Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
  "Blood on the Grass"

I've got an obsession that consumes me.

It's my lawn. Its almost like a Zen experience. Through work and discipline I am able to attain order and clear my head. Part of my life has order. There are straight lines and uniform height of a long expanse of cool green grass. The mower cuts straight and curved lines like the raked gravel in a Buddhist temple. The edges are trimmed, the debris is blown away, the hedges are squared and all is complete.

My job is nuts. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to ultimately do with my life, and I just feel stuck. But the lawn makes me feel like there is order in the world, and that I can change my world around me for the better.

Most of the time...

Like all gardeners I've got my enemies; moles, tree roots, dogs, crabgrass, dandelions, and a broken septic line. The septic line caused us to bring in a bobcat and tear up a big section of lawn. That was the real heartbreaker. I couldn't afford to bring in sod, and no matter how much seed I put down, all that grows there is weeds. I thought this year would be the year I would really whip it into shape, but after that, I knew it would be at least another year.

Today, something happened that changed the way I look at my magnificent obsession. I was mowing on the eastern corner of the lawn when I saw something. A Mole! The little black shiny form raced across the short green grass towards a fresh hole he had dug in my lawn.

I sprang from the mower and chased him down. Cursing and screaming, I stomped up and down on him. When I stopped, there was his little shiny black body, opened up and bloody, staining the lawn. I felt like the lowest form of life on the planet at that time.

I have killed animals before. I've hunted since I was a kid. I've shot groundhogs and rats for farmers. I'm not a vegetarian. I can accept the death of an animal if it's for a good purpose.

This was not a good purpose. It was for grass! Weeds cut short! A sad attempt to make a carpet from dirt! What kind of benefit do I get from a hobby that makes me kill for no reason?

I sat on the ground for a few minutes...

I decided I should stop taking my lawn so seriously for one thing.

I also realized how this applies to my life in general. What good is becoming a successful person if it makes you an asshole? What good is becoming employee of the month, or getting a plaque from Human Resources if I have to become a cruel person? What good is having the most calls and the quickest call times if I can't justify how I treat people?

If my life is never in order, if I never figure out where I belong, I will still do one thing. I won't trade kindness and humanity for success. If they can't be the same thing, I only want the first.

Thanks for reading,



If it's any consolation to you, know that I absolve you from this guilt and I pray that you forgive yourself. The Lord has.

(The sometimes pious) Rev. Dubya
Oh my. Please don't beat yourself up too much, AC. Cutting the grass is more than just a chore. It's satisfying to see results so quickly, whereas at work we often wait weeks for feedback, if it comes at all. It's also about control, which is something we have precious little of in our call centers. You know that wasn't just a mole you were stomping, right?
|Wish you were my neighbour....I only have sunday afternoons to cut mine, and it's rained every sunday for the last 4 weeks....
Thanks everybody.
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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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