Call Center work and stress.
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20-11-2012, 06:42 PM
Call Center work and stress.
Hi all,

I haven't posted much, but I am a huge fan of the podcasts and I read the forums alot. I now have an issue in my life that is not religion related and have very few people I can talk to about it. I was hoping the community could help me out or point me in a good direction.

That Said, Anyone else out there work in a Call center? I work in one here in Eastern Canada. I've been at my job for 5 years. I want to know if anyone else feels like it's nothing more than soul sucking depressing work? (If I believed in souls) Anyway I feel like I am at my breaking point. Where I live there is not much work to choose from and my hubby cannot work because he has bi-polar disorder. So I am the sole bread winner. I am making just enough to live comfortable.

So it's not as easy as saying, "get a new job" I can't afford to just quit and there are not alot of alternatives with even close to the pay I have. Any less pay and we would not be able to live. Lately I have been crying all the time, I am irritable, I have no sex drive or appetite to speak of. I know this is job burnout. I just don't know how to deal with it.

I have been working call centers since college and I have no other skill really so if I left this job I'd probably end up in another call center. All call centers are toxic work atmospheres. At least all the ones I ever worked in have been the same.

So I am asking if anyone else works at a call center, if they have felt the depression and job burnout I am going through and if anyone has any ideas on things I can do to cope with the work stress so I can keep my job and not go insane. Or if anyone just has some stories to tell. I feel very alone in this right now and not sure where to turn. I do have an appointment with the psych dept on Dec 10 to address some of these issues. So I will be seeing a doctor however I think just writing this post was a bit therapeutic.

Anyway, any stress coping mechanisms people have and want to share would be welcomed.
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20-11-2012, 07:22 PM
RE: Call Center work and stress.
I don't now, but I did work in call centers for many years.

I don't think the problem is entirely about call centers. I worked in a few that were rather bland and boring, and I disliked those jobs. I also worked in a few that were not so bad and I like those jobs. In all cases, it wasn't really about the call center, but about who I worked with.

This has also been true in my non-call center jobs. I've had some jobs I hated and some that I loved.

That said, I think that even if you did change jobs to something else, you might still have a lot of the same problem.

In all cases, my appreciation of my job came from many factors, including my workmates (did I like them? did we find moments at work to laugh or joke or enjoy the small things of life?), my home life (was I happy at home? did I have home issues I dragged into work that lowered my happiness there?), my finances (was I stressing about money and letting that change my attitude at home or work?) and whatever else.

In short, when I was mainly happy in my life, and had at least a few work friends that made work life much more tolerable, then even my crappiest job was enjoyable, but when I was mainly unhappy (or even just not happy) in life, or when I had nobody at work that I would call friends, then even my best job was misery.

I don't know if you would find any of that insightful, but even if I am way off and your misery at work has no bearing whatsoever on non-work issues affecting your at-work happiness, then I still suggest that finding work friends, people who you enjoy working with, can make (almost) all the difference in how much we enjoy going to work, and if you don't have that you won't enjoy work very much, regardless of whether it's a soul-sucking call center or your dream job.

And finally, I know it's a stupid platitude, but always remember that life is what you make of it. Your own personal attitude can make or break your happiness - if you're on your way to work thinking "damn, I hate this job, I would rather die than go in there one more day" then you're not likely to have any chance of having a good day at work. But if you are driving in thinking "Hey, I'm gonna get in there and do my job, hang out with a couple workmates I like, get through the day and get home to my family - it's really not that bad" then you are much more likely to have a good day at work.

And yes, I know how call centers work, I know your bosses are tracking your calls per hour, average handle time, hold time, etc., and I know you don't get lots of time to chat with your coworkers. But I also remember occasionally putting someone on hold to tell my neighbor about something stupid my customer just did or said, we'd both laugh, then get back to work - that's the kind of thing that can turn a day of drudgery into a tolerable day at work.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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20-11-2012, 08:31 PM
Call Center work and stress.
I spent 4 years selling insurance in a call center. It was mostly a nightmare. I was always applying for other positions in the company.

I don't have tips on how to directly survive a call center, but I do heartily endorse therapy and medication. I wouldn't recommend medication without therapy. You need a place to vent so you can cope, and the meds help clear your mind so you can feel more creative. Either to find ways to cope with the job, or ideas on how to find something else you can enjoy.

It sounds like there's a lot of pressure on your shoulders. I hope you feel like you can find some support in this forum. Smile

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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20-11-2012, 08:33 PM
RE: Call Center work and stress.
(20-11-2012 08:31 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I spent 4 years selling insurance in a call center. It was mostly a nightmare. I was always applying for other positions in the company.

Mmmmm, insurance call centers. That's soul-sucking-squared.

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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20-11-2012, 08:34 PM
Call Center work and stress.
(20-11-2012 08:33 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  
(20-11-2012 08:31 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I spent 4 years selling insurance in a call center. It was mostly a nightmare. I was always applying for other positions in the company.

Mmmmm, insurance call centers. That's soul-sucking-squared.

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.

Gah!!!! Exactly.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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20-11-2012, 08:38 PM
RE: Call Center work and stress.
I did it once for five hours. I got up from my chair and walked over to my boss and said " this shit ain't for me" and left.

This is coming from a guy that has had basically two types of jobs his whole life. Hard labour and retail. I know soul sucking and it is customer service related. I'd rather be out there breaking my back then dealing with humans on a daily basis.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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20-11-2012, 08:59 PM
RE: Call Center work and stress.
Just a suggestion.
Keep your job, but search for work on the side.

May I suggest receptionist? I think call center skills could cross over very well to that kind of job and it'll be a bit more exciting, more face to face interaction and more varied work.

I don't talk gay, I don't walk gay, it's like people don't even know I'm gay unless I'm blowing them.
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20-11-2012, 09:03 PM
RE: Call Center work and stress.
(20-11-2012 06:42 PM)Sistanis Wrote:  Where I live there is not much work to choose from and my hubby cannot work because he has bi-polar disorder.

Why's that? I've been manic depressive my entire adult life, some 35 years now, doesn't keep me from working. Is he that bad off or doesn't he take to the meds?

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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20-11-2012, 11:49 PM
RE: Call Center work and stress.
(20-11-2012 09:03 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(20-11-2012 06:42 PM)Sistanis Wrote:  Where I live there is not much work to choose from and my hubby cannot work because he has bi-polar disorder.

Why's that? I've been manic depressive my entire adult life, some 35 years now, doesn't keep me from working. Is he that bad off or doesn't he take to the meds?
Yeah, I think hubby should be contributing. So he's bipolar? He's surviving at your expense.
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21-11-2012, 12:07 AM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2012 12:23 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Call Center work and stress.
(20-11-2012 11:49 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(20-11-2012 09:03 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Why's that? I've been manic depressive my entire adult life, some 35 years now, doesn't keep me from working. Is he that bad off or doesn't he take to the meds?
Yeah, I think hubby should be contributing. So he's bipolar? He's surviving at your expense.

Manic depression is a frustrating mess. So fucking what? So's fucking living. Doesn't stop me from being productive. ... It's all good. ... Really it is. Big Grin




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