Bonjour! Guess who's back once again? I find writing is so therapeutic for me. Since I'm in the therapeutic stage right now wanted to share my last workplace experience with my audience. I hope this enlightens you and also provides you with some insight on the challenges we all may face dealing with a Jerk for a boss.
My last blog detailed about the challenges I faced starting a new entry level position with a Start Up company. I've been with several start up companies and I came in about a year to 5 years of them opening up their doors. I can honestly say by far this last company was horrific. My goal was to always stay positive even in the worse situations but what I experienced was the worse form of leadership I've ever seen. So much focus was placed on pleasing the clients they lost focus on the people that mattered, their "employees"
One of the interview questions I asked my recruiter was expectations. Was there AWT, AHT and so forth which are terms for tracking inbound call performance. The answer was no the number one goal was to service the customers. Not true from the minute I came out of training they were monitoring everything your emails per hour, your outbound calls per hour etc. They decided to put 4 of us in a group that I'm going to call the "special group". This was our new name. Anything associated with us would be monitored and flagged from there on. On the back end our performance was low compared to the other employees which were to say younger. They caught on quickly so to speak but once out on the floor they were asking the same questions that the 'special group' were asking. But they weren't flagged. Little do the leaders know we saw all the questions in the twitter like chat group we were in. The special group was under a radar which means we had to ask for everything before we took any actions on a record. If we made a mistake they called us back to the office to go over that mistake right after the call like we were little children getting in trouble. Anyone called back there had to bring their company provided laptop which made it obvious you were getting scolded. I recall one of my neighbors getting called back and we were like uh oh someone is getting scolded. Wow! I realize they were facing some big challenges and their customers weren't happy. This all fell on our shoulders and they wanted to punish us each time we did wrong. But, if we did something good no one would hear about it.
We were told we were lucky to still be there and if they were going to fire us it would have been a long time ago. Since we had only been with the company for 4 weeks at that time give or take that seemed a little harsh. But it gets better, we were called in every week for 1 on 1's since we were part of that group. Mine occurred on Mondays the worse time ever but that is in align with the leadership structure. My SME was Australian or perhaps from England with a Robin Leech accent which I loved . He seemed a bit arrogant during the interview and I noticed he had the dryest sense of humor possible. I did realize this barrier may make our communication worse. But I went along with his demeanor and didn't want to assume the worse. One of the comments he made to me was the fact after a few weeks how I'm not retaining information. Mind you this position was new they didn't even know what they were doing half the time. The cases out there was unorganized and no structure to it. People always called in with the same issue that was never resolved, and every time when they called in there was a new case created. Imagine that horror. Most companies assign one case to a file and that case is saved for the duration until that has been resolved and if a new issue arrives simply saved to the same case record.
Who set this up was this to be a rough draft for the Engineers and perhaps they were to change it later? Or maybe business spun out of control so fast they didn't have time to change that very important piece. Now there are 3 to 5 cases for the same issue. When the customer calls you have to search for that case or cases that's related to it and try and determine if you need to merge that case or create a new one. Now the thing is nothing has been said on the maximum amount of cases that can be merged. Perhaps those cases go down this black hole which is the reason calls were never returned back from other departments after a reported issue was escalated. When they called back and gave you a case number, go figure the number wouldn't be the same. On top of that their contact emails were outdated or wrong as well as phone numbers. It gets even better, once you have determined it goes to another department, you have to either create a new case or re-assign your case. Not always knowing the difference between assigning a case and creating one is a question that no one seemed to have an answer for. Nevertheless, the planning was not thought out before hiring all the new employees.
Because the selected few needed more answers to those confusing parts of the process, were labeled as incompetent. It seemed the more questions you had the less favorable you became. Their motto seems to be more of "do what we say do and ask very little questions." However, they contradicted themselves at every turn since they always tell us to ask as many questions as needed. Unfortunately I cannot operate in that manner. No where in training did they provide this very important piece. Or did they teach us how to increase emails per hour and decrease ACT etc. Now before we could go on break they had to look at the scoreboard to see where we were with the numbers. You had to ask for permission to go on break. They didn't respond much and you usually were anywhere between 30 to an hour late on your break. Now we are back in school, when is the last time you've had to ask permission to go on break? Most of the time the responses were no you have to wait until someone comes back. WOW, this has got to be a joke, I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming NOPE, it's real. The micro management was high. One manager didn't know what the other was doing. There were so many instances where they were giving you different information and when they were told about it, the only reply was it's our responsibility to make sure we have accurate information before relaying it. Huh? You guys are the leaders that gave us this information. They took no responsibility for their mistakes the bottom line was it's on us. \So that being said the 1 on 1s were always about what wasn't done. Oh but one last thing no wonder they had kegs of beer for anyone's access you're gonna need it or with that being said their large 12x12 meds box explains it all. Anytime, you were on a call over 30 minutes someone would be right in your space while you're on the phone to see why you are on there so long and when it was an hour no matter where you were in the call you had to end it.
