Sunday, November 10, 2013

Certification

I am so very happy to be back home, in my own house with my own bed and my own stuff.  I like my stuff.

This is the first time I've ever been on a business training trip, and it was interesting to me how many others in the class were taking it so much less seriously.  To be fair, many of them were already using this very technical forecasting/scheduling program when I've never even seen it before, so they probably felt less worried about taking the final test and becoming officially certified.  But if a company is paying $3,000 plus travel expenses to send you to a class, shouldn't you be a little concerned that it would be bad to fail?

I don't know, maybe part of it is that all of the responsibility for using this thing falls on me, I'm not part of a large department of people who can share info and help each other.  Either I figure it out and do it right, or it won't get done at all.

Maybe I'm becoming the lady who has a stick up her butt.  That's also possible.  The second to  last day we got through the end of the manual at noon, and almost everyone left.  The instructor laughed at the rest of us who stayed to get another four hours of practice and called us his over-acheivers.

More stick-up-the-butt evidence was my getting annoyed at the others in class who wanted to know the most expensive restaurants to go to so they could take full advantage of their expense accounts.  Three nights out of the five, I went back to my hotel room after class, connected to my work VPN on my work laptop and actually worked while eating room service that I spent $20 on.  Including the tip.  I mean, my company is stupidly profitable and I'm certainly not worried about it going under or even downsizing, but still.

The other two nights I went out with three IT people from my company who just happened to be there attending coding meetings that week.  There was the very quiet, very skinny 29-year old semi-redneck geek woman who listens to country music, drinks energy drinks and alcohol, smokes cigarettes, eats fast food, considers 6 hours a lot of sleep, and gets sick once or twice a month. There was the skinny 27-year old 6'5 Christian man who has Bible tattoos, piercing rings in his earlobes, refuses to go to Hooters because it's not moral, spends hours online gaming, and seems to make a genuine effort to be kind all the time.  Then there was their boss, a 50-something guy who has five kids, is going through a divorce, has a pacemaker, is overweight, doesn't wear a seat belt, and spends a lot of time smiling.  None of these people knew who Quentin Tarantino was, or Joseph Gordon Levitt, and seemed genuinely confused and slightly disturbed when I spoke (briefly) about my husband's awesome exploitation/grindhouse/horror movie website.  (which is this)

I tried very hard to be social enough to at least bring me up to a Normal Human level of interaction, without forcing myself to be so far out of my comfort zone that it ended up hurting me.  It's a fine line.

A third bit of stick-up-the-butt evidence was the way the class members and the instructor all talked down about call center agents.  Excuse me, the term was call center a couple of decades ago, now with emails and voicemails and chats the term is contact center.  Often someone would make a disparaging remark about how demanding the contact center agents were about their schedules, or how sneaky they were with trying to get away with misbehaving, or how needy they were in general. This also happened with Big Boss Guy, who told me how he had hired several members of his team from the contact center department, and laughed when he said that they were underused and misappropriated resources well above a contact center agent role.

I hate that. It's disrespectful. And even if it's true some of the time, it's not true all of the time, and in my personal opinion, not even a majority.  I need to figure out a kind, non-confrontational way to tell people who say those things to get their heads out of their asses and stop being snotty and mean.

In my contact center, the job is hard as hell. They are taking incoming calls, but from basically people who are being transferred from somewhere else, and they're not even sure why. The agents have to get enough info about the caller to determine if they can even afford our stuff, and if they can, they have to sell them a vacation to take a timeshare tour.

It's genuinely a good deal, there is absolutely no deception involved, it's a good value for the money and a worldwide luxury brand, but still.  It is timeshare telemarketing.  They get hung up on all day. They get told NO at least 90 to 95% of the time.  All day, every day.  It's really, really hard.

And dammit to hell, if they do a good job, they get PAID.  I wonder if Big Boss knows how much, because all those commissions and bonuses and incentives add up.  The actual hourly wage is a fraction of the income for the good ones. And the bad ones... get fired.  No pressure!

I try really hard to be nice to them, to help them out with their schedules/time off/whatever, if I can.  And they are so nice to me, too. They appreciate it, they express it, and they give me high-fives and side-hugs whenever I go to the call center.  I mean contact center.

Anyway, I am feeling better about my job in general.  I got a raise a few weeks ago, they just paid thousands to train me on this new thing, so I'm taking that to mean they are confident in me and my future with them, even though my actual boss is still as remote and non communicative as ever.

(He didn't even tell me about the raise, I went in and asked for one after my one year anniversary, and he told me "my stock was solid" with him and he would see what he could do.  The next month it just showed up on my paycheck.)

After being gone for a week, I'm kind of looking forward to going in and working at my cubicle tomorrow. Relatively speaking, of course.



4 comments:

  1. There is life after unemployment! You're my evidence! Good for you making the job work for you. They clearly know your value!

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    1. Angella, I am SO GLAD I got laid off. I hope you end up in a better place and glad, too.

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  2. Wow. The nice way to respond to the dicks disrespecting your front line is this: "I know this business attracts some difficult people but the front line have some challenging tasks and without them, we wouldn't have jobs. The bad ones wash themselves out and I try to do my part to encourage the good ones to stay - and keep being productive." What assholes, those call center folks deserve more support than denigration.

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    1. That is a good thing to say, Wooz! Thanks :)

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