Why I am leaving blighty
15.12.2010 - 03.01.2011 -50 °C
It is almost 14 years since I first ventured to India and a year since I returned from a trip to the Far East. Another job in a call centre battery farm is driving me East again.
I work for a well known brand. A place that could easily drive (the clue is in the wording) me to an addiction that would require counselling with an organisation sharing the same initials.
I am a ‘Salesbot‘. My job is to be that annoying in-bound sales person in a call centre. You will probably have first hand experience of this. Picture the scene. You have been waiting 20 minutes to speak to a human being merely to change for example your address details. You finally get through. The changes are administered slowly as the little mouse powering my computer is asthmatic.
But alas I have not finished yet. For I am I am there to ‘up sell you services’ that you don’t really want or can’t really afford You listen, exasperated, as the sales talk starts irritatingly to eat into your lunch break. Half an hour later the sales mantra carries on to areas that only link tenuously to your initial enquiry. I might as well be asking .“would you like a set of encyclopaedia Britannica’s; or a his and hers carriage clock; or maybe even a time share in the Dominican republic?”.
You are resolute though, 45 minutes after my failed attempt to meet my sales targets, that you do not want a further upgrade. You return to your egg butty, have only five minutes to scoff it down and spend the rest of the afternoon with heartburn. Defeated, I return to my phone to listen to a 30 minute rant by an angry customer who has decided that I personally had orchestrated a conspiracy to overcharge her by £20.
You are frequently the punch bag to the customers frustrations. I just want to say sometimes “ I am sorry your are through to the wrong department, please hold whilst I transfer you to verbal abuse”.
Some of this is justified especially since customer loyalty is thrown out of bed in favour of a one night stand with new customers.
The abuse is sometimes internal. Demands are regularly barked out by the unstoppable goods train that is matron. I want you all to sell this or that (sometimes even the other) by 5 pm. Unfortunately the goal posts are often moved to a different playing field in a different town, in a different country which makes meeting targets more difficult that meeting Elvis, the Loch Ness Monster and an honest banker in a tea shop in Harrogate.
Fortunately I have not faced the Nuremberg trials of ‘return to work’. “Sorry I was only obeying doctor’s orders“. This is when you have returned from a period of sickness. In very Arian way, illness is a weakness that is not tolerated, a hindrance to the sales effort. Excuses are rarely good enough. Not even - “I am sorry I trapped my arm under a bolder and had to saw it off.” “Sorry I couldn’t make it as I had a touch of leprosy“. “Sorry but I died of pneumonia but I will make the hours up in my next life“.
There are other heinous crimes other than sickness like exceeding your break by 1 ¼ minutes or having too many toilet breaks. I was once questioned by a 19 year old training supervisor when sent to the toilet by the selfish demands of my bladder. This was by some pre programmed droid who didn’t know where Cardiff was.
Although I must admit that I am luckier than many and shall miss all my team. But the atmosphere of the place as a whole is that of del boy end of the capitalist spectrum within the straightjacket of communist oppression. I know what it must be like to live in China. This is why I am leaving to a country south of China.
I am indeed tempted to get a job in an outbound Indian call centre, calling Indian customers up us with a frightfully British accent, pretending that my name is Gupta . “My name is Gupta. And how are you today? Would you like a saving on your phone package“. Or maybe I’ll set up a chain of fish and chip shops for drunken Indians to wander into after the pubs have closed.
On 4th January after the last hazelnut has been discovered in a pile of cracked mixed nut shells, after the liver is recovering after a Normandy landings assault, I shall be leaving. Yes leaving: the country; the weather; the talk about the weather; the talk about talking about the weather; miserable commuters; rude taxi drivers; Jeremy Kyle; ridiculously overpriced motorway service station food; inappropriate wearers of lycra; ridiculously long advert breaks on Dave; rude lycra wearing taxi drivers on Jeremy Kyle repeats on Dave moaning about commuters. I shall be spending 10 weeks in India, visiting Aunties, Uncles, Cousins in Kolkatta, Lucknow and Delhi. I shall be sipping inexpensive tea and trekking in Darjeeling, visiting holy places in Amritsa, hopefully venturing into the Mangrove Swamps in the Sunderbans. For anyone who has ever worked in a call centre - this will be like 10 weeks in call work!.