My Job Has Broken Me

I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.

I work in a call center for a cable company. This is by far the most stressful job I have ever had. The customers are rude, the service sucks, and the management is quick to point out everything I am doing wrong with no direction on how to do it right. The tools required to perform my duties rarely work properly, even when they do they are cumbersome and not at all intuitive. All of this leads to enormous amounts of stress. So much stress that I’ve been hospitalized for panic attacks, I am constantly nauseous, I don’t sleep well, and I can’t eat a lot of days. All of this for $12.25 an hour.

Friday was the last straw. My team was in a meeting, a training session on how to reduce callbacks. This is critical because callbacks are one of the metrics that are considered in our performance evaluations. The meeting was led by a person who has one of the lowest callback rates in the call center, and we were all eager to learn from him. In the middle of the training our supervisor got an urgent message that we needed to return to the floor and get back on the phones because call volume had spiked, and there were not enough people on the phones to manage it. We got back to the floor and discovered that there were over 600 callers waiting in queue to speak to someone, this with over 200 people staffing the phones.  Just twenty minutes earlier the call volume was being covered with over 50 agents on the phones waiting and available to take any additional calls. Just two minutes into my first call the issue responsible for the sudden increase in volume was readily apparent. TV service was out… for all of New York City. The calls were brutal, customers were angry and they were not at all restrained in expressing their anger. When I left for the evening the queue had increased to 700 callers with no end in sight.

I was so stressed when I left that I was shaking. I slept maybe two hours Friday evening. I bought a pack of cigarettes on my way home, despite being tobacco free for over 18 months. I stared at the beer cooler for 15 minutes trying to talk myself out of drinking. I made it through without drinking, but it wasn’t easy. When I got up Saturday morning, the thought of going back into that nightmare made me violently ill. I threw up four times in the span of an hour. There was no way I could work this way, so I called in sick despite being on my final written warning for attendance. This morning, I was just as sick when I thought of going back in to work, so I called in sick again. I can’t do this job anymore, I just can’t. The job is going to kill me. Being a holiday weekend, I won’t be able to get an appointment to see my doctor until at least Tuesday, possibly later. That means I will be calling in sick tomorrow for the third consecutive day. When I do get that appointment I am requesting that my doctor put me out on disability. It will be difficult to survive on whatever disability pays, but if I go back to this job I will be dead in less than a month.

I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.

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One comment

  1. I had to quit mine, my anxiety and BPD symptoms were getting worse. I was getting physical annoyances too, it was a hostile environment. Not earning money and feeling unproductive sucks, but health comes first. I hope you can decide what’s best for you and be at peace with it.

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