I worked phone sales for a catalog company, bilingual Spanish/English. For the first several months I’d take the Spanish calls, and translate everything to the customer, on the phone, while I took their order. I decided, screw this, and typed up my own little two-page catalog in Spanish; all the most popular items, which I’d copy off and send to the customers (this was in the 1990s). Over the space of a few months this reduced my average call time from five to ten minutes per call down to two or three minutes. It also put me in the top three salesmen for the company for the three years I worked there.
I kept telling management they were missing out, but they wouldn’t pay attention, so I kept sending out my little rinky-dink catalog, and quintupled the Spanish sales while nobody was looking.
Management still didn’t get it. A manager I’ll call Helen was a particular pain in the ass, and after a year, I packed up all my stuff (leaving just enough that it looked like I was coming back), signed with a temp agency, took my vacation, then called in sick until my sick days were gone, fully intending to walk in the door and quit on my return.
When I came back, Helen was gone! I changed plans and stayed with the company.
A year later, and a manager I’ll call Helga was causing me just as much pain as Helen ever did. I packed up all my stuff, signed with the temp agency, took my vacation…well, you get the picture.
I walked in the door…and Helga was gone, leaving me the snippiest, pettiest, most immature middle-school drama inspired parting letter I’ve ever seen.
I decided to stay. Another year went by. More drama (it WAS a call center, after all), and I decided I’d finally had enough of being treated like a peon. The money was good, I was still top three in sales, but management was still blinder than the average bat and was now giving me a hard time about my typed, xeroxed mini-catalog. I found a job a lot closer to home, gave them my two-week notice, sent out the last of my catalogs.
The two part-time Spanish speakers that were on staff were immediately overwhelmed, and one of them quit. They tried to hire several workers in the next few months, and most of them quit. A year later they’d settled on a staff of four to do my job, and were still trying to put together a Spanish version of the catalog.
I went on with my life. Six years later the job I’d taken moved all of its production from Latin America to China, and as I didn’t speak Chinese I was let go, with a decent severance package. A friend told me the original company was now a better place, and I applied for my old job back. I walked in for my interview and it was the shortest, easiest interview ever: “This is just a formality, we REALLY WANT you back”. I worked there another 4½ years.