Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Thursday, March 03, 2005
  I'm so confused...

There are some days that I cannot figure out this place, no matter how hard I try to wrap my understanding around it.

This was one of them.

I've got to the point where I understand my immediate supervisor Larry, I understand my co-workers, and I understand most of my customers, the normal ones at least. I understand market forces and how any investment can go bad even though the stock had looked good all morning.

The people I don't understand are the people above my direct supervisor. The general manager, the human resources people, the people in the bowels of the cavernous billing department, and finally the people that own this place.

I had a day that just felt really odd. It almost seemed to be like everyone had this sense of anger under the surface. What I mean is this, everyone I dealt with outside of my co-workers was short or made what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to ignore my existence. No eye contact, no "good morning", no eye contact made, even when initiated, just head down keep moving. The several times they did recognize me, it wasn't good. It felt like Winston's world of 1984. There were all sorts of people I had never seen coming through the office, including a guy in a suit that shouted at all of us when call volume backed up. I know it sounds crazy and paranoid. If I wasn't anonymous I wouldn't admit it. But something was wrong with my little universe, but I could not put my finger on it.

That said, I know I struggle with feelings that aren't always logical, and can't always be proved. I know that it's best to ignore these feelings, because I can't really do anything about them.

What makes this job so maddening is that we never know where we stand for sure. No reviews to help you gauge your work. No atta-boys, no raises, but no one gets fired or disciplined either. In the five years I have been here, I have seen or heard of maybe 3 people being wrote up. Even the times I was brought in the office and yelled at for wasting money or big mistakes, I was not wrote up or made to sign a formal warning.

I know work does not have to be like this. I'm positive of that. I have worked with people who let me know in no uncertain terms where I stood. I've had raises and rewards. I was even the freakin' employee of the month once! I had my ass chewed and had to sign papers that made me feel two inches tall. They explained what was expected of me and let me know when I did not measure up. I've been fired before, and it was a relief, because at least things were clear.

I just wish I understood it all...

Thanks for reading,


I can relate to you AC. We don't work with stocks, but we work with computer technology.

I get along great with my coworkers and my supervisor, but when you go above my immediate supervisor, that's when it gets gray and shady.

My supervisor's manager keeps a Blackberry glued to his ear, and walks around talking loud and thinking he's important. He knows nothing about computers or technology. He's there for money.

The Center Director? I'm pretty sure he knows nothing about technology either.

The only raise you get here is when you graduate from training to agent. That's it until you get promoted to team lead or something.

We had this 20 year old that was only scheduled to work 4 days a week (two weekdays and the weekend). He would completely be NCNS (No call, No show) for the week, and might show up for Saturday or Sunday, but never both days. Long story short, it took the "higher ups" almost 6 months of him doing that before they fired him.

No one ever gets written up or fired here either. Everyone always quits. Reason being is that it takes a special person to work in a call center.

The Church of Dysfunction
Things've cooled down here. There was a time that it was like your previous experience, only it was uneven. Mostly they just wanted to pound you in the ass for every little thing that's gone wrong (never anyone elses' fault, just the call centers). Right now the dept supervisor quit, so we have no one paying attention to us, and life is groovy.
I can't understand your job. That you know already. The mechanics of hierarchy above your supervisor do not look like a particular feature of your corporation, but i don't understand them either.

Have you ever worked serving Bigmacs? Don't you miss it?
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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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