Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
  Sympathy For The Devil

All the cool things seem to happen when I'm not around. A couple of weeks ago when I was home sick one of my coworkers named Gary had a huge fight during a meeting with Larry-our direct supervisor, the General Manager. One of the Human Resources Weasels sat in on the meeting also. So when I come back the next day, everybody was still talking about it. It took me a while to catch up. I would ask different coworkers and get a little more of the story every day. You have to make time to gossip in a call center, because you spend most of your time talking to customers. Finally, I got it straight from the source when I saw Gary outside of work and got him to tell me what really happened.

In some ways, Gary is the closest thing to a company man I know. He's fairly good at everything and really takes pride in his work. He's got two little girls at home that adore him. He's a tall guy in his mid twenties. His numbers are fantastic, from total transactions completed to customer surveys, this guy is smoking. That said, he's not perfect. He's late from time to time and takes days off he shouldn't, he can have a bad attitude sometimes too. But that seems to come standard with most of us.

The day I was out sick, Gary decided he wanted to change his schedule to make it easier to pick up his girls from school in the afternoon. The GM and Larry called him into the office to discuss and dropped a bomb on him. They had the HR guy in there for good measure.

"We cannot change your schedule, you have to leave it as it is.", Larry explained.
"With all of the extra work I do around here, you think you could grant me this one thing!" Gary responded.
"You got a paycheck for all that work, didn't you?", the GM asked.
"Yeah, I did. It was the same paycheck I've been getting for 5 years! No raise, no appreciation, but more work!"

It didn't get any better from this point on. Gary lost his cool and started shouting at the GM and Larry. I think the HR guy was spared any wrath. People in cubicles down the hall could hear him. Not only that, he busted out the F-Bomb and let it fly free and fast, like a flock of pigeons on a high fiber diet, it became very messy, very quick. He explained in clear, small, words his frustration with the current situation.

"Hold on Gary, you cussed at them and they didn't respond?" I asked.
"That's right, they didn't say anything."

I didn't know how to feel about this. I know the current situation makes us all feel like we are all more than entitled to better treatment, but I wonder if he might not have went over the top. I don't like how they run the place, that's a given. Yes, management here has the people skills of a nest of wolverines.

But how bad must they need employees to stay if they will let them scream obscenities at them and not respond, or even write them up? I can't imagine coming to work every day thinking, "Great, some guy who makes less than me is going to rip me a new one and I can't really do anything about it or I will lose more people I can't afford to replace." I know they have to be thinking, "If I could only fire this sorry son of a bitch. If only they would let me hire more people, this guy's ass would be grass. If only they would unfreeze the wages, I could give him a real reason to cry."

For the first time in a long time, I felt sorry for my supervisors...a little bit anyway.

Thanks for reading...


I hate to say it, but I woud have either given him a week of unpaid days off along with a sternw ritten warning, or I would have just fired him.

Of course I would have never allowed things to go as bad as they are within your company either.
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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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