Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Big Update Post

Wow. Need to blog more.

So, I found a place. It's a great place, a huge house in Hove and I think there are eleven of us living here (there may be more; it's all a bit of a mystery). Our bedroom is massive and has bay windows, so until the beginning of May, I'll be pretending I have a lot more money than I do. We have to find a new place to live for May.

I also found a job - and got fired from it. I signed up with a recruitment agency and within a few hours of applying for this job, I had a call back and by the next day, an interview had been set up. The job, as the recruitment agent described it to me, was to call supporters of charities, thank them for their support and ask if they would be comfortable switching the payments they're already making to direct debit. So I went to the interview It lasted two and a half hours and during it I found out that what the job *actually* was was calling people to ask for money, but only at a level they felt comfortable giving and it was definitely not pushy or salesy. I found out a couple days later that I had the job.

The first two days of work were training. Day one, myself and the 7 other people who got hired with me talked with a couple of the supervisors about what charities are, what our role was, etc. I really hate call centres, but the environment seemed really warm and friendly and I liked the way they did things. Over and over again, one of our 'coaches' kept telling us, when we ask for money, it's ok if the supporter says no. They don't have to justify it to us. They don't have to give reasons. If they say no, we simply thank them for their support and move on*. We weren't there to push people or guilt people.

Day two, we spent the morning learning the computer system and the afternoon looking at scripts. The scripts, at first glance, consisted of Thank you for your help, the world is an awful place, we can do something to fix it, more money? - the particular one I spent my brief time at the company calling on started by asking people to triple the amount of money they were already paying monthly. When they say no (which 99% do, because it's RIDICULOUS to call people who are giving you money and ask them to send you three times more), the script goes to the 'second ask' which is basically: I understand you can't afford that much, the world is a horrible place, we can fix it, please can I have twice as much money as you're currently paying? There are other options, of course, like, 'I understand you're on a pension and supporting eight other charities, babies are dying in the streets, please can we have more money? - But even reading through these insane scripts, we were told, over and over, that if they flat out say they can`t afford it, or if they tell you at the beginning that no, they will not increase their payments, that`s fine. Leave it alone. Don`t upset them. Etc, etc.

The other thing they told us on Day 2, was that we should be nice to each other. We should not brag about the number of pledges we`re getting or be all pitying and sympathetic to those getting less than us. If we had a bad day, we should not sigh and moan, because we`re a team and we don`t want to bring each other down.

Day 3, we actually started calling. Pretty much the first thing they did was march out a big board where they wrote down how many pledges we were each getting. It of course included the people who had been there six weeks longer than us, so the newbies looked a little sad and inept on that board, but we trudged on.

Each day, the approach changed slightly. Suddenly, it was no longer, If they say no, that`s fine. Suddenly, just saying No meant they were waffling a bit and could be persuaded to up their donations. Suddenly, the justifications and reasons for not being able to increase (which people, particularly older people, feel obliged to give when you tell them the world is coming to an end and children and puppies are dying and it`s all going to be their fault if they don`t help) are excuses - and the same nice, friendly people who told us not to push, not to be salesy, that supporters don`t have to justify themselves to us are saying that most people could afford a few extra quid a month, if they really wanted to... and isn`t it annoying how supporters lie about why they aren`t giving more?

So, to be honest, I fully intended to find something else, then quit. But, in the meantime, I decided to do my job to the best of my ability, as much as I hated it, because I was being paid to. So I negotiated as much as I could (morally could, I mean. There is a limit to how far I`m willing to go for money and making people who spend their state pension on charities feel bad for the help they`re offering the world surpasses that limit), listened to the coaches`conflicting advice on how to get more pledges (Be more upbeat, be more urgent, be more indignant, be friendlier, speak lower, speak louder, slow it down, speak faster, be more familiar, be more professional, put more passion into it, be more confident), tried to follow what I could when it didn`t directly conflict with something someone higher up had told me. I was a good little worker bee and put up with them coming and pulling the same demoralizing bullshit they had warned us against, smiled when they hovered behind me while I was on the phone and smiled when then asked me what went wrong if I didn`t get a pledge. I even, on my last night of work, kept my composure when one of the coaches came and told me everything I was doing wrong on a call where I got a pledge, then came back to gloat about how her advice had helped me get another pledge (even though I hadn`t followed it because it went against the only advice I`d been given which had actually helped) - I smiled through all of it... and for my troubles, I was fired.

They weren`t even going to tell me. The lazy bastards were going to wait until I had walked into town for my next shift (yesterday morning) to let me know I`d been sacked. The only reason I found out is that they did tell my recruitment agent, and she decided it might be nice to call me and let me know, so I wouldn`t waste my time slogging into work.

So now I need to start looking for something new. Le Blah. I was going to anyway, but this puts a little more pressure on, money-wise. Boo to the urns.

So, the job hunt and house hunt resume. Also, I have a million to write.

Also, I remain happy and smiling. Nothing seems to be able to keep me down for long - *knock on wood*

*The company I was working for works on behalf of a number of very well known charities, though I can't tell you their names or the company's name; confidentiality agreement.