As I keep mentioning, over the past few weeks I’ve been getting out a lot more than I did during my degree (not that I’m bragging about actually having a social life at last or anything), and this has meant I’ve had to answer the same questions repeatedly to all the people I meet: ‘When do you get your results?’ (I have no fricking idea), ‘What do you hope to do with your degree?’ (I have no fricking idea about that one either) and best of all, ‘Where are you working now?’
Thankfully, I do know the answer to that one: a call centre. Ah. Actually, it’s a call centre for a hugely prestigious wine club, but people tend to start looking all disappointed and pitying before I get to that part, because the words ‘call centre’ never fail to elicit that response – you know, the same response you also get to the answers ‘I voted Lib Dem’, ‘Actually, it was a skiing holiday’, and ‘Make mine a tomato juice.’
The truth of the matter is, I’ve actually been trained by this company to a nationally recognised standard (I have a Wine and Spirit Education Trust ‘Advanced’ certificate) so I can actually give wine advice, but most of the time I while away the hours in between calls laughing my face off with the nicest group of people in the world – drawing pictures of kittehs, exchanging insults in various languages and working out our porn star names. Oh, and eating cake (cake tastes so much nicer when you’re subtly attempting to stuff it down your gob without the caller realising.)
Basically, I like my job. It pays well, it’s not particularly challenging so I have a clear mind with which to write when I get home, and my colleagues work so hard that we actually provide an amazing service – this eliminates the common misconception that people working in call centres spend most of their days breaking up the monotony of getting screamed at by random angry people by putting them on hold for half an hour while you read a copy of Heat.
Yes, I do spend an inordinate amount of time each day repeating the phrase “Thank you for calling XXXXXXXXX, you’re through to Laura, how can I help you?” (admittedly, this is quite often muffled through the aforementioned cake). Yes, I do have to laugh at the standard unamusing responses people give (“How would you like to pay?” “Not at all!” Oh, MEGALOLZ.) Yes, I do also get slightly crazy people telling me they think jazz music is evil/ they are wearing biscuit-coloured socks / they were abducted by aliens / the fact we used the word ‘citrussy’ instead of ‘citrus-like’ to describe a wine ‘jars the unhappy latinist’.
But do not look at me with pity when I say I work in a call centre. This does not make me bitter / rude / unschooled – and I can’t think of one colleague that fits this description either. In fact, a ridiculous number of my colleagues have degrees or are in bands or are published. We are not ‘phone monkeys’, we are people. Pretty cool people, at that. Yeah, I don’t exactly want to work there forever, but I’m glad I did if only for one reason: I no longer make the same stereotypical ‘Oh, you’re a bit of a wally’ judgement when I have to call a call centre. That, and the cake. Good cake.
Photo nicked from Ballistik Coffee Boy‘s Photostream.