Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Transitions

While the perfect timing of my shift from the UK to US track proved advantageous (a fast-tracked promotion that only took three months from Supervisor to Team Manager, when it usually it takes about a year minimum), I was also thrust into a new world of cutthroat statistics to be met per team, people management (i.e. managing people in their thirties and sometimes forties, while I merely turned 23 that year), work politics, deadlines, progress reports, punishing schedules, and more deadlines. We had Verizon as our major client; the US office had also just signed a contract with Sprint, which meant the call volume would skyrocket. Everyone braced themselves for the impact; it was going to be a crazy 3rd quarter.

I was barely even finished settling down my things on my new station, after the contract signing, when I was given a barrage of things to attend to. One, go to the Training Dept. to meet some of my future CSRs. Two, shadow a Team Manager as she went about her tasks, and at the same time orient myself on the processes and SOPs of the company. Three, activate my Outlook and set my trackers- QA, CPT, Attendance. Four, learn Kronos software, TCS, and AVAYA all in the same day. By lunchtime, my head was spinning. I felt nauseous, and I seriously considered quitting. I took a sip of my coffee, which had gone stale in my mug.

“Thad, ok ka lang?” A friend asks, as I stare blankly at my PC screen.

“Ha?” I said distractedly. “Yeah, I’m on break. Jen, I really feel like going on sick leave today. I feel sick.”

“Gagah, kaka-promote mo pa lang! Haler, just suck it up. You have a few hours to go before the shift ends.”

“Beyk, I’ll go to the sleeping area and close my eyes for a while. Windang na talaga ako.” I said as I made my way to the 12th floor. Even years later as a TM, it would become my daily habit to nap during my one hour break (I’ve mastered the art of stuffing food in my mouth during 15 minute breaks).

Little did I know that most difficult part of my job had yet to come. Three days into my being a TM, I inherited several CSRs from a Team Manager who resigned. I was backtracking and ironing out their records when I realized the previous TM had left a lot of work to be done. The CSR’s records were last updated months ago, and as I filled in the Attendance records from TCS, I got the first feelings of dread.

Nina was a CSR on probationary status. Her Quality scores and Call processing time were satisfactory, but her Attendance was far from pleasing. She had incurred enough occurrences to merit a Final Warning. Per the probationary contract, it is stipulated that a Final Warning automatically disqualifies them for regularization; ergo they are to clear out their lockers and pack their bags should that day come. I consulted with an ACCM, since the CSR was not informed of her status nor was she coached or issued the preceding Verbal and Written warnings, I was able to initially get her off the hook. I prepared her written warning, to be served the following day.

I was able to go through the process without trouble, and persuaded her to work on her attendance. But fate must have had other plans, because the following day Nina called in sick again. Upon her return, I had no choice. I approached her and asked her to log off the phones.

“Nina! Why were you absent yesterday?”

“Sorry boss, I was really not feeling well.”

“We just discussed this days ago. Nina, you are aware that you are already on written warning, and just days away from your regularization date. Do you have a Medical Certificate to support this? I can file it as an LOA if it’s supported by a Med Cert from a Medicard-accredited physician.”

“No, I don’t have a Med Cert.” She said, sitting up.

I took a deep breath. “I will be serving you a Final Warning for absences.” My heart started to pound, I swear she could hear it. Oh dear, I thought- I’m about to fire my first CSR! I heard through the grapevine she was two months pregnant, and this added to my apprehension.

“Unfortunately, this effectively disqualifies you for regularization. Sorry Nina, but you are already- ” I squirmed in my seat.

“Termed?” She said, looking me in the eye.

“Yes!” I sighed with relief. (Gosh, I was really an amateur!) “I’m really sorry but you have to surrender your badge, and clear out your locker today.”

I went back to my station and collapsed on my seat after that episode. EJ, a fellow TM, walked by and looked at me sympathetically. “Rough day? Let me guess, you fired someone.”

