As my loyal and frequent readers (and I love you both), may know, I have been on a leave of absence from the call centre I work at. For 6 weeks I was doing an internship at a local not-for-profit organization. The time I spent away from the call centre put a lot into perspective for me. It was nice to see what it was like working in a normal office environment, and not have to be micro-managed so much.
My internship has come to an end, however, and now I must temporarily return to the world of cable, internet and telephone bills. My first shift back went differently than I anticipated. Although I had been dreading it, I was excited to see my coworkers. As you know, they're my favourite part of the job. To my dismay, I'd found that a number of them had quit, (The Scapegoat and The Hustler, to name a few), and one had been "promoted" and was sitting in another area of the call centre. Some of their shifts had changed, and there were new faces everywhere. The first thing you learn about call centres is that change is constant, but I wasn't expecting to see so much change. I've left for extended periods of time before (I'm from Ireland, and tend to go back and visit during the summer) but never have I returned to such a bitter environment. The first thing I was greeted with was the fact that the phone systems had changed and I had to learn the new system. Everyone else received formal training, I got a 5 minute "this is what's up". Granted, the manager that helped me was extremely helpful and tried to explain everything clearly for me, but I couldn't help but feel like it was a sink or swim mentality. Of course I just ran with it, and haven't had any problems so far.
On a much more positive note, I was recently interviewed for an article in Information Age magazine about call centres. Be on the lookout for that!