Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Getting right with the Lawd...

I wasn't particularly feeling inspired when I logged onto the blog a few minutes ago, the remnants of yesterday's bout of the flu maybe. I'd really just signed in when the student loan people caught up with me.

Right about the time I suddenly moved last fall, I lost contact with the student loan people. In the shuffle, the fleeing into the night, my coupon book disappeared. I'm not well known for being organized, but I wasn't particularly worried. This wasn't the first time. They have always been so good about hunting me down whenever I've gotten behind. Some of my most meaningful and memorable phone conversations have been with timid telemarketers trying desperately not to lose their fucking minds while talking to me.

I take it easy on them. I've been there.

I used to do telemarketing. In this day and age and in this state, I know a lot of people who've worked that kind of job. It always sucks and when you come, not asking for money, but essentially demanding it from strangers it can play hell on your nerves. After all, you have no idea how they're going to react, whether they're going to go all nuts on you or fall apart or simply say hang up after a cherry-picked bit of profanity.

I did real telemarketing (that's outbound calls) twice. Once was for a company that did work for different charities. I quit after I got a 35 dollar donation from a double gold star mother for a veterans group that was only going to see thirty percent of what she gave. The other was for a company that pitched credit cards to people. I lost interest in it after I sold a card to a mentally impaired man who answered all of my questions correctly.

I've sat in rooms and watched single mothers cry their eyes out after a particularly nasty call. I've listened to ex-cons beg the managers of these places to give them another chance when their quota numbers were down. I don't know, but it might have been that the shitty telemarketing job was all that was keeping them out of a return trip back to jail. I've watched people harden from doing that kind of work, watched them lose a little faith in themselves and a lot in everyone else.

I didn't put up a fight. I agreed to pay them, which I planned to do anyway. It also gave me the chance to hope the young virtual leg breaker sent to get me to cough up their dough, finds her way to somewhere else. I did, eventually.


The Film Geek said...

Terrific post. That's a tough gig, for sure.

primalscreamx said...

Hey, glad to see somebody made it back. I was starting to wonder if everybody had decided to take December off.

iremonger said...

I did it for a while too. I work in a different job now - parking cashier. People are not quite so vitriolic but also not particularly happy about paying $5 for a few hours parking. So how did you get from telemarketing to journalism?

primalscreamx said...

Same as everybody else... pure, stupid luck and a willingness to work for nothing.
It's really a long story, but not a terribly dull one. I'll do a post about it this week maybe.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hate Midwest Publishing, Inc. too. It's actually sometimes less than 6%, and not 30%.

"Pennies for Charity" says 15%.

This one says only 10%.

These writings by an employee mention a rate of 6%.

This one says 5%.

Thanks, Brendan, for the post to your blog on the review process for your workplace. The stories made the fight to expose the MPI scam that much more worth it.

I wish you guys would stop working for squat and blogging about it. With some education, you can find a more interesting job. I'm sure writing about that process would generate a lot more interest than you currently enjoy.

If you can't do that, at least take me off of your calling list.