Tag Archives: introvert

“I Think I Need Some Space…”

M and I both live with our parents for the time being.  We’re both working and trying to pay down our massive student loans, as you do now-a-days when you graduate college.  Most of the time, M stays at my house because it’s closer to work.  M lives about 45 minutes away from where I live, and about an hour away from where we both currently work.  On days off, we typically spend time with M’s family at his house.

With both of us already lacking in personal spaces away from family members, it’s hard for us to have individual spaces within our already small rooms.  As much as I love M, I do need time for myself and I very much enjoy having a space that’s specifically mine.  M is the same.  He needs that same sort of space.

We finally rectified the issue.  M bought me a little desk and rearranged his room to make space for it.  I don’t really have room in my room for another desk, but I was able to make other arrangements for M.  He brought an old computer over and we cleared off a wooden table for him to use as a desk.

I can’t speak for M, but it’s very important for me to have my own space as well as time to myself to work on my own personal projects.  I love M, and I love spending time with him, but everyone needs time for themselves.  And that is usually facilitated by a space all for themselves.  I am really lucky I have someone who understands that and is willing to give me that space.

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Introvert In A Call Center Part 2

It’s time for a topic revisit from when I first started working at a call center.  If you recall from part 1 of this topic, I was having a hard time coping with literally being paid to be social for 8 hours a day and needing time to myself, as an introvert.  I’m back for part 2 now to let you all, my dear readers, know how I’ve been handling a job where all I do is talk on the phone all day.

The first thing I had to learn and take to heart is that I cannot internalize things the callers say to me or even the things they call me.  For example, just last week I had a caller who called me a fucking moron because I told her she did not have a Medicare account with us.  The call didn’t last much longer than that, but it was upsetting.  Even when I’ve had to deal with people like that day in and day out, it will always be upsetting.  But you know what?  I had to deal with that entitled asshole of a customer for less than 10 minutes.  She has to deal with her insurance issues for hours, days, and hopefully even weeks.  She’s not worth my time outside of work to worry about.

The trick is, when you get a call that upsets you, it’s totally fine to take a minute or two after the call and take a few deep breaths.  Take a long swig of water or soda or coffee or whatever it is you drink.  Go take a bathroom break, even if all you do is get away from the phone for a few minutes.  If someone calls you out on it, all you have to do is say you had a bad call.  I promise, everyone who has ever worked at a call center will understand and let you take a couple of moments to calm down and let it go.

The other side of the coin is that you need to take the kind things customers say to heart.  If someone is thanking you for helping them, even if all you did was click a few buttons and get their medication refilled, they are being sincere.  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but sharing that one little piece of information like that they can get up to a 14 day supply at the local pharmacy while waiting for their 90 day supply through the mail order pharmacy can make someone’s day, even their week.

Yes, more often than not, you’ll get calls where the caller won’t even realize they’re yelling at a real person, but those calls were the caller realizes it and then goes a step farther by acknowledging the fact that you are indeed a human being are going to make the job bearable.

If you’re worried about the physical act of having to answer the phone every time it rings, the whole process does become automatic.  Also, you don’t even physically answer the phones, the call just sort of comes in.  No real way to avoid it.  At my job, it’s this little beep-beep and then we’re on with our “Thank you for calling.  This is Kate.  How can I help you?”  It gets easier and easier the more you repeat the process.  I’ve been at my job for 8 months now, and each time I take a call, I begin automatically.  In fact, I move through the majority of my calls pretty much on autopilot.

Working at a job where all you do is talk on the phones, making and taking phone calls outside of work becomes even more of a daunting task.  It is nice, though, when you can relate to the person answering the phone at your bank or when you call the electric company.  It makes those calls seem less like you’re talking to some stranger and more like you’re talking to a comrade-in-arms (because, let’s face it, it’s a war on those phones – fighting customers who think they’re right but aren’t, trying to help those that have been wronged by the system, and moving through the seemingly constant verbal barrage of insults and complaints).

