Home > Jobs, Work, Career > Entry 09/07/2010 05:44:25 AM – Mentat 581

Entry 09/07/2010 05:44:25 AM – Mentat 581

09/07/2010
 

     Labor Day has come and gone here in the Biggest Little, and things are going to be a challenge over the next couple of days as I transition from Nights back to Days. Ugh.  Not that I really want to do it, but as I’ve enjoyed my time off for the last three weeks, it’s time for me to start getting into a Diurnal schedule, so that I can actually start finding another job, along with the possibility of dating and socializing with other queerfolk in the area.  Not that I’m sure I’ll be doing that either given that I’ve been on OKCupid for the last month, and for the most part, I’ve been throwing people into the reject pile left, right and center.  I could rant about that and just might later on.  Right now though, it just doesn’t really matter.

     So Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Earl cut through the area and in doing so, the high pressure front that it had been pushing ahead of it has passed and once again bringing with it cooler weather.  Good thing too, given that the three days before the rains hit, we had temperatures well above the comfortable levels, and enough humidity to make even the 70 F weather at night not even remotely comfortable.  Hell, the instant that the temperatures hit above 85 F, Cricket stopped eating and drinking.  Pain in the ass that was too — as she had little to no energy for anything and seemed to be in pain whenever I had to pick her up.  Not even any hand outs from my plate either.  Caused me more than a little concern too — although she did well enough accepting food and water from syringe as she didn’t really have the energy to fight me on it.  Now that the temperatures have dropped once again, she’s showing more energy, her bodily functions aren’t causing her any hurt, and she’s been showing interest and eating a little of the food that I give her off my plate.  Not to mention fighting me more about food from syringe (which is a sure sign she’ll start eating from her own plate soon enough, like she did in the last journal entry).  Let’s just hope that the momentary spike in temperature mid-week (prior to another bout of rain) doesn’t cause her to react like she did during the interlude before Earl. 

     Hope continues to spring eternal for her, although it’s been waning the last couple of days because of the pain she had been going through… 

 

     I continue to have dreams about work — annoyingly so.  I’ve had about 6 or 7 or so about various aspects of work — many of which them contacting me to come back to work for them.  Last night’s dream seems that I went back to work after a month hiatus as though I had never quit my job in the first place.   I had talked with my aunt about it during our shopping expedition on Thursday between talking about the dreams and the frustrations that I used to routinely go through at work with the idiots and extremely selfish and stupid people calling in from the Vegas strip, and in the course of about 10 minutes I realized that my blood pressure was slowly rising from remembering the idiocies. 

     Seriously, there are times I feel as though I’m suffering from some form of PTSD when it comes to the unresolved issues, frustrations, and aggravations that I did my best to suppressing in the hopes that things would get better without my getting involved.  I mean, I had some power to suggesting change and better means of making the work environment a better place.  But honestly not at the level that was required — particularly given that with the merging of East and West Coast Call Centers came with it; this double standard on how to handle a virtual and unified call center environment. 

     As I had mentioned in other journal entries that I had thought about writing the department head on this and the double standard, but thinking about it for a couple of weeks, and coupled with the dreams and the frustration whenever I talk about the job, with family I get the overwhelming anger and blood pressure hikes that tell me that I’ll be neither professional nor coherent.  And further that I think that everyone that’s in management there knows of what’s going on, and it’s going to take a hell of a lot more quitting and firings (and poor to miserable customer service) for them to realize just how wrong this has been going. 

     Funny thing is that management wants the business service to be better than the residential service; but it can’t happen for as long as business has to handle the Vegas Strip/Hospitality.  Now don’t get me wrong — business travelers are a sort of jack-of-all-trades when it comes to laptop support.  Sure there are some really ignorant of their equipment on the road — for the most part, these users are fairly easy to walk through their issues (or not, if their laptops are seriously and severely locked down by their IT department.  It’s the residential-type people that end up going to Vegas for the intent of vacationing, and yet not vacationing.  Expecting things to just magically work without any troubleshooting whatsoever, and instead of figuring it out, expect someone to come to their room and fix it for them.  Get five of those sort of ignorant, spoiled and crybaby calls in a row, and even the most patient person will find themselves hard pressed when dealing with business customers acting in the same spoiled manner the last five calls from Vegas Hospitality the technician got. 

     And granted this is only nights.  During the day the horror stories that I got from acquaintances working days was a several-fold issue.  The first is dealing with folk on the west coast that clearly aren’t of the same technical quality as the east coast.   For example — technicians were sent out to business customers with issues of No Dial Tone on their phones, which was never the issue whatsoever.  Or that technicians had reported Hybrid Phone Equipment offline — and the site never had Hybrid Phone Equipment installed at the site in the first place — with the equipment polled on the side of the building showing no signal issues and communicating within parameters on the network.  I often got the impression looking at some of the tickets still open that it’s a combination of training issues (with some of the new people), and some that have been around since the merger that they just don’t care and are sabotaging however they can (in order to get things back to the way they were). 

