For a few months I was working at a bank call center. Initially it seemed like a great idea, 401k and paid time off would have been a dramatic change of the treatment I was used to in service industry work. We bought a new car for the occasion, that my husband used while I took the van.
The training days it was all technical, learning how to navigate their software and appropriate conversation points to expedite communication, building up social relations because once you’re on the phones there’s no time to get to know your co workers.
We didn’t touch the phones for a few weeks while the company used all of its “educational” tools to indoctrinate you into thinking everything was swell, that the corporation supported equal rights, ethics, and individual advancement… but the getting there is the challenge.
Even though we’d get an occasional moral boost with takeout lunch, past the training point you were expected to be a well oiled matched. Get logged in and clocked as soon as possible to pump out as many card service calls as possible before a 15 minute break from callers, after that lunch is an hour whenever your scheduled, and another 15 minutes before the end of your shift.
Sure some of the callers are just paying off debt and don’t care to talk to me more than necessary, but others are yelling at me, calling me bitch.. I can hear the echo of my voice in the headphones trying to keep up composure. Others were lonely elderly who were so lonely and disadvantaged in their home lives that If I let them, they could talk to me for hours about their loneliness for a space of comfort. The number of fraud claimed and attempted account takeovers I processed would really shock you.
Internally it just felt alienating though, they try to make your sole point of focus them. They’d make it competitive to make it feel like you’re playing a game ,but really it’s just the demand to get the worker to process as much as possible, so you can see how man calls your group members are taking and how they’ve been revived, but no matter how positive the reviews when you get sat down for review there’s always the input of…well can you take more calls. Though they’d try to set up little games here and there ultimately the callers themselves were what set the tone.
I think part of what made it so grueling for me was the rush hour to get my kid from daycare before closing in rush our. A 20 minute drive turned into 2 hours and more than once I had close encounters with catastrophe.
The first week I was attempting to leave and another car tapped bumpers with me in a blind spot, the woman was initially going to drive off but turned around when she saw me get out of the car. This black lady in a different department just starts screaming at me that her cars a rental and wailing about how could I do this, before even looking to see that neither of us had damage.
About a week before I was taken out by a malfunctioning van that turned off every time I turned left, we start having some really strange glitches in the system that would leave us unable to do our job, just totally unresponsive but I find it a relief because now I’m having trouble with my left ear..like tinnitus I imagine.
Then I get a cold, but I haven’t earned my vacation/sick time yet and the van is at my dads shop ( not getting repaired ever because he really proved he doesn’t care to be helpful) So I’m borrowing the new car for the day and it ends in disaster as I’m driving home on the interstate in bumper to bumper traffic and the elderly man in front of me breaks suddenly, it would have been fine but my heel slips off the brake and I total our new car. Thankfully the man in front of me is unharmed and there doesn’t appear to be damage but I’m just..done. our resources have been stretched unsustainable thin and I have to make the choice if this is the kind of stress I can deal with and I decide that no it’s not for me.. would have liked to reached that conclusion before the accident but here we are. The new car was able to be repaired and was completely insured and I’m still alive but had the luxury to embrace a new focus on trying to create a body of art man to attempt to sell and homeschooling our kid now that I could use more than half of my paycheck on preschool.
It looks like that’s not going to change in my immediate future, but maybe my ability to be my own boss and help bring in monies will improve, thankfully I have some great figures to look to for advice and guidance there. So long as we maintain our health.