Tag Archives: jobs

Weekly Update #40

I know it’s been about a week since I last posted. Depression is a real motivation killer for me. All I’ve wanted to do basically all week is sleep and play video games. Which is more or less what I’ve actually done with my time.

At work, I started floorwalking, which is basically me answering questions as the new hires take phone calls for a few weeks before they’re on their own. I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s actually the favorite part of my job now. I enjoy helping the new hires and sharing my knowledge. Thursday, I was asked to stay an hour later than I’m usually scheduled with the promise that on Friday I would leave an hour earlier than I’m usually scheduled. Friday comes around and I get pulled from the phones to floorwalk again. When 3:45 rolls up on the clock, I practically begged to stay longer.

I’m also bonusing finally at work, too. An extra dollar an hour! My team lead is encouraging me to apply for the same position – team lead – since some spots are apparently opening up. I would very much like to floorwalk more permanently or move up in the company to the team lead position. I feel like I have the skills to effectively do either of those jobs and I just want someone to take a chance on me. No, I don’t have the experience, but how am I going to get any if no one gives me the opportunity to gain the experience? I hope the higher ups can see the potential in me like my last two team leads have.

I started cross stitching again. It’s been probably around four or five months since I last stitched something completely from scratch. I know I finished my first cross stitch not too long ago, but that was finishing something. I’m feeling more normal now that I’m stitching. And I can’t just put it down for six more months before finishing it – I’m stitching for Christmas gifts. I’m excited to give them to the recipients!

And to bring it full circle, outside of work and stitching, I’ve been sleeping and playing Borderlands with M. We plan to play through Borderlands 2 and then the Pre-Sequel. We’ve just made it to New Haven. Not bad for a week’s worth of playing after M gets off work! I play the Hunter and M picked the Siren. We actually work really well together, although it does annoy me sometimes how M needs to explore every nook and cranny when I just want to move on to the next mission.

Do any of you play video games with your significant others? Do you play well together or not so much?

Anyway, that’s it for me. As you may have realized, posting schedule is out the window for the time being. Keep it tuned in, though, I have some cool things in the works!

Weekly Update #38

First full week back at my regular life since my vacation in Minneapolis, and it’s been a week! I caught up on cleaning most of the day today, and then played The Sims 3 until M and I went to game.

In fact, we’re at game right now, waiting for everyone to show up. One of my friends from work is going to join us today. She’s wanted to try tabletop gaming for a while now and since her significant other recently moved to California, she has a little extra free time. I don’t mean that the way it probably sounds. What I mean is that she was spending all her time with her SO before he left for California and now that he has left, she now has the time to spend at game. Either way, I’m excited to have her!

I fear with the change in the weather as fall approaches, I’m getting sick, yet again. Stuffy nose, scratchy throat, itchy eyes… It sounds like allergies, but the thing is I am allergic to being healthy. I’m already stocking up on orange juice and cough meds.

Other than that, I applied for a floor walking position at work. If I get the gig, it would mean time off the phones, answering questions for the newbies on the phones for the first time. I put in for a few other positions as we’ll at I’m hoping to hear back from. I’m really looking forward to bettering my skill set and furthering my career, for lack of a better word.

Well, that about does it for me today and this week. Thanks for checking out my blog and sticking with me, dear readers. It really does mean a lot to me.

Weekly Update #33

Another week come and gone.  Still working on my various skills at work.  In order to move forward, I need to work mainly on my handle time.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  It’s slow going, but we’ll see how I improve week by week here.

It’s my friend Mike’s birthday today!  I wanna wish him a happy birthday for the whole world to see!  Assuming the whole world reads my blog, which I know they don’t, but still.  Happy birthday, Mike!

And also a happy birthday to my boyfriend’s brother, Ryan!  He’s turning some kind of age.  I think we’re doing lunch with him or something.  I don’t know yet, I haven’t been told what the plan is.  But I have a card that I think will make Ryan love/hate me even more than he already does.  I’m kind of excited to see his reaction to it.

I’ve started doing a little bit of research into the possibility of going back to school.  I know, I already have 3 degrees, but none of them are really working for me.  I mean, I may still try to teach English in Japan, but I would need further education to teach Japanese here in the States.  Teaching really isn’t my thing, though.  And translating is more or less out because freelance work is not gonna pay my student loans back.  For my other degrees, there’s not much work in the music industry here in Iowa.  The music culture here is a lot more who-you-know than what-you-know.  And I don’t really know anyone.

