How my shitty job made me a better person

I have been working in the phone center of Orchestra Hall for almost a year now in the fundraising/marketing department
Of course, I wanted to work in the box office and deal with customers who call me up and tell me what they want
Instead, I got a job calling people and trying to convince them they wanted something

Jobs are scarce, I said fuck it and repealed my “no outcall” rule
I have worked in answering services, ticketmaster, and a million food service places taking orders on the phone
The one thing that was OK with that was that I didn’t have to make any effort other than to deal with the customer and do my job
Of course, I developed lots of skills, most imortantly, the ability to control a call and lead the person towards the most efficient resolution
In other words, getting them to shut up and tell you what you need to hear so you can get off the phone
Obviously, it is better for everyone if you genuinely try to be nice

This job contained the dreaded phone center designation of OUTCALL
That’s right
I’m now the guy that you dread hearing when you take the chance of picking up when that strange number appears on your caller I.D.
The only thing that made me consider it was the fact that
1- It was for a noble organization
2- The call lists were exclusively orchestra patrons
3- no fucking jobs anywhere

I can’t think of a more uncomfortable situation except a labor job (ha ha)
Calling hundreds of people a day, reaching about 1/4 and then getting hung up on by many of them
I knew that I would do well enough to keep my average and my job (primarily because I do admit that i can do pretty much any job I feel like doing)
But that’s when I started to do well
Renewal periods were the same thing as a store full of customers when it is hot and all I needed to do was be as quick and efficient enough to Pac Man as many white dots as I could
Maybe I would even get lucky and get a power pill (big sale/donation) and I could gain a surge in momentum
But there would be the inevitable period between renewals where I would simply go into “robot dial mode”
I think I may have even been half asleep several times while clicking the “next button” the 200th time after getting the voicemail or the hangup
Still, renewal periods were places where I could not hate my job
If I could stock up enough momentum during renewals, then it would hold me over until the next feeding frenzy
The other factor was that I learned how the system operates and how to work callbacks instead of just gobbling up people who were gonna do it anyways during renewals

The problem is that I still hated being that guy who people dreaded hearing on the other end
I could hear it in their voices
The “oh……..” colored by the the realization that they wish they hadn’t picked up and punctuated with a heavy sigh
The other drain on my soul is the clattering sound of someone slamming the phone down
The strain of being a telemarketer was making me even more depressed

Then I moved to ticketing from funding and things started to get better
I was no longer calling people up and begging them to please give us a donation, there was an actual product that I could work
Not only that, but there were also a ton of angles that I could work inorder to make a sale
This was a more obvious way to use my creativity so I started becoming more and more proficent at selling

In my 1st year, I have consistently ranked # 1 or 2 in both departments
Not only have I shown myself that I can succeed at a job that makes me wanna quit every other day, but I can also transfer those techniques from my job to my career

What has my job enabled me to do in “real life”
-getting turned down 100 times a day has made rejection much less personal which has manifested itself in the 1000 flyers I have handed out
-getting put off and avoided by customers has made me tenacious, resulting in big sales that took literally 10 calls and 3 actual conversations
This has manifested itself in my new attitude towards dealing with clubs, booking agents and the various flakey people you have to endure in order to get shit done

My final analysis?
Every one who suffers from motivational problems should have a phone sales job at least once in their lives based solely on the opportunity to learn how to stick to it and be annoyingly persistant
That way, you can practice on your customers instead of the real people in your life


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