Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Thank you for calling blah blah blah, howmayIhelpyou?

After enduring the trials and travails of unemployment for many months, let it never be said that I'm not happy to be working again. I am thrilled! Delighted! Stoked, even. Especially on payday.

But boy does my new job ever suck. The training we received was a pointless exercise in reading vague policy tutorials online for two weeks. We got very little of the practical information we need to do our jobs. How to operate the phone system, for instance, was never mentioned. Now that I'm taking calls, the volume of inquiries I have to handle is relentless. I literally get another call the second I hang up from the last one. Compared to the other cushy help desks where I've worked it feels like a sweatshop. I can take a little hard work, but it's not just that. The managers are unresponsive to questions and requests. The resource staffers are surly and condescending. The pay is worse than poor, it's insulting; barely over half the income I made at my last comparable position. Benefits are theoretically available, but at out-of-pocket rates I could never afford. The office is grim and cheer-free, rows upon rows of unsmiling faces. With a high turnover of Kelly drones who seldom get the staff positions they aspire to, there's a curious air of impermanence about the place. Most cubicles are devoid of personal touches. You can tell by the odd stuffed animal on the monitor or family photo on the desk which folks survived the last big layoff. They comprise about twenty percent of the staff, possibly less.

Fortunately my stay could be brief too. I interviewed for a tech support job that's almost too good to be true on Monday. The pay is nearly double what I make now, with a jaw-dropping benefits package. It's a small company with a very relaxed atmosphere. I could wear jeans to work! Their help desk staff will total three after, God willing, I am hired. Instead of supporting a million applications that I have scant documentation for, I'd be supporting the one app that the company develops, sells and supports. And since it's much closer to home, I'd avoid the teeth-gritting, curse-muttering daily rush hour freeway grind that I am dealing with now.

I spent a half hour answering questions for the CEO and vice president, then another half hour being grilled by the help desk guys. And maybe I'm deluded, but I feel like I impressed them. They all said I had far more experience than any other interviewee. I should be hearing from them within the week. Cross your fingers for me.