The last three and a half years I have spent working in a call center for the local utility company. It has been three and a half years of emotional, verbal, and mental abuse, to put it mildly. No one should be forced to allow people to verbally abuse them by the hundreds a day. Yet the company policy is to give the customer three warnings before you are allowed to release the call.
You are not supposed to take it personally, after all supposedly the person on the other end of the line is just venting. I am telling you it is difficult not to take it personally, when you are called horrid, awful names and/or someone is screaming obscenities at you. If you don’t give them their three warnings or if management feels you could have handled the call differently, you could be severely reprimanded. You may even lose your job and your insurance; in a bad economy this is scary.
The company owns you and they know it. Some of the managers can and will bully, belittle, and demean you in any way that suits them and this is a company with a union. I wonder how far it would be pushed without that little bit of protection that the union offers.
After three and a half years of abuse, by 9:30am I was shaking and needing more and more anxiety medication, just an hour and a half after I started my day. When a position in another department became available, I took it. Yes, it is a considerable pay cut, one that frankly we can ill afford. Yet, my health and sanity are more important. I cannot nor will I continue to allow myself to undergo constant abuse.
Now that I am a proverbial paper pusher, though it is really all done on the computer, I do still face, some of the problems of this fear based management style. But at least I’m no longer subjected to sometimes sixteen hour days with literally hundreds of people screaming and yelling at me. I am detoxifying myself, once more regaining my self-confidence and ability to greet the dawn and others without having to spend the majority of my time wanting to sleep or otherwise hide.
Once again I am gaining a sense of joy in life and can believe in miracles. I am relearning the art of being able to laugh freely and relax. Without worry that the telephone will ring and I will be forced to go in to work on my day off, the middle of the night or whenever else it pleases management.
In this month of releasing demons, inner and outer I chose a different life. One without abuse of any kind, I will no longer tolerate it and I chose to love and be loved freely.
There are many things wrong in the world today. However, I think one of the worst is the idea that we can abuse others to our hearts content, spreading hateful, angry words under the guise of venting. This is not venting and should not under any circumstance be considered such. It is bad, hurtful behavior and the old “kick the dog,” attitude. Venting on the other hand is being able to share a traumatic or stressful situation with someone, without causing the other to feel attacked.
Anger and hatred only replicate themselves. It is not alright to treat anyone this way and I will not allow myself to be subjected to it again. In the last three and a half years, I have watched fellow workers have heart attacks, strokes, and nervous break-downs or turn to alcohol, all from the stress of being forced to be the punching bag of every person who feels they have the right to treat others this way. I been told by some people that it is my job to listen to them call me obscene names while they scream at me and management backs them up.
So as I continue to recover from years of this abuse, I will focus on the bright and beautiful in life.
Marta wrote 468 Days Ago (neutral)0Like you Heidi, I too have lost it with a customer service rep. and apologized. I figure we are getting free together. You have helped me with your support, wisdom, posts, and the huge heart and spirit you have more than I can ever ever express. love, hugs and admiration back to you.0 points Heidi wrote 468 Days Ago (positive)1I'm sorry you had to endure that kind of abuse for so long but I am so impressed that you made the right decision for yourself. Abuse is abuse, whether verbal or physical, and no company should tolerate it on any level, period. The flip side are all those people who think it's ok to mete out the abuse. It simply indicates a lack of maturity. Have I lost it on the phone with a customer service rep, yes but I didn't make it personal AND more importantly, I apologized. The person on the other end of the phone or across the counter is a real person not a damn machine we can take our frustration out on.
Thanks for sharing yet another glimpse of Marta. I'm getting free with you. Love, hugs & admiration.0 points