Horrible bosses…

That first week was full of calls, I had hardly any time in between calls, it was great.  I earned a lot of money for not a lot of work.  The supervisors sounded friendly and I soon got an idea how they worked.  There was one on all the time.  The worked in shifts of 8 hours so 3 covered the full day, I think there were 6 of them together.  I would get phone calls from them when I was logged off. ‘Hi babe you’re doing great, can you log on anytime between 10 and 2 for me I could really do with your help?’.

They all sounded really genuine and nice but I soon got to the bottom of what they were all about.  When you got one of these sickly sweet phone calls it was usually, as I mentioned, when you were logged off.  So that means you could have people round, be busy with the kids, any number of things.  Mr C knew what I was doing, working on the lines, but I’m willing to bet there are some women out there who, for whatever reason, keep it a secret from their partners.  Maybe their partners are financially controlling and this is the only way she can squirrel away some funds.  Explaining the frequent calls would be awkward.

  I even answered one of their begging to work calls in front of my mother one afternoon she had popped round for coffee.  They were very intrusive.  On occasion it would be a case of ‘it’s really busy right now, we’re missing calls, log on now please’.  Add in at least 3 text messages a day to the 3 phone calls and about 4 emails a week it started to feel like they were on your back constantly.

Of course you were under no obligation to agree to cover any of the shifts they were offering.  You could say no.  As long as you were logged on for the 25 hours a week that they required and doing your night shift, you were fulfilling your contract.

Just Say No

In fact, I learned the hard way that the best option was to just say no to their requests.  Basically each supervisor had allocated shifts that they had to ensure was covered.  I have no idea how many ops constituted being covered but they were obviously told here’s your shift, get 20 girls logged on at all times.  That’s when they would get to their phones and try  to get you to agree to cover.  They would ask for the full 8 hours or ask you to commit to anything.  As soon as you said ‘ok I’ll do two hours between 12 and 2′ they’d say ‘great I’ll put you down for that’s.  All very well.  But this is work from home job, things happen.  If you didn’t ‘show’ for a shift you told a supervisor you would do, you were in trouble.  The supervisors had to report to big boss Mel if someone didn’t show when they said they would.  If the mood took Mel, which it often did, she would cut your rate for the week.  So, instead of getting 14p per minute of chat time, you’d get 10.  You can see why they were in a hurry to find a reason to cut your rate for that week, more money for the company.

So I quickly learnt just to say no to all shift requests, this didn’t go down well but I wasn’t running the risk.  I never actually got my rate cut for missing a shift, I had one warning, the first time I logged of early during a 3 hour stint I said I’d cover.  I logged of after one call in 90 minutes.  It was pretty obvious there was more than enough cover, there must have  been a lot of ops logged on and twiddling their thumb.  I wasn’t wasting any more time.  And sure enough Mel phoned me a couple of days later, kindly not cutting me but warning me she would the next time.  And she was on a mission to find some reason to cut me, which she eventually found.  She berated you in such a way you felt like a naughty school girl.

Of course the supervisors, or indeed Mel, didn’t really care if your phone didn’t ring in over an hour. They were just interested in making sure there were more than enough ops on to take calls, not if the ops were making mega money. It made no odds to them as a we were only ever paid for the actual call time, not the time in between.

I would soon realise that Mel and the other office staff, and even some of the supervisors (a few were really nice but some were awful) were pretty nasty, un-supportive and pretty vindictive.

But more about that later.

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