Ever want a job that’s thankless, underpaid, and slowly kills you on the inside until you feel nothing? Then you might want to try working at a call center, where those dreams (and more) will come true. You don’t have to look far, because even though you’ve got a nice degree that shows you’re all educated and qualified, it seems like these places are the only ones that are even blowing their noses in your direction while you’re on the job hunt. I know from personal experience because I’ve been in the call center, doing my share of time. It’s an experience, for lack of a better word, even though it’s an experience we all wish would have never happened. But call center employees, know that you’re not alone and that there are many more people out there that have experienced what you’ve experienced.
For those of you who have the pleasure of never knowing what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a customer service phone call, here are some firsthand confessions from call center employees that might make you reconsider getting snippy if something doesn’t go your way.
15. PLEASE Waste My Time
Dealing with the elderly can be tough at times, but there are some perks that come out of it. The thing is, at call centers even if you’re supposed to be out the door at 5:00, if a call comes in a-ringing on your phone at 4:58, you gotta take it and there’s no chance of you making it out on time. After a while, you’re able to develop some tricks to make sure that you’re going to be able to leave on time. One of those tricks is to get some old person to start rambling about nothing once you’re done helping them out so that you can use those ten minutes before clock out to make sure that you’re able to get out when you want to. When they’re talking about random stuff, it’s super easy to end the conversation when you want to because the actual thing they need help with is done. Sure, this is an effective means of wasting time while looking productive to the big bosses, but if you’ve got a daily quota of calls (which most centers have, unfortunately), you can only play this card down once in a while or you’re really going to get screwed.
14. A Force Of Habit
Interacting with other customer service agents as a customer/client is sometimes so surreal. You, as a call center employee, have put in so many hours into following a structured script on the phone that it’s inevitably going to end up seeping into your real life. Sometimes, when you’re calling customer service yourself, you forget that you’re the customer and assume your employee role once again. Asking an agent if there’s anything that you can help them with is kind of like how you closed a call with, “I love you,” when you first started, because before this job the only person you spoke to on the phone with was your mom. This case is a little less embarrassing, but it just goes to show you can get out of the call center, but the call center is not going to get out of you.
13. Is There…Anything Else I Can Assist You With?
Coming into contact with people only as a disembodied voice can have its downsides, but there are some advantages as well. On one end, customers forget that the voice they’re hearing belongs to an actual person, so they have the tendency to be a lot ruder than they would be in person. On the other end, nobody knows what you look like so they’re going to assume your entire appearance and personality off of your voice. For me, that’s not great because I’m still kind of recovering from a braces-induced lisp from middle school, but for someone like this confessor, she’s got a good thing going. Having a sexy voice gets you some extra attention from the guys and some ladies for sure, but it also probably helps minimize the amount of callers that come in yelling at you. I was able to avoid those too, but mostly because I always sounded like I was on the verge of tears at any moment.
12. The Call Center Wanderlust
With a typical call center wage and the typical amount of call center PTO, there really aren’t enough funds or time to fulfill our wanderlust, so instead of traveling the world, we’re traveling Google Maps. It’s pretty sad, but so is working at a call center. Like most depressing things, though, people find ways to cope with their bad situation, and this guy realized that he can get a sort of free, mini-vacation by looking at where customers live. The one cool thing about working at one of these places is that you’re going to speak to people from all walks of life who come from all over the world, so it is kind of fun to look at where they are and what they’re doing. Unfortunately, the customers aren’t going to wonder the same about you because they know where you’re at: a desk in close quarters with some nasty fluorescent lighting.
11. What The Hell?
There are phone lines that are very appropriate to masturbate into, but the Verizon help desk or Capital One is not that place. It’s pretty hard to imagine that someone could mix up those phone numbers since one conversation would start with, “This is Capital One, how may I assist you today?” while the other one would start with a sexy voice with some music in the background asking you for your credit card number. Of course it’s deliberate what they’re doing, but man, it’s just so gross and so weird. From how this confessor words it, it sounds like they’ve had to deal with a random phone masturbator more than once during their time of service. Is it the same guy or are there multiple serial hotline masturbators? We wish that the answer was none of the above.
10. Blazing It On The Job
Working at one of these places is very difficult to handle emotionally. And for most of us, will eventually break us down. There are some people, though, who seem to love working at call centers and stay there for years with no real ambition to leave. For the majority of us who deal with this line of work stone-cold sober (like you’re supposed to when you’re on the job), we look at those people like they’re crazy or high. And as it turns out, most of them are high. It makes so much sense now because if you’re constantly blazed, then you really couldn’t care less if some guy is yelling at you about how you can’t give him that refund. There’s no way someone can get through this profession for years without some sort of assistance.
9. The Worst Kind Of Person
A day doesn’t go by on the job without dealing with some of the worst people on Earth. That may be an exaggeration, but man are some of those people just straight-up rude. Nothing in my experience of call center work has experienced a customer as bad as this one, though. There’s a good amount of times when customers like to try and joke around, and you’re kind of forced to give a chuckle even when it’s not funny at all. Those jokes are usually pretty innocent in nature, like a poorly executed dad joke, but this customer takes a subject that’s already not funny in nature and makes it even unfunnier by being serious about it. And the worst part? You can’t say anything except that you wish this person a good rest of their day.
