As I left work yesterday my head was buzzing. The Christmas rush is so full on that I’m taking calls non-stop from the second I start my shift until I clock off. I find myself frantically switching between the systems on my desktop as for each call I put a different hat on, one minute home furnishings, the next gift catalogues and then dealing with a problem with a magazine subscription. Throwing the ‘bear with me please’ line in wherever I can to buy myself a few seconds to get onto the right window. By the end of the day I’m mixing things up. My brain has had enough and stops co-operating. ‘how can I help you… oh sorry I mean can I take your card number… its been a long day, sorry.’

My patience snaps with the last caller. One minute before my shift finishes and I’m hit with a complex one which is going to take about 15-20 minutes for which I won’t be paid. To make things worse the caller is in a mood, they’re unhappy with some previous service and instantly launch into a rant about the company. I snap. ‘It’s the end of my shift’ I tell them ‘well can you put me through to someone else’ they retort ‘no I’ll just get away later’ I tell them. Unprofessional I know and I feel bad, but it’s been a long day. I deal with the call which takes as long as I fear it would as the caller dithers over what action they want to happen leaving the phone to get more info they should have had to hand. I watch the clock in despair. When I eventually step out into the desolate darkness of the near empty carpark it’s cold and raining. I walk out to the street and on the depressing stretch of road directly in front of me stands a girl with an umbrella. She’s not dressed for the weather and looks cold. Our eyes meet for a second and I pass by. I suddenly get a sense of perspective maybe being in a comfortable, safe call centre ain’t so bad.


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