Winston McBride has been a lowly associate, a team lead, a supervisor, an instructor, and much more at various call centers. His skill and knowledge have given him a sterling reputation in the call center industry. In fact, these days he goes by the title of Call Center Guru Numero Uno, and he does so for a reason. He's trying to sell books. Ha! I kid. Seriously, I was thrilled when he offered to allow me to share tips from his upcoming Call Center Survival Guide with those of you who follow my blog. Winston is looking for some feedback, as he is adopting a very direct approach. I find his work to be rather charming, and I think you will appreciate his efforts to guide you along the way as you enjoy your role in the call center of your dreams.
So then, here is an excerpt from Winston's work followed by a word from the man himself:
WARNING: Adult Language
Tip #47: Your Schedule is Bullshit
Let's be real: if you work at a call center, the people who make your schedule will fuck you harder than any prostitute ever could. You will be scheduled to work until 2 in the morning and the next day you'll be scheduled to come in at 7 a.m., I shit you not. You may work 17 days in a row for a total of 36 hours, or you may work 3 days in a row . . . for a total of 36 hours. You will be begged to work overtime or cover additional shifts. Bad weather will not halt the madness. You may be forced to drive through heavy rains, snowfall, and even hurricanes and tidal waves. Death before dishonor, good people. Embrace the lunacy, for this much is certain: you will begin to hate your life. You might as well be devoted to the cause. Your only escape will come in the form of time off, but time off is a commodity that the vicious slave lords who rule this industry deem you unworthy of. They will take more vacations than Michelle Obama, but you will repeatedly find yourself shit out of luck.
But sometimes life gets in the way, right? What happens then? Welcome to the jungle, baby, that's what happens then. If your entire family is swallowed in a landslide, don't think you're getting any time off. Suck it up, junior. Your immediate supervisor and nearly everyone with a position of authority will lay an astonishing amount of guilt at your feet should you dare to seek time off. They need you, and they will assure you that doing your job is the best thing for you to do in light of the circumstances. I've seen it happen. Hell, I've done it. You could vomit blood all over your cubicle and you would have a hard time getting permission to leave early. If I were your supervisor, I would probably write you up for soiling your cubicle. That's how you make it to upper management, people. One of the staples of call center life is complete and total misery for everyone involved except those fools at the top of the food chain who equate success in a call center with actual accomplishments. Those people have gone crazy and CANNOT be trusted, no matter how friendly or trustworthy they seem. Remember Tip #1: The Classic, and Don't Trust Anyone. Especially those bastards who make your schedule. They will strive to punctuate the upper crust's efforts to make your life miserable with a schedule so shitty that your schedule alone (and not all of that other bullshit we've been discussing) may be the primary reason you finally flee the inferno you've chosen to chip away at your very soul.
So, how do you succeed in spite of a bullshit schedule? First off, let's talk about the people who make your schedule. Fuck those people. Yell at them, give them the finger, punch one of them in the eye, just do something. Make a statement, that's how you advance rapidly. Think about it, it's exactly what Clint Eastwood would do. Follow these rules and you will succeed or you will be fired, of that I am certain. Let's move on.
Is there a way to adapt to your schedule that might actually improve your status at the call center? Of course. It's tried and true. You can take a tip from your superiors and avoid adding any relationships or hobbies worthy of merit to your life. If you sever all connections with everyone you know with even an ounce of cool in their bodies and focus on all of your new friends at the call center, you may wind up with a certificate of some kind. Maybe even a plaque. If you're a real asshole, you'll start to dress and act differently, but you'll be too clueless to recognize this. Trust me, I've been there. I have pictures. Yes, sacrifice all that is truly substantial in this life, and you're already well on your way to the top. It's a small price to pay, right? Seriously, look at your superiors. Those poor devils. Watch them closely. If you want to enjoy the monotony that they thrive on, you will have to emulate their soulless approach to sacrifice and shame. They're victims, yet they're unwilling to admit defeat. No, that's too noble. Really, they're more like the zombies in The Walking Dead. You can't kill them, though, it's frowned upon. Anyway, toss everything that matters to you aside and you'll have no problem adapting to your shifts. Hell, once your life is devoid of anything real, your bullshit schedule won't seem nearly as troublesome.
It's that or abuse the points system until your attendance gets you fired or you manage to land some manner of promotion. You make the call. Why did you start on the phones anyway? Study Tip #6: Don't Tell Lies During the Interview, Tell Very Big Lies During the Interview and you won't start on the phones the next time you enter call center hell.
Remember, the goal here is simple, people. Get promoted or get fired. Either way, you win. Yet if you take that call center job and you sit in the same seat doing the same thing for more than 6 weeks, you've already lost. Get paid or get the fuck out. Take it from me, I'm Winston McBride, and I've seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in my time in the call center industry. I've been hired, I've been fired, and I've probably fired some of you. Some of you I may have re-hired and fired again. Firing a lot of people is a great way to make waves, especially if they don't deserve it, but more on that later.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from my upcoming Call Center Survival Guide. I'll be sharing additional tips with James (so that he can share them with you) and next up is Tip #13: Getting Help from your Supervisor is Bullshit.
Call Center Guru Numero Uno