Scheduling Blues & Valentine’s Recap

Well, I’ve been away several days, and it’s been an exciting and busy few days to say the least. I’ll start by saying that on Friday (yes, I’m bypassing Valentine’s for a moment) we had a meeting at work. That’s always a danger. It was even more of a danger because it was with our outbound collections team only instead of the entire call center team.

The meeting began with the management team informing us we’re going to a new schedule. Now while it isn’t pleasant for me, I wasn’t as upset by the changes as some people were. It’s not like I can complain anyway. They do what they want, and I simply do as I’m told, right? Right.

Our current schedule is a Monday-Thursday 9-hour shift and Friday 4-hour shift. You can see why some people were upset. They cherish their 4-hour Fridays. As do I. It’s one of the few days I’m really able to see Fernando, after all, since his crazy schedule as fast food assistant manager keeps him busy on 10-hour shifts five days a week, he ends up taking off Fridays and Saturdays to see me. So we get my half-day Fridays and all day Saturdays and most of Sundays.

If we’re lucky, we’ll see each other at various times during the week. But that hasn’t happened often lately due to our schedules.

Now my schedule will be changing starting in a few short weeks. It’s going from the above to a straight 8-hour Monday-Friday shift. They determined this was the best option to get the most call outs done and get things taken care of in the timeliest manner.

I have no quibbles with leaving an hour earlier. I’m not too chuffed at losing my half-day. I’m just rather tired with all the changes. It’s every other week we’re having a meeting about changing this or that policy. Or perhaps we’re getting an email at least once or twice a week about being able to accept or deny new pieces of information for customers when they apply for different programs. Then there’s the constant change in seating arrangements. I feel like I’m back in high school, moving desks because the teachers disapprove of so-and-so sitting next to so-and-so or whatnot.

In fact…

I had to move my desk to a desk literally not two feet away from where I was sitting. It wasn’t a big deal. They had me move on Thursday. And while I’m not really complaining, I find it amusing that I was moved.

You see, I didn’t ask to be moved.

Evelyn did.

She has severe asthma, and it’s been acting up terribly in our prior seating arrangement next to the supervisor. We were seated directly under a vent that constantly pumped out air (whether warm or cold) that would irritate her asthma and cause her to cough uncontrollably. Honestly, it was an OSHA issue more than anything else. But she was going nuts trying to get over the coughing, and she had requested to be moved to a seat where there was no vent (a seemingly impossible task in our large facility).

She requested to take over the resident “bro-ski’s” seat because he sat in an area that wasn’t as heavily hit by vents. Now “bro-ski” is an okay guy, but he’s not someone I talk to a lot, and I’m not particularly a fan of his. Evelyn took him aside and explained her situation and asked him nicely if he’d consider switching seats with her. His response was, unfortunately, predictable.

He told her in no uncertain terms he would raise cain if she tried to get him to move.

Well, strike one.

Then my supervisor came up to me on Thursday morning after I noticed her speaking to “bro-ski” and asked if I would move. She told me she knew I wasn’t really interested in moving but asked if I’d be willing to. I said I would, end of story. I mean, they’d move me anyway, so I had little choice in the matter.

That afternoon our systems went down completely for about an hour. It was great and glorious. I couldn’t take calls. It was a really beautiful world. And that’s when I moved. I took over another “bro-ski’s” desk who was out sick that day, and that’s when I realized what had happened.

In order to pacify “bro-ski,” they moved me so that his “bromance” with our other “bro-ski” could continue unhindered by distance. And of course, because the “bromance brothers” are the “teacher’s pet” types in the call center, they get pacified in their desires.

I know that’s very sarcastic and all, but you have to understand the call center life is one of those things that is very similar to high school. You have the teacher’s pets who suck up to the supervisors and get what they want. You have the cool kids who band together and get to do special things because they’re cool and they can. And then you have people who don’t really fit and just try to make it without getting in trouble.

There’s more to it than that, but I’ll likely do a separate post about how the call center is just like high school.

In short, I got bumped for the “bromance” duo, and I’m not altogether unhappy, just amused at the irony of favoritism.

In other news: I am hoping and praying for a favorable review of an interview I had Friday afternoon with an amazing company that I’d love to work for. I won’t say much here now, but I had a phone interview with them last Thursday and arranged for an in-person interview with them Friday afternoon. And now it’s a matter of waiting for them to call me this Friday to let me know if I get to go on to an executive interview, the next step in their process. I’ll definitely keep you posted on how that goes! Be wishing me lots of luck!

Finally, I have to say I had an excellent Valentine’s Day with my dear Fernando.

He surprised me big time, and though the women at work were wagering on how many bouquets I’d receive and whether he’d propose or not (to both of which they were disappointed), I was frustrated by the end of the work day. The flowers rolled in, and it was a riot of roses in the office, but none came for me. And what really frustrated me wasn’t the lack of a delivery but my co-workers’ constant jabbing at me about how I hadn’t gotten anything yet and how something much bigger and shinier must be waiting for me at home. (Or as one co-worker put it, I must have a “butt naked man” waiting for me.)

By the time I went home, I was annoyed and ready to call it a night and just go wherever for dinner and not even bother with all the hoopla surrounding Valentines, even though I’d made Fernando a card on Sunday and gotten him chocolate-covered strawberries the day before. So when he showed up at my door dressed nicely with his hands behind his back and told me to pick a hand, I was taken aback and felt annoyed with myself for being annoyed.

