925 Grind: Johann – Call Centre 1

We work from a script but you soon get to know what you’re talking about – well, you do if you have half a brain, and I’ll be honest half the dumb fucks I work with don’t. What informs you most about the products you are dealing with? The complaints from the customers – they range from the boringly straight forward to the unbelievably surreal. You often wonder how people can be so depressingly dumb – it has to take some kind of hard work to reach that level of perfection as a moron; what? Drinking bleach every morning? Your mum drank you into foetal alcohol syndrome? An enemy skull-fucked you with an icepick? You catch my drift? You see what I’m saying here – I’m saying that dumb as dirt isn’t a derogatory enough description for these ignoramuses; they could make a pile of dogshit seem like Albert Einstein.
I’d been on the dole (jobseekers allowance never convinced as a name) for three months when I found the card advertising this job. Some other loophole in the whole process for getting money for actual work-based training had made itself apparent and I just got seriously fucked off with the prospect of having to wait a further three months to get it. I marched up to the boards – this is when they still had the little cards instead of the badly organised computers – and took down a card and told them to contact whoever needed to be contacted and I would go for this job.
I lied about my proficiency on the phone, and in the elaborate construction of that lie; in the telling of the wondrous tale about my amazing credentials as a communicator with my fellow man … yes, in those moments, I convinced my interviewers that I was indeed the owner of the bum that needed to fill the particular seat that they were looking to fill. It stands to reason that if you can adequately bullshit an interviewer then you are possessed of the requisite amount of flannel to soft-soap a customer. Little did I know how low my reserves would run in the up-down life of a manic-depressive phone-monkey.
Answer the phone with a smile in your voice – if you voice were, for instance, to say fuck you, then that would carry into how you answer the phone. Yeah, okay, well you try and be Mr fucking sunshine when you have not eaten, your blood sugar is low, and you are lacking the correct amount of caffeine in your system. I would answer the phone with a snarl in my voice, I was flippant and sarcastic – except when I sensed that my team leader might be listening in, and then I was perfect (I had a sixth sense for that shit). But when I couldn’t convey my utter contempt for the person I was dealing with in the tone of my voice and the timbre of my responses, I would construct hugely funny pun-filled comments on their accounts designed to make the next operator who dealt with them corpse on the phone.
Yeah, I was an arsehole. Then I discovered apathy. After three months employment states that they have to offer you a permanent contract or let you go – it is an unspoken law that around this point you will already be disillusioned with the job but reliant enough on the luxuries the wage helps you afford to accept it. Yeah – I don’t even want to think about how long ago it was I started working here now … long enough to be considered established. Like fruit in a supermarket, spend long enough here and you aren’t going anywhere else.

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