Proximate cause: two weeks ago, on Saturday, I got three "no" surveys. All three of them were fucking lunatics, like the woman who wanted me to block a phone number she couldn't give me--as she didn't know what the number was--but it was collection calls about her student loans, and she was sure that she was getting the calls because Trump is President. She was swearing at me a lot over it.
But let's give the complete rundown, shall we?
In mid-June 2016, the supervisors had a shift bid, and the supervisor I was under--a really great guy, J.H.--got assigned to a different time slot, so of course his current team had to be moved to another sup. This team was moved, in its entirety, under Absentee Sup #1, D.M., who never came to work the entire time she was my sup. On leave, FMLA, doing a special project--no explanation ever given for why she was never there to, y'know, supervise her team. We couldn't be under J.H. because a team's schedule has to align with their sup's schedule, but apparently it's perfectly fine for an entire team to have no supervisor.
And from June through August, the team had no supervisor at all. Occasionally we'd have a bungee sup, someone who was our sup for a day. The weekly coachings--performance feedback--was never done for anyone on my team, for months. We did finally get a supervisor who came to work, in late August--P.G.--but he wasn't there on weekends until mid-September at the earliest, and part of that time was his pre-scheduled two-week vacation (which was closer to 16 days). Even when he was at work, he spent most of his shift diddling his cell phone. And until late September his hours were 8a-5:30p. Team was on 12:30p-10p. Yeah. The schedules must align, right?
Needless to say, P.G. did not get many coachings done, and most of them happened thus: I would be working at my computer, and he would come over to me and say, "When you're done with that call, sign off on this coaching. I'll epop you the number." ("Epop"=instant message.) I was never told anything about my performance, nor given any feedback; me signing off on that coaching was entirely so he could meet his coaching targets.
After the Trumpslide, he seemed disgruntled, and suddenly stopped coming to work about a week or two after the election. I and the handful of remaining members of the team were moved to S.G.'s team. Of course S.G. was leaving the very next day for a special assignment in Jamaica, but because S.G.'s team was actually a team, the combined team was getting a supervisor from the training side, S.B.
So, to summarize the story thus far: from June through Thanksgiving, I had three coachings, and one was a critical for a failed survey. You're supposed to get them once a week, to help you maintain and improve your metrics. I'd received no useful feedback from anyone for five months. So naturally I was a little distressed at the next development.
...which was to be given, on the same day, both a verbal and a written warning for having poor metrics. I was given thirty days to improve my metrics or I would be put on a final warning.
Of course I objected to it, and I explained myself to the operations manager, who basically told me that he'd directed my sup to issue those corrective actions, so that was that, whether I thought it was fair or not. He didn't care that I'd received none of the feedback I was supposed to get.
So started the mad, doomed scramble to improve my core four metrics to save my job. A customer service call has a flow to it, and it takes time to change that flow; you get a certain pattern down and it's not something you change in a day. C.B. actually did coachings, so now I was getting feedback; my scores did improve...but not enough. It was all too little, too late. Given a scant four weeks to fix a problem five months in the making was not enough time, and on 1/5 I was put on the final warning I'd tried to avoid.
I started receiving coaching from the Quality department, too; once a week one of the head Quality guys, J.V., would sit down with me and we'd listen to calls and discuss techniques. My scores improved further.
Then, 1/28--three failed surveys. With the final warning on file, that's all they needed. If I hadn't been sick I probably would have been fired on the 9th rather than Monday.
Mrs. Fungus is of the opinion that they had decided to fire me in November, and were merely building a case. "That's the kind of thing that happened at [$Major_Cable]," she told me. Heck, it happened to her. The bosses bend over backward to make it seem as if they're trying to help you avoid being fired...but (in $Major_Cable's case at least, and probably here too) even if you do everything right and fix what's wrong, they just find another excuse to fire you. That's what they did to her; moved the goalposts every time she fixed a metric.
The real lunacy here is that after 17 months on the job there's no rep in that call center who knows more than I about doing that job. But because I had no effective supervision for five months, I stagnated. No one cared about my metrics, no one cared about my career advancement, no one cared about my development at all...until suddenly, in November, it was critical that I start hitting the goals.
The self-same people who cry and cry about the center not being able to take enough calls to make money (they lost a significant percentage of a megabuck in January) and force everyone to work 9-hour days to compensate for it, those same people are unwilling to give a well-experienced rep enough time to fix an issue caused by their own lack of concern?
A reasonable person, presented with a long-term employee that is almost hitting the mark, would say, "Okay, this rep can do the job just fine, and he's stuck with us much longer than most people do; we just need to figure out why he's having bad days and fix that!" You'd think they'd want to do that when they can't keep people for longer than a few months and have a terrible time with turnover. Especially when said employee had (when working for his first sup, J.H.) been in the top 50 performers in the center.
And the manager in question, H.R., reviewed my metrics with me--before telling me I was fired--and said that I had several weeks this year where they were just fine. But I had these two weeks with bad metrics! I pointed out to him that the feedback from my supervisor had been positive, that my metrics were improving greatly. He just brushed that one off: "Oh. Well."
Practical upshot: they wanted me gone, period, logic and fairness be damned.
* * *
In the aftermath, I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders, even though this causes a lot of problems. I hated that job. I mean, I hated it. It's not just the utter banality of the work itself; it's the fact that the call center was a "paper-free" environment, and they have a "clean desk" policy, so you couldn't have anything on your desk. It was the fact that the management there didn't give a wet fart about anything other than making sure their own goals were met, so they could look good to their bosses. Hey, who cares that the floor has been broken in that one spot for seven months? We don't have the time to worry about that.
Hell, remember the thing with my badge? It expired on August 17, 2016, and I asked my supervisor (P.G., it was) and the operations manager three times for a new one, and never got it until I finally sent a text message to the general manager advising him of the inaction of my immediate superior...and I got my new badge four weeks after the original had expired.
And Labor Day! On Labor Day, morning shift was treated to lunch by management--hot dogs right off the grill, chips, and soda. Evening shift got a case tepid water, a partial box of Fritos, and a few cold, dry hot dogs: the leftovers from morning shift's lunch.
Yes, we feel like valued employees. How can any competent manager make such a botch out of giving out hot dogs?
No wonder the place isn't making any money. No wonder $Company_A sold the place to $Company_B, which (by the way) no one explained to anyone at all. I'd wager that $Company_B is likely to close the place if it doesn't turn around soon, and in fact I'd further bet $Company_B only bought $Company_A's call centers because they wanted to get the $Major_Telecom contract. With the losses reported so far this year, I wouldn't be surprised if $Call_Center was closed by May.
That place is a shithole, a modern-day sweatshop. I'd get up and start running at 10:30 AM, and would not be able to slow down until getting home at 11 PM. I'd have to get up at 6:30 AM on Saturday, to get home at 6:30 PM. Twelve-hour days--no wonder I never have any time or energy for anything, for fuck's sake. And for my trouble, I get to be yelled at by half-wit cretins over a fifty cent increase in their three hundred dollar phone bill.
I'm glad I don't work at there any longer, as much trouble as it causes in the short term. I have three apps in already, submitted right after I filed for unemployment. It's not the end of the world, and I'll find another job. It's just inconvenient.