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EriRae
10-22-2007, 04:17 PM
No, I'm not talking about reality TV.

Some of you have noticed that I haven't been around much. First of all, let me apologize. I just don't have the energy to get out of bed any more, and here's why.

I work third shift (10PM to 6:30AM) in a call center. We receive fewer calls at night; therefore, we are bored. Our supervisor, in league with the Operations Manager for the center, provided a VCR and a DVD player (and a television to go along with them, but the TV has no reception). That's great for nights when we're really slow, and when the four of us agree on what we want to watch. If not, we would access the internet and play yahoo games, chat on myspace or facebook, or in my case, get on AW.

First, we were told not to go to myspace or youtube because they could have viruses. Then, they implanted software that enables them to see each and every computer screen we see. They say it's for call monitoring, but the software starts recording before our phones ring. Once this system was in place, they started a lockdown: no internet use for anyone, no matter what shift they work. That means we can't even go to a news site.

Oh...and the kicker...they turn the lights off around midnight. We're sitting in the dark in the call center, huddled in our blankets because it's freezing. Tell me how I'm supposed to stay awake while reading a book or trying to work on my WIP?

I do manage to stay awake, but the more I do it, the more disgruntled I become. Disgruntled and depressed. I don't want to go to work. I don't even want to get out of bed. My marriage is strained, my friendships are strained, and I haven't been on AW religiously in a few months. I have applied for a couple of other jobs in the company: I was willing to go to our COLLECTIONS department to get out of nights, but they turned me down because I have no claims experience. Then I applied for a training position, right up my alley, on September 13. I have yet to hear back from them. At least the collections department e-mailed me within the first week to let me know I'm not a candidate.

I thought moving to a large company would give me better opportunities for advancement. At the end of the day, I wanted to say, "I work at ________" and you all would know what I'm talking about. Hell, I invest in their products. Now, I want to take my business and my career elsewhere.

So how much Big Brother is too much? How much internet access do you have at work? Should I risk being fired just to hang out on AW?

Carrie in PA
10-22-2007, 05:04 PM
Their computers, their rules. My company knows every second I'm on the internet and where I'm at. Therefore, I only use the web for job-related tasks and checking my email on my breaks.

I would think the lights thing would be a major legal violation.

You didn't say you've applied outside the company. That would be my next step. Good luck!

kalel32
10-22-2007, 05:19 PM
I Have a separate computer that I brought from home and pay for my own internet.
My company can't tell me what I can see or where I can go.

EriRae
10-22-2007, 05:21 PM
Their computers, their rules. My company knows every second I'm on the internet and where I'm at. Therefore, I only use the web for job-related tasks and checking my email on my breaks.

I would think the lights thing would be a major legal violation.

You didn't say you've applied outside the company. That would be my next step. Good luck!

Agreed...their computers, their internet connection. We used to have exceptions for being the night shift, but not any more.

Carrie in PA
10-22-2007, 05:44 PM
Agreed...their computers, their internet connection. We used to have exceptions for being the night shift, but not any more.

The changing the rules thing would suck. Hopefully you find something better soon! :)

Bartholomew
10-22-2007, 06:02 PM
That's much too much, in my opinion, Erin. Can I call you Erin?

Will you marry me?

Seek new employment immediately, if not sooner.

joyce
10-22-2007, 06:41 PM
I have noticed that you have not be around that much lately. Your place of employment sounds horrible and reminds me of the last corporate job I had. I received a call that my father just dropped dead (my mother died a month before) so like a good little daughter I left work to go to my dads house, which was about 5 miles away. Being the office manager people put things on my desk, and that's what happened after I left work. The President comes into my department and starts bitching that I had papers on my desk. One of my co-workers tells the guy my father died and I went home and people in the department put work on my desk after I left. The President starts screaming that he did not care who died, I needed to come back to work and clear my desk of the papers. Needless to say I quit soon after. They were a heartless bunch of jerks. Look for employment elsewhere. Life is too short to be that unhappy at work.

benbradley
10-22-2007, 07:12 PM
Their computers, their rules. My company knows every second I'm on the internet and where I'm at. Therefore, I only use the web for job-related tasks and checking my email on my breaks.

