Friday, June 25, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

I Miss CallTrex 

I have now officially spent two days in the employ of dedicated evil. Being one of three out of seven that actually made it through the training program and the first two hours of actual on-the-floor work I should feel special. Somehow special is not quite how I would describe it, but I don't know what word to use to describe the feeling of being hand-picked by the devil.

I can only imagine what they told the people that they were "letting go" from my training class: "Thank you, you may pick up your cheque and soul at the door".

I'm just upset that the one person that I made a connection with (and who I thought would be my friend comiserate through this experience) also got let go. She's a really interesting person. I only caught her first name (Rowen) and she's from Scotland, having arrived in Vancouver just two weeks ago. She's got an interesting and coherent accent and a one year's work visa to Canada. After that visa expires, she's going to spend a year in Australia and so on so forth. Sounds like something I want to do after I graduate. She's just finished her law degree (if she wants to practice she needs to sit for the bar exam, which takes a one-year course more) and before she decides that she wants to be a lawyer, she wants some life experience first. I wanted to pick her brains about working holidays so that I could plan something similar for myself after I graduate and before I pursue my masters. Beyond pure selfish reasons, however, she's also a great person to be with and she mentioned that it was hard to find a job. (Double for her than for me because she has a one-year limitation)

The telemarketing campaign that I belong to is focused on getting people in the South (that's Southern U.S.A.) to switch phone companies. I knew this job wasn't going to be easy when I went in for the interview and indeed before I attended training. I also knew that this job would pay for the bills until I could find somewhere to go that would give me similar flexible hours and somewhat okay pay. I also don't know if I'm any good at it yet. You would think that after several hours on the phone today I would be able to tell if I have a knack for this profession. I only made one sale today, but my supervisor did mention that people get better over time. I don't see how, but I will have to take his word for it and keep hitting those phone lines. I was speaking to someone there who is also at UBC and doing this part-time. She's the top salesperson. They had to change the comission scale because she kept exceeding the maximum limit. The pay up there is obscene and also very handy when trying to pay off student loans. If I'm even halfway as good, I'm going to tough it out because if you're making the money, after a while, nothing bothers you anymore.

What bothers me right now however is getting told off by people with a Southern drawl. There's one thing to tell me off briskly and get me off the phone. There's another to take five minutes to articulate one word. It's a scientific fact that people think ten times faster than they talk. These people must not be too quick minded. Not to mention that I speak slowly and clearly when someone picks up the phone and yet I get a large number of people telling me to speak slower. SLOWER?! I think the person on the other end of the line will reach their estimated life expectancy before we finish this conversation if it went any slower and I can't make a sale to a dead person.

Of course there are the really nice people. Usually these folks are far and few between considering the nature of my call but because the volume of my calls is absolutely ridiculous, statistics ensure that I get one at least every hour or so. I find that those are extremely useful when it comes to trying to keep the spirits (and tone of voice!) up. The only sale that I made today was to a diabetic whose eyesight is really bad because of cataracts. She spent a good long time telling me about her day/week/month/year/life and I didn't mind it one bit. Plus I was saving her about $40 a month which she was grateful for. I like her and I wish her all the best. She is the first experience I have ever had of Southern Charm and I think I can say that I know what people are talking about when the mention it now. (There was this article about Courtney Cox talking about how despite all her success she was still a down-to-earth person with lots of Southern Charm, and I really had no idea what they meant.)

It's not a nice job and right now I'm not making much money. (I have to make sales to increase my base pay as well as to make comission. It's all about the numbers, if you are really interested I'll email/MSN/ICQ you the details.) "It's all about the numbers" is a phrase that I hear again and again. The key to this whole business is in statistics. How good a salesperson you are only comes into play after you get people to start talking to you. Between the answering machines, the business lines (we only pitch to private residences), numbers that are not in service and the people who hang up before you have a chance to finish your first line you're really hungry by the time someone takes the time to ask (even irritably) what the hell you are calling for. I'm still not sure that I'm any good at this, but considering how successful the people who were training me are and that I was picked by them to stay on I guess I must be donig something right. I'm sure that once the money starts coming in my objections will steadily decrease.

Interesting point, the lady who runs the cafe on the opposite corner from where I work (who incidently speaks Chinese, Italian, English and who knows what else) told me that where I work has a very high turnover rate. My supervisors tell me exactly the opposite. I wonder who to believe.

posted by Joie! at 10:39 p.m.


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