Friday, July 27, 2007

Why is it always me?

In accordance with one of my last posts about Harry Potter I could claim this headline to be a quote from one of the movies (no. 2 actually where Neville says that after having been hung onto the chandelier by a bunch of pixies - and no, I didn't keep that in mind for ages, I watched the movie on DVD again last weekend ... and I have a good memory). But that's not what I mean. What I mean is: Why do I always happen to find jobs that turn out to be a nightmare after a couple of weeks?

I had a little nervous breakdown this week about work, on Tuesday, actually. I was completely down on my nerves and in tears before going to work because I still hadn't managed to get one fucking contract (and yes, I know I'm not cursing regularly in this blog ... and usually not out loud in real life - what can I say? I felt like it) after more than a week of phoning. But by now I'm more than ready to curse my bosses instead, because by comparing myself with the other colleagues and our work, I know I'm doing alright. By now I'm just angry about this new job for various reasons.

The first is the whole issue about our quota. I'm aware that quotas are necessary in work life. You have to know how much success can be expected of you. If you meet it, you're doing the right job, if you don't meet it, you're definitely not the right person for the job you're doing. But setting a quota that nobody of us has been able to meet the least up till now (9 to 10 successes are supposed to be our final quota, currently 5 a day would be expected), makes the whole thing a bit dubious. Let's face it, most of us still have a problem with meeting a quota of 5 successes a week! And I seriously doubt by now it's only our problem. Sure, we haven't been doing this job for ages ... we're all still learners to a certain degree, some of us more, some of us less. I'm sitting beside a rather young woman (24 if I remember it right) who has never worked in a call centre before. She still hasn't made a success. I've managed 1(!) and I've been working as a telemarketer for over 3 years. The colleague beside me has some successes from a special action (where people get something for free - in my area of Germany it's not too hard to sell something for free), but apart from that, she doesn't have a lot of successes either. None of us has (even our absolute champion gives out more info-mails and website-addresses than she makes contracts). But I do have the lingering feeling we're looking at another "conference" tomorrow. And I hate that, which brings me to the next thing I hate about my new job.

It's those goddamn conferences. We're getting them about once a week or so - and always after our regular hours. As we're working from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (and in a small town in Germany you can be glad to find a supermarket that's open until 8:00 p.m.), conferences after work can easily mean not leaving the company until 7:00 p.m. Now, I'm in the lucky situation to have a car and live in the same town where my job is (it's about 10 minutes by car from where I live). Most of my colleagues aren't. Apart from one of them who lives even closer and has a car, they all either commute or don't have a car, meaning they either need someone to drive them or they have to take a bus. There aren't many busses leaving the area where I work after 6:00 p.m. I personally do my shopping on Fridays after work - which would work out nicely without those damn conferences. I could work around them, if I knew beforehand when they are supposed to be held. But at work it goes like this: it's two minutes before you're scheduled to leave office. You smell the relative freedom of the upcoming weekend (and I will have spare time at my hands this weekend, as my friend Heike can't come, unfortunately). You're watching the windows clock for the glorious moment when it will show 6:00 and you can leave. And then the boss comes in and tells everyone that we will be meeting in the conference room in two minutes, please. That makes me want to puke ... or to curse ... or to simply leave as if I hadn't heard anything. Because it means to those who travel by bus: hope that someone is prepared to drive you into the city centre, so you can catch a train or a bus to the opposite side of town where you live. It means to those who travel by themselves: say good-bye to an early weekend or the chance to keep an appointment or do your weekly shopping. It also means hearing about not fulfilling the quota again ... but I already covered that issue, I think. And if you're extremely unlucky, it'll be a single discussion, meaning that each of us goes in separately and has to face three(!) bosses and tell them everything. I, personally, don't see the point in that - it only makes the whole thing take longer. Well, maybe there is some good thing into it for the bosses: we can't gang up on them this way. But the next time it happens, they won't face the pleasant person I usually am at work. The next time I'm going to say it all.

Then there's the addresses. Currently we're phoning addresses from a website - and calling them outdated would actually be flattery. Half of the companies doesn't exist any longer, the other half consists of small businesses that have all the work they need and don't want or need advertising. Today we got addresses from another website in an Exel-file. Unfortunately half of them are the ones we've already gotten as printouts before. So they're not really getting better. For a website that centers around normal customers, why phone computer companies that mostly deal with other companies. For a site called "coupontip", why phone craftsmen, lawyers or doctors? But we do it ... and especially the doctors (which are on two different, very long lists and in two or three different Exel-files) are slowly getting annoyed. I can't blame them, if I got phone by three or four people from the same company in two or three days, I'd get annoyed, too. Even Ghandi would have gotten annoyed about this, I think.

Then there's the work hours and breaks. When I had my interview, it was working 9 to 5 with a paid lunch break. Now it's working 9:30 to at least 6:00 with an open ending, no paid lunch break (but that's not my main problem) and no paid breaks which the law insists on. We're mainly working while looking at the computer screen and a German law insists people doing that get 5 minutes of paid break every hour (except for the last of the day) to relax their eyes. We don't have them. If I, for example, take a toilet break - and while talking for 8 hours a day, you need to drink a lot ... and thus pee a lot, too -, it's time I don't get paid for. That means I should work approximately 30 minutes a day longer just because you have to relax for a moment every now and then - oh, and empty your bladder before you explode. If there weren't that law, I would have to live with that, I think. But there is that law and I won't just ignore I get cheated.

I'm simply fed up with some things. Like the quota ... or the conferences ... or the breaks we're supposed to have, but don't get ... or the unorganised kind of work that's done, makes us do worse than we could ... or the people we don't get over the phone, but talk into looking at the website and who get in on their own then (at least three people I've phoned in the past two weeks have done so). There will be another conference soon, I can see it (even without my tarot cards). Then they will meet a nice, one-person gang. If they fire me, then so be it! I don't care about my records any longer. Once I've finished my course and become a web-master they're of no importance any longer.

I will not always back down! They wanted a more aggressive person and they're going to get it!

EDIT: It's over, I said what I had to say and they fired me. Two weeks until I'm really unemployed, though, and I feel like a winner. I shocked them and I played the statistic-believing boss like a harp. What else can you hope for?

I'm free! Buahahaha!

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