Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
  The Promotion

It always amazes me how quickly things can change in just one day. As I struggled to keep my nose clean and make an acceptable number of trades last week, all of a sudden the Human Resources guy appeared at my desk. It was like he appeared from a panel in the floor, with the red flames of his lair still flashing around him.
"AC, finish that trade and come to my office when you are done."
I couldn't read him to tell if I was in trouble or not. My nose had been clean for the last two weeks. Of course, I always think the worst. I'm a real the-glass-is-completely-empty-and-there's-a-ring-on-the-table kind of guy. I walked in and sat down in the office, ready for anything. The GM started the conversation.

"AC, we want you to be a group leader. Your eye for detail has caught our attention. Our current group of trainees is floundering. They need some guidance. You will be responsible for six people. After training class, they will sit with you in the East corner of cubicles. They are to come to you for any questions or concerns. You will still be doing your regular work, but try to guide them and check their progress."
I was in a real state of shock. Am I dreaming? Somebody pinch me.

"Of course, at this time the wages are still frozen, but we will consider this when your review comes up in October. So what do you think?"
(Ooh..I'm so shocked!)
"Uh..Sounds great. Sounds good. When do I start?"

The next day, properly caffeinated, prepared for battle with a large breakfast of steak and eggs and a whole grapefruit, I moved to Newbie Corner and met my "team": four ladies, a young guy and an older man. It was a new experience. I had forgotten what it meant to be new. All day long, listening to them, making sure I didn't hear a shipwreck. I spent the day picking up the phone to walk them through simple transactions, reading their notes, trying to put them on the right path and not hurt their feelings. I even found times I could praise them when they were doing a good job.

On the way home I realized something about this. I have spent two years complaining about how I hate the management here, (at least when Larry was here), and now I am part of management. I wouldn't want to run the place, but watching over six people is not that bad. I could be the sort of change I wanted to see in this call center. I could do all those things that no one ever did for me. I felt hopeful, almost giddy.

By the end of the week, most of them were doing ok. Since they are still in training, I gave each of them a mini-review and explained what they are doing right and what they need to improve on. One of the older ladies in the group said, "Thanks, you're making this job much easier."

They say you can't kid a kidder. Well, you can't suck-up to a master suck-up. I could tell she was sincere. It made my day.
Thanks for reading,


Anonymous Cog

Hope things stay good. Usually when I get thrown a bone, it ends up working out horribly... and the direct oposite of all my hopes for said bone.
That is AWESOME! Congratulations!
Hi AC -

Congratulations - I'm sure you wil do well in your new role. Probably the best advice I can give is for you not to forget where you came from (i.e. that you were also a newbie once upon a time). Also, let them know that you trust them, and are there to support them, not rule over them.

I remamber the first time I was asked to be a team leader in a large call centre. It was 3 months after I started, and I actually knocked back the offer as I felt I wasn't experienced enough to lead at that time. Six months later I did accept a promotion offer, and was very proud that, out of the dozen or so teams of 24, I had the highest ratio of staff subsequently being promoted or "head hunted" by other departments. It was very gratifying.

P.S. I was wondering if you might consider changing your blog settings to monthly archiving - it's almost impossible to read at the moment.


Sea Eagle
Way to go, AC. Two things stick out. First, quality work and quality people do, on occasion, get recognized/rewarded (even in call centers!). Second, the best managers are those who've been in the trenches and know what the newbies are going through. Your team, I'm sure, is blessed to have you working with them. Keep jammin.
I'm still waiting for a good bone (heh).

That's sweet, Cog! It's nice to see you get some appreciation for once.
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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