Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Saturday, May 28, 2005
  Quitting Time!

Like everybody else in the working world, I perk up around time to go home. But working in a call center is not like other jobs. I can't just hit the clock when the whistle blows,(we don't have a whistle, its an expression). Calls continue to come in and people have to be helped. If you get a call at the last minute theoretically you are supposed to be able to hand it over to another agent so you can go home, but thats never the way things turn out in practice. Supervisors will cajole you into staying, other agents on the floor will refuse to take it over and say they are too busy. There's also the implicit social pressure that a good agent will stay until all his transactions are set up. I think thats bullshit, but I have Marxist tendencies. I will admit, there are times I stay over just because it makes it easy to go home if I know I completed everything I started and my clients are happy. That's why I stay over.

We all start becoming very strategic about thirty minutes before quitting time. You see, the idea is to keep busy right up until the bell, or at least to appear busy. It's really like a game of chess almost. You can't turn your phone off, that would be seen. You can't refuse to take calls. I have seen people actually wrote up for telling the supervisor that it was too close to the bell and they refused to do it.

Chess may not be the best analogy, sometimes its more like poker. Every call you take is like drawing a card. Will it be an informational call that you can drag out until quitting time by being chatty or will it be some multi step transaction that will take 20 to 30 minutes? I try to do customer satisfaction surveys and call customers back to advise how things went down. If I can find faxes to do or some reason to be out of my desk but still visibly working I do that, or sometimes I just bite the bullet and hope that things work out.

I guess my luck is holding, I haven't had to stay late for about a week. But it always leads to this superstitious feeling that your mojo will run out any time and you will get nailed at the last minute.

Thanks for reading,


I hope you atleast get OT when you stay late... that makes it a little worth while.
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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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