Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Monday, January 03, 2005
  The Offensive Cog...Part 2

Part 1

Several days after this incident occurred, I had an opportunity to speak to Ron about what happened. During a slow time, we were all popping our heads up over our cubicles to chat while the bosses were off the floor for a few minutes. Tom and I were sitting in adjoining cubicles and Ron was about still fairly close.

"What was George's problem the other day?" Ron asked.
"Well, he gets like that from time to time" I said, "I just try to do the best I can and ignore him. But he does know what he's talking about."
"But he just blew it out of proportion and wouldn't listen to me" Ron responded.
"But you should have done what he said." Tom said.
"No, the primary client had said no need to call back up to a certain share price." George explained.
"But you never told George that." Tom responded.
"He wouldn't let me. Besides, he really doesn't know what he's talking about. He's so rude."

This was the point at which I made that conscious decision to open my mouth when it would lead to nothing good. We all come to that point, we know the person we are talking to will not listen to what we are going to say. In fact, we know the only reason they are speaking to us is to justify themselves and their actions. They aren't seeking any kind of real give and take, no matter how reasonable they appear. I knew it would come to no good, but I also get tired of working with the people that are not only arrogant, but ignorant too. So I said what I had been really thinking.

"Tell me something Ron, why did you come to George in the first place?" I asked.
"Because I wanted his opinion of what to do next." Ron said.
"If you would have just stopped arguing with him and did what he said, he wouldn't have gotten so angry."
"But he wouldn't listen to my question. Nobody seems to listen to what I say"
"During active trades he doesn't have time to hold your hand. You should have just said 'Yes sir' and went back to your desk and that would have been the end of it."
"You guys just don't get it. I knew what I was doing and he should not have treated me like that!"
"I thought you said you spent so much time working in government and military jobs. I would have thought you would have figured out the concept of respecting authority! I guess you missed that part."
"Yeah, I learned that his kind of authority is not worthy of any respect!".
With that he stormed off to his cubicle.

I didn't take this too serious at the time, because we all speak to each other like this from time to time. Like any workplace dominated by men, there is a lot of good natured teasing and friendly insults thrown across the cubicles from time to time. We all pick on each other, it just helps the time go by faster. Besides that, I have never worked anyplace where men do not do that between each other. I haven't decided if it is always a bad thing, but I've known a lot of people that can't handle it. I guess I'm so used to it now I don't think about it.

Well, Ron was not used to it. I had assumed he would have gotten over it, but he took it personally. Around Christmas time, I spoke to him again:

"What's your plans for Christmas, Ron?"
"Keep out of my business. You're always sticking your nose in my affairs." He snapped, not even looking at me.
"You're kidding, right?"
"Fuck off."
"Alright, You're the one with the problem, not me."

I turned and walked off. He hasn't spoken to me or even looked at me since. I felt bad about it for a while. But its not like I can fix it. Some offences cant be fixed, though they might fade with time. I've had people talk to me that way, and I was mad for a while, but later on I laughed about it or took it to heart if they were right. I doubt Ron is going to do either.

Thanks for reading,


I don't think what you said was so bad. You can't know what is going on in someone else's head or how they will react.
I didn't think what you said was so bad either. Sounded like good advice to me, and good God, how refreshing it is to hear of a co-worker being straight for a change. That guy needs to toughen up.

It sounds to me as though there is something else at play here than just your comments. If he's spent so much time working "big, important" jobs, he may be feeling a lot of self-consciousness now working at a call center. Granted, what you do is important, he may not like the reasons he's there. When people get that way, every is a personal afront. If it wasn't you he had issues with, it would be someone else. Don't take it personally.

~Dawn (Mysterious
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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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