Friday, 24 February 2017

3 Caffeine keeps call centres going

Fear of huge student debts, struggling mums and people on their second or third jobs keep call centres going from early morning until midnight.

Work almost any shift in a call centre and you will see energy drinks scattered around the place. On Sunday the office is full of aching heads from a drunken night forgetting they work in a call centre, on a Monday night it's students covering up the bags under their eyes because they have to work long hours so they can fund their dreams.

Working late in a call centre is not conducive to sleep, Screens, noise and having to behave in a hyped up way leave your mind whizzing until way after midnight. Caffeine is often the only thing between yo and falling into the land of nod when you're supposed to be sorting out a tricky refund.

I developed a Pepsi Max habit quickly, Not only did my nightly treat taste good it kept my happy but utterly fake personality going late until the evening. Soon Pepsi became my addiction.

Caffeine dries your throat and call centre workers use their voice like singers or broadcasters. At the busiest times  you can find yourself croaking your way through a shift. Thanks to constant job insecurity and no sick pay no one dares take time off for a dodgy throat so your voice gets weaker and weaker, work turns into a frustrating ordeal.

So the next time you ring a call centre late just think of the person your talking to. They may be coming to the end of an exhausting day so think of them an be gentle.

Friday, 10 February 2017

2 Anyone can have the patience of a Zen Master, if you have enough bills to pay.

You  can tell a newbie in a call centre, occasionally they cry. Customers can be horrible, they can tell you've not had great training, your nervous and scared and most people show patience and kindness but some people are just nasty.

The great thing is after a few months that same newbie is talking like a lawyer and has found calm a assertiveness that nobody thought possible. The patience call centre workers show is skilled, you learn to deal with people who've listened to call music until they know it off by heart and they'll hear it in their sleep, quite a few people who ring call centres are unstable and this needs to be dealt with as sweetly as anyone else and people even cry on you.

Jobs in telesales have been a personality boot camp for me, I'm grateful that I can now talk authoritatively to almost anyone and I can persuade people a grey sky is bright blue. Every Call Centre worker should be proud, we're tough but kind people to keep our job, and we can empathise with people and do maths at the same time, that's multitasking.

You can be a total fake because you have to be. Once on that phone your nervous breakdown, troublesome kids, messy divorce don't matter so you learn to fake everything. The person down the phone doesn't care about the mascara running down your face from your tears, they want their way now, and they want you to be the happiest, sweetest person they've talked to all day.

There are scars from being happy everyday, I have used every kind of therapy from loud music to meditation, poetry and bread making, nothing quite worked, I ended up in therapy with anxiety.

Be proud to be a Zen master call centre worker, you have skills that will help you in any job, have high self esteem.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

What I learnt working in Call Centres

Call centres are factories of conversation, modern strength is the grit and determination not to shout at another idiot who doesn't understand you can't do anything about their prized item going out of stock, you just want to quote Buddhist philosophy at those poor little victims of desire, but you can't. It takes a Zen master to stay in a bubble of calm when all around you is crashing, the computer, the customer's life and the phone but you do it day after day. The lessons of the call centre are many, so let me share some wisdom.

1 Everything is temporary, so don't get sentimental.

From angry customers to your job to the entire contract to your whole office nothing lasts long in the call centre. After a while you just accept like the Zen master you are this is the way it is, one in four call centre agents last less than a year. In my last call centre job I was one of about fifteen, by the end of the year two of the group were left.

You are reminded that you're replaceable everyday, your ego can self confidence can't depend on your job, but when your kids stability depends on your job life gets super stressful. Any little quirk or error could be the end of you.

I lived from contract for a whole year, I never took a sickie even when my life was a fever dream. My boss gave me hoop after hoop to jump through, I only got a permanent contract after threatening to leave.

