ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How long have you had your current job, and what do you like and dislike about it?

Updated on August 14, 2007

My Call Center Job

I don't currently have a job, but since I'm still decompressing from my last one, I'd like to discuss it. I worked as a telefundraiser for the last five years in a call center, soliciting donations for a slew of political and social non-profits.

It's a given in call center work that everyone is on Plan F, G or H of their lives. Not just Plan B or C; did anyone ever grow up planning to be a telemarketer? No, the place was populated by a weird assortment of societal misfits: disbarred attorneys, recovering alcoholic executives, even a disgraced physician worked with me. Naturally many college students passing through on the way to better lives came in briefly, and some homemakers looking for part-time hours. We gave shelter to folks far too elderly to be hired elsewhere and people from half-way houses for parolees. Piercings and tattoos didn't matter.

What commonality united this bunch? In the early days, it was verbal skill and a quick mind. As a result, no matter what level of success these people had achieved in the larger world, here at the call center they could excel with or without formal education, with or without an impressive resume.

Later, the company's founder sold out to a large corporation, business volume skyrocketed, and anyone with a pulse got hired. Illiterate clods stumbled through their conversations and fractured the presentations.

In some ways, the work was not what you'd expect. The company insisted that we be honest with the prospects, and many of the managers and callers appeared to truly believe in the various causes we represented. We dealt with many of the most prominent cultural, environmental and charitable organizations. With political groups, our founder contracted only with liberals and I'd guess that about 85% of the callers felt they were fighting the good fight for justice. The rest faked it.

The prospects usually assumed we took a percentage of the donations, and frequently screamed at callers and called us crooks. We didn't get a percentage; the company negotiated a set fee with the non-profit for each campaign, and all the donations went straight to the charity. Hardly anyone believed us, but it was the truth. Our paychecks reflected bonuses for bringing in more donations, but that came from the contracted fees. We suffered because so many other companies in the business were conning people.

The work itself was so horrible that callers constantly suffered from stress and many broke down and cried or walked out in angry fits. I had several panic attacks. Prospects threatened us, screamed, swore endlessly, blasted air horns into the phone, or just lied transparently. One told a caller he'd hunt her down and kill her children. She dissolved into tears.

Lots of the people we'd get on the calls were crazy, drunk or high. Little kids would answer the phone and refuse to forfeit it. One kid said he couldn't call Mommy because she was in the shower with Uncle Dave. An old lady told me her husband couldn't come to the phone because he was constipated, she had given him a "physic" and he was on the toilet.

After I completed a detailed appeal for a certain good cause on one occasion, the woman on the line said simply, "What's this got to do with my Linens-and-Things credit card?"

Another man listened to me patiently, and then asked, "Tell me, do you know who's been stealing my paper off the porch?"

Rarely, a person would shock me by casually replying, "Sure, I'll give $5000, let me go get my Visa."

Then there were prospects that were fascinating, charming, heart-breaking or funny. I think I fell in love with a guy from California one night. I sobbed openly with a woman whose gay son's partner had been murdered the day before in a hate crime. Others educated or inspired me.

The political calls were my favorites. Prospects got fired up, angry and outraged. We had many lively debates. It was also tiresome and irritating to hear the same tired crap hundreds of times a day.

All through the primaries, they repeated the excuse that they were waiting to see who the nominee would be. My standard comeback was, "Will you vote for Bush if your favorite doesn't win the nomination?"

Without exception they would scream, "Of course not."

Then I'd ask, "Well then what's the point of waiting?" They never had an answer.

A job like this wears on a worker. The performance quotas kept going up, more and more people demanded to be put on the do-not-call list, but most of all, they were simply sick of being called for money. I was sick of calling them. Management got more restrictive, adding to the astronomical stress level.

It's a relief to be gone. Co-workers call me sometimes and repeat the familiar litany of woes. I sympathize with them and think: better you than me.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I worked with Rose, and she hit the nail on the head, with a hammer!!!! However what she explained was only half of it. When you are a TOP caller as I was, management expected you to pull out failing campaigns. Management also did various under handed issues to callers, and don't dare challenge them!!!! I did, and after 6 years, they said bye, bye, and created a complaint that was a lie, and deleated the taped recording of the call because they new they had no foot to stand on. Oh, and did I mention they not only challenged unemplyment, and at arbitration even had a women who was a Preacher, crying over untrue lies she supposedly did.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for an insightful Hub. I did call center work one summer in college. It was phone sales of an coupon book and the room was noisy. it was hard work. I became a maid for trhe rest of the summer and fall and I found the physical work to be easier than the call center work at that time.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      11 years ago from Queensland Australia

      nice blog. I to have done some call centre work ! touche. Thanks again!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)