Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Last Weinerschnitzel, Part One

I am Interim.

I really hate that term. It didn't used to bother me; everybody was Interim. I was simply more Interim, just hanging out to learn everything I could and fill in where I was needed. Unfortunately, Interim-ly-ess-ness will grate on you eventually and I am not the most thick-skinned of folks. By the middle of December, if Interim were fabric, it would have been wet burlap and I'd have been wearing it for pants.

Maybe you don't understand what I've been doing for the last nine months-- no more than 27 people on the planet really understand what I've been doing for nine months. I'll give you a BRIEF (yes, brief.. even I can be brief) overview:

We manage the traffic for three call centers. We decide what percentage of the calls each center will take at any given time with a goal of getting 80% of our calls answered in under 20 seconds. Very often, we make changes on the fly because what seems fairly predictable (a given number of agents ought to be able to take a given percentage of the calls) isn't. We assist management in scheduling overtime, meetings, training sessions and events in such a way that the 80/20 goal is met. That is job Number One.

Job Number Two is reporting on every possible number or statistic about those calls: how many, how fast, how many people left, how they scored on QA, how long they waited, how long they were in meetings, who is calling and what they want when they call. We then assist Dan to predict how many calls we'll get from where for what when we do this all again.

Job Number Three. Since we already monitor agent activity, we are often the first to notice inappropriate behavior. We are often required to investigate and provide evidence for disciplinary action. This earns us the reputation of being bullies, babysitters and big meanyheads. I have an opinion about this, but I said brief.

I love what I'm doing. Job Number One is tedious but rewarding when you get it right. Job Number Three is depressing but a fact of life. Job Number Two is what I live for. I am Mistress of the Minutiae and I like spinning these numbers all over the place and then making good guesses about what happens next.
But that's not why I love what I am doing. I love it because I get to work with the two D's: Dan, the Jedi Master, who has been my mentor and friend since I started at Sprint, and Debbie, who has a Black Belt in data management and is one of the most kind, giving and under appreciated people I've ever met. Dan and Debbie do not hoard knowledge; they are happy to work with others and share what they know. If you're an adult, you know what a rare quality that is and why, when you find two such people in one place, you make every second count.


My job is going away. Not today or tomorrow, but in the next three to six months. The center is going to a system which will eliminate the need for Job Number One, the primary reason for our existence. Dan feels that he won't need three people for Jobs Number Two and Three. In a few months, when it's mostly reporting and a tiny bit of investigating, my spot will be expensive and redundant.

I knew this was coming; I had lots of warning. However, I believe in fairies, magic beans and managerial miracles. I hoped. I hoped if I learned enough and was bright enough, helpful enough, enthusiastic enough, they'd decide to keep me.

They didn't. In December it was announced that there were two and only two people becoming Actual instead of Interim. I was the last Weinerschnitzel; cold and greasy, destined to be thrown away and forgotten.

Dan let me cry, which is completely unprofessional, and rant, which isn't much better, then put my problems right back in my lap. You know this was coming, he rightfully said, and no one made you volunteer to do what you've been doing. You could have stayed back, but you wanted to learn and I let you, with no promises attached and a clear expecation of the future. Now, what you knew was happening has happened, what are you going to do about it? Don't sit here and cry, get up and help yourself.

There was a job in another department very similar to what I'm doing and it's not Interim. Go apply, he said. Then he gave his own very precious time and helped me polish my resume and cover letter for submission as he has done for me on three other occasions. I sent off the packet, then got word that they would be calling for interviews the second week in January.

The Weinerschnitzel waited.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I'm hoping for a happy ending here. Looking forward to part 2.

And just so's you know: no weinerschnitzel gets thrown away at our house!