You’re friends, family, and loved ones will at least attempt to understand you need a good hour or more of silence or minimal conversation upon arriving home.  I’m lucky my boyfriend works in the same call center I do.  We have a mutual understanding that the drive home will only consist of very basic “what do you want for dinners” and whatever music is playing on the radio.  You may need to explain to family or roommates once or twice that all you do all day is talk, you need time to not talk.  And I mean that – you need physical time to rest your vocal chords.  You will get sore throat after sore throat and loose your voice on a monthly, even weekly basis.  Once whoever you live with sees the physical side effects of literally talking for 8 hours straight, they’ll let you rest up your voice a bit before asking again how your day was and the like.

So far, being an introvert at a call center isn’t an impossible thing to do.  It does just take some time to get used to it all and to learn coping mechanisms for dealing with the constant socialization.  Expect more posts on the topic as I learn more about it through first hand experience.

Introvert in a Call Center

As you may or may not know, an introvert, dear readers, is a person who spends energy engaging in social interactions.  The opposite, an extrovert, gains energy from social interactions.  Now, that’s not to say introverts don’t enjoy being social.  It’s just that introverts need a little time to ourselves after being social.

You might have guessed that I am an introvert.  I know, I know, how could I possibly be an introvert?  I seem so outgoing and friendly, right?!  Well, I am, so there.  I’m an introvert and I work at a call center taking inbound calls.  My job is for me to be social 100% of the time.  I have to talk to people 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  For me, this takes a tremendous amount of energy.

Before I even got on the phones I was getting antsy for time alone by lunch.  There were 15 of us crammed into a small training room.  There is no escaping people here at work.  Even if my phone calls are only about 5 -10 minutes long in terms of time spent speaking to the customer (as opposed to placing them on hold and asking one of the team leads “What the hell am I supposed to do?!?”), it’s too much social interaction for me.

And I feel bad because by the time I get home, I’ve got right around zero tolerance for being social and of course my parents want to know how my day went and the like.  Because they’re my parents and I love them (and they usually have dinner ready by the time I get home), I want to know how their days have gone, too.  I’m able to call upon a small reserve of energy to chat for a little while.  But then I need need NEED time by myself or I feel like I’m going to snap and start murdering people.  Or at least calling them some very nasty names.

As of right now, I feel like I don’t get enough time to myself.  I go to bed earlier and earlier and that doesn’t really refill my energy level in terms of being social.  I just need some time to myself to cuddle with my kittens, work on a project, or just zone out in front of the TV for a while.  And going to bed at 8:30 when I get home around 6 doesn’t really make for a lot of ‘me’ time.

So my challenge is to find a work/life balance.  I’ve never had to do that before.  Every other job I’ve had before this was while I was also in school, where I could way more easily fit time to myself into my schedule.  I need to work on finding that sweet spot between getting paid and being happy and relaxed.  I’m hoping the change to my regular schedule in a couple of weeks will help with that, since I won’t have to get up so early and I can have mornings to myself.  Until then, I’ll just have to try to maybe stay up a little later to recharge my social batteries.

Bad Days

Today I was going to write about my battle with depression, seeing as it’s National Mental Illness Awareness Week, but I’m going to put that off until tomorrow.  Tomorrow, October 10th, will be a special post commemorating World Mental Health Day.  The main reason I don’t want to write about my depression is because today was just a bad day and I don’t want to make it worse by critically thinking about writing out a post about depression.

I couldn’t tell you why today was a bad day.  I just woke up in a sour mood.  I think I had bad dreams or something last night, even though I don’t really remember them.  I just sort of have this vague feeling that whatever was happening in my sleeping brain was not a happy happening.  It only got worse from there.  My cats were being especially, annoyingly chipper in the morning.  They kept getting in my face or into places they shouldn’t be, knocking things over and the like.  And after getting frustrated with not being able to find my keys, I decided I was gonna go get doughnuts and eat some sweet, glazed goodness to ease my bad mood.

That didn’t go as planned, either.  I ended up picking up ice cream and some other snack food, too.  The cashier was a newbie to the job, and I absolutely do not fault her for her mistakes, but those mistakes did not have a positive effect on my already negative mood.  I got home only to realize that the bag with my ice cream in it did not make it into my car from the grocery store.  So I had to drive all the way back after tripping over my cats and my brother’s dog on the way out the door.  The one thing that made my day even slightly better was when I got back to the store, the cashier recognized me and apologized with a hug.  She told me to go get a new container of ice cream from the freezer, as the one I’d paid for was getting kind of melty.  When I got home for the second time, I ate my doughnuts, watched some movies on Netflix, and took a nap.

