After working in five different call centres my self-confidence has gone on one hell of a journey. I started out feeling optimistic until I set foot on my very first “calling floor” at the start of my first day on the phones. I soon switched to terrified, flustered, then wary and finally jaded. Jaded was good. At least I knew where I was with jaded. There was a general sense of calm for a while. But after changing jobs and working as a debt collector I soon realised that in this profession people don’t like what you have to say or what you stand for, they don’t like your boss, your mother and they certainly don’t like you. I’m back feeling wary again because as soon as I hear that beep in my ear I’m trying to decide how much the person on the other end of the line hates me. And my Mum.
Mr Dent: Hello?
Liza: Hello there, this is Liza calling from your bank.
Mr Dent: Hello, Liza! How are you?
Liza: I’m good thank you and yourself?
Mr Dent: Oh you know. Not up to much. You’re catching me at a good time actually.
Liza: Great, well if you’ve just got a couple of minutes I won’t take up much of your time.
Mr Dent: Take all the time you want.
Liza: OK. Before I go ahead could I just confirm your name and date of birth please?
Mr Dent: Sure. Harvey Dent, 2nd August 1970.
Liza: Thanks, OK. Well I’m just calling because we haven’t received a mortgage payment for three months now.
Mr Dent: Yeah I know. Tell me Liza, do you look like Cheryl Cole?
Liza: No, I don’t.
Mr Dent: Oh. You certainly sound like her.
*I give a fake laugh*
Liza: Yes, well I can’t sing like her unfortunately. So, was there any particular reason for the missed payments?
Mr Dent: What’s your favourite song of hers?
Liza: I… um… well I don’t know.
Mr Dent: No come on, I’m interested. I like talking to you people.
Liza: Well, that’s nice. But I don’t know. Anyway…
Mr Dent: Have you been watching that X Factor?
Mr Dent: Are you kidding? You haven’t been watching X Factor? You’re missing out Liza. I thought everyone watched X Factor.
*My laugh is more awkward now*
Liza: So the arrears on the account stand at £2500.
Mr Dent: Are you busy today? You’re probably trying to catch people just getting home from work are you?
Liza: Yeah, obviously people tend to be busy during the day. It’s OK though because…
Mr Dent: Uhuh. I don’t care. You know I’m taking the piss, right? I couldn’t give a shit about your poxy accent or what you watch on TV. You know that don’t you? And I’m not always happy to talk to you and no, this isn’t a good time. Comprendé?
*Who says comprendé? Nobody says comprendé anymore. It’s dead along with capiche*
Liza: OK, well we’ll just leave it then.
Mr Dent: What, just like that?
Mr Dent: Well, why have you bloody kept me on the phone for the last five minutes then? Talking about… God knows what?
Liza: X Factor?
*Mr Dent hangs up*
Unfortunately, this is why I can’t give the genuinely nice ones the warmth they deserve. You never know when they’re going to flip.