It’s not often that I think about my past life in a call center — and, honestly, on the rare occasions that I do, I tend to remember the period where I’d worked my way up the ladder and was writing the call scripts and meeting with clients. (It was very strange, looking back; I had an office to myself and everything. I wore ironed shirts with buttons and collars and everything every single day!) The time that I spent actually on the phone, making the calls, tends to fade into the background, for whatever reason.
That’s a shame, really, because I actually liked my time on the phones. Sure, I wasn’t entirely convinced about that at the time, and there were certainly days when it felt as if just the opposite was true, but… of course there were; it was a job, and there’s no such thing as a job that you don’t occasionally hate, because that’s literally how jobs work. (I’ve been doing what is pretty much my dream job for the last decade-plus and there are still times where I feel as if I’m dragging myself to the desk, so take from that what you will.)
Nonetheless, there was something genuinely great about talking to so many different people on a regular basis, even in such a regimented situation. Every now and then, you’d stumble upon a funny, or surprising, or educational, conversation that you never could have imagined, and your day would end up being significantly better as a result. It could be a slog, sure — we’d have hourly numbers to hit, in terms of dials and conversations — but, every so often, it could be a bit of a genuine joy, as well. Such things can happen.
All of this came to mind today when I had to deal with someone on the phone as part of a customer service thing — I was the customer, I should probably clarify, given the above — and I found myself quietly marveling at how well it was going, how wonderfully the person I was talking to was handling the entire thing. If there’s one thing that working in a call center does, it’s making you appreciative for people who work in call centers; this particular guy was so great, so helpful, that I almost asked to be transferred to his manager to demand that he gets a raise.
Instead, I wrote this. Look, there’s a reason I left call center work to become a writer.