19. March 2009 · Comments Off on I Hate My Job · Categories: General, Rant, Working In A Salt Mine...

No, not the writing one – that is as liberating and as enjoyable today as it was when first I sat down to scribble the first couple of chapters of what would become “To Truckee’s Trail”, and even earlier, when I first began to write for this blog, back in the high middle ages of the blogosphere, some seven years ago. (My, how time flies when having fun, et cetera…)

I don’t hate the various freelance author-wrangling/editing gigs that I have, through the good offices of one part-time source of employment, the tiny boutique subsidy publisher, or learning the various ins and outs of the small-book-subsidy press. Neither do I hate wrangling the world’s tallest ADHD child – the real estate agent who specializes in Texas ranch properties, who must simply adore tap-dancing on the edge of economic ruin, since he finds himself out there doing it so frequently. No, I view these jobs with considerable affection. The only thing the least little bit wrong with them is that they are not a reliable, steady source of income.

Which brings me to the one job which does indeed provide reliably constant hours and a resulting and reliably steady income stream – and which I hate with a passion, the phone-bank job with a certain large corporation which shall remain nameless, doing hotel-resort reservations for a large nation-wide chain which shall also remain nameless.

That is the job that I hate with such a desperate passion that in future not only will I try to avoid driving past the building where the phone bank is located – but I have taken a vow to never even darken the doors of the hotel-resort chain involved, or set a toe in the city where the properties that I specialize in is situated. I find everything to do with it is loathsome, from the little half-cubicles in the large glass-walled room where a fifty to a hundred of us sit, to the constant racket of voices saying basically the same thing, over and over. “How may I assist you with that? Can you verify…I have requested for you a deluxe room with a king-sized bed… your confirmation number is… thank you for choosing…”

I hate the sound of the beep in my headset when a call comes through, the automated male voice telling me which property the caller wants to make a reservation for. I hate the antiquated, insanely complicated DOS-based system that was so cutting-edge twenty-five years ago, with it’s million quirks, peculiarities, obscure abbreviations and having to manually enter just about every necessary bit of information when a more up-to-date revision would have that data auto-populate. I hate having every single call listened to and recorded, and timed to the second. I hate being dinged for taking too long with a caller – and dinged again for not cross-selling another property or service or gourmet restaurant, when doing so would increase the call-time.

I hate the dress-code – casual office attire, but no jeans permitted – even though we are doing phone work, and not direct, face to face sales. I hate the fact that we can no longer bring a book to the floor and read between calls when it slows. I hate the fact that the only two computers that we might use for personal business on our rigidly scheduled breaks are the slowest and nastiest in the whole building and one of them doesn’t connect on-line any more. I hate having to wear an employee badge on a stupid lanyard around my neck whenever I am in the building. I hate the callers who mumble, who hold a cell-phone away from their mouth, or are calling from an area with rotten connections – who then berate me because I can’t hear half of what they are saying.

I don’t hate the supervisors – who, to give them credit – do their best to ameliorate the rotten conditions and circumstances of the job as much as possible. I’ve been working there now since July, and many of them now know me by name. Most employees only last a maximum of six months – of the lot I trained with, I only see one other working in the cubicles. The rest are gone. And I am pretty sure that I will be gone also, at some point in the near future. The only questions remaining, are how soon can I afford to quit – in these shaky economic times a regular paying job is not something you abandon. I have no wish to napalm that bridge until I get to it. Secondly, will I plan a graceful and professional exit and leave with two weeks notice, or will I suddenly just be pushed too far one day? There are days when I can see myself melting down, tossing my badge at the floor supervisor and leaving abruptly in the middle of the shift, perhaps after a set-to with a particularly unreasonable caller. I don’t usually do nuclear meltdowns – but in the case of this job I might be pushed into making an exception.

Yes, I hate this job – but now I do feel better.

Oh, and every sale of a copy of the Trilogy moves me just a little bit closer to the graceful and professional exit. Thanks.

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