kevan.org

Work to Win

Originally published in Upsideclone
Friday the 28th of September 2001

"Good morning Mr Weber, my name's Andrew and I'm calling on behalf of Megavision UK. Our records show that you watch thirty hours of television a week, but don't subscribe to any of our cable channels? I wonder if we could interest you in..."

Telecorp Call Nexus, Milton Keynes. I did rent a home terminal for a while, but missed the work atmosphere too much. The feeling of being a part of a larger machine, of working towards the same goals as my colleagues. There's always a big cheer when one of us gets a bonus. That guy with the Kinder Egg toys on his desk got seven thousand pounds, the other month, just for one call. Amazing.

The offices here are very freeform, very stimulating, and full of personality. You're allowed as much desk decoration as you can fit into your overnight locker, and can hot-desk whichever terminal you like, when you get in. I was here early enough to get one near the koi-pond, this morning. Really idyllic. It certainly beats the basement cubicle I ended up in yesterday.

"Hel-Air budget flights, Andrew speaking, how may I help you? And when are you travelling? One moment, sir. How many passengers? Uh-huh. Well, we've got a flight next Monday for two adults and two children..."

So this is my terminal. When a call gets routed in, it gives me a brief overview of the product or service, the opening sections of the autoscript, an iconic list of the skills required for dealing with the call (although, of course, it checks my personal profile before routing anything to me, so it won't ever be anything I can't cope with), and the current rollover count.

I've then got a few seconds to either accept the call or reject it. If I reject it - if I don't like the script, or have an ethical problem with the product - it just gets rerouted to another, random terminal elsewhere in the company. Of course, the bonus rolls over for each rejection, so I guess some people can make a lot of money that way.

"Hello, Old Fernshire Potteries, my name's Andrew and I'll be taking your order. The memorial plate? Yes, until the end of the month. Yes, that's right. God bless her, yes..."

I got fifty pounds for an ISP tech support call, last week, and I usually get enough vending machine tokens to see me through the day. One day I'll hit the big money, though, like the guy with the Kinder Egg toys. I heard he cleared his desk straight away, disappeared on a world cruise. Telecorp are really flexible about that.

And since everyone's on the same minimum wage - since every call has exactly the same odds of awarding a random bonus, rollovers aside - you don't need to worry about keeping a foot on the hierarchy ladder, about your job not being there when you get back.

I really can't imagine a better place to work.