Like many work-related Who Can Go Suck Its, this will take some explanation, but stay with me because I’d like to wrap this up so I can bate and hit the bed. Anyway, “The Irresponsibles” is the term I’ve given people that refuse to share in their load of the work and therefore make everyone else’s jobs harder and more miserable.
So what’s a good example to the uninitiated? Imagine this. You work at a factory. Everybody has a different role in assembling a toy robot for mass production. You install the left arm. You’ve done well enough that you’ve been moved to a line where you install both arms because that’s how fast you’ve become. Unfortunately, that line of production is actually SLOWER for some reason.
How come? Well, because there’s a guy on the end that’s supposed to install the left legs, but he’s SHIT. I mean, really…that’s all he does. He just installs left legs. It’s not hard, it’s not rocket science; that’s all he fucking does. And you’d think that since he’s shitty at it, he’d be fired, but that’s just not the way it works. So where your production line SHOULD be faster because, holy shit, they have you, it’s actually slower because Jim Bob on the end can’t figure out what the fuck to do with all these left legs.
Ayup, that’s Left Leg Larry. MAN what a cunt.
Actually, that’s kind of a shitty example, so I’ll move onto what’s really bothering me. I work in broadband support for my company. What that means is I came in at a customer service level, proved excellence and competence, moved up to the next level, once again proved excellence and competence, so I moved up again, and continue to, you guessed it, prove excellence and competence.
And you know what, I’m sorry to sound elitist. If anything, I’m proud that I was acknowledged and had the opportunity to move up as many times as I have in a company I actually like working for. But not everyone works hard. Unfortunately, nothing is done about this, so by them not working hard, it provides additional workload for everyone.
I won’t lie, it’s not an easy job. If anything, it’s a stressful, unforgiving endeavor that many would (and have) quit in about a month of employment. Ergo, it’s not for everyone. Alright, fine. But I’m going to say this: you literally have no excuse for not doing your fucking job. There are plenty of jobs out there if you don’t like this one, many of which pay about the same and ALLOW for fucking around (i.e. many security positions).
Also, you get PAID to be a douchebag, so that’s a plus.
So really, to claim you just don’t give a shit as an excuse? Yeah, get fucked. But here’s what this means for my position. We have thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of customer service agents. I’m pretty sure we have at least thousands of advanced tech agents. And then there’s me. I’m pretty sure we only have hundreds of broadband agents.
Again, this is all guesswork, but just keep this in mind as I go on. All broadband agents have been there. We’ve worked customer service, we’ve worked advanced tech. There’s no skipping that…no free rides. We don’t hire broadband people off the street because our company has enough esoteric knowledge that must be learned from the ground up that it’s not really feasible.
So explain the following situation. We’re knee deep in the queue, customers already rabbling because they had to wait on hold, had to be transferred, their fucking diapers need changed, I don’t know. I get a customer that can’t access a channel because there’s a lock on it. This is something that not only should never have come to me, but also should never have been transferred in the first place…because it should have been resolved at the customer service level by verifying the account and sending an update.
As it turns out, there actually IS a wrong way to eat a Reese’s.
This wasn’t hard or in any way difficult to comprehend, yet there were no notes and because it was a cold transfer, I also have no idea who transferred it to me. This isn’t just lazy and irresponsible, it’s cuntshitting stupid. There is absolutely no excuse for the magnitude of retardation bestowed upon me from this one call, let alone the endless deluge of calls that occur like this at least three times an hour every goddamn day I work.
Also consider the queue situation. Why is it out of control? Well, when you consider that…
75% of the transfers have no notes…
50% of the transfers are unnecessary/to the wrong department…
and at least 50% of the calls have ONE missed step that should have been performed at the last level that inevitably fixes the problem immediately…
…there’s the answer. So in a typical day, when I see 20 calls in queue, I automatically assume 15 of them the agent got lazy on, at least by some measure. And if we look at it from a different angle, obviously somebody who is incredibly lazy and irresponsible is going to do everything possible to not deliberately incriminate themselves by leaving notes and is going to transfer improperly because they don’t want to talk to us (because they’re fucking cowards also).
This isn’t a lack of training or even a few bad supervisors that are fronting this; it’s a lack of good old-fashioned giving a shit. Now, it may seem like I’m nitpicking here, but I tend to overthink things, so here’s why I’m especially upset about this. First off, it’s a lack of respect. I wasn’t given this position, I had to WORK for it.
In fact, when I first started, advanced tech was a goal and in fact a “dream position” for me. And honestly, there isn’t one moment where I don’t still hold that to be true…yes, even when the customer asks where the guide button is or threatens to cancel for the 20th time in the same call because I want them to unplug their cable box.
