Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Devil in the Detail

The training for my current position was short, brash, ill-tempered and good enough for government work. The position is a customer service position. I was shown, briefly, how to get rid of customers, how to cut their questions off and send them somewhere (anywhere) else and how to let them know as soon as they are done asking (when I do actually let them finish a question) that I don't have that information and if by chance I do they will have to sign a piece of paper before I can give it to them. It has been the most interesting training I have ever, absolutely ever, received. I get kudos for how well I get rid of people. When there aren't any tyrants (excuse me) supervisors around I've been known to smile for these people. That's another post.

In my current contract position I often answer the phone for the department. The same attitude is expected and accepted, in fact applauded. Often these people on the phone merely want to verify that we have recieved their request for information. I've gotten very creative in telling them I have no idea and there is no where to go to find out. I've told people to wait and see if it shows up in their mailbox, then they will know we got their request. I feel I am in a Milgram Experiment and I want out. I'm not handling it very well.

Since I started this assignment five or six weeks ago I have been asked for my name during the phone conversations. I feel so bad I don't give my real name. I've been using my supervisors name. This week I changed that. This week I told people my name is Angel. Initially I found this darkly ironic and funny. It was a form of entertainment for me. But somewhere, quietly during the week I've turned my back to the door of my cubicle and started actually helping people over the phone. I've been putting people on hold and digging through boxes of information for forms and requests and bringing these forms back to my desk and getting people taken care of. It's not funny anymore that when they say, "Thank you, Angel." at the end of the conversation I feel pretty damn good.

There's a lot to be said for a name.


  1. An angel by any other name would be as sweet.

  2. Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today..........................