Friday, February 7, 2014

Career Choice After Colleges - My Mistake?

I spent the week at work. I work in a call center for a utility company. It's fun on 2nd shift, 3rd shift, and the weekends, where we get downtime.

But if I had to say it, yeah, this place sucks. I never thought I'd work in a call center answering the phones after college. What's worse is that the phone doesn't ring. It just beeps and the next thing I know is that there is a caller in my ear.

This job is like working in a factory. There's little creativity, and my reviews are based on a statistical performance -- i.e.,

  • How long are my calls?
  • How many calls do I complete in a month?
  • How many times do I have to call a supervisor for help?
  • Did my call follow "the script" the company prepared?

To me, this is crazy. I thought the whole point of working with people in this industry was to resolve the customer's issue -- not trying to hurry up and get them off the phone to make great numbers that management can tote around.

Yeah, I don't fit in, I guess. That's why I like the odd-ball shifts, where I only handle emergency calls.

These calls are fast. I meet all the monthly stats for my calls because emergencies don't require you to talk your head off for 10 minutes, explaining a customer's account.

For an emergency, you get the essential info, give instructions on what to do and who's coming to the scene, and you're done.

Wham. Bam. Thank you, mam. Of course there are variations, which throw a monkey wrench into the situation but that's cool with me -- like trying to assess the situation and determine if they person on the other end really does have an emergency.

Late nights

I will admit that I like working with people on the odd-ball shifts. I did a 3rd shift stint for 6 months not too long ago.

People -- even customers -- are more relaxed during "off-hours" and I like that. Sure, you get your own brand of drunk nut-jobs calling in emergencies at 1 a.m. on a Friday night.

Although I'd rather be on 2nd shift, where I'm at now, I don't mind 3rd as a break. I find that there's a lot of downtime on this shift but the calls I get are serious, such as fires and explosions.

It kind of reminds me of the old adage hurry up and wait. We hurry to get "working" but then have to "wait" until calls come in.

Story time

It was me and a dispatcher. Like clockwork at 3 a.m., the dispatcher knew work would peter out and it was break-time until 5 a.m., so the dispatcher kicked his feet up and sleep.

There was nothing to do -- no emergencies to send trucks out to. But as long as one of us were holding the fort down it was OK in his eyes.

Did I care? No. But do I agree with that behavior? No. Am I going to rat this person out? No. I'd like to keep my job thank-you-very-much.

During those nights, I have time to watch the sun come up and think. I know I don't want to do this job "forever" but I need a way out. The question: How do I get out?

That question plagues most of Americans, who are saddled with debt and working to make ends meet.

Their biggest problem is they keep buying more and more crap and get more debt.

Sure, I have college debt, but I still live at home and don't really spend money on stupid crap.

But I'm still not sure how to jump ship from this place. Of course, I could just quit but then I have no money coming in and am not an "upstanding, tax-paying citizen."

I'll figure out what I should do.

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