and peaceful until….. the phone rings.
Problem is that this week it hasn’t been ringing much at all. It’s all a complete contrast to just a few weeks ago when managers were begging people to do as much overtime as possible as one of our clients was building up to Mother’s Day their single busiest day of the year. Although the job has always been cyclical, following the pattern of the mail-order industry with an intensely busy Christmas period followed by January sales and then a much more subdued March before picking up again, I’m struggling to remember such a lean time.
It seems that the economic downturn has finally hit our clients and in turn is hitting us and hitting us hard. One of them, a home-furnishing company, has struggled for a couple of years and late last year decided to give up on catalogue mail-outs to go web only which means only a trickle of calls for us. Not much of a problem whilst we were busy with other clients, but as their first major campaign of the year was always Spring, incidentally the time the rest took their foot off the gas, it has now left a major gap in our schedules. At the moment it seems that unless something drastic happens over the summer, or failing that a major ad campaign from one of our other clients, then people’s jobs will be under threat; Now I know why my managers were laying on the smorgasboard of sandwiches when they were courting new clients not so long ago it must have been desperation.
For us at the moment it means a lot of thumb twiddling. Since the use of our only internet outlet the BBC website was banned not so long ago many of my colleagues, supervisors included, have been resorting to playing solitaire (or patience as my Grandma called it) as there has (as yet) been no memo prohibiting it. I myself have opted for a low-tech approach of either doodling or slipping a book inside one of the client catalogues we are issued for reference purposes; this owes much to a recent scandal over internet use details of which I will post about before too long.
As for fiddling whilst Rome burns; our manager has jetted off to Thailand today. She left us all with a memo excitedly informing us of this two-week trip complete with a stock photo of an island basking in glorious sun. As I was tearing it up I asked my colleague next to me ‘how much do they pay her to sit and write stuff like this?’