The Circle of Shame

It’s been eight months since I’ve worked in a cubicle. I left my old call center job last August and I haven’t looked back since. I can’t say that I particularly miss having bathroom breaks monitored by my boss, or the fact that every keystroke on my computer had to be approved by my six supervisors. I don’t particularly miss my bosses, and I don’t miss 99% of my co-workers (Adam being about the sole exception).

Seriously, what the hell was that job all about?

Every day, I was forced to wear my headset like it was the mark of some shiftless, lazy beast. I was unmercifully compelled to have laborous conversations with anxious Filipino nursing candidates from Gardena, impatient Indian Cisco employees in San Jose, and chain-smoking women in the deep south who insisted against all reason that their email address had a “www.” in it. It was a veritable rainbow coalition of frustration and dispair.

At this job, training meetings would stretch on hours beyond their necessary limits. The trainers would drone on, reading aloud from a packet of information that we all were highly capable of reading silently on our own, utterly oblivious to the fact our eyes had rolled back into our skulls and we were to the point of trying to swallow our own tongues and welcome death.

At one point, somebody in some department decided that it should be the call center’s job to try to sell other products to our clients, in addition to meeting the needs that they called for. Having worked in sales before, and having found it distasteful, I suggested that this was not a part of our job description, and that some of us had originally wanted to work for this company precisely because we weren’t reduced to forcing unnecessary upgrades upon our customers. I was told that I had a bad attitude and wasn’t a team player. I proceded to sulk and mutter under my breath for the next several weeks, taking longer bathroom breaks than I was allotted, just to spite them.

Now, instead of being treated like a fifth grader, I am a teacher myself. Having learned from my former supervisors, I do my best to pander to and crush the spirits of all those in my classroom. I do this through my old company’s time-honored methods of arbitrary punishments, passive-aggressive comments, and liberal distributions of shame and humiliation.

At long last, the circle is now complete.

This entry was posted in Rants. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Circle of Shame

  1. Roger says:

    And you time the kids’ bathroom breaks, right?

  2. Public School Grad. says:

    I was always thristy during 7th hour Spanish (as a senior in high school), so I would often take a water break. One day, I asked for a pass, and my teacher said “I don’t think you’re thirsty, I think you just want a break, so I’m not going to give you a pass.”

    So I kicked her in the neck and went to McDonalds…

  3. peter says:

    PSG – I think we all wish we were as brave as you.

  4. Sarah says:

    I was a passive rebel. I would just steal the stack of hall passes off the teacher’s desk and forge her signature. Eventually I was roaming the halls so much, the teachers just thought it was part of my daily routine and never bothered me.

  5. Peter,

    My workplace is a horrible, sad mixture of your cubicle farm and Brian’s warehouse o’ death. Combine that with 6 incompetant co-workers, 12 salespeople who couldn’t market ice water to a dehydrated Ethopian, and you’ve got my job experience.

    That being said, one day, I too shall have minions of my own to torture and ridicule mercilessly.

  6. Crispin Porter says:

    I once had a job marketing ice cold water to Ethiopeans. You might remember my catchy slogan:

    “Water: You desperately need it in order to live!”

    We also had a viral marketing campaign where we sent Ethiopean marketing interns out into the desert to drink our product. Their near perfect survival rates, and moist lips created intense demand for our product. Things were going great until we undersold by a new competitor. Who the hell is UNICEF, and how do they keep their prices so low?

  7. scott says:

    i also had a phone job that sucked. it was a call center for people looking for more info on work at home stuff. we’d have to read some BS schpiel then try to sell a $50 book to them. if they didn’t want it for that, we’d sell it for $30. it didn’t really work that well (i learned that about a week in) and people often tried calling customer service to complain but the line was always busy because there was only one extension, and about 50 sales lines. i started giving out the office line, the one to call the managers. i felt like robin hood, esp when i overheard one of the managers complain “i don’t know how these people are getting this number!” i think i worked there a total of one month.

  8. peter says:

    Scott- You are a true social warrior.

  9. Thom says:

    I cannot speak ill of my call center job. Mainly because the last time I did, I spent three months in solitary confinement with only an inbound phoneline, stale bread and tepid water and it completely broke my spirit.

    I now love my job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>