Q: What’s The Worst Job You’ve Ever Had?

A: There was an academic snafu in my junior or senior year of college that kept me out of class for a semester, so I took a job in a call center. It was customer service for a cable company, troubleshooting and helping people with billing issues. Pure misery always just sorta hangs over places like that. This was no different. Management treated everyone like they were serving detention. The break room was the size of a broom closet. The computer system we were working with had been constructed during Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

And, of course, every other call that came in was some idiot who hadn’t paid his/her cable bill in fifteen months but was still apoplectic that their service was being (or had been) disconnected. Once I had to mediate a physical altercation between a customer and a field technician who was attempting to shut off her cable. Obscenities, punches, and handheld items were being thrown. Meanwhile, my “team lead” was more concerned with my tone or how long I was taking to resolve the issue.

The whole endeavor was just a smoldering wasteland of negative energy. The paychecks barely qualified as justification. On the other hand, when I was a bus boy at Perkins they made me dig unused jelly packets out of the trash, rinse off the gunk, and put them back on the tables, and I suppose that’s a more finite version of complete fucking hell. I got free soda at Perkins, though. Nothing was free at the call center except pain.

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