Today I really had to drag myself into work. I’ve lost almost all my motivation since our hours were cut and was dreading another yet another manic monday. When I arrived at the office there seemed to be a lot more people in than last week, mainly people who don’t usually work Mondays. It seems this is because as has been rumoured people are being offered overtime to make their hours back up. Typically this is only offered to the privileged with some of us not hearing a peep. I know I’m not my managers favourite and in some ways I enjoy this. If I ever got a certificate with a cartoonish clip-art smiley face clutching a champagne flute I’d feel more shame than pride. I actually like being on the margins as it helps me feel that I’m not really part of the call-centre that I’m only passing through and I like the perspective it gives me; that of an observer filing despatches from the front-line.
Even so I do have a real problem with the seeming unfairness and opaque workings of the call-centre. Favouritism has become a real issue since the appointment of our manager last year. In her role as link between us and the ever distant senior management our managers main power is the power of patronage; who gets their holiday requests approved, who gets the best jobs, and now who gets the precious overtime. One of her early acts was to create a team-within-a-team dealing with one of our major clients – previously we’d all taken calls for all clients. The new sub-team moved to their own corner of the office and before long began to grow apart from the rest of us some displaying a slightly aloof attitude believing themselves to be the chosen few. Others just dash around on special projects, given responsibility for training, conducting surveys or some such other task. This frees them from the shackles of the headset allowing them to move around the office all important as in the call-centre movement = status.
The criteria used for choosing who gets allocated these projects is like that of being selected into the team-within-a-team one which is never spoken about let alone explained. There is no application process, not even an informal one where people are asked if they are interested and then a choice made from the applicants. There is no semblance of transparency people are simply quietly tapped on the shoulder and invited to join the club pretty much how the Freemasons do their recruitment.
For the rest of us it leaves us feeling slightly disgruntled. Like citizens in a post-communist state we can only stand and gawp as despite our sliding standard of living some people are managing to grow, if not super-rich, then at least much better off under the new regime. That there is no explanation for why we have been denied opportunity it leaves us feeling as if we have nothing to work towards. An identity as outsiders takes-root and we start to rebel becoming critical of the management, the organisation and offering token resistance wherever we can; subverting the vote for best-customer service and the award on offer for best team player (this award really was ironic given our managers actions in dividing the team) and generally taking an indifferent view to targets.
In other news today I was told by a colleague that a delegation of visiting dignitaries who took a look around the call-centre last week were in fact not current or potential clients, but were from one of our competitor firms. The implication is that the firm is very much up for sale which confirms my earlier suspicions that the cut in our hours is to make the firm appear a more attractive proposition.