So to deliberately transfer over a customer improperly, with no notes, without doing the rest of your fucking job on top of it, probably aggravating the customer in the process, and having them wait on hold for who the fuck knows how long only to be told that this is the wrong department or have the problem solved in one simple step that YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE…well, I think it’s obvious why so many of our customers are frustrated out of the gate.
But you know, it’s not just customer and employee dissatisfaction you’re causing, oh no. Secondly, you’re affecting staffing. Think about it. If even 50% of the calls coming to our department are rubbish and we’re able to prove that, then we may actually be more appropriately staffed than was once thought, leading to, theoretically, less repeat calls, less bad transfers, higher customer satisfaction, improved employee morale, more time for training, more team meetings, and so much more.
I accidentally the hair.
But hey, keep on fucking the entire goddamn company with your bullshit, really, go for it. And yet, it gets worse. Thirdly, you’re affecting everyone’s pay. How so? Think about it like this. If you’re already affecting both stats and staffing concerns, which leads to more turnover and regular job fairs, we can’t allocate more funds to the sorts of things I would love to be a part of, like bigger raises, more bonuses, and possibly more incentives overall…which would also combat turnover as well, so win-win.
And here’s my final point: apathy. When I was working in customer service, I told one of my supervisors that I really wanted to get into advanced tech and I was told that probably wouldn’t happen because of my invalid transfers. I was shocked. I immediately wanted to know the details because up to that point, I didn’t have even ONE communication about it.
Now you might think that was an issue with that one supervisor, but it isn’t and here’s why: the trickle down effect. The supervisor doesn’t care because he isn’t made to care by management. Management doesn’t care because the next level up doesn’t care and so on. Even though they’re constantly concerned about stats, it goes deeper than they think when apathy is the reaction to people who are fucking around on the job.
And by fucking around, I don’t mean joking or horseplay or whatever, because it’s still entirely possible to be the biggest fuckoff in the history of fuckoffs, but still get your work done. Really, that’s the bottom line. If you can play AND work, go for it, but only if your work doesn’t suffer. That’s always been my mindset.
So where does it end? How does this get fixed? The worst part is there’s literally only one way to fix that and it’s self-reflection. It’s entirely possible that an effective system will never be set in place to catch and discipline agents who don’t do their job and instead choose to fuck around and make work harder for everyone else.
It’s also possible that in the process of trying to solve that issue, management makes things harder for people who ARE doing their jobs by imposing new goals that they believe should fix everything, but clearly will not and are introduced in such a retarded way that they end up breaking more than they fix.
And even IF there’s a better system in place to catch and discipline, there will always be those that go above and beyond knowing all the little tricks they can do to get around the system, simply because they are lazy enough to not do their job, but not lazy enough to figure out a way to continue not doing their job.
Is it ignorance? Is it a lack of training? Is it because the supervisors, management, and no one else care? Honestly, I think it’s because the individual doesn’t care…and that’s not easily fixed. THAT is exactly why they can go suck it. They’ve created a situation where effectively we’re at a standoff because we need people to answer the phones, but we need them to also DO THEIR JOBS.
So what’s my solution? Unfortunately, my solution is not an easily established or widely accepted one…except by my closest fellow coworkers. For starters, each time an account pops up, your information is automatically timestamped in the account. It doesn’t have to be in a main notes section or whatever, just somewhere that the info can be checked later, even if it’s by a supervisor or whatever.
Second, require that supervisors follow up with agents on strengths and weaknesses, with a strong emphasis on what sorts of invalid transfers occur with you the most. This is a more subtle way of dealing with the problem because nobody seems to like my baseball bat to the back of the head model, but I digress.
This is also mostly because I’ve been there and I acknowledge that people make mistakes. What’s IMPORTANT is that we’re TOLD we made a mistake and how to avoid it in the future. That is the key. If we honestly DON’T KNOW we messed up, then not telling us does no justice for us, the people we transferred to, etc.
Third, regular Q&A sessions with advanced agents. This would be helpful even for broadband agents because hey, I don’t know it all and I have weak areas, too. But I think it would also be helpful to further establish synergy and communication between departments and allow for us to share our secrets, thereby developing better agents from the ground up.
See? These guys know what’s up…but maybe next time the secret shouldn’t be a virus.
And finally, progressive discipline. To go back to a previous example, I didn’t know I was performing invalid transfers because I was not told. When I was told, I wanted to know all the details. What if, even after a Q&A session, supervisor feedback, and many other aids, you continued to be a class A fuckup?
Well, then you get written up. Really, is that so hard? It can detail exactly what you did, corrective action to be applied, what is expected in the future, etc. But this isn’t done. This right here is the simplest solution to all of it, but I only recommend the rest because it would completely nip it in the bud from all possible angles.
You can’t MAKE a person care about their job, but you CAN remove them for not doing so. I don’t expect for everyone to bring their A game, but if you bring no game at all, get the fuck out…and STAY OUT.