The second half to Call Center Blues. The first part can be found by scrolling down, or by clicking here: https://bradytighe.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/call-center-blues-part-1/
I like to think the story has a happy ending.
It’s 4:45 on the morning of Monday. I had been waiting outside the Co-Op gas for around ten minutes, stuck listening to the guy in front of me order food and baked goods for four people. Since it’s so early in the morning, every time the guy changed his order, the clerk at the security glass needed to head back through the entire store and fetch whatever type of scone Fuckface had changed his mind to.
I was trying to pay for the ten dollars-worth of gas I had just pumped into my ride’s truck. It was out of his way to come pick me up, but he felt bad for me walking to whole way. I’m thankful he was such a nice guy, as one more walk to work would have meant me not getting up to go to work. He was getting my last ten dollars.
I lit a cigarette. Fuckface turns around.
“Hey, can I bum one of those?”
I thought about turning him down, punishment for his big, gigantic, baked goods order orgy.
“Sure. You need a lighter?”
“No. Thanks man. What are these?”
“Never heard of them. They expensive?”
“Yeah, like 12 bucks a pack.”
“Wow. Too expensive for me.”
We smoked in silence as the clerk fetched more shit. It was still too early for the sun to come up, but I looked around anyway in an attempt to catch maybe even a bit of soft glow on the horizon. No such luck.
He crushed out his cigarette as the clerk approached the till, finally finished grabbing everything.
“Oh, and along with all of that, can I get a pack of Canadian Classic Blue?”
He bummed a smoke off me, when he had planned the entire time to buy a pack of cigarettes for himself. What a cunt. Great start to the week.
With all my money spent on fuel, I faced a day without a cup of coffee. It was pure hell. I nodded off, came to, fell asleep, dozed, and slapped myself awake for the entire eight hours of the day. Nothing we were learning held my interest; it was just power-point after power-point of stuff. Not good stuff, not interesting or unique stuff, just stuff. It reminded me of high school, only I was being paid to sit here. It was just a long slog of facts, and bullshit that no normal human being would ever want to know.
Worse, it was all being shoveled down my throat to save some rich-as-fuck-company more money. I was never one for company rhetoric, and this was the AAA level of that.
I felt stagnant. I was stuck in a place I didn’t want to be in, still broke, and wondering why life had decided to deal me this hand. I got really down on myself for the second half of the day, that kind of depression that’s entirely self-inflicted, and usually unwarranted; where life just suddenly, sucks, man.
I told my ride that I could find my own way home. He had some things he wanted to do post-work, and I didn’t want to impose.
I didn’t have enough change to ride the bus home, and I was too tired to make the walk, so I begged the bus driver for a free ride downtown. He asked how much change I had, and I replied that I only had thirty three cents.
He let me on. I rode home pathetic. Got home pathetic, and stumbled around that way till I crashed out on the couch, and as I drifted off to sleep I hopped tomorrow would be a shorter kind of nightmare.
I felt better the next day, but not by much. Before I left that morning, I grabbed a couple of teabags to take with me to work. There was a hot water dispenser in the break room, and black tea was better than nothing.
Within twenty seven minutes of being there I was down and out again. Not asleep this time, no, I was fully aware of how I felt. I scrawled down some notes:
I woke up this morning with a little bit of hope. Well, that hope has faded pretty fucking fast. It’s time to call it, 5:27 am, Tuesday, November 15th:
I HATE THIS JOB
I need to find something to replace it. Have to. No other job has ever made me feel as skeevy, un-educated, tired, and stagnant as this fucking job.
I gotta get out of here.
I had developed a loathing of the job to combat my feelings of self-bullshit that had led me there in the first place. The lashing out helped.
Later that day we took a break from endless PowerPoint presentations to have a group exercise to name our team. The teams didn’t really mean anything, it was just one more of the companies lame as fuck ways to try and make everyone feel good about being at work and having their will to live crushed out of them.
I tossed in my suggestion for team name. It was the worst thing I could think of. Everyone voted for it. Our team would officially be, “Funkalicious PhoneMaster Deluxe the Third.”
At least now I would have a lasting legacy at the place.
You’d have thought that I would have quit the next day. But I didn’t. I slugged it out. After the first paycheck it got easier. Now I had some decent food at home, the rent was paid early, there was beer and wine in the fridge, and my time off was spent in less of a doom spiral. But I still fucking hated the place. We were still in training, and at no point during that training was I ever convinced that I could, or wanted to do the job that was waiting for us.
Call Center Blues XXIIXXIVI
Sitting here tired.
Yawning constantly, eyelids heavy.
It’s a constant state, a constant problem
And a constant annoyance
To be shackled to awake-ness.
When all you want to do
Is retreat to the land of a thousand z’s
What a happy thought.
Sleep, just a thought these days.
Not a fact of life like it should be
Different times, tough times
Holy fuck I wish it was lunch time.
Writing this isn’t waking me up,
It’s just lulling me,
While the lesson
And fucking on.
Is there no end to this?
Is lunch just a lie?
It was my last week. That’s what I told myself. I was done. I was going to quit. It needed to happen. November had crushed every soul-bone I ever thought I possessed, and I had come to the realization that I’d rather starve and be happy, than have money in the bank and be here.
We were doing a personality test. The test was to draw a picture of a pig. The way you drew the pig would reveal facts about you, how you lived your life, how your sex life was, how confident you were…the usual shit personality tests told you they could figure out.
I felt like an asshole drawing mine. Like I was trying to do something outside the box just so I could point at it after and say, “Hah! Look at me! I’m all outside the box that you all reside in! You fucks!”
I drew a picture frame and wrote the words, “A Pig” inside it; a picture of “A pig.” It didn’t fit into any of the personality trait questions. I was a non-entity on the personality scale. I wrote another poem on the back of the picture:
Call Center Blues Whatever
Possibly my last day.
Tired of this
Tired of being tired
Of not being happy.
Of always being angry.
It’s got to stop.
So it will.
I’m cooler than this.
Well, I hope that I am.
That’s one of those things you can never know.
Your level of cool
Mine’s going to go up.
Come hell or whatever.
I woke up one morning and it was over. I decided I wouldn’t do it anymore. The day before, after work, I had gone and paid the rent for the month after I’d the one I’d already paid for. That gave me cushion. Cushion to get me the fuck over this job and back into what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel scared, or worried, or angry. I felt good, happy, and ready.
This was going to work.
I got up, made waffles, had a coffee and baileys, and wrote some poems that were just for me.
It was December 5th.