He brought me chocolates and a beautiful bouquet of red and pink roses and the sweetest card. I think I liked the card best. Probably because he wrote me the most wonderful note, and I’m nothing if not won over by a few lines of ink on paper. I almost cried but didn’t and instead hugged him and didn’t want to let go to get dinner.

We went to a seafood restaurant here in town and got a delicious meal. I got a nice fish that wasn’t too fishy tasting with a lemon caper sauce and au gratin potatoes. He got filet mignon and lobster and steamed broccoli. And it was all just lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed my Valentine’s Day with my first Valentine.

I’m not going to make a huge deal out of it, but he was incredibly sweet, and I adored him for it. And now here’s hoping all the good vibes from Valentine’s allowed my interview Friday to push me toward the potential for a new and better job in a company that seems to be really amazing and, more importantly, cares for its employees and wants them to enjoy coming to work.

What a difference that would make!

We shall see. And I will definitely keep you posted.

– RaeNez


Speedy Gonzales, or Work Life meets Love Life

In the interest of being professional and honest, I won’t say I’ve never had any workplace infatuations, and I won’t say I’ll never go into details on that score at some point here. I will say that my current boyfriend, Fernando, is most definitely not related in any way, shape, or form to the call center. He is, in fact, an old flame from high school that never quite went out (and how glad I am of that!) who has become a rather important part of my life.

That said, I figured it might be worth it to touch on something that people all too often find themselves struggling with: work life and love life. When those two lives meet, it can become quite volatile. Sometimes it can be explosive. And sometimes it leaves you with less than satisfactory results for one or both aspects of your life.

I intended to keep the details of my dating relationship outside of work, really, I did. But working in a call center is working in a gossip den.

Add in a few flowers, and, well, my fate was sealed.

Shortly after Fernando and I began dating again, he did something that completely threw me for a loop. He had flowers delivered to me at work. I had never in my life had flowers sent to me. I’ve seen it, many times at the call center for Valentine’s and birthdays even, but for me on a regular day? Never.

This was definitely just a regular day.

Now let’s shift gears a bit and move on to something else. Or rather someone else. A woman I work with, we’ll call her Evelyn, has had it out for me since we started working together. And by having it out for me, I mean, she frequently made comments to the effect of: “Girl, we need to get you to a club! And get you some tequila! You need a man. And a condom…”

As you can imagine, Evelyn was extremely interested to see what all the fuss and the flowers were about. So much for keeping my love life secret. Evelyn is one of those people who likes to assign nicknames to significant others she hasn’t met; don’t ask me why. So after Fernando took me to lunch a few times and managed to whisk me away before she could catch up to us, she nicknamed him Speedy Gonzales.

It stuck.

Everyone calls him Speedy Gonzales. I’ve told them his name time and time again. It doesn’t matter. And everyone, simply everyone, has an opinion.

Take Evelyn. I haven’t dated Fernando for a year, so I simply am not allowed to marry him. Clearly he and I shouldn’t even think about it. We should be all over each other as much as possible in the meantime to make sure, you know, that we want each other. But marriage? Perish the thought until you’re much, much further down the line. At least a year.

I’m so glad she’s given me the rules because I wasn’t aware I was on a time frame here.

Or let’s consider Beth. Yet another coworker of mine who seems intent on knowing how this saga with Fernando plays out, she’s kept well up to date with me on a regular basis. Beth was secretly pulling for a Christmas proposal. (Clearly she hasn’t been reading the rule book or consulting with Evelyn.) And she’s made it clear I should leap into Fernando’s arms when the bling arrives.

I’m glad her confidence in his imminent proposal is strong.

Somewhere in the middle is Edith. She originally encouraged me to go out with Fernando when he first started showing interest again and I wasn’t quite sure. At this point, she told me she wouldn’t agree to someone getting married before they’d been together at least a year to see what they think of one another, but when I mentioned having known Fernando and dated him on and off for almost ten years, she seemed more open to the idea. Then she asked if I’d considered moving in with him. I said no and that I wouldn’t do that unless I was married to him; to which, she replied she was proud of me.

I’m glad she’s decided it’s okay for me to marry him now…

It amazes me how working in a call center seems to mean everyone’s business is suddenly, well, everyone’s business. I don’t mind Evelyn, Beth, or Edith telling me what they think about my relationship with Fernando. That doesn’t bother me. But it would be something else entirely if I were to date someone within the call center.

The funny part of it all is how different everyone’s opinions seem to be. Thankfully for me, Fernando and I will be making our own decisions about our love life, and everyone else at work can keep their noses out of it, thank you very much.

Of course, if he does propose… he ought to be prepared for all the amusing stories I’ll have to share from the wonderful women I work with. They will, I’m sure, start with questions and comments about the ring and only escalate into tips and tricks of the wedding planning trade.

I shudder to think how that would go.

Perhaps Mr. Speedy Gonzales should spirit me away instead… a nice elopement might work out quite handily. And create a tidy bit of scandal to leave the gossip mills running at work for quite some time. Perhaps I’ll suggest it to him (so long as my mother doesn’t find out – she’s another matter entirely).

Anyway, food for thought on this eve of going back to work after a long infection…

– RaeNez