Shitcanned: The Gandysampras Story

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So for the last couple of months I’ve been working for a large company in  their telesales department, shilling their insurance products to existing customers. I know what you’re thinking, worst job ever, I must have little to no soul left and be a horrible person. To an extent you were right, I didn’t realise until the end of last week when I got fired how bad I had actually had it. For the full story hit more whore below.

I’ll go back to the beginning…….I had been looking for a job for months with no luck at all until eventually one of the employment agencies I had signed up at got in touch with me. At this point I was willing to take any job going, I would have gladly wiped people’s arseholes so long as the pay was reasonable. After the usual interview crap I got the job and found out the hours I would be working, nail number one in the coffin, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. Too early a start to do anything of use and getting back just in time to go out with friends / do uni work / play games. Basically what would happen is I would wake up at 10 o’clock get ready and head to work, sit on the phone for 4 hours conning elderly people and women with young children into buying insurance they did not need have a break for an hour then repeat for another 4 hours. At first it wasn’t too bad, it was new and interesting, but it quickly became harder and harder to be as much of heartless bastard as you “need” to be.

The general play out of a call went as follows:

1. Automatic dialler dials next number in queue.

2.You are immediately connected, no ring or anything, just a beep in your headset to let you know someone had answered.

3. Launch into crappy sales pitch.

4. They say no.

5. You cut them off and tell them why the product is so “fantastic”.

6. They get understandably pissed off and say no again.

7.You pretend to see where they are coming from but start rattling off the benefits again.

8. They get really pissed and hang up.

9. Next number in queue is already dialling and you have about 5 seconds before you are speaking to another customer.

10. Rinse and repeat.

We were told that we have to “handle” at least three objections per call. So in essence every time someone says no you ask them why and present a counter point, but oh no that’s not all folks, as soon as you finish explaining you are supposed to go straight into a close. A close is just saying things like “So I’ll go ahead with that for you then Mr blahblah”, and in this case you know they don’t want it but you say it to make them feel like they are in a position where no isn’t an option. This is bad enough in itself, but combined with the fact that at least 70% of the customers you speak to are elderly and have little to no income and so really can’t afford it, are almost certainly deaf and you are expected to push it onto them using scare tactics you begin to hate yourself pretty quickly. Below is a picture of a puppy to make you smile and to break up the wall of text:

On top of having to do all this you get a stats review each day about the performance of the previous day, making sure you are hitting all your targets, not just for sales, but for hours spent logged into the automatic dialing system and average call length, etc. For the 8 hours I was on the phones 7 hours and 30 minutes is the minimum target for time spent on the automatic dialler, which once you take away 20 minutes for two breaks and 5 minutes for the briefing in the morning leaves you 5 minutes to go to the toilet, grab a drink or talk to your co-workers in the entire day. Not surprisingly most people seemed to miss that particular target.

As time went on and the weeks turned into months I gradually found myself less and less motivated to do anything in the around 4 hours I had after work. I would get back, eat a rushed, probably microwaved meal and head to bed and watch TV for a couple of hours then fall asleep. As you can guess the job was getting to me, I had already stopped trying to force sales on nice customers. People who were aggressive from the get go or just plain rude still got the full treatment, if only because I had to keep up my numbers somehow.

After taking some holiday time over Christmas I returned to work and at the end of the week my boss called me over for a “quick chat” as he put it. He sacked me there and then on the spot, citing me not being “ruthless enough” as the main reason for my departure from the company. To be honest I take that as a compliment, such a shame that I am not enough of a heartless bastard to con people out of their money eh?

The strange thing is I was still hitting the sales targets and also that the following Monday I was due to switch over from being employed through the agency to being employed directly by the telemarketing company itself. This would have meant a wage increase and also at least a one month notice prior to any change of employment status, be it a transfer to another department or being fired.

Is it just me or is that just a little too convenient? The fact remains though that the second I walked out of that building I felt a massive weight lift off my shoulders, and in the days that followed I realised fully how much I had been missing out on, not only the actual extra free time itself but also the enthusiasm to actually want to do anything with that time.

One thing this job has taught me is that the people you work with can make a job that sucks bearable, so thanks go out to all the guys who made my time there a little less shitty and also remember next time you get a sales call:

No one wants to work in telesales so be nice to them, there is nothing more demoralising than getting the twelfth person in a row calling you a “piece of shit” and slamming the phone down on you.

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