This month I’ve actually been into work 1 week in 4. This is a highly unusual occurrence but is probably more bad luck than anything else.

Week 1 I had already booked as holiday.

Week 2 I was signed off by the doctor with anxiety and low mood

Week 3 I was actually back in work (the doctor did originally offer to sign me off for two weeks but I thought why delay the inevitable?)

Week 4 I came down with tonsillitis for the first time in my life.

So here I am, just two days away from returning to my place of work. I may have mentioned in previous posts that I am not a fan of my job. The people I work with are, for the most part, the best people I’ve ever worked with and the environment is very relaxed and friendly. For me the test of good work environment is how soon it is before I feel comfortable enough, to bring in my own mug for teas and coffees. With this place it was day one of week two so pretty damn good. The downsides are a daily commute, which can be a round trip taking an hour and a half to two hours and the job itself.

Background, I work as a B2B telesales person working for a small publishing company. For anyone who has not worked in a telesales environment before, the basics of it are that you are given a long list of people to call. These people have been identified as potential leads because of something they did, attended or bought in the past. The link can be extremely tenuous as to what makes them relevant to what you are trying to sell. The work I am required to do on a daily basis is not that difficult to achieve so I will admit, I don’t actually spend a lot of time each day doing my job. A lot of that time is spent on Facebook, reading articles, preparing for my next D&D campaign etc.

There are a number of issues I and my one colleague face on a day to day basis that are causes of great stress and anxiety. In short nothing works the way it is supposed to do but then that seems to be life oddly enough. Computers are slow and unresponsive, software doesn’t give us the information we need, the leads we’re given are total shit and the people above know this, yet still expect us to hit sales targets.

In my current circumstance I don’t actually blame the people directly above me which I believe, is actually uncommon in a telesales environment. The problem I believe is that there is simply too much going on and expected of us. The company I work for was bought by a bigger company years ago before I joined, yet it seems that there has been little investment compared to the rise in expectation.

Ok the tone in this entry has changed completely since what I set out to do but hey, I’m just going to roll with it at this point.

So in my company in particular, the problem seems to be that the top,top people in the company that bought the one I work for, look at numbers. As all top level people do. Remove the humanity from it all, the fact that you have living breathing human people doing the jobs below you, it’s all about the numbers. They see how much a company makes and think ‘ooo, that’s good, try and make more’. So you go about and you try and if you succeed then it’s great but than you are met with ‘ooo, that’s good, try and make more’. This becomes a vicious cycle and there comes a point where you’re taking on too much and you’re overworked. Now you go back to the top, top people and say ‘ok we’ll try but to have a greater chance of success, we could probably do with a bit of investment to maybe hire some new people or train up some of the existing staff we have. Maybe put some money into some new equipment or software?’

This is always met with a swift ‘oh no unfortunately the company as a whole hasn’t been as profitable as we’d like so we can’t afford to increase your budgets at all. We still expect you to hit these increased numbers however so, best of luck.’

You see the problem? This I suppose brings me to a point I am (now) trying to make. I’m a big picture sort of person. I can’t help but zoom out and think about how things will affect me and the world around me on a big scale. This brings me into direct conflict with how, in my experience at least, a lot of businesses work.

  1. There is a requirement that needs to be achieved, usually a profit margin.
  2. There are certain circumstances or issues that will make that difficult.
  3. Decide if a) we don’t fix said issue/circumstance and find a way to work around it to achieve this short term requirement. Allowing the problem to linger and potentially grow worse, risking future requirements. Or b) take the time and invest the money required to fix said issue/circumstance, making things run a lot smoother now and in the future and making it far more likely to achieve future requirements, at a sacrifice or short term goals.
  4. Pick option ‘a’ because it’s only front line staff that need to deal with that

Maybe I just don’t understand big business and there is a perfectly good reason why this keeps happening. From my point of view however it always looks like the everyday issues are ignored because the people who can decide if they are fixed or not, don’t have to deal with them. There is also this massive fear of profits dropping. The story always seems to be that companies are worried about ‘losing’ profits or seeing a ‘drop’ in profits. I’m sorry but even though you’re still profitable, there is a problem?

I remember when there was mass flooding two or 3 years ago now. Hundreds if not thousands of people lost almost everything and their lives were seemingly washed away. Thankfully when natural disasters like this come along we have insurance. Insurance is this amazing idea whereby you pay money to people who, in the event of something bad, will come rushing to your aid with a big safety net and take care of you. A lovely idea that usually seems to fall short in practice.I remember hearing an interview with a representative from one of these insurance companies and he was all doom and gloom. Could this large number of people claiming on their destroyed homes be putting you out of business maybe? I maybe be paraphrasing but I remember him saying something a lot like

“Unfortunately insurance premiums are likely going to rise next year due to the fact that all these people claiming, will lead to a dent in our profits”

He didn’t say ‘our business faces collapse under this strain’ or ‘due to the large number of payouts we’re probably going to have to lay off hundreds of staff’. No no. He said people were going to have to pay more on their insurance the following year because his company would see a ‘DENT’ in profits. I thought and still think that it was an utterly disgusting view to take.

I think that’ll do for this entry as I seem to have rambled on for quite long enough. Next time I’ll talk about what I actually set out to talk about which is work’s role in our life. Hey maybe this entry will serve as a good foundation.