Economic Straits

How to become really annoyed with one's boss

Or, why ever would you work for a company like this?

Good side

1. Join the company because it is HighTech and I, and you, needed work. Go through unpaid training and then two weeks at $9 before the 20 hours per week minimum guarantee kicked in for shifts arranged in a 7x24 hour regime. At $10/hour. No extra for overnights. Shift assignments often arranged to screw one's health. No respect for the needs of front line workers, Contractual requirements are the predominant factors.

2. Start, in S2CC2 and then CC3, on the phones on one of the worst possible contracts, 3web, where nothing worked for the client. That lasted for four months or so.

3. Be assigned the Call Centre Trainer position. Have a poor start, admittedly, but rapidly improve to be a highly effective and critical worker. Of course, not always perfect. There was an allegation that although I produced excellent work, I was somewhat slow. Maybe, but when one has two Operation Manager bosses, and both want work done, then one wonders. Additionally, the constant need for technical worker retraining was sometimes overwhelming: shifts, some people on part time schedules, other people not terribly excited about learning extra stuff, and so forth. Difficult to complete, and then with the rapid changes endemic in S2CC2 and 3, especially when the dotcom bubble burst, the workforce was extraordinarily fluid.

4. Develop, because it was necessary, a web site, on one of my domains, for all of the Control Centre contracts. Note that the ordinary Intranet pages were, and remain, often designed to be unreadable (poor colour schemes), whenever they were actually accessible. The Intranet itself was often down. 

Also, new and transferred Techies often had no rights to the contract pages on the Intranet. I was informed that my pages kept the Call Centre working. This was done for free: many unpaid hours spent at home updating both S2CC3 and S2CC2 contract information. And, I provided other useful links together with, especially, an email archive. No excuses possible for not knowing about new additions, corrections, procedures, when one's tiny personal space on the H: drive (on the Intranet server) was filled. Of course, my pages were illicit, but filled a need, and were the preferred choice of the worker ants.

5. As well as train the worker ant, which seemed to be management's choice for me, and kept me at Level 1, I often worked as Back-up Senior Technical Adviser, as Back-up Team Leader, as Quality Assurance helper. And, of course, I continued to train, train, train.

6. Be supplied with all the rights and permissions to properly complete one's tasks. This helps to explain why S2CC2/3 were continually top of the heap as Call Centre of the Month. All necessary personnel were given these privileges.

7. Enter and finally, early in 2001, pass the Management Certification Course, the second person to do so in Ottawa, after I had been transferred. Passed every exam first time. And, I actually took the exams: too many of these management hopefuls fail to take the following week's exam, purportedly mandatory, pleading overwork or that the course was rubbish. Not a good sign regarding the quality of management hopefuls, I feel.

What a waste of money buying this company, given that it is people-centric,  it's the front line staff that make or break the quality. So, when so many of the worker ants quit each week, where is the value of the company? It's leaching out as the staffing reservoir in Ottawa shrinks. A year ago, I found out about Taima from adverts in Montréal papers. I have watched as so many excellent co-workers found better jobs and quit. Why, oh why, did I not join them earlier? Because certain managers promised me better things. Silly me, to believe such nonsense. An old co-worker told me that!!

From the Guardian Unlimited: where le fairplay still rules

Bad Side

1. Be put on the email queues in S2CC1, after having been off the cubicles for six months. Be advised at the inaugural meeting between Trevor Gooch and the Spineless Jellyfish (that's the nom de guerre applied by others in the CC, some of whom refuse to work for him, for Sergio Palumbo) that it was agreed that I would be allowed to stay off the phones and be available for managerial and similar tasks. That was what the S J was told I was good at. That was what I had been doing in S2CC3, during and after the horrid personal events I have had to overcome, in the second half of 2000, none of which had affected my work.

2. Unfortunately, I was told that rights were not available in this CC because someone had abused the privilege some time previously. The consequence was an inability for any Back-up personnel to properly perform TL, or similar work they were asked to do.