8. Sweet Revenge
Most, if not all, call centers will monitor and record every single call you ever do just so that they have some physical evidence if they ever want to fire you. Whoever is doing the quality assurance monitoring either has never picked up a call where this person would transfer them incorrectly or they themselves think it’s funny and well-deserved. Whatever is the case, we have to commend this person for keeping their job after pulling this d*ck move over and over again. Sure, the customer is just going to call back more mad than before, but it’s those little jabs of revenge that get us through the day. Our job is to make people’s lives easier, but if it doesn’t feel good to make a horrible person’s day that much worse, I don’t know what would.
7. Getting Steamy In This Workplace
Another thing about call centers, besides the straight-edge schedule and talking to people you wish you never had to, is that everything is under constant surveillance at all times. Your screen? Recorded. Your calls? Recorded. Everything you do in the office? Recorded. Even if there aren’t any visible eyes around you, there are several digital eyes watching you at every move. It’s very 1984, except it kind of makes sense, since a lot of the time you’re going to be dealing with people’s sensitive info, so you gotta make sure the employees are handling that stuff the right way. While giving your boyfriend a casual handie in the office isn’t going to infringe on someone’s personal info, it might get you both fired if a pair of human eyes decides to look at that security footage.
6. It’s Pretty Common
The call center seems like an easy job that anyone can do, but it is not for the weak of heart. It’s really not for anyone, even if they’re strong-hearted. This is one of those jobs nobody aspires to have, they just kind of happen to you and it’s usually at a time of your life where you can’t really say no to it because there aren’t any better options. If something doesn’t go a customer’s way, it’s not like you were the big bad wolf that made those rules or fees or anything that is going to screw over the customer. You’re just the messenger, and since they can’t shoot you over the phone, they just decide to be really mean instead. It’s really grating when person after person calling in just starts yelling at you about how you’re ruining their life when you’re just some sad sap that’s underpaid. Sometimes, in the worst case scenario, it leaves a lasting impression on you in a negative way.
5. That’s A Cell Phone…Not A Remote
There are customers who are rude AF and then there are other customers that are just downright stupid. When doing this job, it felt like I was talking to a bunch of paranoid, technology-inept, older people who were exactly like my dad all day long. And then I’d go home where my dad ended up butt-pressing the TV remote to just play things in Spanish for the third time that week and I’d have to take care of that, too. There are people who don’t listen, and then there are other people that are just so clueless when it comes to technology that there is no hope. Technology has gone pretty far in the past 20 years, but a phone is still a phone and a remote is still a remote — and you can’t try operating one while using a completely unrelated device. Even if you’re a technology magician, you still can’t make the impossible happen, no matter how much the customer persists that you can.
4. Productivity At Its Finest
24/7 is something that a lot of call centers pride themselves on, so if you’re that sad sap that needs to check into their account at 2am on Christmas Eve, someone equally sad is going to be there to help you. What this means, though, is that there’s a lot of time spent just sitting there in a fairly empty office with no calls coming in. Most of your coworkers are lucky enough to not work the graveyard shift, but there are some perks to being around in the off-hours. For one, you can just sit around and catch up on shows, or in this case, watch a lot of porn. Just remember, though, the digital eyes are always watching you. You’re never truly alone in a call center environment.
3. She Made A Huge Mistake
While there are a lot of disadvantages to working the phones other than doing customer service face-to-face, there are also a handful of perks to being reduced to nothing more than a voice. The caller really has no idea what you look like, what you’re doing, or what you’re wearing — all they know about you are the words coming out of your mouth through the receiver. That means that you might not be wearing any pants and the customer would be none the wiser. It also means that you can make faces and flip them off while they’re acting like a total butthole, and sometimes you can even use that mute function to swear at them without them ever knowing. There is no mute button in real life, after all. But with great power comes great responsibility, and in the heat of the moment, it’s not hard to imagine that one could miss the mute button and let the customer know how they really feel about them. Oops.
2. Facebook Creep Level: Max
A lot of the time, your workplace will tell you not to give out your last name to random people because, well, they don’t need to know that information. Your job trusts you to handle customer info carefully, but you can’t trust an angry customer to not pull a Liam Neeson and try to find you and kill you after they know your true identity. Sometimes things slip, or the customer gets their creep on and tries to Facebook stalk the person who owns that irresistible voice they’re talking to. While proposing, or just general flirting, over the phone is generally weird and unappreciated, it’s a whole new level of creepy and inappropriate to try and find a customer service rep on the Internet — they’re never going to want to date you.
1. Who Cares If I Go To Jail?
While it takes a lot of effort for a customer to try and find personal info of the people they’re calling, most of the time that same effort wouldn’t be needed on the employee’s end. When customers act terribly, they seem to forget that we have all of their personal info right in the palm of our hands. Sure, they feel secure with laws and acts preventing us from doing anything with that info, but sometimes it feels like going to jail for a while would be worth that feeling that this terrible person got what they deserve. That makes it sound like we’re the bad guys for fantasizing about that kind of stuff, and you’re right. But that’s what happens when you put your hours in a call center — you end up dead on the inside, waiting for the one day that you’ll truly be able to see the light outside of the cubicle once again.