     To add to the problem is that the department has bitten off way more than it can chew with the added work from various sections of the company. Sure, it looks good on paper — particularly when you see the cost savings of a unified call center.  The problem with this though is that when business customers get used to a specific level of service — and then bog it down by a significant increase in call volume, being undermanned to handle the new call volume – the long-time customers will be the first to go, particularly when tech support quality goes down (because of training and outright attrition as mentioned earlier). 

     Then there’s the salts to the wound has got to be the way procedures were being handled within the virtual call center environment and the double standard that was feeding to an almost inner-department conflict.  First there were the hand off procedures.  Basically they were the rules that should be followed during and after-hours to hand back to the local market technicians to handle the problem once phone support to getting service re-established at the location.  Common sense (and the really deft use of technical writing) would make them read like a checklist to follow to both expedite the caller on his way as well as getting a technician to the location.  While some did just that, others were so convoluted that it would take vital time before the next call to figure out, how the ticket should be categorized and assigned — even for someone that’s been working with the hand off procedure for 6 months.  Heck there was even one hand off procedure that was so poorly written, and so missing vital information that any kind of hand off for those problems was a nightmare as one could call the department in question, get 5 different technicians and 5 unique answers from each of them.  Then came changes to several of the hand off procedures because of the level of competence issues experienced with some call-techs from the virtual call center that the market in question added a long and often confusing questionnaire that became required to add to the troubleshooting ticket.  Truth be told, even after adding the questions and answers to the questionnaire, I often experienced that calling (and touching base afterward) to the proper hand off group to make them aware (or check the status) of the ticket that they didn’t even remotely read the answers to those questions.   Of course, the questionnaire wasn’t the product of ticket standardization, but instead of a the growing endemic problem of inner-department conflict. 

     Finally as I said earlier (and more than a couple of times in previous journal entries), when I had left, the atmosphere in the virtual call center was slowly building a double-standard that was contributing to what can be best described as inner-department conflict.  Truth be told New Englanders are often very observant to subtle changes within their environment.  They have to be given the hurricanes and flooding (and blizzards) that hit the state.  While they might not always read what they’re seeing correctly, they will keep things in mind as they continue to watch and wait for the proof to present itself.  And employees like to see results when it comes to trouble spots with peers at work, with either the person being taught properly to handle the problem or removed from the position for constant (and grossly egregious) procedural/technical errors.  Instead of the problem being handled, when reported, it feels as though it’s fallen into a black hole and the person in question continues to make the same mistakes and egregious errors time and time and time again. 

     Then there’s the ticker board that many on second shift and all of third shift had access to seeing on where the calls were coming in from, and who was doing what with the calls.  I used to sit there occasionally monitoring call volumes and locations (in case one of the markets did un-announced maintenance) and used to watch the same group of people that used to sit there in what’s called the wrap-to-ready state (the last caller had hung up and the technician didn’t set himself ready for the next caller) up to 30 minutes and then sign out for break or lunch.  Or my other personal favorite — them going into statuses like meeting and Coaching for up to an hour when there wasn’t a team lead or manager in the office at the time. 

     Of course, reporting any of this was like putting in a complaint into a black hole; as the offending parties would continue to do sit in a wrap-to-ready or meeting-like state (when there was no managers on-duty) — particularly during increases in call volume when there was an unplanned outage in an area.  It actually reached a point during my final weeks that the wording for getting these from "request for coaching/re-training" to "Re-Educational Opportunity".  Further, wording felt like I was working at Wal*Mart instead of an office-like environment. 

     All right, I believe I’ve vented it all out now…  All the issues that I wanted to bring up and send back into work as a sort of "exit interview" that I had never got on the way out the door.  I think I’ve finally gotten most of the crap that’s been bothering me out of my head and off my chest.  And from this moment forward, I’m not going to dwell on it anymore, as it’s time for me to move on and get on with my life and with the remainder of the healing process that I need to do since I bailed from there. 

 

[Last Edited: 09/7/2010 08:47:27 AM]

 

     I said that I would cover one more thing before I went…  Honestly, I think the issue that I have with the whole online dating/meeting/matching thing with sites like OKCupid and what have you is because I’ve gotten too used to my own company and my own standards that I forget too often gay men being social beasts by nature often fall into the whole rank and file of others that set the standards as to what to expect for a boyfriend/partner/SO/whatever.  Seriously, while the whole "down-to-earth" and "drama-free" rankles me to no end — particularly when someone says that and they are farthest from either label — I should realize that even in a social setting most people are not always as honest about themselves as they think they are.  Especially given we of the single set often try to promote ourselves in the best possible light. 

     So, as I’m transitioning over to days I’ll keep what I often forget (and causes me endless rancor) in mind while I scan through the profiles that hit my inbox. 

 

     Well, that’s about it for the time being.  Off to play a bit, and watch a bit more cheesy TV.   Until the next time.

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