As you've just accepted all your friends will leave you get whispers that your contract will end. Call centre contracts are outsourced meaning you work for both the company you represent and the call centre or the company are not sentimental so just don't get attached to your job, it may be gone tomorrow., you learn to rcing-customers-are-terminating-their-call-center-deals.html

Next Part

The Zen guide to staying calm, from a call centre.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Exeter Steampunks Exeter Phoenix 10 Decemebr 2016

Exeter has has a version  of Steampunk and I had a bit of an experience, I turned up in my usual grungy gig wear to be greeted by post modern mash ups complete with fairy lights, mechanical jewelry and wigs, everyone was happy to strike a pose for pictures and show off their amazing creations. The pirate theme inspired some shark outfits, and the MC was right out of Pirates Of the Caribbean. Many looked like extras from a particularly confusing Dr Who episode.

Punk has meant lots of things over the years, in the 16 Century it was a word for a prostitute, and has been used for every kind of lowlife. Steam Punk seems well dressed, post modern and genteel version compared to Punk's violent history.

There was enthusiastic dancing but no mosh pit, who wants to wreak their fabulous confection? Especially as manyof the dresses were home made by some very talented people. There were some great bands and comedians, the night had a similar structure to a good, old fashioned variety show.

 There was the fun anarchy of punk though, one band had a Rum Gun, there was posing and dandy's that haven't been seen since Adam Ant. You could have a bop in the smaller room and it looked like an older, cleaner version of a New Romantics night.

Steampunk is a great expression of crazy inventiveness, great entertainment and post modern escape, it's as eccentric as an English lord building a folly and as full of posing and posturing as the  the coolest night at the Blitz club.  Get your corset and underskirt on, do something interesting with some fairy lights and give Steampunk a go, dressing up is back in fashion, and the more centuries you can pick and chose from the better, so get a great outfit, get some great selfies and escape, be an exotic Steampunk.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

How are the Tories the party for the working classes?

Most single mums are set to lose about £1300 under the Tax Credit cuts, maybe the Tories believe single mums will spend the money on a third flat screen telly but any single mum will tell you that money is essential, often wages go on rent and we live off some housing benefits and tax credits, without these our households will break down.

Poverty is worse than not being able to buy the latest phone or shopping in Primark and Poundland, in my household tax credits are a large part of our income, my wages only cover the rent, I get some housing benefit and most of our bills and expenses. I also have a generous parents who pay for lessons and larger goods so compared to many I know our family are lucky.

1 and 2 Cutting Tax Credits will spread childhood poverty like a disease, the implications for this generation are huge and the cost of cuts will outweigh the savings both socially and economically. Poor children are behind at school, their lives are less rich in experience and they’re less healthy. Tax Credit poverty won’t be down to lazy, feckless parents  who sit on a sofa watching a government sponsored telly, low earning parents won’t be able claim tax credits once they earn over  £3850 not £6420 and at this figure Tax Credits will go down by 48%, work harder get less.

The impression I want my kids to get of work is it buys you the basics and work harder to get more of life, not flat screen telly’s but experiences, travel, school trips and hobbies. I also want to work so my kids avoid the worst that poverty can bring and enrich my life too but this will be less likely under the Tories as they make life harder for the grafters they’ll make everyone poorer and the world a more brutal place for hard working families and show children their lives don’t matter and work doesn’t pay, so how will this less educated, less healthy generation grow up? How much will it cost and why are the government picking on the grafters and the grafters children?






Friday, 9 October 2015

Who are this Hardworking family?

The government likes a hard working family, you can picture them can’t you like a Soviet poster with Argos furniture, smiling with shiny new things and big smiles and tired parents from a hard day’s work and grateful to the government for helping then get their shiny new house, a realistic Utopia under the Tories. This home owning land of self-respect would be a great place, a place of dignity where the odds are always in your favour and the Hunger Games can end with work.

1My family poster would include mum but not dad and two children and mum works too, just like 59% of single parents. Unlike too parent families the strain is on one person, the homework, the doctors and the dentist the washing and the rent are on one person. So this must be a poster of a family that deserves government approval and opportunity.

Now I like working, I’m proud to talk and moan about work with my kids, I believe the best way to teach worth ethic to your kids is to work. I teach them to understand work can be boring, bitchy, nasty but worth it and if they work hard they can achieve their dreams so the odds should be in my favour, but I don’t feel that way, I still walk around thinking about money, I go without haircuts all the time and live off my overdraft, I buy cheap shoes so my kids can get a new pair and dread the post, because there are bills I can’t pay.

