Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Job Satisfaction

I hesitate to post this on my personal blog, as I try to keep a certain distance between it and my work environment. Yet I think the odds of somebody drawing the connection are minimal, and this has been on my heart since July.

Right now my job satisfaction is at an all-time low. For those of you who don't know, I'm a team leader for about 20 call center associates at a multinational outsourcing call center. Our client is an American cable company, and our project requires us to up-sell our client's products to their unsuspecting customers who contact us looking for support on unrelated issues. It's kinda like a used car salesman who sets up shop next to the auto-wrecker, or the taxi driver who waits outside the local bar for the next drunk.

I have a huge problem with the modern communications industry, in that they generally promote products and services which I cannot in good conscience encourage my team to sell. When I look at customers' accounts, it's more unusual to see people who have not ordered scads of pay-per-view porn than to see those who have.

But even on a simpler level: In my home I receive five English-language television channels via my amplified rabbit ears. On those channels much of the content is objectionable and even more of it is of minimal artistic merit. Even with that, I watch too much and waste too much time. All this for free.

Were I to sign up for any cable package, I would receive more channels but more objectionable content, more material of minimal artistic merit, watch more TV and waste more time. Plus I'd be losing money, and I'd still have to put up with the ads. It's a lose-lose all the way.

I therefore struggle to encourage my associates to try to up-sell their customers. Instead, I sometimes feel like bursting, "Tell them to cancel their services and go spend time with their families or read a book or fly a kite or something, anything, which builds up the soul instead of crushing it!" But alas, I have not worked up the courage to say such things.

On top of that, management has its own frustrations, the top two of which are:
  • Seeing the fruit of my labour either vanish the next day, or else reflect itself in a 0.3% increase in an entirely forgettable element over a month-long period
  • Fighting against the immense downward pressure of executive managers to try to get them to see the inefficiencies their pet projects create
And if I'm ever successful in either of those ventures, what have I actually done? How is the world a better place if I convince a service manager to enact a strategy which will raise our service level (which means calls are answered within 30 seconds instead of 50 seconds)? Why put so much effort into such an unworthy goal? Why not spend my life doing something with more of a ripple effect on my society?

So after seven years at this job I find myself looking outside the company for a more laudable career. Your prayers are appreciated as I discern this through.

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