you are interested:

"Control This"

Thanks for reading,

  Alienation in an image

Kudos to Bernard over at Bailey's Broadcast for the excellent cog image!

Anonymous Cog

Sometimes words don't communicate things as viscerally and as emphatically as an image. That's what I like about this image. It represents how small and helpless an individual can feel in a brown,drab corporate world.

I know,I know...Somebody needs a hug!
  Pledge Week on NPR

I hate this time of year. I can't listen to "All Things Considered", "Car Talk", or "A Prairie Home Companion" without being besieged for donations...

That's why I finally became a member.

Now as I drive my car on the turnpike or through town there is a warm,smug feeling that flows through me, because at least in one part of my life I am not a selfish slacker.

I know that some of my more conservative readers are saying, "But NPR is a bastian of left-wing thought! they're biased!". I'm not going to disagree with you, Diane Ream and Garrison Keilor leap to the front of my mind when I think of liberal bias.

But Bill Oreily, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Dan Rather, are all biased too.

Hey Einstein, Everybody's biased!

If you only listen to the bias that you agree with you may become a close minded ignorant troll. NPR really makes an effort to be less biased. They also go out of their way more often than other news sources to show the whole picture.

Give them a try, they report things the other media sources don't even cover.

And while you are listening, click the link below, find your local station and pry the $20 or $30 bucks needed out your wallet to make you feel smug, at least until next years pledge drive...

National Public Radio

Thanks for reading,


Monday, October 18, 2004
  Sprucing up the old blog...

If you may have noticed, I have been making some changes around here. Finally got rid of haloscan comments, they were hard to use and I found them cumbersome with my pop-up blocker. The bad thing is that you can only comments on new posts. We'll see if we stay with this or not.

I also got rid of the tag-board. Which was kind of a hard decision, but I hated the pop-up that came with it. Besides, I don't like having a lot of excess visual crap on the blog, it causes people to pass it up and not read the posts.

Speaking of visual things, does anyone have an opinion about the new cog logo? Someone custom designed it for me, put I have not been able to get it small enough that it does not look too pixelated, any opinions?

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, October 17, 2004
  Random Linkage...

Great news! Chaotic Spring from "Anxiously Yours" has returned to the Blogosphere:
Check out : Chaotic Spring

Found some other blogs you may want to check out:
Very interesting blog from JJ from Amsterdam. Fascinating stuff. Much smarter than me, but probabally not as humble...

Another denizen of Call Center Purgatory:
I really enjoyed her post entitled:
"I just can't handle stupid today!"

I'm not sure how to describe this last blog. I don't agree with half of it, and am totally agreed with the other half. But agreement aside, the writing is spectacular on all manner of subjects under the sun. This is the sort of stuff you should have to pay to read...
"A Placeless World"



ps(fixed "A Placeless World" link today, sorry about that...)

Thursday, October 14, 2004
  Tasteless Politics

There's so many bad things on both sides of the presidential campaign that it's hard to choose which side disgusts me more. Neither of the camps have stuck to the moral high ground, and we are practically swimming in mud.

I actually liked John Edwards when I first heard him speak, and thought he seemed a much more viable candidate than John Kerry. I was very disappointed to hear his speech about Stem Cell research.

"We will do stem cell research," he vowed. "We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases. America just lost a great champion for this cause in Christopher Reeve. People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again with stem cell research."

I like to try to think the best of people and give them the benefit of the doubt. I hope that this was a misstep on his part. I hope he meant to say "With stem cell research, we have a chance to stop such diseases like juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, and Alzheimers so that we wont have to continue losing such great people as Christopher Reeves."

Without the benefit of the doubt, the speech appeared to make Kerry and Edwards messianic figures that used the death of great person for their own ends.

It just left a bad taste in my mouth....

Read more about the speech here
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
  Managed by Chihuahuas

When I was a kid I did not like going to my aunt's house. I loved my aunt, but her dogs really annoyed me. She had 2 spoiled chihuahuas that pretty much ran the entire household. One was the classic shorthair, like the Taco Bell dog, and the other was a long hair,it was the mother of the other. I have never known a pair of more disagreeable animals. All they seemed to do was bark and growl at anybody besides my aunt and uncle.

But they were very comical. They would growl and bark and yap like two bad-ass half wolves, but if you got close to them they'd run away. But the worse thing about them was they would not shut up. I found myself thinking about feeding them peanut butter and bacon just to shut them up. I think they may have tried to bite me a couple times, but never any real injuries. They were just big, craven cowards that had been spoiled beyond belief.

The older one was the funniest because she had the appearance and personality of a grouchy older lady. You know the one, she'd chase you out of her yard with a broom if your ball went over the fence. The little dog had black and white hair with touches of gray in it, like some Josie and the Pussycats dye job gone awry. I think she had some sort of lung problem because she would get to barking at you and then start coughing like she only smoked unfiltered lucky strikes.

What do spoiled chihuahuas with lung conditions have to do with working in a call center you may ask? Well, I will tell you...

