That’s one way to clear the queue


I was reading about people getting fired in record time yesterday and it reminded me of something that happened back a couple hundred years ago in my call center days. Everything I tell you is true but names dates and locations were changed for safety security and just because.

CLEAR = No Calls in the queue

GREEN LIT = 1-100 Calls in the queue

RED LIT = 100+ Calls in the queue

AFTER CALL = Option you pick before a call ends so you are out of the queue momentarily to choose other codes (break, lunch, sign off, etc) or write notes on an account. If you don’t choose this before a call ends you immediately get the next call in the queue.

OP = Me

STF = Soon to be Fired coworker


I worked at a financial firm on the phones a few hundred years ago in a place far far away. We had a fairly extensive training during which time we would take demo calls and even at times get funnelled actual live calls from the main queues. On the last couple days before hitting the live phones for real we spent the day in our training room taking calls (funnelled to us from the live queues) and going to breaks as we would on the floor. This meant signing off the phone for break, using your after call codes, etc. As we weren’t in the actual call queues we were never Green Lit let alone Red Lit. We were always waiting for the next call. Going to breaks, lunches, etc was easy. Just hit the sign off button and you were good to go. Ill note here that this was back in the day when you had a physical phone console with big ol buttons for each function and an Mono LCD screen showing your stats, queue numbers, call status, etc. To make sure our customers got the satisfaction surveys ***we*** had to hit the Release button to disconnect the call from us and send them to the survey. If you let them hang up first… well they hung up so no survey and if there was dead air before that (aka the call was done) you got a score of 0 for the survey (not here to talk about this BS system but it is what it is). STF was in my training group and sat no where near me then but once we hit the floor they were one cube over. During all of training they were the slowest to pick up on things and seemed to be struggling overall but managed to pass all requirements so they got to join us when we hit the floor for real calls.

Now that you have the background let’s get to the real story. Day 2 taking calls. Our shift starts and the queue is CLEAR. Great, it should be a nice day (no I didn’t say this or even think it for fear of jinxing us). STF shows up (exactly on time mind you; which in call center world is late), sees its clear and makes the forbidden statement (foreshadowing). Things go along well for the first 2 hours. Now our breaks start coming up and we take them as scheduled one by one. Once breaks starting coming up the queue went GREEN and then RED lit. I see there are almost 400 calls in the queue when I get back from my break. I tell STF it’s their turn to take the break. I sign in and take my call, then the next, then the next. While in after call writing a note I notice STF still hasn’t gone to break and as their headset is off I ask:

OP – “What’s up STF? Why haven’t you signed off for break yet?”

STF – “I’m trying, I think I have it now”

OP – “Ok, are you sure you’re all set?”

STF – “Yeah, I got it”

I finish my note and jump in the queue to take the next call. I did notice that we were down to less than 200 calls in the queue now. I take note as that seemed odd but I take the call. A few minutes later; I’m in after call noting this call and STF is still at their desk and not signed out. I see them frantically doing something by their phone and lean over:

OP – “How can I help? What’s going on? We need you to go to break so the next person can go before our lunches start”

STF – “I can’t get to after call to choose break. I don’t know what is going on here”

At this point I realize they are frantically and repeatedly hitting the RELEASE button. I glance at my phone in time to see it go from RED LIT to GREEN LIT, about jump out of my skin and try to stop STF from what they are doing. I get tangled in the headset and essentially clothesline myself trying to stop them when:

STF – “There we go it finally worked I’m in after call and can pick Break”


They never came back from break. A minute or so in to their break a supervisor came by as they had tracked down which phone was disconnecting EVERY SINGLE CALL clearing out the queue. When they realized it was STF’s phone they packed up their stuff and met them at the door to the call center floor as they were coming back from break. They were walked out and never came back.



a newb didn’t realize understand how the phones worked and hung up on 300+ customers clearing a queue out so they could go to break. The break lasted forever as they were fired for this action immediately.


What do you think?

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Omfg talk about entitlement. 45 minute call over…

I don’t agree to your terms and conditions but I still want to use your app, just let me use it!