Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
  Old Fezziwig

One of my favorite parts in A Christmas Carol is the scene with the ghost of Christmas Past where the ghost and Scrooge are watching the Christmas party at Fezziwig's warehouse, Scrooge's first employer. After a huge meal and a great party with dancing and music, Fezziwig and his wife wish everyone a Merry Christmas as they leave for the night...

"A small matter," said the Ghost, "to make these silly
folks so full of gratitude."

"Small!" echoed Scrooge.

The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices,
who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig:
and when he had done so, said,

"Why! Is it not? He has spent but a few pounds of
your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so
much that he deserves this praise?"

"It isn't that," said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and
speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self.
"It isn't that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy
or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a
pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and
looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is
impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness
he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune."

He felt the Spirit's glance, and stopped.

"What is the matter?" asked the Ghost.

"Nothing particular," said Scrooge.

"Something, I think?" the Ghost insisted.

"No," said Scrooge, "No. I should like to be able to say
a word or two to my clerk just now. That's all."
Throughout the first part of the book, every time Scrooge speaks to his employee, it is to upbraid him, to degrade him, to correct him, and essentially, just chew his ass. All day long, Bob Cratchit works in an atmosphere of harsh words and greed.

I know how he feels sometimes. Many times my boss Larry is not unpleasant, but that's the closest he gets to actually being nice. Friday, he was in a foul mood. He screamed over the floor at every minor grievance that came.
"There's 10 calls holding in customer service! Start picking them up!"
"I expect you to do more than one thing at once! Do you understand me?!?"
"Don't you take any extra time with that customer! Get off the phone now!"
"Why are you still on the phone? There are other calls waiting!"

I know yelling can be part of business some times. I didn't go home and cry and ask God why Barney wasn't my boss. But it still gets to me. I'm almost 40, I'm a grown man, I'm educated and not an idiot. Being yelled at like I'm some pimply faced kid who burned some hamburgers during a rush is just wrong.

Not only does it leave me tied up in knots, it makes me want to hate my boss. I just feel like shit inside. It makes me want to jerk the phone out of the wall and see how far I can....well, you get the idea.

A Christmas Carol is not about creating a welfare state, its not about running a business at a loss, its about being a good human. Its about living for more than money. Its about good karma. Its about seeing people as valuable and precious, not as simply human resources on the road to greater profits.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. Click on the title to download a public domain version of a Christmas Carol.

Anonymous Cog

Just don't do a Russel Crowe (start hurling phones at people)! Maybe your boss has personal issues, people are people are people are people.
Don't loose sight of how lucky/hard-working you are. Many people around the world are in DIRE circumstances. On that light note, merry christmas.
Maybe he's not all about the money? I mean, I don't know your boss, or you, or anybody circulating your life. But, maybe it's another reason he's so mean? Just a thought.

P.S. I'm having trouble viewing your site with FireFox. Just thought you might want to look into that? Best wishes.
Hope things are going better, bro. Better wishes from an underemployed grad student.
FYI - You posted a time other than 1:23am. :)
FYI - you posted a time other than 1:23am
OH MY GOD!!! I posted a time other than 1:23 am!! Thanks! I fixed it...

Thanks Nickee!!

Thanks for the comments, you are right in that he was having a bad day. But he's always managed by yelling, check these out:

Sorry about the Firefox experience, dude. I would have to do some major renovations to make it readable. I keep hoping Firefox will go the way of Beta and people will stop using it, but that has not happened yet.

Thanks for the comments 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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By Rage Against The Machine

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