Favoritism in the workplace


It’s strange, I told someone yesterday, when I first came to the call centre I thought it wasn’t a great place to work, but now looking back it seems like a paradise, some more innocent time, before events cruelly intervened.

Sudden and seismic changes, the alleged fraud, the return of Big Al and the appointment of our manager, had the effect of reshaping the character of the call-centre. The old regime had fallen and those of us who remained were treated as if we were tainted by association. One theory going round is that our manager favours her people, the ones she appointed, rather than the ones she inherited.

It seems to be true the newbies tend to receive much better treatment, some even acknowledging it themselves. Yesterday I heard one of the relatively new CSAs has been ‘promoted’ to the IT department despite having no experience and there being other people in the call-centre who would be as (if not more) suitable for the role. Nothing against the person concerned, but the way it was done all in secret the post not even being advertised internally leaves something of a bad taste.

Another two of the newer staff members were also training the latest intake of staff who are being drafted in for the Christmas build-up. In my old job I used to train lots of people, I enjoyed this and like to think I was reasonably ok at it, yet like the rest of the old guard I’m never asked to do this, just told to sit in my seat. There is one of the old guard though who has got on well. cozying up to the manager with offers of biscuits and chocolate they were rewarded with the status of ‘pseudo supervisor.’ They didn’t receive a promotion in name, and certainly not in terms of salary, but were treated like a supervisor by our manager, more so than the actual supervisors leading to some confusion among any new starters. They were allowed off the phone for various jobs like putting together a training manual and seemed immune to the ‘bums on seats rule’ being often seen conversing behind our managers desk whilst the rest of us struggled with a huge volume of calls. They also seemed to be exempt from the ‘clear desk’ policy our manager instituted by having a desk which resembled a sprawling metropolis piled high with box files, desk-tidy’s, paper-clips and rubber-bands. In a final ignominy under the new seating plan one of the actual supervisors was relocated to make way for the pseudo-supervisor.

You may think this post has an element of sour-grapes and maybe it does, but I know I’m not the only one to feel this way in fact the opinion that there are favorites is commonly held in the call-centre. Even the favourites happily announce that they are favourites and feel that the ever more draconian rules don’t affect them. Something evidenced when one colleague received a disciplinary and written warning for using the internet at work. Despite this being a widespread practice among staff working the quieter weekend shifts – a fact management were well aware of, or else incredibly naive, only one persons computer was checked with a blind eye being turned to others.

So what we have now is a two-tier work force. Ones who receive opportunity, privelages, and a more relaxed interpretation of the rule-book and others who face working under ever more grinding and oppressive conditions. Perfect conditions for a rebellion.

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