When I woke up, I felt a little better, but I’m still in a rough mood.  My cat Juri keeps trying to cuddle as I type this up and I’m getting frustrated with her walking all over my keyboard and climbing on my shoulders.  I love her, and if I weren’t trying to do something, I would welcome the cuddles.  She’s not the cuddle type usually.  But she HAS to cuddle RIGHT NOW and cannot wait even one minute.  There, she just shifted to get more comfortable, making me more uncomfortable and making it harder to type as she’s laying across half the keyboard and my hand.  Oh, and trying to chew on the cord running from my keyboard (yeah, I’m old-school and have a wired keyboard).  Just typing about what she’s doing is making me more and more frustrated because I keep having to stop and readjust myself or her or move her away from any wires.

As soon as I’ve got this posted, I’m going to change into my pajamas, break out my ice cream, and watch some more Netflix.  That’s usually my go-to way of calming myself down.  That, or turning on the music really loud and reading.  But my parents are home and will probably be going to bed in a few hours, so the loud music is out for now.

What’s your favorite way of turning a bad day around?  Let me know in the comments!

However your day goes, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

Weekly Update #4

Alright, I know I’m a day late again posting this, but life happens!  And by “life” I mean “my mom came up for the holiday weekend to help me pack up as many non-essentials as possible.”  So I’ve been busy working and entertaining.

But that’s mainly what I’ve been up to this past week: packing.  Packing packing unpacking and packing again.  I have a lot of shit.  Too much for one girl to really have.  If anything, moving home has shown me that I need to par down my belongings quite a bit.  My apartment and my room feel emptier.  Mainly because they are, but it’s also a feeling of a sort of sadness.  I have less than a month here in Minneapolis now, a place that’s been my home for nearly three years.  I’m really going to miss it and all the people I’ve met living here and seeing my place so much emptier is making the reality of it all sink in.  That’s life, though.

Otherwise, I’ve really just been recovering from over-socialization.  That wedding I attended last weekend took a lot out of me.  I’m an introvert, so by the end of the last night there I was sort of hiding in a corner going “Can I go home yet?  Please don’t talk to me.  Is it okay if I go back to my room?  Oh god, don’t come talk to me.”  I was running on social fumes, having used up all my energy taking bridal party and family photos earlier that day.  So it’s been nice to sit at home, alone.  To watch movies or TV shows and just sit, unmoving, on the couch for hours.  To lay in bed and read a book.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hanging out with my friends.  But I need a lot of time to myself, too.

Speaking of reading books, I finally finished Good Omens!  I bought my friend John and I a matching pair so we could read somewhat together.  But I don’t think he’s finished yet.  I think he’ll enjoy the rest of the book, though.  We’re both big Neil Gaiman fans, and we both have very similar tastes.  For example, we both adore Welcome to Night Vale.  New episode came out yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.  I had my mom listen to the pilot episode and she, surprisingly, enjoyed it quite a bit.  I didn’t think it was really her style, but she has a habit of surprising me.  She is not, as I found out, a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, though.

On top of brushing up on English grammar for my interview later this month, I’ve also been re-learning Japanese.  I cracked open a textbook I used when I studied abroad at NUFS, couldn’t recognize anything, and went back to my first-year textbook from way back in highschool and have been working my way up from there.  It’s embarrassing to me that I used to be fluent enough to hold my own in discussions about politics and now I can’t think of the word for “homework.”  I’m betting that it’ll come back to me once I’m over there and immersed in it, but I want to give myself a head start.

Well, I think that’s all for the weekly update!  I’m working on coming up with a new posting schedule for this blog, meaning I’ll be posting more than twice a week.  We’ll see.  I wanted to implement it this month, but I’m already off track.  I’ll catch up this week and hopefully get it all up and going next week.  So look forward to that, dear readers!

And whatever happens, enjoy the journey!

-Kate