I would think the lights thing would be a major legal violation.

You didn't say you've applied outside the company. That would be my next step. Good luck!
Yes, that and TURNING DOWN THE HEAT! Are they trying to get rid of people on the night shift? You said there were few calls and y'all have lots of free time, that's what I would suspect. It sounds like they have too many people on the night shift and they're trying to 'fire' people. If you're going to "risk your job" I'd do so NOT by going on AW or other unauthorized surfing from work (or anything else they might possibly be able to point to as an excuse to fire you), but by COMPLAINING about working conditions, and REPORTING them to OSHA or the appropriate agency. Someone's butt needs to get kicked. Seriously.

Meanwhile, apply for jobs AT OTHER COMPANIES. Your job sucks so much it clearly affects other areas of your life.

I Have a separate computer that I brought from home and pay for my own internet.
My company can't tell me what I can see or where I can go.
I did this ten years ago - I got dialup access at home so I could be on some controversial email lists and surf anywhere without the company knowing, even though I had highspeed access at work and they were generous about allowing casual net.surfing. It's much easier to stick with work-only-related surfing when you have access at home.


...
Oh...and the kicker...they turn the lights off around midnight. We're sitting in the dark in the call center, huddled in our blankets because it's freezing. Tell me how I'm supposed to stay awake while reading a book or trying to work on my WIP?
Forget what I said above (for the moment), talk to an employment attorney. A "Large Company" shouldn't be THIS stupid to make employees work in the dark and cold. Just print out this thread and give it to him or her.

Lyra Jean
10-22-2007, 07:23 PM
I thought working at Walmart was bad. You have to work in the dark without heat. What's up with that? Start complaining to get things fixed even if you don't get your internet privledges returned. While you are doing that find another job.

EriRae
10-22-2007, 07:42 PM
I'm thinking of getting an internet card for my laptop, but doesn't it work along the same lines as your cell phone? We have 0% cell reception in our building. Dial-up means I'm using their phone line.

maestrowork
10-22-2007, 07:53 PM
I don't like companies like -- I know it's their right and there's nothing you can do about it, but I still don't like it. Even at IBM and all my client companies, none did that. We always had full access to computers and Internet, and they trusted us. There were filters and software and firewalls to prevent us from visiting porn sites, but other than that, no restrictions and as long as you do your job... and these are companies that have trade secrets, etc. I'm not, however, surprised a call center would be such big brothers, though. I've worked on one project that was housed at a call center in North Carolina... I hated that place and thanked the heavens that the project got canceled without 2 months (because the call center couldn't pay IBM).

Yeah, I'd suggest getting your own laptop so at least you could get some writing done. If you can get some kind of signal, maybe get a network card like T-Mobile or something so at least you can have some kind of Internet access on your laptop. Otherwise, you should still invest in dial-up because why they could monitor your computer activities, I doubt they would monitor your calls...

Otherwise... I know this is extreme, but I would switch jobs. My philosophy is that life is too short to be stuck being miserable. There are other jobs and other money to be made. But try the laptop first...

EriRae
10-22-2007, 08:05 PM
Agreed, call centers suck. I didn't plan on staying in the call center long, but, like so many companies, we are in the midst of downsizing. Who knows...maybe they won't be overnight much longer. They took away most of our call volume (our parent company's calls) in September. That's why the timing of this lockdown couldn't be WORSE. We now receive fewer calls than ever, and can't use our computers between those calls.

I will start taking my laptop, and uninstall the games, so I actually get something done.

Jaycinth
10-22-2007, 08:24 PM
Call Human Resources: OSHA VIOLATION!!!

BUT FIRST:

Document every freaking thing. They cannot make you work in the dark with no heat.

Bring in a thermomenter and record the temps nightly for your next ten shifts. Bring a camera and photograph the thermometer on top of that day's newspaper so you can document the date.

Print out and save this thread.

More Info.
WWW.OSHA.GOV (http://www.OSHA.GOV)

1-800-321-OSHA

SIC EM!

