spirits that speak

2.10.2006

Rediscovering the Potential to Be Compassionate

so, i work at a call center. those of you who know me know which one, so i won't say. but i do tech support. i've been there for just over a year now and talk to a lot of different kinds of people.

talking to a lot of people tends to numb you to some extent. after a while it's easy just not to really care whether or not you fix these people's problems. i mean, you still give it your best (for the most part), but you start telling yourself that it's not really your problem. especially when people get short with you or they get mad and tell you that you are bad at doing your job. i mean, honestly, if you ever call someone for tech support i wouldn't recommend telling them they're incompetent, even if they are, because at that point any help they could offer you is out the window. you'll get cut off faster than you can say "microsoft".

but a few nights ago i got a call that surprised me. i've had one or two calls like this before, and i think i have the same reaction every time. it started out normally, i got the person's phone number...then his name. right away my heart filled with dread. i had a studderer. i mean, i work in an industry where emphasis is on having short calls times (at least, as short as possible). and tech support calls can sometimes take a long time depending on various factors. when you get a studderer on the line, it's easy to think "oh man, this is death".

so my first instinct was "get this guy off the phone as soon as possible". but then i got that unexpected reaction. i started to envision all the other people this guy might have to talk to in his life (people in customer service type jobs). i envisioned many of them getting very impatient with him. seriously, he wasn't a mild studderer. it was pretty bad.

my intolerance went away pretty quickly. i felt so bad for things i thought at first and for this guy. he just wanted some help because his e-mail password wasn't working. thing is, the last person he spoke to at my center was earlier that same night. they reset his password for him and didn't even stay on the line to find out if he was able to make it work. who knew if his password was even the problem? maybe he was spelling his user name wrong. maybe he would spell the password they gave him incorrectly.

so i reset it again for him and gave him his new password, but it wasn't working for him. i stayed on the line with him for a few minutes, and made sure we spelled his username and password letter by letter as i read his user name out to him, and then he could login to read his e-mail.

the dude was so happy. he said thank you several times for taking him through it. i guess the point of the story is that i got a profound feeling that occasionally what's really a small matter means a lot to someone. even with all the calls i take, i was amazed at how talking to this guy was important because you could kinda tell that most people don't take the time (what normally would have taken only 4 or 5 minutes took about 15...which seems like a long time when you're doing something menial).

i didn't really think i cared about my job anymore, or about people. i don't think this is sounding as profound as it felt, but hey...it's my blog.

3 Comments:

  • Okay, so I'm tempted to get all blubbery on you, I won't, but that really touched me. I know how I feel when someone is kind and patient with one of my kids, and this reminded me of that! WTG!

    By Blogger agapetos, at 22:19  

  • i can imagine how some people would treat your kids. i'm glad you could relate from the other side of this story. you probably understood exactly how this guy felt knowing i wasn't just brushing him off.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 04:51  

  • if you think you're temped to get blubbery, dear beloved, what do you think the sister feels? I, too, will try to control myself. Suffice it to say:

    I'm very proud of you, bro!

    By Blogger Shiny Beamer, at 11:43  

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