As I sat on terminal hold with a mutual fund rep. today, I saw the general manager emerge from his throne-like room to speak with my direct supervisor. I could hear him talking in a low voice, but not too low. I heard only "failure to advise changes in market value", "new customers", "you need to address this", and then the names of five or six people on the floor including my name.

So I'm all set for some nurturing, or an ass chewing, or a combination of both. It doesn't come. Phones are ringing, people are talking, there's that normal hum over the center.

Then my boss starts talking real loud about 5 decibels under a shout, like he's talking to everybody, but no one in particular. "I'm not losing any more customers because some people can't follow investor's instructions! If you think I am you need to come talk to me, I'll show you the stats on how many customers we're losing because some people won't be bothered to do things correctly. You will follow the investor's instructions and I'm not kidding this time!"

He never did talk to any of us individually and the day went on the normal way. The more I thought about it, I realized, they are scared of actually dealing with us. Just like my aunt's chihuahuas, they talk big, but are scared of any real confrontation.

All I could think was "Yap,yap,yap,yap,bark,bark,bark, grrrr....grrr...yap yap yap...yipe!yipe!yipe!"


Monday, October 11, 2004
  Getting Old...

One of the things I am afraid of, besides spiders, is getting old. It's not the aging so much, I'm ok with that. It's the cloudy thinking, that state of cerebral quicksand, that seems to accompany aging for so many people that squares the shit out of me.

Now I know that not all older people are losing their mental abilities, that would be an irresponsible assertion. I remember I used to have a best friend named Marie when I was younger. She was about 90 and lived in a senior citizens apartment complex. I would come watch "Hogan's Heroes" and "Hollywood Squares" with her while I did some odd jobs around the house. We'd settle down and have Diet Coke and Toll-House cookies and talk for hours. I was very fond of her. She was smarter than most 20 year olds, and was one of the few atheists that had really thought about why she did not believe in God-she was kind of like an evil C.S. Lewis. I miss her.

But on the other side of the coin, I spend a lot of time with older members of my family that have gone the other way. They do the same things every day, the describe the world around them only with concepts they have already embraced. If a large purple dinosaur knocked on their door, they would open it and not see him at all, and say "damn kids knocking on the door and running away!", (whereas I would get out the taser and chase him around the block-sorry that's a whole different rant). When I talk to them they don't hear what I am saying, they repeat what they have already decided like I must have just agreed with them even though I said the opposite.

Some of my coworkers and management are like this. Things are only done one way, you can't do it that way, we've always done it this way, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. They have embraced everything that is mediocre and mindless.

I don't know all the answers for staying out of this state. I know this blandness of mind and reason is not something that you just wake up with one day. It's a stealthy foe, that you always have to be watching for. I know reading, writing, learning new things, playing music and learning languages is a start.

When it comes to aging I'm not scared of becoming disabled in some way or losing some functionality, that's normal for most people. What scares me is losing my mind; losing the ability to change my mind, the ability to look at things critically and allow myself to be wrong.

Accepting a mediocre life as perfectly normal is the first step into the quicksand of mental decay...

Thanks for reading


Sunday, October 10, 2004
  Oh Canada...

Working in the call center, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of Canadians. I also have a close friend that lives here that is from Ontario. I always knew that they were very similar to the United States in their culture, but there were differences that I could not always put my finger on. I have always wanted to understand more of what it means to be Canadian, and what is different about them compared to the US. I'm sure you haven't noticed this, but many Americans don't seem to really think about the values and cultures of other countries. Sometimes it seems that multiculturalism has never really been our schtick...

Over on my other blog "Poverty,Politics and Faith", I have a guest post from Andrea, who writes the blog,"Tales of a Farm Wife". This is an excellent essay about what's going on with Canada's liberal government, and their social programs. It's just an excellent piece of writing that you need to read.

**Click here to read the post**


Saturday, October 09, 2004
  My little paradise...

Sitting in the bathroom today, doing my daily business. Anyway, I realized from this relaxed position that I could reach my toothbrush and toothpaste and the sink also. I can brush my teeth without departing my comforting position(It's a very small bathroom).

I'm sure this has some horrible hygenic problems, so I don't plan on it as a daily course of action, but it got me thinking some more.

"You know, if I had Wi-fi, I could bring the laptop in here and blog in here. Then I could get a little fridge, and microwave and the the little tv. I'd never have to leave!"

I quickly realized this was crazy talk and that I needed real help...


Friday, October 08, 2004
  Abrvt. Ths. U Putz!

Several days ago I strode into the office with my blue Google coffee mug half full of Starbucks House blend, feeling almost--almost, happy go lucky, when I was rudely brought back to the stupidity that is my reality. Upon walking up to the keypad on the computerized time clock, I was greeted by this handwritten memo with lots of misspellings, hurriedly scratched out with a Sharpie marker on hot pink paper:


This is not the first time our abbreviations have come into question. This has been the subject of many memos and discussions. In a center like ours, when you are constantly filling out details of your conversations with customers, abbreviations are the only way to survive, especially if you can't type fast. The other problem is that you only have so much room in the fields in the computer. If you write too much, other advisors will ignore it and not read the important parts that cost us money.

