Saturday, July 27, 2013

Call Center Confessions

We sat in wedges.  Nondescript wedges completing a circle and pointing to a center of nothing.  Imagine a Trivial Pursuit game piece, that you snap colored triangles in as you master subjects, or one of those circular cheeses made up of individually wrapped triangular chunks.  This is the better analogy, as each desk had it's own slightly off cheese-odor.  Some people bring in family photos and potted plants to their office; we brought our own Clorox wipes.  We couldn't bring in photos or plants if we wanted to because we weren't coming back to an assigned spot.  The beginning of each shift was a silent, bitter battle to secure a somewhat less disgusting wedgicle for the day.

The initial training lasted eight weeks.  I loved training.  I love learning- even about cellular customer service.  I felt very proud when I scored 100% on my final exam.  I know it isn't a big deal.  It just felt good to excel.  Fast forward 12 weeks, waiting for my next call, and silently enduring a panic attack.  Nothing was wrong.  No one had yelled at me, and yet, there I was, realizing that this was as good as it gets, and not knowing what to do.  I sat there waiting for a call that wasn't coming when I felt the hand of my Supervisor on my shoulder,

"Hey, do you want to go home?  The queue is low."

Home?  Did I want to go home?  Oh, yes.  I wanted to go home.  I had never been asked that by an employer before.  I felt like an angelic choir was going to appear. 

"Yes, I would...thank you, I think I'm having a small panic attack right now.  Going home would be good."

My Supervisor's expression shifted from confusion, to concern, to discomfort.  I think he was wondering why I was telling him this.  His team's emotional problems were slightly above his pay grade.

"Oh, man.  Well, close out your programs and feel better..."

He walked away. 

The concept of going home early sank in.  It did not fix me.  I was genuinely having a mild panic attack in that moment.  However, I felt such relief.  So much did I love getting to go home, that I began impatiently waiting for slow queues.  Eventually I discovered a bulletin board in the back where you could sign up to leave early.  That's right- SIGN UP to LEAVE EARLY.  My first stop every shift was to see if they were asking for volunteers.  One time they made an announcement that the sheet was going up.  Everyone who was not on a call put themselves in break mode and ran to the back.  I joined them as soon as my call was done.  As I headed back I overheard two employees talking about it,

Employee #1:  "Why does everybody want to go home?"

Employee #2:  "Ha, they hate money."

I don't know why that conversation has stuck with me for so long.  I thought it was absurd at the time, but I think I now see where he was coming from.  You work hard, you earn money, you pay bills, pay off debt, plan for vacations, stay on top of everything.  You keep signing up to leave early- your paycheck suffers, your debts and dreams suffer.  However, I still don't believe anyone signing up "hated money."  I believe they loved something else more.  Loved getting home to have dinner with their family- (we worked the swing shift- 2pm to 11pm).  Loved getting to hang out with friends.  Loved going home and taking a nap, etc.  Most of us were not in a job we loved.  We made the most of it, but the pull to stay would never equal or exceed the pull to experience everything else. 

I stayed in my position for about eleven months.  Then, with the urging of a friend, I interviewed and obtained a position as an Front Office Manager in a Physical Therapy clinic.  For a long time this was a better fit.  I really enjoyed it, but ultimately, I moved on.  Several missteps later and where am I now?  Yep, a Call Center.  But a nicer one.  With a real cubicle that I can decorate, and co-workers that I know by name.  It is not what I hope to be doing for the rest of my life, but I'm not praying for a sign up sheet either.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Home again

I've spent the last few days house sitting for my friends while they attended family camp.  They have a dog and two chickens, so you could say I was house/dog/chicken sitting which, of course, sounds way cooler.  Their dog, Maxwell, was easy to please.  He wandered in and out of the house as needed, and napped in the living room.  The chickens needed their scratch, (supplemental feed), to be let safely in and out of their coup, and to have their eggs collected daily.  They were very pleasant creatures and would even come over to check me out when I came near. 

Here are the lovely ladies themselves.  Unfortunately, you can't see the coup to the right.  It looks like a little red barn!

I enjoy house sitting.  To me it is like a mini-vacation.  However, I don't go crazy in other people's homes.  In fact I tend to minimize my environmental impact as much as possible.  I'll walk the same route throughout the house, clean as I go, and try to not to move things around.  I do this so it is easier to tidy up before I leave.  I try to leave things as clean, or cleaner than when I left them.  I know how much of a buzz-kill it can be to come back to a unkempt home. 

One of the main reasons I like house sitting is because I get to enjoy a home without having to maintain it.  The grass is not mine to mow, (unless requested), the garden is not mine to tend, and the remodeling projects are above my pay grade.  I get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of other people's labor.  From the swing set on the back porch I don't look out to see a dozen weekend projects looming.  I look out to see a charmingly tended yard, hanging flower baskets, and a tree house. 

Even though I appreciate the freedom to be lazy, I have to admit I hope to own a house someday.  I know this would mean that all that labor and upkeep would finally be my responsibility.  But it would also come with the satisfaction that by my own hand I created something to take pleasure in everyday.  I'm not sure I'll have a chicken coup and a tree house, but I bet I could handle a hanging basket or two.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Hello Everyone! 

I don't have a lot of time tonight, but I wanted to brag a little.  I just checked and my blog is approaching 700 views!  Huzzah! 

I realize this may be considered small change to a lot of prominent bloggers out there, and there's always the slight chance a small portion, oh, I don't know, of about half or so, of these views are just me frantically re-editing my posts after I published them, but that's okay.  It still means a lot that you're checking them out at all. 

I truly hope you are enjoying them.  They are therapeutic and a great way for me to practice and improve my writing, but if they weren't providing something of value to you, then half the joy would be gone.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Off with Her Head...

Confession time!  When it gets hot, and I'm taking one of my long walks, my hands plump up like the Incredible Hulk.  See!:

Before pic

After pic

And, I don't want to hear "I don't see the difference," because if I do, I'll crush you with my gigantic hands. 

I decided to post these pictures, because in my country today is a day about Freedom.  And, I'm posting these pictures to liberate myself.  I'm tired of feeling awkward about the size and shape of my body.  Tired of hiding behind throw pillows, and strategically large purses.  My body fluctuates, (hence the pics), I have scars, bumps and calloused heels.  I'm overweight; when I work at it, I lose weight.  Sometimes old habits win, and I gain it back.  It is the body I was born with.  It has suffered some abuse over the years, and I'll never look as good as some women, but if I feel healthy, and comfortable- why isn't that beautiful enough?  Maybe not photo-shop/bikini beautiful, but everyday beautiful.

I'd be remiss if I told you I believe this without wavering.  I fight inside my mind plenty about whether I'm good enough, and although I've received my share of insults from others, most of the criticism comes from myself.  My head becomes my own worst enemy.  Lots of people live this way, and it is a tragic waste of our energy, and not what we were created for. So, I hope my amazingly large hand(s) inspire you to not be ashamed of your own wonderful, imperfect, and fearfully-made body.  At any rate, I hope it reminds you not to take physical appearance too seriously, and that you are not alone in that struggle.

Oh, and- Happy Independence Day!  May we continue to live in freedom from our enemies- the ones who wish to hurt us- from without or from within.