So this is the part in my blog-writing career when I write about something that I probably shouldn’t write about because people can and probably will read it. If true, it would be the third time I wrote something on the internet that was read by the wrong person, but on the other hand, I’m not one to shy away from how I feel about things, and the last thing I want is to censor my own written material, as it is, sadly, one of the few places where I really “let loose,” as the kids say.
I’m writing about my job. It won’t be as bad as I have set it up to be, but as we’re all too aware these days, anything written on the internet can and will be read by the people you don’t want to read, and either you give up your right to free speech and force yourself into the corporate cog that millions of Americans have already done, or you say, “Fuck you, I get the right to vent,” and do just that.
I am a telemarketer. For the record, telemarketing and the fast food industry were the two careers that I have refused for a long time to take part in, mainly because they both appear to be soulless life-sucking jobs that require you to either manipulate others for the sake of the almighty dollar (telemarketing), or that manipulate you and rob you of your sense of individualism and creativity (fast food). The case can be made for other jobs and their lifelessness (with the exception of, say, rock climbing, but that’s not really a job, it’s just badass), but telemarketing and fast food just exude the reality of the despair inherent in the American Dream — this idea that one must endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune willingly, so that they may achieve, what?, a tremendous amount of money when they’re sixty? A solid retirement that you get to spend in the childlike malaise that is being old?
That’s another topic of discussion, though.
So anyway, I will be a Good Boy and not tell you for whom I work in particular (that was some good grammar there, wasn’t it?), but I’ll just describe the atmosphere. I’m sure several of you have been in this situation a million times before, or are there now, but part of the charm of humanity is our ability to identify with others, so let’s do that now, shall we?
I got my interview notification in e-mail form, which I loved, because it means that I actually got a job through the internet. They say that only 10-20% of jobs come from the internet, so I was lucky, I suppose. I won’t rant on the disadvantages of the internet here, since I already did that, but I will say that I personally don’t like talking on the phone that much, so it’s nice to get an e-mail for an interview. Of course, it’s an e-mail for an interview for a telemarketing position, but hey, what the hell.
I went in … well, okay, I rode my bike to this place because it’s only a few blocks from where I live, which is a great thing because it means my sold car was not for waste. I descended the staircase wearing a t-shirt and the only pair of shorts I own and Danny, at his computer, said, “You’re wearing that to your interview?” And then he snapped his fingers like a stereotypical Sex and the City gay man. Well, okay, he didn’t really, but it would’ve been funny if he did. But it goes to show my general lack of knowledge about formalities, especially job formalities. I just don’t want to impress people by wearing nice clothes, you know? Nice clothes are one of several ways people hide who they really are. I’d rather impress people by being smart, witty, quick and kind and courteous.
However, I did go upstairs and change into long pants and a dress shirt. No tie, though. Fuck ties.
Came back downstairs, Danny gave me a reassuring head nod, and I hopped on my bike and began my ride. For exactly one block, and then my chain fell off the gear. I went down to put it back on and realized that I had a chain guard on the bike, which meant I couldn’t fit the chain on because it was, well, guarded. And I didn’t have any tools to take the guard off. So I walked home, gingerly trying not to get my grease-stained fingers on my nice white shirt or new pants. The good news was that the interview was not at a specific time — she just said to come in “between one and five,” so I had plenty of time. But it was also hot out, and I was sweating, and the last thing I wanted to do was come in there with sweat dripping off of my face. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened.
I go in, meet a couple of people. A former classmate and friend, Michelle, was working there, which was surprising but probably helped me get the job. I was handed an application, which I did not expect. I had to fill it out using my memory rather than having a resume with me to copy, so I might’ve forgotten a couple of phone numbers. After the application I was given a copy of the script they use to telemarket with (I don’t think that works properly as a verb, but it’s too late now) and told me to go home and call them and use the script and all that. That made me a little nervous because my phone is currently disconnected but I figured I could borrow someone’s at home, so I hopped back on my bike, script in back pocket, and rode in increasingly warm weather back to my house.
At six I called and did a very good job, if I say so myself, and I was hired on the spot. I’m glad, too … I didn’t go to college for five years studying theatre to give a bad reading, after all. I was scheduled to work the next day. “Hooray!” you’re all saying. “You finally got a job, you lazy bastard!” Well, first off, stop being such jerks. And secondly … yes, yes I did get a job.
Telemarketing is like getting an acting role, but the role is the same goddamn thing over and over and over, and instead of getting to play someone cool like Hamlet, you get to play a jerk who interrupts people living their lives. Constantly. I only work for four hours at this place and it’s a little excruciating, if only because each call lasts from five seconds to a minute, max, and after every call you take a look at your watch to see if any time has passed, but it hasn’t, and it never will. The atmosphere is very laid back and cool, and the people are great, but calling people out of the blue just sucks. Let’s be honest. Nobody wants to do it, and nobody wants to listen to it, and half of the time you’re fibbing just a little bit to get people to not immediately hang up on you. Plus the telephone age is dead, in terms of telemarketing. I don’t understand why we don’t post things on Craigslist or send e-mails to businesses rather than call them. Calling is interrupting people, but employers can always open an e-mail at their leisure. I guess this is why I hate telemarketing, because I don’t have that sense of urgency to sell things like other people do. It’s not make or break for me. I have no passion for commission. Money doesn’t really drive me. However, I am good at calling people, I’ve found this out. Years of vocal training have actually done their job, and I can shift the tone of my voice in ways so subtle it makes grown men cry. Well, okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. But on my first day at my job I set two appointments, which is a Good Thing apparently because you get paid a commission if you set an appointment; otherwise you get paid minimum wage. At least minimum wage went up from being $5.15 a couple of years ago. God this state is ass-backwards.
I worked this morning, too, and I was exhausted because I didn’t sleep very well last night. Combination of heat and a racing mind, I guess.
So in the end, the good news is that I am good at my job, and it
pays decent enough, and it’s only four hours long (though they said I could move up to full time if I wanted … not sure if I do, honestly). The bad news is that I disagree with the entire idea of telemarketing. Oh well. Sometimes you just gotta put your feelings aside and work.