2 Tax Credits made my work worth it to start with, it meant my income meant something, my overdraft stops at that and the Foodbank isn’t needed, it’s the odd day out, broadband to look for new jobs and get self-respect and possible opportunities like tweeting for “The Green Party”. So yes I would rather not partly live off the state but my kids grow up with a little more than the minimum and more opportunities so this means the odds are deservedly in my favour.

3 Then you hear the government raise the minimum wage, this must be a good thing but the government forgot or ignored the details or thought they could bluff their way through them while not caring about the kids involved. Tax credits will be cut and a few quid on my hard won wages wouldn’t make me any richer and the poster would not feature new Argos furniture or smiles but more poverty, fewer new coats and hot meals while the government tells me work is virtuous and if I’m part of a “hard working family”.

As a single mum the odds are never in your favour.





Sunday, 27 September 2015

God Save The Labour Party

­Can we cast out mind back to before we heard about David Cameron doing unspeakable things to a dead pig there was a day when the leader of the Labour party decided not to sing our national anthem. A week is a long time in politics and for Jeremy not bothering to sing an obscure song became a PR disaster, but why, it’s a bizarre song that lyrics are not old school but ancient and have little relevance to huge numbers of the British people.

Brittan is a country that is full of atheists in fact 42% of Brits don’t believe in God.  The idea of God saving the Queen from flood, fire or Jeremy Corbyn is just silly to them; they think the Queen would be better off calling the fire brigade or sending in a rabid tribe of Daily Mail readers beating up Jeremy so he can’t steal all her glittery hats and save her from a seriously downgraded council house on an estate full of the little people.

If there is a God what would he save the Queen from? Jeremy Corbyn seems to be about her only threat. If there is a God I would rather he, she or whatever concentrated on refugees or families like mine who are about to be a lot poorer thanks to the Tories not a woman who flashes her wealth, has a big, expensive family, jewels, glittery hat and opulence to the people who pay for it, when thousands are queuing up for food banks this woman just seems tacky, worse still she talks patronisingly about austerity while wearing a crown worth millions, most poor families I know have pawned their gold trinkets. The anthem talks about the Queen as if England is a family, if this was true she would have sold her jewels on E bay a long time ago.

 Read the words, by verse two God Save the Queen, it’s as bloodthirsty as a Slipknot song. Most of us don’t know the lyrics past the first verse and if we have ever had to sing this song by the time we get to verse two most of us are humming tunelessly and red faced. The words we are missing talk of scattering our enemies and world domination, God Save the Queen is not just royal worship but a battle cry.

Is this song relevant to millions of the Queens subjects? One million of the showed up to a record breaking march against the Iraq war in 2003 so a bloody song about our enemies isn’t relevant to these people. .

Look at the people who need God’s help, the crying refugees, crying children clutching to teddy bears, displaced millions with nowhere to go now can many British people sing this song without cringing? So what goes does “Scattering enemies” do, it simply hurts the innocent.  

Jeremy Corbyn shouted for many by not singing this song and the headlines shouted this man was disrespectful to Britain. Look at Jeremy, he may look like a scruffy dreamer but he shows resect to everyone but a woman who has everything by a random accident of birth.

I received an e mail from the Labour party asking me what I would like to say to our government, this is democracy and he asked Cameron to answer his public, thousands of other people did the same. Jeremy stood up and asked questions from ordinary people, this shows a man more interested in people’s lives that his own ego.

Jeremy knows about respects and he saves it for the British ordinary, poor and struggling and the people who need saving and someone on their side. So ignore the obvious signs of respect like buying a new suit and signing a nasty song loudly and look a litter deeper at the rebels, the dreamers and those who look a little deeper at the evil glitter at the heart of our establishment, they may just help the people who need saving.

And here are the words

1. God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!

2. O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all!

3. Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen!

4. Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over.

5. From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, prince, and friend,
God save the Queen!

6. Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!