|They Interrupt your Dinner, They Interrupt your Life
||[Jun. 20th, 2014|01:27 pm]
In the spring of 2010 I went to work at a call center in Dearborn. My job, among hundreds of co-workers, was to sit in a cubicle while a computer placed calls to homes around the country. Once I had someone on the phone, my task was to convince him/her to donate to a charity; there were two of them-- a breast cancer one and another for disabled veterans. |
Despite protests from the Call Center Powers that Be (the local t.v. news Problem Solvers and all sorts of charity watchdog groups were constantly on their case), these were dubious organizations. And it was my job to get anyone to donate. I killed my soul for $10 an hour for over a year. I also gained gained sixty pounds and developed sciatica.
At first, I was on the side of the people who this for-profit company, via me, were trying to trick. I'd think, "aww, man. I'm so sorry to bother you" while reading a script that was designed to get them to "give", or whatever.
I was bad at this job. After my first week, I was called into my supervisor's office and told, "Ed, we don't want to fire you. If we fire you, you can't come back. And it will go on your 'record' that you were terminated. But if you quit, there's a possibility that you could be re-hired."
I had been unemployed for over a year. And even though what this company was doing was across-the-board reprehensible, I was determined to draw a paycheck from them for as long as possible.
So when they told me to resign (because they didn't want to be on-the-hook for paying unemployment benefits), I told them that I wasn't a quitter and that I was ready to get back on the phone and get some "donations."
For the first few months, between getting called into the office and getting the "you should quit" hard-sell, I spent most of my time drawing pictures of what I thought the people who I was calling looked like. Then I discovered crossword puzzles and computer solitaire.