My Life In A Call Centre

To date, much of what I’ve written concerning the Call Centre world has been somewhat derogatory. To be sure, there are many aspects of the environment that…well…to put it bluntly…suck. That said, there are aspects that do not.

Lets start with the fact that out of the hundreds of applications and resumes I sent out last summer, they are the only people who ONE, called me for an interview, and TWO…and MOST importantly…HIRED ME. That I believe is an important distinction, and a commonality I see in many of my co-workers.

In the current job market in London, finding work can be downright demoralizing. Basically there is really not a lot of opportunity in London now. For many of those I work with, through circumstance, illness or otherwise, have not been able to find work elsewhere.

The times, they are a changing, and manufacturing and factory work is generally a thing of the past. Today it is no longer feasible for corporations to make the profit margins their investors expect, and keep their plants on Canadian soil. Just within the last couple years hundreds and thousands of workers have been laid off due to this fact. No longer can one expect to leave High School and spend the next 30-40 years of their life at a plant making good money and end their work life with a nice healthy pension.

So where are these workers looking for jobs? Slim pickings in Southwestern Ontario if you’ve worked in a factory, manufacturing, or any of the numerous plants and such that have closed just within the last two years.

The government would have one believe they are doing great things at re-education of these workers, but many who’ve perused this avenue would attest to that fantasyland. What programs that are available are full of hurdles and road blocks, and many don’t even qualify. Even after being re-educated – where are they going to work? Certainly not in London, Ontario.

One other thing to note – in the place I work the majority of employees are over the age of 30 years. Actually, there is a great number of employees who are my age and older. Of those who remain from my training class, the few that are left are actually older than me (I’m 47 this year).

I suppose maybe I’ve had a slight change of heart today. As I sit here and look through the classifieds, and I realize that most of these jobs pay less than what I’m making. As well, out of the few that I am qualified for, I’d merely be moving where I plant my bum – still a Call Centre, and quite frankly, while I don’t necessarily LOVE the hours, and feel like I have no identity, I do like working in Customer Service and at the very least feel as though I am helping people.

depositsLarge corporations are massive, heartless beasts that ooze the impression they have little or no interest in the individual. As many can attest to, they will merrily take your money, but good luck trying to get it back from them. Plus, when they mess up, they have a tendency to do it in a REALLY annoying fashion, with all sorts of rules and difficult avenues to even reach someone who is willing to help. See, that’s where I come in – I see myself as an advocate for the customer. Working within the boundaries set forth by the client (the corporation), I strive to assist and calm the often irate caller. I can’t work miracles, but I can help.

For now I suppose that’s enough. While I get my shite together and decide what exactly is my next move, I’m going to hold forth and try to make this work – atleast for now. I mean, do I go back to school? Do I want to work in another Call Centre? Do I want to do something COMPLETELY different – lets say retail? Definite no to the last two…and em…maybe to the school. There again…go back to school to do what? IT? Design? Human Resources? What? See…there again, I must recognize that now there are few opportunities in London and I need to pay the bills.

Also, I have this rotten streak of loyalty, and whether or not this place deserves it or not, they were there for me when NO ONE else was. That means something. I also like the people I work with, and I kind of like what I’m doing now as this new position gives me more opportunity to help the customer. I’m giving it a chance.

My mind could change once the new hours I’ll be working set in towards the end of the month. There are advantages and disadvantages to every job one does – compromise is the name of the game, after all. Now that the waters have settled, and I know my fate, I have decided my best course of action is to stay the course.

Right now I guess I just want some balance. Yesterday I actually got a call from a prospective employer (someone a friend had helped arrange). Right as they were asking me questions the phone went weird and she couldn’t hear me, then my cell just went dead. No idea what happened. I was just on my way to work and it had to have been probably the worst time they could have called. Got home after work and I had been so frazzled I’d left the door partially open. Great. It got me to thinking though – do I want this? Did some more investigation today and they pay only minimum wage and the job is calling out to do surveys. CALL CENTRE…ugh.

Plus, it looks as though I’m working 10 hour shifts, which means I get 3 days off through the week – two of those together. Not a bad thing going into the months of spring. This may not be ideal, and certainly not my dream job, but I know what to expect, and liking the people you work with is very important. After everything that’s gone on these last few years – all the moves and upheavals, heartache and loneliness – just having something constant is mentally healthy.  Of course, things can change… and often do… but right now I’m holding onto what I got.


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