Get ready, because this is a doozy. I just really need to get this off my chest, though.
I knew I was in trouble the minute I was told my data entry department was shutting down and I was being moved to the call center. I’d spent a few months in there, hated it, and had gotten myself transferred to a different part of the company as fast as possible. Things were actually nice in data entry. Simple work, reachable goals, and *no talking to idiots on the phone all day.* It was so nice that I was actually able to stop taking my anxiety medication, finally breaking the addiction I’d had to it and significantly improving my mental health.
And then they sent me back, and now I’m not doped up on so many chemicals that you could light me on fire and I wouldn’t care.
Sure enough, things have been extremely rocky. But the worst example was this past Friday, where it was like the customer and my bosses were working together to drive me insane. And now I’m legit afraid I’m going to clock in on Monday only to be fired.
First off, there’s Karen. And yes, that was actually her name. That name is practically a self fulfilling prophecy at this point, isn’t it? Anyway, Karen says she’s calling about a special offer we’re having–and before I say anything, she wants me to know that she is an *expert* on this special offer. I shouldn’t bother telling her anything because she already knows more than me.
Okay, I say, how can I help her, then? She wants the special offer, she says. I apologize and say she isn’t eligible because–Nope, that’s wrong. But her account isn’t–She doesn’t want to hear it! But if she were to–Look, if I’m not going to do my job, then she needs to talk to a manager *right now.*
That is absolutely fine by me. Let her go be a Karen to someone else. But for some stupid reason at my company, we can’t just transfer people to the escalations line. First we have to call the assist line and *get permission* to transfer them. Now, we have over 300 people taking calls for us, so naturally we have a sensible number of people working the assist line. Like, say…ten people? So it takes roughly twenty minutes just to reach someone on that line. The entire time, every two minutes I have to “check in” with the customer. “Hi, I’m still working on this for you. I’m sorry it’s taking so long. Do you mind continuing to hold?” And every time I pop back in to tell her I haven’t solved her problem, Karen gets a little angrier.
*Finally*, someone picks up. I explain that the customer is refusing to talk to anyone but a manager, can I please have permission to transfer them?
No, I can not.
Because the lady on the assist line (let’s call her Julie) and I are going to deescalate the call ourselves! I tell her again that the customer *does not* want that, she just wants to be transferred to a manager. Too bad! Now here’s what I’m going to say to her.
Pop back in over to Karen. I tell her that I’ve got a supervisor on the other line, and…no, sorry, she can’t talk to them. That goes over about as well as you’d expect. I try to tell Karen why she isn’t eligible for the special offer again. She refuses to listen, demands that I get her a manager.
I pop back over to Julie and tell her that Karen still wants to talk to a manager. Can I *please* transfer her now? No I can’t, now I need to go back and tell her that…
This goes on for about ten minutes before Karen has enough (and I honestly can’t blame her at this point) and starts accusing me of screwing with her. I’m not really talking to a manager, because if I was I would let her talk to them! I tell her that I do, indeed, have a manager on the other line. Then what’s her name?
Moral dilemma time! Do I protect my fellow coworker, or do I throw her under the bus? Screw it, the call only got this bad because she wouldn’t let me transfer it. I tell Karen that the manager’s name is Julie.
Oh yeah, suuuuure! Julie the make believe manager who Karen isn’t allowed to talk to! Well, guess what? Karen is going to sue our company! And she’s going to report us to the government for discrimination! And she’s going to give them my name and also Julie’s, just in case Julie turns out to be a real person.
Pop back over to Julie to tell her the good news. Julie is *shocked* that repeatedly not giving a literal Karen what she wants for literally no reason could end this way. She finally gives me permission to transfer Karen to escalations, not because it’s what the customer wants, but because this is now a legal issue and only managers can deal with those.
Pop back over to tell Karen that I can now transfer her over to a manager. Karen finds this hilarious. She’s literally having to sue our company (which she still fully intends to do) just to talk to a manager. Well, let her tell me something! She has never been treated this badly in all her life, and she’s going to make sure that we…
Did I mention that company policy says we can’t transfer the customer until they *SHUT THE @#$#@!#$@ UP?!*
But now Karen knows she has a captive audience, and she is determined to make me experience the full force of her Karenocity. And this whole time, my anxiety is being gnawed at, the little rope that lets me cling to sanity growing thinner and thinner with every word, until…
Welp, time for a full blown anxiety attack!
I interrupt Karen. I don’t give a crap that she’s in the middle of three hour speech about how awful I am, I talk right over her until she’s forced to stop. I tell her that I don’t care about any of this, least of all her opinions of me, but if she wants to talk to a supervisor I can either get her one or I can hang up the phone right now. And for the record, people would be much more willing to help her if she didn’t have such a horrible attitude!
There is nothing but stunned silence on the other line. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the first time anyone had ever spoken to Her Majesty like that. I quickly decide that she must be giving me permission to transfer her, so I do. Then I go into Lunch status, even though my break isn’t for another 45 minutes, because I can’t possibly take another call right then.
I didn’t hear anything about it for the rest of the day, but I know that’s not going to last. These are the people who write you up for saying “These loans” instead of “Those loans” during a scripted section, after all. So all I can do now is clock in tomorrow morning and hope that the fire and brimstone I’ve called down on myself isn’t too much for my fragile mortal soul to bear…