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There’s Always Room For Improvement!

, , , , | Working | December 21, 2021

After college, I take a job at a customer service call centre. Due to a mistake on the job’s part, I get very minimal training. Still, I’m doing well and I’m the first to “move up from the class” into “the line”, with actual live customers. I’m not saying I’m amazing, but I handle more calls and emails than the average worker.

After a year, it’s time for my review.

Teamleader: “I see you process a lot of calls and work, but the calls and emails I reviewed are barely passing score. Please, slow down and take more time. Because of this, I can only give you the legally required raise.”

I’m fine with the review and take the feedback to heart. I slow down, but no matter how slow I try to go, I still get high scores. I triple-check my emails, so they go out almost flawlessly. It’s time for my review again.

Teamleader: “You are a really hard worker, but the calls I listened to and the emails I reviewed are barely passing. Please, consult a senior more often.”

I think it’s odd, but perhaps they are right and I’m just not as great as I think. I am aiming for a senior position, so if I want to get there, I’d better give my best!

In the third year, I feel things are going great! The teamleaders even hook up newer employees to my line so I can help them improve. I give them advice, answer questions, and double-check their emails if they ask me to. Technically, I’m doing a senior’s work! So, this must mean I’ve improved, right? Not only that, but one of “my students” makes it to teamleader and becomes my new teamleader!

One day, the CEOs, big hot-shots (yes, with that attitude; we aren’t even allowed to talk to them or be in the same space!) come by and they get a presentation of how things roll. The walls are thin and I can peek through a small window. Suddenly, I hear a recording and a familiar voice… my voice! They are listening to one of my calls and I see the slide saying something like “Exemplary Customer Service”. This fills me with pride, and just because I want to hear my teamleader’s praise, I ask her about it the next day.

Teamleader: “Of course we listened to your recording; your customer service is top-notch!”

And when the annual review comes by:

Teamleader: “You are really a hard worker and you’ve done so well… but all the calls and emails I reviewed were so-so. I even took one extra, thinking it might have been an unlucky pick, but you get a barely passing grade.”

Me: “Really? And how can I improve?”

Teamleader: “Well, eh… you should check more often with a senior…”

Me: “You mean with [Senior]?”

Teamleader: “Yes, yes!”

Me: “You mean [Senior], the one I was asked to train for the job? The one who comes to me for advice at least twice his shift?”

Teamleader: “Eh, yeah… anyway, your emails…”

Me: “You know I check emails for the new employees, right? Surely, if I could be trusted with that…”

Teamleader: “Yeah, well, all your calls and emails were barely passing. You will get the legal raise and that’s final.”

It was at that moment that I realized that they never intended to give me a raise higher than the legal amount. I was allowed to do senior work but not get the compensation. 

I wanted to consider looking for another job, but a few weeks later, I was asked to help in a different department. This lead to a better-paying job in that department, with more stable hours, so I was fine with that. There was still plenty wrong with that job, but that’s another story.

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