Azraelsbane
10-22-2007, 08:32 PM
I, too, seem doomed to call center jobs, and I don't even know why. I have a bachelor's for God's sake, but everyone wants degree+experience, so...I'm pretty screwed. I just end up in call centers because most of them will take anyone, which makes for a mix of personalities I'd rather not come across in daily life. I worked for CSD as a relay operator for the deaf, and people would fight over night shift for the same reason you speak of: very few calls. We were allowed to bring portable gaming devices if we wanted, but luckily they didn't turn off the lights. That's just ridiculous in my opinion. Anyway, after working there for four months, they changed the way things worked. We had to take internet calls and prison calls and weren't allowed to hang up if it was an obviously nasty crank call, and relay operators MUST read the typed text from the "deaf" individual verbatim. With internet and jail calls rolling in, we were super busy 24/7, and basically I spent my nights being a phone sex operator for 8.50 an hour. A HUGE exodus of employees followed. I was in that group. You know, if I wanted to do phone sex, I could get paid a lot more elsewhere.

So yeah, I feel your pain. It sucks when you originally have a sweet deal and the rules change. And I HATE call centers. In general, I'm not too fond of people; no offense to any of you. After about 3 months working in a call center I always end up feeling like driving off a bridge. Of course, I'm out searching for a job right now, and who is it that calls in response to my resume? Call centers, of course, and the 13 bucks an hour looks really tempting when you're broke, but I know I'll hate myself and my job in a short time. Problem is, I don't know how much longer I can hold out for something better. *sigh*

Tracy
10-22-2007, 10:11 PM
Dear God, is all I can say.

Whatever about banning internet - not nice, but fair.

But no lights???? No heat?????
No sympathy re a massive bereavement????
Being made to do phone sex?????

My heart goes out to you all in that situation. Are jobs really so scarce in America now that you can't easily change? Would it be possible to just walk out?

Here in Ireland (and in Britain too) they have a thing called constructive dismissal. It's where you leave voluntarily, but if you can prove it was because they made your life unsupportable, it works like them dismissing you unfairly - you get financial compensation which the companies have to pay for. Being made to work in the dark with no heat would definitely fall into that category. As would being made to do phone sex.

Is there anything similar where you are?

Good luck with it all, anyway.

MarkButler
10-22-2007, 10:32 PM
I seocnd what Jaycinth says, document everything. Put in writing that you object to the lights being turned off and the temperature being lowered. Keep copies. You may be fired for being "not a team player" and you will need more than simple "I told my boss" and "we all complained about it"

Its so easy to sit here and say to move on, I know it is so difficult to leave a job especially without something else, but you may want to look through the paper and online and see if you can't find something better. What a horrible situation.

III
10-22-2007, 10:44 PM
I worked overnight for 2 years in a call center (word up to my Relay-sis Azraelsbane), but those were the days before the Internet so we didn't even have that option. Like you said Erin, it's slow work, so I loved being able to read for hours at a time. Don't you have some good books that can help you pass the time? The low lights and low temps are just rediculous - go OSHA on their butts!

Most of all FIND A JOB YOU ENJOY! Like Ray said, life is too short to have the joy sucked out of it by your job. Your marriage and mental health are much more valuable than the money you're being paid. If money and "prestige" weren't important, what job would you do? (okay, besides rock star or something like that). Would waiting tables be fun? What about being a cashier? Or working in a Starbucks? Or a record store?

And here's a movie recommendation for your group: Office Space.

III
10-22-2007, 10:53 PM
Being made to do phone sex?????
As would being made to do phone sex.


I'll 100% validate what Azraelsbane said. Night shift for Relay operators involves every type of phone sex you could imagine and you have to completely role-play it. Sometimes you can just roll with it, sometimes it's impossible to not laugh, and sometimes you feel personally violated and soiled. But being a Relay Operator is a noble profession - helping the disadvantaged and disabled. There were many, many times when you'd finish a call between family members and one of them would thank you with tears for your service. That made the icky calls easier to deal with.

And as Az can attest to - there aint nothing harder than trying to order a pizza through the Relay! I'd do ten phone sex calls before I'd take a Pizza Hut call.

