We’re currently in the middle of an election campaign. No, democracy has not yet spread to the call centre; It continues to be a dictatorship where the fear of losing your job is sufficient to keep most people from speaking their true minds. Our election is not to determine who will represent us, or run us. Instead there are to be two categories of voting the first is ‘best customer service’ and the second is ‘best team player.’ The winners will receive a small prize and probably have their name printed onto a certificate which will be placed on the wall between the call time chart and the certificates recently awarded for lowest call times and most accessories sold.
It feels somewhat churlish to object to this. After all good customer service should be recognised and so should teamwork. The problem however, is how to judge other people’s performance as I don’t listen in to other people’s calls and the room is arranged in three rows so I only ever hear people on my row, and as for teamwork I was actually told off one time by our manager for assisting someone who had asked for my help, that is until they realised that I was doing this in my break-time.. “carry on” they said when they realised this. I also object to what I feel is a strategy to divide and stratify us. One of the things I had liked about the job in the past was the unity of the floor, we were all doing the same job with the same status. Now some people work only on some clients, whilst others have been issued with internal email accounts and others given extra responsibilities for training.
One person has even assumed what appears to be a pseudo-supervisory role and has begun to issue orders to the rest of us with the tacit consent of the manager whom the wannabe supervisor keeps happy with bars of chocolate. It is this person who has publically stated that they will win the teamwork title.
Hopefully they will be mistaken. When the contest was first announced, inspired by the people of Hartlepool’s collective wisdom in electing a monkey as mayor, I hatched a plan to rig the vote. If we could marshal enough people into a block we could ensure our candidates would prevail. In order to further undermine the contest the candidates would have to be the people we felt least deserved the accolade.
So far it seems the plan has gathered support. Our candidates have now been chosen so all we need to do is wait for the result.