I’m looking at possibly going back for Health Information Technology.  I would have to do it part time or online because I really can’t afford to not be making money.  I don’t want to have to take out even more loans, but right now I’m still in the research stage.  I think I would actually enjoy the work I’d be doing.  I like inputting and organizing data.  Color-coding things, answering questions about insurance and the law and all sorts of fun stuff.  I’m not even being sarcastic, that kind of thing is right up my alley.  Bonus: it would be a job where I wouldn’t have to be on the phone all the time.  And better pay.

Has anyone else gone to school for Health Information Technology or currently work in the field?  Let me know your experiences in the comments!

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.

Weekly Update #25

Another week come and gone, dear readers.  Work exhausts me, as always.  Not much happening outside of work, other than all the time I spend with M, which is nothing new.

M and I have been seriously discussing the possibility of moving in together in the near future.  “Near Future” meaning sometime in the next six months.  It’s quite exciting to discuss concrete plans for our future.  We were going through some of my old books the other day (we’re all about trading in books now, apparently) and he was geeking out over some title and I said, “Well, all of my books are now your books.  We’re gonna get married someday, so all this will be yours, too.”  And M just looks at me for a long moment and goes, “I’m so gonna marry the shit outta you.”  I’m so lucky to have found him.

There was some talk between my team lead and another team lead at work about the possibility of me floor walking for the next training class that comes out of abay (the first few weeks they take calls).  At the time, I’d just been about a month out of abay myself and the confidence wasn’t there, but I’m planning on following up with my team lead about it today.  That, and the whole ready replacement thing.  I’d like to know what the status of all of that is.  Depending on the answers I get, it might motivate me to either work harder at my current job, or work harder at finding another job.

Speaking of working harder at my current job, everyone on the floor is being asked to consider a schedule change.  Apparently, we’re gonna be staying open until 11 PM.  An eight-hour shift would be 2:30 PM to 11:00 PM.  Um, no thanks.  For multiple reasons.  I’m usually falling asleep around 10-10:30 anyway (much to M’s chagrin), and I like getting off at the same time as M.  We can leave work together, usually we can just take one car to and from work.  Even though it’s an extra $25/week, it just wasn’t worth it to me.  I mean, cheers to the people who did take the change and are getting that extra money, but I don’t think this change is going to last very long.

Anyway, I still have about 45 minutes to kill before I have to leave for work, so I’m gonna do some cleaning.  Like a responsible adult.  Or whatever.

Weekly Update #24

I’ve had a streak of bad days recently.  It’s just one little annoying thing after another that adds up to one big frustrating ball of upset-ness.  Luckily, I have M around to cheer me up and keep me from burning things to the ground.  By the way, burning things to the ground is my go-to stress reliever.  Not really.  But sometimes.

Anyway, I’ve been using my mornings for productivity recently.  Usually I’m more productive at night, but work just drains so much energy out of me that laying on the couch watching whatever TV show or movie on Netflix, cuddled up with M is about all I can manage when I get home.  But since M leaves for work earlier than I do, I have a few hours in the AM to get things done before I have to get ready and go to work myself.  And I’ve found that I start my days feeling better about life if I get things done in the mornings.  I mean, work generally kills those good vibes, but it’s still nice to show up to work feeling like life isn’t terrible.

Speaking of work, my team lead is having me apply for Ready Replacement again.  I just picked up and filled out the application last night.  Updated my resume this morning to go along with it.  So, fingers crossed on that.  When I was first offered the potential opportunity for the Ready Replacement, I was thinking I’d do it just to get off the phones occasionally.  But the more I think about it, the more I really hope I land this position.  Not only will it get me off the phones now and then, but it’ll maybe even lead to a permanent TL position in the future.  I’ve never had a management position before (outside of running my own photography business), and I’d really like the opportunity to see what I can do in a structured management position like that.  I honestly don’t plan on spending the rest of my career at APAC, but having that on my resume would definitely not hurt.  And why not be the best employee I can be while I’m here?

Also, starting today, my new schedule starts.  Now, instead of having Monday/Wednesday off, I’ll have Sunday/Wednesday off.  It’ll break up my week better and allow me two days to spend with M, but I am definitely not looking forward to working close on Mondays now.  But this Sunday is Easter and while I’m not religious and don’t celebrate that aspect of the holiday, I do recognize that it’s a day for family.  I will be having brunch with M’s family in the AM, then in the afternoon, my parents have invited me and M for an early dinner (since we still have game on Sunday, as far as I know).  Since I’m writing this post ahead of time, I can’t tell you how either meal goes, but rest assured I’ll definitely write about it during the week.