Azraelsbane
10-22-2007, 11:51 PM
And as Az can attest to - there aint nothing harder than trying to order a pizza through the Relay! I'd do ten phone sex calls before I'd take a Pizza Hut call.

Or Comcast, or (God forbid) Social Security/Medicare. I was working there post-Katrina, and people were so desperate for their food cards they were calling the TDD number at the bottom of the form, and would not let up, even once we explained we were only a relay service for the deaf and had no affiliation with FEMA. They called you a liar and such because "Why would they put our number on the paper if we weren't affiliated?" As a relay agent you'd explain and they would act like the concept of a deaf person existing was beyond their grasp. Obviously we were just liars trying to keep their food cards. *sigh*

louisgodwin
10-23-2007, 10:05 AM
Damn, Erin! You do know what it's like to work in "corporate wage-slave hell."

You already know we work for very similiar companies, so I sympathize. I can use the internet for directory assistance to find a phone number or address, check the weather and traffic or run a google search... and well, that's about it.

At my company we can get fired if....

1. We use our email for personal business.
2. We use our "phonepad" for personal calls.
3. We get caught with any kind of reading material on our desk that isn't company related. (novels, magazines, etc.)
4. We get caught with our cell phone visible on our desks (and God help you if it isn't set on 'silent' and rings within a supervisor's earshot.)

I've never had to work without heat and light though. You've got me beat there, kid. ;)

ETA: LOL, I understand your Location line now!

Unique
10-23-2007, 04:19 PM
Then, they implanted software that enables them to see each and every computer screen we see. They say it's for call monitoring, but the software starts recording before our phones ring. Once this system was in place, they started a lockdown: no internet use for anyone, no matter what shift they work. That means we can't even go to a news site.

Fuck this place. Find another job. Tell them why. And tell me what company you work for so I can tell them to kiss my ass and why I won't use their services or buy their products.

How much is too much?

Any much is too much.

JNS
10-23-2007, 08:27 PM
Life is too short for that crap. Your sanity is worth more than any job can pay you. But "find another job" is easier said than done. That's not always so simple but set a goal for yourself. I will quit by...... and stick to it no matter what. In the meantime save as much as you can and cut back on expenses so you can have a little cushion if your quit date comes before you can find something to replace it.

EriRae
10-24-2007, 01:12 AM
Look at me!!! I'm out of bed before 5PM :) Thanks so much for your support, you guys. I am working on my NaNo outline right now (I can outline, right? Before Nov. 1?) so I don't need anything more than my desk light and a notebook, but come November, I'm going to be taking the laptop every day. And I promise I'll be checking AW and the NaNo site every evening when I wake up.

Unique
10-24-2007, 01:22 AM
I am working on my NaNo outline right now (I can outline, right? Before Nov. 1?) so I don't need anything more than my desk light and a notebook, but come November, I'm going to be taking the laptop every day.

YAY! You! Yes, you can outline. I'm writing notes to myself and pretending to be my MC. She's awesome.

EriRae
10-24-2007, 01:25 AM
I, too, seem doomed to call center jobs, and I don't even know why. I have a bachelor's for God's sake, but everyone wants degree+experience, so...I'm pretty screwed. I just end up in call centers because most of them will take anyone, which makes for a mix of personalities I'd rather not come across in daily life. I worked for CSD as a relay operator for the deaf, and people would fight over night shift for the same reason you speak of: very few calls. We were allowed to bring portable gaming devices if we wanted, but luckily they didn't turn off the lights. That's just ridiculous in my opinion. Anyway, after working there for four months, they changed the way things worked. We had to take internet calls and prison calls and weren't allowed to hang up if it was an obviously nasty crank call, and relay operators MUST read the typed text from the "deaf" individual verbatim. With internet and jail calls rolling in, we were super busy 24/7, and basically I spent my nights being a phone sex operator for 8.50 an hour. A HUGE exodus of employees followed. I was in that group. You know, if I wanted to do phone sex, I could get paid a lot more elsewhere.


About the phone sex...

Friday mornings, our supervisor comes in at 3AM for our "unit meeting." This consists of a weekly update on which restaurants in town are the best and how he's coming with a landscaping project.

