Good Morning Post Traumatic Syndrome,
I just returned from an epic trip to Clearwater Beach, FL. where I spent a long weekend with the Griswalds including a 3-hour road trip for a frat house party. Be looking for it toward the end of the week. Meanwhile the story below from 2008 documents one of the more unsavory jobs I ever had. I think you might enjoy it:
Good Morning Savage Mitigators of Circumstance,
As a few of you know, I’ve taken on a less-than-glamorous job working in a call center that merely transfers warm leads to a sales team. It’s mindless work of course but it’s also tedious beyond description. I’ve struggled mightily trying to decide if the cerebral atrophy built into the job is worth the security of an hourly wage.
The internal debate continues of course, but I want to make it clear concerning my new work environment. While the job lacks individual incentive or purpose, the tedium has created an unanticipated challenge for me. Abject boredom combined with long intervals between calls has brought out the need to vocalize on a variety of topics. The fact I have a captive audience is not lost on me and have engaged my fellow workers on issues covering both fact and fiction. For the two or three of you that actually know me, I’m sure you’ve already raised your eyebrows and mumbled; oh Shit here it comes! Please hear me out!
Given my typically unbridled enthusiasm, I became engaged in conversation with a lovely woman from Jamaica. As the general pause quickly turned into a lag then into a long time between calls, the conversation turned to one of a personal nature. I was told by my cubicle companion that it was up to her to generate the fruits of marital bliss! I in turn, as is my manner responded, “Oh did you become the naughty nurse?” to which most in earshot found humorous and laughed.
Unbeknownst to me, not everyone found my office high jinks funny. Within an hour of my comment, I was escorted by my young overseers to a small conference room at the end of the building I euphemistically refer to as the ‘woodshed.’ Under a glaring spotlight, I was forced to acknowledge my comment as disparaging; offensive to all within the sound of my voice! My teary-eyed confession was accepted and I was given a hard copy of the company’s sexual harassment policy and told to ‘go and sin no more.’
Two days later I was again marched to the ‘woodshed’ and this time asked to cut my own switch! One of my conversations was recorded in which an obviously irritated woman essentially told me to pack sand as she had no time for the intended conversation and abruptly hung up. My post call comment was recorded long after the woman hung up. I innocently mumbled; “wow…that’s one angry person!” So again I faced my young management team accused of going over the top! Without being insubordinate I mustered up my best “you’ve got to be kidding me” look and accepted the criticism. It’s still hard for me to take that example as a serious breach of policy! Nevertheless, I kowtowed and promised to try harder.
To further drive my point home I was again taken to “zuki’s woodshed” as it has now been so named by my fellow captives to face the ‘Inquisition.’ This egregious offense involved another of my female co-workers who inquired of me as to my involvement with making the morning coffee as she felt it was a bit strong. I replied in an obvious tongue n cheek manner that she couldn’t take it because “she was just a girl!” This again aroused the enmity of my anally retentive task masters again forcing the ‘death march.’
What has happened to our country? Are we so afraid to poke fun at ourselves and enjoy some harmless fun that we’ve become a cacophony of soured and bitter clucks?! My God…..I’ve been so far removed from this kind of environment that outside an emotionless monotone I’ve really no idea what an appropriate dialog is! What’s ironic here is the word ‘FUN’ as it’s one of eight founding principals the company claims to be part of their corporate identity and supposedly encouraged. I don’t find it all that fun. I highly suspect my young supervisor has had little experience with having fun and his current job represents his first experience with being in authority over others. Wielding authority is a delicate balance of focusing on corporate goals and objectives and creating an atmosphere conducive to productive activity without the turnover.
Ultimately I was escorted off the premise but kept my corporate key. I can’t comprehend how my comments offended anyone unless one is a complete intransigent blow-hard….just sayin..