Beginning a New Job

I have been hired!

It’s been about a month and a half of unemployment, which has been frustrating, but thankfully the search is over. I will begin my new job on Monday next.

happy call centre

The great thing about customer service is that each customer has his/her own questions and personalities I’ll be navigating. With that comes many, many stories. I’ll be happy to share my experiences here with you when they start rolling in.

A couple years ago I was working customer service. An angry woman called in and said, “Pardon my French, but this is a load of bullshit!”

Well, honey, I speak French. And I told her that. In French.

I said the equivalent of “I’m sorry, that’s not French. I hope your grandmother is on fire.” Mostly because I could, not because I wanted her grandmother to burn. And because it is offensive to say that swear words are the same as the French language.

She responded with, “Don’t play with me!”

stressed_call_center

Well, I kept talking to her, I got to the bottom of her troubles and sorted her out. By the end of the conversation she was laughing and apologized for being so abrasive at the beginning of the conversation.

I’m hoping to bring these skills with me to my new position. Not the part where I tell people I hope their grandmother is on fire, because I don’t wish that on anyone’s grandmother. I want to take the part where I bring people from a place of frustration and confusion to a place of understanding and peace.

I try to do this in my writing by setting up a conflict for my protagonist. The difficulty I have with it is that I see the misunderstanding from the beginning and try to steer him away from the blunder. I have him stumble upon another character who will explain the confusion before it becomes a problem.

This is a bad thing to do. Because if I keep allowing my protagonist to have an easy time of it, my story won’t go anywhere. At the same time, when I see my character making stupid decisions even after I tell him not to, I get angry at him.

“Well, you got yourself into this pickle, you can get yourself out!” I scream at my computer. Other patrons at the coffee shop are kind enough not to stare at me directly, but I catch their fleeting glimpses.

At an annual review, my supervisor told me that one of my biggest weaknesses is that I’m too kind. I let the clients do whatever they want to do when we have goals to work on, effectively getting zero work done. I wasn’t sure if that was a backhanded compliment or underhanded insult. I’m seeing it come through in my writing. I’m too nice to my characters, allowing no room for productivity.

As I begin my new job I will be as nice as production allows, provide the information that I can, and speak as much French as possible.

Image Credit: TMCNet

Image Credit: Jon Oropeza

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