My co-worker received a call two weeks ago while we were having our meeting (because we're still on the phones...no log-off time). It's a sales call. The sales department is closed overnight, but in the name of good business, we must take their information and have someone call them back. This co-worker just turned 20 last month. Granted, she's had a baby, but she is still very, very naive in so many ways. She couldn't tell at first that this sales call was really some guy getting off to the sound of her voice until he started telling her, "I'm feeling pretty good. How are you feeling?" *Ugh* She immediately put the caller on hold and explained to our supe what was going on...she could hear slapping sounds in the background, too. (Like I said, she's naive.) He told her to get his name and number and we would have someone call him back. SHE HAD TO GET BACK ON THE PHONE W/ THIS GUY!!! So she asks for his name and number, and he tells her to hold on a minute...while he FINISHES!!! And gives her some phony information, and thankfully hangs up.

Meanwhile, our supervisor went back to his own desk (several isles over form ours). The guy calls back. I get him. Thank God my name is Erin and I can make my voice pretty deep. He wanted to know if we sell life insurance. I told him we're property/casualty, not life, and got him off the phone in thirty seconds. My poor coworker went home and had nightmares.

Unique
10-24-2007, 01:28 AM
Actually -


basically I spent my nights being a phone sex operator for 8.50 an hour. A HUGE exodus of employees followed. I was in that group. You know, if I wanted to do phone sex, I could get paid a lot more elsewhere.

I knew a woman who did that for a living. She was paid handsomely, believe it or not. She was good at it.

maestrowork
10-24-2007, 04:11 AM
Hmmm, that's a career for me to consider.

EriRae
10-24-2007, 04:13 AM
Actually -



I knew a woman who did that for a living. She was paid handsomely, believe it or not. She was good at it.

How does one get that job? I'd be good at it ;) It's one thing to expect those sorts of calls...quite another to get someone who wants a free thrill from an unsuspecting girl.

TrainofThought
10-24-2007, 05:08 AM
Actually -

I knew a woman who did that for a living. She was paid handsomely, believe it or not. She was good at it.


How does one get that job? I'd be good at it ;) It's one thing to expect those sorts of calls...quite another to get someone who wants a free thrill from an unsuspecting girl.Sign me up too. I have been told many times to get a 900 number... maybe it's time I looked into it. ;)

melaniehoo
10-24-2007, 05:37 AM
I can't find my words. Unbelievable. Erin, I think all the good advice has been covered. For your own sanity, get out of that place.

I've never had it that bad but my old job was it's own version of crazy. I had to convince a coworker to quit because she was afraid she'd miscarry from the stress. She's now a happy mom living on a farm.

Like the other's said, life's too short and you won't get this time back. I sincerely wish you luck finding something better. :)

Fingers
10-24-2007, 05:53 AM
I dont know how it is elsewhere, but in Oregon, a company does not have to provide heat. I worked in several companies, mainly the warehouse areas, where there was no heat and OSHA said that was definatley not a violation. The last place I worked fired me because I could not return to work because I was waiting to have surgery for two herniated disks in my neck. They fired me a month before the surgery and said they didnt care about my needing surgery. They said if I wasnt able to come back to work the next day that I was fired. I have a meeting with the Oregon bureau of labor and industries about this on thursday. I have to convince them that I was fired due to my disability (needing surgery for the herniated disks) but I am not allowed to use not being cleared for work as proof of disability. I am also not allowed to use the fact that the companies insurance was paying me short term disability and now long term disability as proof of my being disabled. If I cant convince the state of that, then my former company will be able to get away with firing me. Now that sucks.


yer pal Brian

EriRae
10-25-2007, 06:13 AM
Sheesh, Brian, that sucks. I'm praying for you. Hope everything works out with your grievance against the company, and that your surgery goes (went) well.

Iowa is a no cause state...they could fire me for anything they don't like. Granted, they do provide constant feedback and keep records to fortify their position, but my supervisor could walk in on Friday morning, decide the one in the pink shirt is the one getting the pink slip, and fire that person.

