A Peaceful Easy Feeling
After years of power lunches and power plays, dressing for success, watching my back and suffering in overpriced “professional dress” I just stood up one day and screamed “Enough!”
I had survived lay offs, downsizing, recessions, inflations, greedy, jealous, hard-ball back stabbers and the arrival of new technology that made me obsolete. I have worked for lunatics, jerks, fools, and bullies.
At 58 years old with nearly 35 years of customer service, tax, accounting, retail sales and supervisory experience I was ready to enjoy earning a living. I wanted to go home after work and enjoy my time off without stressing over what went wrong and who did what to whom and what ridiculous hoops I would be asked to jump through the next day. I wanted to sleep until I woke up naturally and have days off when I needed them. I was fed up, exhausted and ready to drop out and let my grown children support me.
I had self-employment income as a tax professional but that only takes care of the first quarter. I had worked in a large call center as a certified debt counselor but it the constant fear and grief that washed over the phone lines was often depressing and unpleasant. Many nights I lay awake grieving for the people who called for my help.
And then I found it! A small phone center with very flexible hours, a pay scale well above the usual minimum wage and a very nice package of “extra earnings” opportunities. The application said “Put down the hours you are available “ Does this mean I get to choose my time off? I can’t believe my eyes and ears! I won’t have to get up before sunrise! YEAH! Then I heard the magic words “Dress code is casual” Jeans, tee-shirts, comfortable shoes “as long as what needs to be covered is” Wow, this is getting better and better. But the best was yet to come.
Starting with the training program. A one on one program that is well constructed, simple to grasp and simple to put into practice. It is a plan that is geared not only for the success of Phone Smart and the stores that we serve but with an emphasis on personal achievement. There are continuing information, pop quizzes, and updates to help us.
We talk with the folks who call in and answer their questions about the store. We guide them with questions about their needs and situation and work to help them get into a storage unit that accommodate their needs and fit within their budget. We answer questions about office hours, gate hours, and store amenities. We direct clients to manager voice mail when appropriate and even take trouble tickets for serious problems.
After the hectic Labor Day weekend, we get a real treat. We make our “Manager Buddy” calls. We get to speak directly with the store managers and get their feedback on our job performance. It is always encouraging, and heartening to hear from our managers about how happy they are with our service.
But this is the best part. We are treated with dignity and respect. We work for a gentleman. Tron is our boss but he knows how to do that and still be kind, generous and considerate.
I am off the high-pressure fast track. I am working with people I enjoy working with and working for people worthy of my respect and effort. When I think about work now I just get that peaceful easy feeling.
I did have one sleepless night. Last week I had a call from Florida. While I was talking with the caller there was a terrible roaring in the background. It was the sound of Katrina coming ashore. While I rejoice in my employment situation I cannot forget, let us all not forget the many who are suffering in her wake.
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