I got so much negativity from the leaders and the clients. Getting nailed on both ends. One client said we did not think this process through and we were scam artists because the Salespeople were promising services that we could not deliver. I had another guy holler in my ear saying we never call them back, we don't have an answer to their issue and just keep giving them the run around. They signed a contract and now can't switch to someone else without getting penalized. I felt so bad for them so many times I wanted to be honest up front with them and say they are better off just paying the early contract cancelation fee and going to another competitor. Several clients had outages which affected their whole chain and they were down for almost the entire day. New clients just going live were outraged. It was the worse nightmare a new agent could possibly experience as well as the client. I was told by one employee that the lead gave so much negative feedback about the employee's performance that it made them cry, they cried for almost half an hour. It hurt my heart to hear about this. Another employee gave me a similar comment about that same lead making her cry. One employee who's been there probably 5 months put in the chat room that she's on red to cry, because any time we are in red for too long we had to announce the reason in the chat room. She made a joke out of it but I'm sure she was serious. It's evident this company only cares for certain people and the others they treat like they're a disease. It's scary what the leadership roles are coming to and evident most didn't acquire special training to be in those roles, certain things you just don't say to your employees as leaders and they crossed that line several times. They wanted 100% error free environment. Expectations that high with the way they signed on their clients won't happen. What's really sad is when they stereotype you put that label on you and cannot see past it. I recall my last conversation with the SME who reworded everything that I said. It was almost like we were speaking different languages. I told him I will never be able to see things on his level. I went to his page on LinkedIn to perhaps try and understand him more the words he put on his page I never will forget how far they were from the truth. It went like this:
"Motivating people is another passion of mine - from my children to people I work with, I love to get people excited about what they do. Whether it is in a one on one, team meeting, I want people who work with me to feel the same passion as I do in my work, and to be the best"
I have never seen that part of this person. All I can say is actions speak louder than a thousand words.
I recall the boss coming into our training class to speak to us about something over heard from another employee. He labeled us as the trainers in this class#, went on about how they will get HR in the department because things like that won't be tolerated. We never knew who said what or what he was talking about but some of the group was really annoyed by it. I still remained calm and tried to reason with that employee and spoke positive about our employer still. One of the ladies from our special group told me she messed up a Menu format so bad they were considering firing her but instead just made her cry uncontrollably. She looked so sad the whole day in training. I sent her a message with positive vibes which changed her and she was able to move past it. Wonder does the employer know all that I've actually done to motivate the team and keep others from quitting? Probably not because the value I added wasn't appeciated. No worries goes without saying. Folks are leaving and now I understand why. You can only be fake and phony for so long.
My SME formed an opinion about me and ran with it. Imagine how bad news travels.. Well, he had me confused but one thing is for sure my parents gave me a certain since of morals and value. No matter who it is even if it is the President of the United States you can't talk to me and try and intimidate me without me defending myself. I love myself and I'm proud of my accomplishments and there is more to come. There must have been some value in me during the 3 man panel interview I passed . What happened? I can tell you what happened you lied and you were deceitful right at the beginning and I will not tolerate it. I understand you run a business and there are certain business practices you want to remain secretive but we have to find a place for honesty in the workplace. Your employees are what makes you thrive. Although, I was given a 97% survey score no one bothered to tell me or even congratulate me since I'm part of that group, why is that? Isn't that what they were shooting for is a good score from their clients? Well I can say this much I took my last wave and decided to jump ship. A bad employer can ruin you for the next employer if you don't bail in a reasonable amount of time. Nope can't ruin me, I have way too much to offer. Working for this Start Up company went against every fiber in my body. Major load removed and on to the next adventure.