What happens to bring these abbreviations into question is this: Our customer service rep. gets a call from a customer not understanding an abbreviation. The rep. then runs to the floor manager and general manager, there is a hurried discussion about how the effects of our NEWSPEAK-like abbreviations are ruining life on the planet, and a hurried memo is wrote out to the ignorant masses.

It always goes back to the same old garbage. Management wants quality when confronted with customer complaints, but then they want shortcuts and speed when confronted with the bottom line. Except for my floor manager, I don't believe many of the members of management can really remember how to do the job on the floor. I wish they would come sit with us and listen, it could be good for them.

This isn't likely to happen right now, everyone is in "fight or flight" mode on account of the company wide freeze on wages. After some people were laid off, everyone became like rabbits in a field full of dogs. They keep their head down, not moving and ready to scramble and scream if noticed.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Hey, here's two questions for some of you regular readers. The tagboard I have is responsible for pop-ups from time to time, but I see a lot of people leave quick notes on it.

Question Number Two: I was thinking of going back to the blogger commenting system instead of halo scan.

Let me know if you guys have any opinions-comment below.



P.S. Follow up to previous post-if you have a blog and want people to read it and aren't signed up with blogexplosion-you are probably a chump. I have doubled my hits since signing up, and seem to have gained new regular readers.

**Click here to sign up**

Monday, October 04, 2004
  Internet Problems...

Like any part of the financial industry, we depend on the internet a great deal. From email from clients to trading and researching online, there are sometimes where the internet is our life's blood.

I think we may need a transfusion soon...

The official company line is that no sites are to be visited other than those that are part of company business, or company provided favorites. No checking e-mail, no playing flash games, no looking at pictures of Angelina Jolie(sigh), none o' that stuff.

This is one of the rules that I actually obey...most of the time...more than other people, anyway, that's for sure. It's just that it gets so incredibly boring when the phones slow down. We can't read a book, or do a crossword, or read the newspaper. We're not even supposed to be chatting with our "teammates".

Well, someone was getting into things they weren't supposed to, luckily my computer was not affected. Anyway, several of the computers had all kinds of spyware that would not go away. I mean super-glue-pop-up-porn. They had to bring in the crotechty old programmer lady who works for our network provider. She is a largish, 50ish, lady with a Capri cigarette forever stuck in the side of her mouth and some very scary cleavage (not much of a substitute for Angelina Jolie, but I digress...)

As she was flitting from computer to computer, dropping her ash on us, and showing way more flesh than we really wanted to see, the Human Resource guy peeks around the corner and asks her is she can fix his computer also.

I guess he has a problem with a lot of pop-ups. I guess we aren't the only people getting bored...


Saturday, October 02, 2004
  Blog Explosion

I had been noticing on my sitemeter all of these hits from a place called "Blog Explosion". I finally went and checked it out and signed up for it.'s really worth checking out. You surf other people's blogs to gain points that are used to direct people to your blog. You can also use it to put up banner ads for free. the spirit of shameless self below to tell them Anonymous Cog sent you and earn me some free hits-Thanks!

**Click here to join Blog Explosion***


Friday, October 01, 2004
  The Nameless Blogger Presents...

Check out a great blog by "The Nameless Blogger":

"I wish I did not have a name."

Good writing, good links...and I have to confess, I liked the pictures of Angelina Jolie,(I like those big pouty lips, I'll admit it..)


  Seething Rage....

I don't remember being this angry about my job for some time. My emotions normally go from boredom, cynicism, hopelessness, and apathy; but anger is not my everyday companion.

The event that happened will not be remembered at all by my general manager. He will think nothing of it as he smokes his pipe of cherry tobacco, and talks with his cronies. That's what makes it even more maddening.

I approached him today for help with a problem I had with locating better rates for my customers, with an idea I had for speeding up things. He looked at me blankly and replied, "No one else thinks that is necessary, no one else even worries about it. Why can't you just do your job the same way everyone else does?". I explained that I was not the only one, and that my plan had its merits. He turned away and went back to his work without even dismissing me.

I wouldn't treat a child the way the way he treats us, let alone a grown man or woman. Throughout the day, I simmered, sometimes forgetting about it when I was busy, but always coming back to it.

As I drove home it hit me hard. Switching between wishing I could find more curse words that actually made it feel better(They never do) to praying ,"God, how long will I be here? What else can I do to get out of here quicker?"

You may condemn me for cursing, tell me I'm a bad Christian. I know its wrong, I won't deny it. But I also can't deny what my real problems are and who I really am. This blog is my confessional, the place where I am as close to real and transparent as I can be. There's enough phonies out there, these are the sort of things that really happen in men's hearts as we try to make sense of a world that doesn't always.

I had a boss before that was this evil. He could not have cared less about what happened to me and actually wished me evil. I watched him crash and burn from his own arrogance and stupidity. I don't want this man dead, I just want him to reap the results of his uncaring, selfish cold style of management. I want some sort of hot,steaming, karmic, bullshit to encompass his world up to his nose, like his has encompassed mine.
Thanks for listening.

Now I will sleep, and tomorrow will be better.



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

The Cog is listening to:
"Wake Up"
By Rage Against The Machine

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