Carole
10-25-2007, 06:23 AM
Erin, you sound like just about every call center employee I've ever known, myself included. I tried it a couple of times but I'm just not cut out for it. Your circumstances are different, but every call center I have ever even heard of had masses of disgruntled employees. It seems that each call center devises new and creative ways to suck the very soul out of everyone there.

Get out while you can!!! :D

Carole
10-25-2007, 06:35 AM
Yanno, something similar happened to Mr. Vagabond. He was laid off for a few months and in the meantime he had a "thing" happen that he needed very minor outpatient surgery to correct. He was called back to work before he could have the surgery, but the thing that was wrong with him prevented him from being able to do the job. Catch 22. So they fired him, he lost his insurance, had the surgery and had to pay out of pocket and then the dirty dogs called him to ask him to come back to work!!

Carole
10-26-2007, 03:07 AM
I consider myself fortunate today, especially having read this thread. I've been disgruntled for a while because I got a promotion and didn't get the raise. My boss would tell me that it was coming. Then she hemmed & hawed about wondering if it was going to work out. I won't even get into that because she is very rarely even in the office and I can work circles around...ok, I gotta stop that because I'm getting angry. I'm happy, right?

Today she called me into her office to tell me that she put in for my raise today. It's about half what I was wanting but only a little less than I was expecting. Thing is, she almost made me feel as if it was a gift. Sure I'm thankful for a raise. But to think that she wants me to feel like I am less than deserving is the pits. And this raise puts me out of getting a cost of living raise at the first of the year. Not sure how fair that is, especially when I hear about how the people in the corporate office get raises that make ours look like pennies.

Still, I am happy.

I've thought about looking for another job. We're moving soon and my commute will be about 35 minutes as opposed to the 15 it takes me now. I reason with myself that a lower paying job closer to home would even out in the gas I wouldn't be putting into the truck.

But. I love my office. I love the people I work with. We have internet access like what Ray mentioned. They block some sites, but we pretty much have free run of the internet. All of us in the office pay our bills at work. It's common to see someone balancing their checkbook. I go online to pay most of my bills. There's no limit to personal phone calls within reason, of course. I've taken a call from hubby with a vendor sitting at my desk.

As aggravating as my boss is, she does say that all our families come first and that she will never run an office where her employees have to leave their lives outside during business hours. I've seen her take a personal call from one of her daughters in the middle of a conference call! Last year when corporate wouldn't let her budget for a Christmas party, she threw one anyway and bought us each a bottle of wine out of her own pocket.

We rarely have to check in with her if we have to leave the office. If something big is going on, sure. But her stance is that she'd rather not be bothered with us asking if we have to clock out and go to a dr. appointment or if we just want to go out to the store to get something to eat. Did I mention that we also get 4 weeks of paid time off per year and that they just declared the day after Thanksgiving as a new paid holiday? They sent out a mass email saying, "Happy Black Friday!" Did I also mention that all employees can stay at any of our resorts for $75 a week? It rawks to work in the hospitality industry!

Her reasoning behind all this is that we all are very loyal to her and to our work. All of us have come in hours early and stayed late into the night if there was a deadline. None of us slack on our work and she never has to go behind us to make sure anything is done.

I think a big reason a lot of companies have problems with disgruntled employees is that they micromanage and treat them like children.

Wow. I guess I had a lot on my mind!

Fingers
10-26-2007, 10:18 AM
Well, I had my teleconference with the state bureau of labor and industry today. They said that the company is not obligated to hold my job for more than ninety days, they are not obligated to make any adjustments to accomodate me as far as light duty goes. The main reason is that I had not filed a workmans comp claim before I got fired. Id say bad things about them and tell people here not to do business with them but Im sure its not allowed. Large corporations can do pretty much anything they want and get away with it is the bottom line. Oh well. Onward and upwards to better things.

Oh yeah, for those who dont know my surgery for the two herniated disks went well. The pain from the condition is gone, but I have limited mobility of my neck and have trouble sleeping cause I cant find a position or pillow that keeps my neck from hurting. Thanks for all your kind thoughts. You are a fine bunch of people here. Glad I found youse.


yer pal Brian