If you’re religious and celebrate Easter, have a happy one!  And if not, enjoy the weekend anyway, my dear readers!

Weekly Update #23

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a proper weekly update post.  I don’t have a whole lot of time, but I did want to get something up on the blog.

Let’s see… Work is work.  They’ve got me trained in Med D, they’re forcing a schedule change because they’re no longer having Sundays available for work, and I’m not super happy about either thing.  But my team lead is pushing for me to become a Ready Replacement, which is basically a TL in training.  If it’ll get me off the phones, I’ll take it.  I am looking for another job, though.  Even if I can’t find something I love doing, nothing says I have to hate what I do for a living, either.

Still with Mr. English.  Posts about him forthcoming.  Last weekend, I had off and we went and visited some friends of his in Rockford IL.  It was a nice little get away and it was nice to meet more of his friends.  We played laser tag one night and that was an absolute blast, even if I came in 3rd-to-last.  Didn’t lose completely, though, and I count that as winning!

Just dyed my recently short hair red this morning, actually.  Haven’t said a word to anyone about it.  I like doing things like this without telling anyone because when I show up the next day or the next time someone sees me they get all surprised and I love it.  In fact, I have about half an hour before I have to leave for work, and I still need to dry and style it.  As well as actually get dressed and make myself look somewhat presentable.

Tomorrow the boyfriend and I are gonna make terrariums.  We bought some supplies two weeks ago, tomorrow we’ll go buy the plants and actually make them.  Assuming the weather holds true to its promise of being warm for once.  I’ve got a few other posts in the works, so as soon as I sit my happy ass down sometime and actually type them up, they’ll be available for you to read.  But, as you know by now, dear readers, sometimes I can be rather lazy.  And by sometimes, I mean all of the time.

Forever Student

The APAC site I work at is changing the type of calls that it mainly takes.  That means we all have a new round of training to go through.  Super fun!

In fact, I just started training yesterday.  We’re being trained on Medicare Part D.  And holy shit, is Medicare complicated!  Lord have mercy on my poor soul when I turn 65.  After two days, my head is spinning around and around.  I’m just waiting for it to puke and pass out at this point.

I probably won’t really understand any of this anyway until I start taking calls.  Four parts, four stages of coverage in one of those parts – right now it’s just a mess of numbers and stages and random information.  So until I’m able to get into an account and answer real questions that real people have,  it’s just not going to click for me.  It was like that when I trained in regular member services, too.  Nothing clicked until I was on the phones.

And of course, I’m the last group through the training.  So at least there’s tons of people on the floor that already know what they’re doing that I can ask if I need help.  The other good part about training is that I have weekends off for the next two weeks.  That’s two whole days off in a row that I get to spend with Mr. English.  Super bonus!

Weekly Update #19

Things happened this week like they do every week.  And I’m going to write about them.  Also like I do every week.

Let’s start with work things.  This past week was my last week in abay (a type of on-the-job training) and also my last week of ungodly 10-hour days.  Starting Tuesday, I go into my production schedule, meaning I no longer have to attempt to function in the mornings since my shift doesn’t start until 11:30.  I did, however, pick up some overtime.  Two hours on Monday, then I go in an hour early on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  Time and a half pay, yes please!

Moving on to personal life things, I’m happy to announce that I’m now officially dating the guy I’ve been seeing for the past month.  I haven’t come up with a clever pseudonym  for him yet, so for the time being I’ll just call him the Boyfriend.  I know I’ve referred to him as my boyfriend in at least one previous post, but labels are tricky.  And also don’t matter to me as much in this relationship as they did in previous relationships.

I’m more content spending time with someone I feel comfortable in my own skin around, someone that enjoys my company as much as I enjoy his.  Conversation flows easily between us and silence is comfortable.  I know I’ve said this about previous guys I’ve been involved with, but this time I really mean it when I say it feels natural to be around Boyfriend.  Not to mention, I’ve met his family and he’s met mine.  That hasn’t happened since my very first boyfriend, six years ago.

This relationship is a learning experience for me.  I haven’t made the best life choices when it comes to who I choose to involve myself with romantically.  So being in a relatively normal, stable relationship is actually kind of throwing me for a loop.  I’ll write more about this all in a later post, but it’s just really amazingly nice to be where I am right now (both in my relationship with Boyfriend as well as the fact that I’m sitting on his bed, typing this post at this very moment).

I’m kind of at a loss of how to end this update.  I guess I’ll leave it here and go do some research for some future posts so I can stick to my New Years resolution of posting three times a week.

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.