“Tell me about it.” I said.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thaddeus,

I read your post while taking my ten minute coffee break. Have been in the office since 6am this morning,and it's already--anung petsa na? huhu. I was working on one pleading after another, was catching on one deadline after another.

these past few days, i have been a work whore. and have thought of quitting. (like you did on your first day as tm).

but i won't.

i just hope though, that when i look back ten, twenty, thirty years down the lane, i could confidently say that all these were worth it. sigh.

cant_u_read said...

i know. it sucks to be the bearer of bad news sometimes, huh? but sometimes we have to be just that. think of it as.. they will never trust the weakest ones to do that.

gosh! the price of being too dependable!

Phoenix said...

@ anonymous: Hmm I think what kept me going back then was my spirit (even if my body was screaming for me to slow down!), and I really lived and breathed for that position that I desired so much.. If you have the passion to do what you do, I think you'll carry on and will definitely have no regrets. If there's anything I learned though, it was the fact that my relationships with my CSRs, peers, and bosses also kept me going and were the ones I missed the most after I quit.. Even after a hard day, moments with them really took the pressure off. I hope you have silly and fun officemates (if that's possible at all!) to help keep you going- that's aside from your own determination. Novel ba itong sinulat ko? LOL!!

Phoenix said...

@ cant_u_read: How true!! Oh well, they pay you big buck to do it haha. I terminated over 32 CSRs over the course of 2+ years being a TM, but I was fair naman, I made sure to do everything to help them pero pag pasaway talaga... I got used to doing it after a few months, but still, taking away people's jobs had a negative impact on me! I had to ask myself if I was a bad person, everytime I served those papers

Mark Xander said...

I wrote about you and CokSki Blue here.

Phoenix said...

@ mark xander: Hehe thanks for defending me Markie, but I actually don't mind that review they made, they obviously took one look at a single page and made the verdict, meaning it was not an impartial review on the writings itself ; ) I don't need people to validate my work.. keri lang, they are entitled to their own opinion. But I'm touched that you would harrass someone for your friends sake hehe

the spy in the sandwich said...

somehow this post sounded sexy for me. but i always like it when people take control right before my very eyes. hehehe.

and yup, mark and i... inaway namin ang mga bitches sa review my blog. i gave them a dose of their own medicine in my blog as well, reviewing them and revealing them as the shallow farts they are, harharhar.

don't mind me, this is the stress of august talking...

Phoenix said...

@ the spy in the sandwich: Ian, grabe natawa talaga ako sa review mo sa kanila. Wag na lang patulan yung mga yun, baka ma-trauma ; ) Hehe

cant_u_read said...

of course that doesn't make you a bad person. it's not fair to define yourself by your job. ;-)

Kodi said...

You can go for training and quickly get jaded. I get to let go of two or more people on a regular basis (for performance, attendance, behavior, etc.). Every two weeks, that is. Not excluding Christmas and other legal holidays! You know how much stricter we are, knowing that we are now scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to new hire.

Jay said...

I totally understand how you feel!!!
I'm part of a new program at the company I work at, and this is my first job ever. We had new TSR's coming in left and right every week. It was a huge ramp up. I was also promoted to Team Lead in about a month and a half of being on the production floor. It was overwhelming...but I agree with you! Right now, even though I'm swamped with work and there seems to be no appreciation nor any recognition for the extra effort one puts into their job, it's the people that you work with that keep s you sane. They're the ones that keep you motivated to do the extra little things that you do. If it weren't for these people I don't think I would still be doing what I do now. Thad I love your blog..it's like you've experienced things that I feel as though I'm bound to experience sooner or later. It's so relatable that it's become addictive. :)

-Jay

Phoenix said...

@ Kodi: I left the industry almost two years now and even during that time it was true- it was difficult finding good agents. Most of them don't even get past the proby period ; )

@ Jay: Thanks Jay, glad you like it.. That was also my first job.. I do miss the people I used to work with but most of us have moved on already..

chase said...

i can't stand call centers.
i dunno. i worked in one b4 but resigned agad.
sprint u say? my partner worked in a call center here in cebu and sprint ang account.
la lng. maybe you guys are of the same company.

Phoenix said...

@ chase: Yeah, it's not for everyone ; ) but I left almost two years ago and I study full time now..

chase said...

ahhh okai.
its good to know.
gud luck sa schooling!

Phoenix said...

Thanks Chase! sexy naman ng pic mo ; )

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