3. The only decent time for me was those hours spent working on Tech pages, because those extant were, as usual, out-dated. And, of course, I also enjoyed the Management Certification lesson days, which should have resulted in a job for me away from the front lines.

4. Eventually, was forced to work on the phones when the Spineless one elicited the support of Peaches (the good Soprano; John Covella). Of course, I was told by the Jellyfish that I was a poor Tech. My stats were poor. Of course they were: several reasons, not least my utter discontent. Patently, my reputation was besmirched by a person who cannot control his staff. By a person who cannot fill the requirements of his own job. More than once I heard one of his peers shouting at him to do it properly, not screw around with useless wasted tasks that his subordinates were forced to handle.

5. Be given but one extra admin job to handle, and do it well, for RocketCash. Do a lot of work answering questions for the techs, after I had been retrained, because my primary training was faulty. And listen to all the complaints about the STAs, the TLs, and the OMs in their little offices. I seemed to be the father confessor. Have to handle machines constantly breaking down or crashing software as well as put up with Screaming Allard.

6. Would you like to hear how Spineless handled Ms Allard? This is a prime example of managerial incompetence and apparent favouritism. Anyone with any sense would have fired the transgressors in this tawdry story. Nevertheless, it does help to explain why I refused to work with any enthusiasm, after determining that such grossly unprofessional conduct merits but a slap on the wrist. The smack resulted from the events of two evenings early 2001, when she, in full voice, told everyone within earshot, meaning everywhere in this very large room, about those in the Call Centre she would, or would not, have dealings with sexually. Several very strong complaints were laid at Spineless' door.

I wrote in, at approximately the same time others were emailing the Spineless wonder about the above disaster, complaining of Allard loudly bad-mouthing me at the front desk. I received no response whatsoever. 

As a significant aside, the first time I had heard of Allard was in this email that was sent around late summer, 2000, when I was working in S2CC3.

No wonder my disenchantment grew, with good guys constantly leaving, having had enough. The perpetual leaking away of talent.

7. I had, on several occasions, both spoken to, and emailed, Bruce Weippert, Myriam Laverdure, and other relevant senior staff, concerning what I considered was my shoddy, biased treatment in S2CC1. To endure the consequences of transparent favouritism and to have to resume phone work was, and still is, an insult. What I was offered was not a win-win situation. Can you explain how working quickly and quietly on the phones, as I was expected to do for a further three months, has anything to do with suitability for management? That was my penance. Eventually, you might be considered for a promotion, I was told.. What? After all that I have done for the Company? This was the result of my argument with Spineless and its inevitable written warning.

My contention is that I was set up to fail. No one of any intelligence could possibly deny this remark. Otherwise, please be so kind as to stand in for me!

This short story of the crushing of a worker ant could be expanded and include many other examples, relating to my experiences in both S2CC1 and S2CC3. But, I would rather keep this polemic as short as possible.

8. I have been too mature for this group, even when acting the fool, which I am prone to do. I have listened, as at a confessional, to too many complaints. Meanwhile, continually, through my time with the company, many unsuitable people were promoted, often enough, sadly, proving the veracity of the Peter Principle.

9. Finally, I was asked to log off and go home. I was told that I was a disruptive influence and totally unprofessional. Quite true, but why even pretend to be professional in this unwholesome environment? 

My firing occurred on a day when, at last, I was feeling a little better. I had had the 'flu for more than the whole of February. At last, my natural ebullience was returning. But, a back-up TL, J-P F, approached his friend, James Chant, the newly installed STA/TL for the S2CC3 email/phone crew, and remarked how the Spineless Jellyfish was constantly upsetting him. Yes, he used those words. James laughed. 

When I told him that was also my opinion and that I thought other things were below par, he promptly went and told the Jellyfish. One law for the worker ants, one law for one's buddies, hein? And then, after I had calmly left the building, Palumbo put out a message that if I was ever seen on the premises to call the police. What a joke!!

Frankly, I am happy to be gone. No matter what happens to me now that I am unemployed, I am better off.

Below: the Management Certification. What price fame!!