February 24, 2008

The New Gig

As I noted in the last post, I have a new job and, as lame as it is to have to work, I must admit that it was probably about time. I had been getting pretty into "Star Wars: Knights of the Republic II" on the XBOX, and it was probably starting to annoy Angela (although to be fair, you must realize that she didn't have a job, either). In any case, the moment of realization came around last Tuesday when Angela's mom came to our house around noon unannounced, but I was unable to come out and properly greet her, since I was in the living room playing the video game, and I was only wearing underwear and my robe (the "Technicolor Dreamcoat" temporarily turned "Jedi Robe"). Yeah, probably about time to get a job.
So, my new job is pretty interesting. And yes, I do get a badge, and yes, I do get free coffee. They even gave me a new mug with the company's name. I'm planning to fill that coffee mug with enough black gold that I effectively double my disposable income at the end of the month. Anyhow, I'm working at a very large company in Heredia, which is a city just on this side of San Jose. The company provides support services for U.S. companies, which basically means that I work in a call center. When you hear about outsourcing, I'm pretty sure that my job is what they're talking about. So, if you call up customer support for one of about 16 major U.S. companies, there's a chance your call will get routed to the building where I work. From there, a friendly operator will talk you through your problem. At least that's the idea.
My job is not to take calls, but instead to help the people that are taking calls with their English problems. I am what is known as an "English Language Specialist." Many of the people at work speak very good English, but at the same time, there are around 3,000 employees (around the same number of cows at the dairy I worked at in the past...fun fact). There is also a very high turnover rate in this industry, so that means that there are still quite a few people who might not be speaking English at full capacity, either when they apply for a job, or while they are actively employed at the company. That's where I come in.
I'll be teaching English classes to potential employees that are only a bit below where they need to be, and I'll also take part in account screenings, which tests the English levels of the various agents in an account. I started doing that the other day, and it was very interesting, indeed. Almost bizarre.
In this account screening, I was listening to customer service calls that some of the operators were taking (so yes, when it says, "This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes," they ain't kidding). The account was for a major U.S.-based cell phone manufacturer. Now, everyone knows that I hate cell phones, but if you have a cell phone, you certainly have to admit that at some point during the time you've owned it, it's probably presented you with a problem or question of some sort. Cell phones break, batteries die, warranties end, and screens don't work they way they're supposed to. Cell phones are inherently stressful little pieces of shit. But all the same, I was surprised how many assholes were calling to take out their problems on third-world operators. And I only listened to about 6 calls! In two of those calls, the callers in the U.S. turned to profanity, and in a third one, the person hung up because he was so pissed off.
One time about three years ago, I called the Dell customer support line because I was having trouble with my disc drive. I ended up having to talk to this girl in the Philippines for two and a half hours, and she kept remarking to me over and over again that she was so happy that I was patient, and that most customers would have been yelling at her by that point. Now I know why. The job that these operators do can be quite stressful, and it becomes even harder if their English isn't up to par (and probably even more stressful if some "English Specialist" is sitting next to them listening to their calls).
So, I'm still absorbing this whole thing, and I'll maybe have some new thoughts on the matter soon. I've also been working on some website updates, but due (as always) to poor internet access and a wife that (understandably) hates B.O.-infused internet cafes filled with stupid-ass punk kids playing online video games, I've not been able to get things up as quickly as I'd like. But I'll be working on it.

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2 comments:

annie lee said...

dear rzan,

this has nothing to do with zour new job, but rather with the request zou made of me to check out zour website from Hungarz.

Here is what I think of Hungarian kezboards ...
éáűóüöűűűűó󧧧§

I ate some pig knuckles zesterdaz' !

Visontlátásra!

Sitzman said...

Oh Annie!
You're the best!
Ryan