Some days at work I am in the building where my official cubicle/desk is, with the team of people who are quiet and geeky, who walk past me in the morning looking at the floor and not saying Good Morning. And some of them look a little surprised if I manage to say Good Morning to them as they go by.
It seems like most of the people who are in that part of the building are quiet and geeky. The IT people, the Voice Services people, the contractors from an outside technical company. Most of them are men, and many of them are Indian, all of them walk around tapping on their phones without looking up. The ones who aren't actually carrying around open laptops, anyway.
One day I walked through the parking lot and arrived at the door just ahead of an Indian guy. I beeped my card and the door unlocked and I opened it for him, standing behind it. He looked kind of stricken, and stood there in front of the doorway trying to persuade me to let him hold it for me. I smiled at him in my impersonation of a friendly office worker, and tried to make a little joke: "I can be a gentlemen." He finally went through the door, looking so sad I ended up feeling bad about it.
Some days I work in the building where the call centers are. The main call center I work with is a fairly high pressure sales environment, with incoming calls that are all identical, so every single call is the same spiel, and the vast majority don't buy. They are expected to maintain a 6% sales average, which means 94% of the callers don't buy from them. That's depressing. They get an hourly wage, but they also get commission, and everyone is very focused on sales. They have upbeat music coming from dozens of built-in speakers in the ceiling, and the supervisors and the managers walk around yelling (yelling) COME ON PEOPLE, TODAY IS A GOOD DAY, LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN, LET'S BRING IN THOSE SALES, WE CAN DO IT! *clapclapclapclapclapclap* WE CAN DO IT! They have smaller incentives that vary by day: make three sales today and get an extra $50, sell a particular destination and get $25 per sale; and bigger incentives, like every sale during a quarter is one entry into the drawing, and the prize is a car. (A nice car, too.)
I kind of like it there, although it is really hard to focus on figuring out how to solve a problem or put together a complicated spreadsheet. People smile at me, and say Good morning or Happy Friday. Probably a dozen people have come up to me and just introduced themselves, shaking my hand and looking into my eyes. If I stay over there for a whole day, I am almost guaranteed at least one spontaneous and sincere high five.
I kind of like the high fives.
The other call center I worked in today for the first time. It is people making outbound calls, which is much, much more difficult. They have dozens and dozens of calls every day, and if they are doing good they make one or two sales. They get hung up on a lot, even though these people are actually customers of my company who have expressed interest in hearing about a timeshare.
So this call center is even more focused on being energetic and positive. At the beginning of the day, they have a 5-minute motivational speech given by someone who stands up on a desk at the front of the room and leads everyone in a pep rally that involves a lot of yelling, hooting and clapping. Everything is positive, everyone is smiling, everyone is talking about what a great job people are doing. The music is extremely high-energy dance music, and it's extremely loud.
I was looking forward to the energy, but it wore me down after a couple of hours. I waited until today to spend time there because today I had a lot of fairly mindless data-entry type stuff to do, but even still it was so hard to concentrate.
These people are even more outgoing and friendly. One guy who had a smile that reminded me of Arsenio Hall came up our of nowhere and asked me to help him with an Excel spreadsheet (I think my laptop made him assume I was IT). Another person just randomly handed me a chocolate candy, and multiple people introduced themselves and shook my hand.
I'm kind of fascinated by the different personality types in the sales departments vs the technical departments. I know which one I'm more likely to fit in with, but I also know which one I have more fun in.