In the late summer of '5, the job I was working at IBM (through Manpower) was moved to Dallas, Texas. Needless to say, I was out of a job (unless I wanted to live in Bush country). Since I received a few weeks notice, I did have some time to see what was out there. The pickins were a bit slim. I ended up settling on Charter Communications (our local cable company). Their call center employs around 200 people and is located on the north side of Rochester. 17 of us were hired and started 3 weeks of training in late September.
During the first week, our trainer, Sherry, went over some of the basics, like how signals are sent from a satellite and eventually come into your home for your entertainment pleasure! We also learned about broadband since some of the people would be working on that side. Most of us were hired to take calls on the cable side. We got an hour lunch each day. Most people went to the restaurants that were located nearby (Fazoli's, Wendy's, McDonalds) during this time. I drove about half a mile to a residential settlement and walked for about 40 minutes. I walked in this particular spot because that is where I walked when I worked for SNG Research in '04 (I usually try to get a half hour of exercise during the day, especially if I'm gonna be sitting at my job the whole time).
That first week was pretty easy. I was still mourning the passing of our Saint Bernard a few weeks prior, but was dealing with it pretty well. The second week we learned how the phones worked and listened to some of the calls that people were taking out on the floor. I was no stranger to working at call centers (in '99, I worked for the Western Digital Rebate Center until their operations were moved to Young America in the summer of '00). We started taking calls at the end of the second week and, though I was a bit nervous, quickly caught on. The pay for this job was less than the one I had prior, but anyone who worked for Charter did receive free cable (an $80-plus value for all the channels). Also, there were quite a few hot girls that worked at that call center. I could get used to that.
One of the most memorable days during that training period was when a Showtime representative talked to us for about 20 minutes about their programming. She said Sho had a few notable series (Weeds, Sleeper Cell), but were probably more known for the explicit content they showed late at night. She explained that this programming was known as soft porn (unlike hardcore, the male member and physical penetration were strictly off-limits). A few girls in the room were noticeably disappointed when they found out that they wouldn't be able to partake of a dude's frank and beans in the privacy of their own home. Such is life.
At the end of the third week, all 17 of us (10 girls, 7 guys) graduated and were ready for the next step. Who would go on be exemplary call center employees? Who would quickly fall to the wayside?
I will continue this story in the next few days.