Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Saturday, November 13, 2004
  Jaded Worldview

It's very hard for me to subscribe to the theory that people in the world are all basically good.

It's a worldview that will never take root inside me. The world reeks of so much selfishness sometimes that I can't see beyond it.

Call centers are sort of a microcosm of all that can be bad in the world. The callers certainly leap to mind. Lately, it seems that every call I have been getting is a struggle. The customers are angry, impatient, ignorant, ungrateful and just plain mean.

But not just the callers, some days the people I work with are hard to handle. Of course, the management here has always been on my list of sources of evil. I thought that mediocre management was the one thing that brought all the workers together. I used to believe in solidarity between the workers. But three days ago I was taught not to count on that.

The temps were gone, the boss was sick, and we were down at least five people. The phones are ringing off the hook. Not just with new customers, but customers calling back asking for status on their trades and wanting to change orders. Anyone can handle these supplemental requests, in fact, we are trained to try to help everyone and not just put people on hold. But two of the veterans have a bad habit of taking no calls unless they are for them. All of the new people are working together and trying to help each other, but the two veterans on the floor are just dumping on us every call that is not connected to them. They refused to help anyone but themselves, and refused to help the customers. Instead, they continued to put the customers into hold-purgatory, and yell out our names to pick up the phone calls.
The older guy who was the substitute supervisor on duty was even doing it.

Finally, I looked at him and said, "Rico, I'm taking a new call. You need to handle it."

He looked up at me sort sideways, and it finally shamed him into handling it. It was the only moment of justice for the whole day.

Evil exists in people's hearts, minds and desires. It will exist there for as long as there is a physical world, and has its roots in the spiritual world. Real virtue, and real good is certainly possible, but it is certainly like walking against a strong wind. I'm sure some of you will disagree...

Maybe it's my upbringing, or my peculiar philosophy, the books I have read, and the values I espouse. My own view of theology is very much to blame. When I see my own imperfections, self-indulgent thoughts and desires, and just plain sin, it's hard for me to deny that everyone isn't evil in one way or another, whether they choose to admit it or not. That's why grace exists, to show unconditional love to an individual whose heart possesses inexcusable evil.

Thanks for reading,


You are right. People are inherently selfish.
hey, man, sounds like a bit of hell this place you work...
I'm close to you in the sense that I take calls for a living too, but I'm lucky because the environment is pretty pleasant and the work ain't bad, considered that the products I support, fundamentally, are of great quality. Basically I believe in what I support, which makes it all the hell of a lot easier.
There's plenty of us out there, slaving away for the corporate masters. Like the Liverpool himn says "you will never walk alone".
Yes, sometimes people are evil, but as far as most callers are concerned, I just think they're plain stupid.
Hold on, soldier.
Thanks for the kind words.

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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.

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"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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