A final word on a former job

Fueling a curiosity, I poked around on the internet looking for some news on how my former employer was doing after laying off or suspending pay of 56 employees, most of who worked in the headquarters building, just across the parking lot from us. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much.

I did, however, spend some time looking through some websites that document and track Internet Relay scams – where a person from an African country calls through Internet Relay for the deaf and attempts to use stolen credit cards or fake cashiers checks to purchase items ranging from computers to bibles. Without saying anything that hasn’t been exposed in the Argus Leader before, these calls made up a lions share of our volume on some days. They frustrated everyone, supervisors and operators alike.

We were given the means to disconnect them, eventually, and that helped assuage some of the negativity that seemed to hover on the call center floor. But that little dip slowly grew again, and I will contend that operators and supervisors alike are tired. Burned out. Most are searching, I’m sure, and even more are just quitting without a plan. What’s horrible is the amount of people that don’t have that option, which are essentially trapped into staying with this company that barely has the decency to keep them informed and treat them like they had been – with respect, humility and genuine appreciation.

Regardless of what you do, there’s a lot tied into how comfortable you are in your work environment. At times, the people you work with and the conditions you are put into mean more than any benefits or pay. And there’s nothing worse than being trapped in a circle of negativity, which I felt nearly every day at work.

A weight was lifted from my shoulders when I gave my two-week notice, and now I look back with intrigue and nostalgia, but not with any sort of respect or well-kept memories. I look back, just seven weeks ago, at a place that threatened to take more and more away without every giving back; a place that had little regard – or if they had the regard, they didn’t have the clout or power to do anything about it – for the position that a handful of top executives put the company in.

For a business that has won its fair share of local awards, I cannot understand how it ever got into the mess it’s in right now. They drove themselves into a ditch – a ditch they had slowly dug for years – and now they’re finding they can’t get out of it because they cut service and employee retention out of the program.

I mentioned it before when I talked about loyalty. But today’s searching kind of drove it home for me: treat the people you’re with well, and they’ll stick with you. Treat them like dirt, and you’ll have repercussions – you’ll find hundreds of current and former employees that are willing to stab you in the back, ready to pour out every foible and errant policy that’s come from the head office.

That’s my opinion, mostly curtailed and seven weeks later than I could have expressed it. Thankfully, I can look back with relief.

I wish I could say the same for everyone else.

This was lovingly handwritten on May 16th, 2006