Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Was a Telemarketer.

One of the many reasons for me to really hate the decade of the 90s was the five to six months I spent as a telemarketer. I had a term of college in the fall of 1995, and needless to say, f#cked around (figuratively of course), and had to return home temporarily with my tail (and ego) between my legs. I couldn't just do what I've always aspired to do, sleep in, watch 80s sitcoms, and sleep a bit more. I had to get a job.

There was an ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for this place called the IRL, or International Reader's League. The woman that interviewed me was an old hag, who was a chain smoker, which you could clearly hear in her voice, and wore press on nails. They had me recite a script, and then hired me.

The offices were located in a little strip mall on the second floor, on one of the trolley stops. I would ride the bus into town, and then take the trolley to work. It made me feel as though I had a sort of legit job. I was living at home.

The deal was to lock people into magazine subscriptions for a five year period. The script would start out by saying they've been selected to receive this "special" offer. It needed to be said with enthusiasm. If they didn't hang up, or completely reject us from the start, the next step was to ask them their interests, and this is how we would select and suggest magazines for them. We would also start small talk and become their "friends." I had many interesting conversations. One time I had called the wife of a Pro-Wrestler [assuming she was being truthful(we called the south a lot)].

Imagine a smoke filled room with computers and cigarettes and people with headsets. My confidence was at an all time low, and I was thrown (or I threw myself) into this telemarketing hell, though I only worked 9am to 1pm. I have no idea how people could spend a whole eight hours there.

There were a couple trashy Pittsburgh broads I really wanted nail who would work the phones with me. One of them had enormous breasts and a thick Pittsburgh dialect to go with it. When your confidence is at an all time low and you don't know your ass from a whole in a ground, the last thing you feel up to doing is running game. And, it's probably good I didn't as I probably would've been the asshole to knock one of them up knowing my luck and how things were going for me at that time.

It's quite reasonable to hate the telemarketer, but put yourself in their shoes for a bit. Imagine going through day after day of rejections. Hearing NO!, and much worse and on a regular basis, when you literally mean no harm, and your hands are tied and you can't fight back (verbally, over the phone). I could sit there a whole morning, and never hear a yes, or even a polite word. It's brutal, and that part alone f#cks with your head. Forget about the fact that your number of sales gets put on the board for all to see, and your calls are sometimes being monitored by your boss. A man could go insane.

To ease the pain, I took up occasional cigar smoking (a 90s trend) and played pool by myself at a rather nice pool hall, which was a couple blocks away from the office. I'd do this sometime after work. I became quite good on the regulation sized table. I'd take my aggression out on the cue ball. It seemed to work. I kept to myself.

Eventually, a family member got sick and I had to take a job as a caretaker for them. And soon after I took a year at a community college, before going back to a state university. I lasted at the telemarketing job from February until about May. It was a weird period of time that I never want to go back to.

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