Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Being A Telemarketer Destroys Your Soul

My first job in college, tragically, was something like being a telemarketer.

As the university I attend is a public one, we don't have all the fancy-shmancy resources those private schools do. At least, I assume they do. I could be wrong. But we have to beg alumni for donations, since apparently tuition and fees don't cover everything (my parents were thrilled to learn that, I can tell you).

Since I was totally desperate for a job, any job (that didn't involve working at the Dining Commons, where people frequently dumped their leftover food all over the tables and then walked away laughing), I decided to apply to the Annual Fund. The Annual Fund of AGONY AND DESPAIR! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

For some inexplicable reason, they hired me, even though I had no experience, was painfully shy, and hated talking to people on the phone. This was weird, since the entire job consisted of calling alumni, badgering them with details about how the university has changed since they graduated, and then begging for money. I was not cut out for this job, I assure you, but they decided to give it to me anyway. I can only assume they were also desperate. Or that I somehow managed to make them think that I could talk to people I don't know without stuttering and forgetting what I was going to say (I can't).

WELL, being a telemarketer is misery. I already knew that everybody hates telemarketers, because God knows I do. When I was still living at home, one of the things I always wanted to do when they called and asked for my parents was to burst into fake tears and say something along the lines of 's/he died in a car accident last week! The funeral was yesterday!' and then hang up on their awkward stuttering. Of course, my mother (who is a force to be reckoned with on a par with Molly Weasley) always threatened us with death and dismemberment if I or my sister ever actually followed through on it.

But I never really thought about it from the telemarketer's point of view. I mean, at the Annual Fund of Death and Misery, I sat in a cubicle, staring blankly at a computer screen, headset that hurt my ears clamped on my head, and listened to people abuse me. I was told to '*&%$ off' at least once a day, and once even received a death threat. It was something along the lines of 'IF YOU PEOPLE CALL ME AGAIN I SWEAR I'LL COME OVER THERE AND RIP OUT YOUR LUNGS!' whereupon they promptly hung up.

Being hated by people for a good six hours every day, while sitting in a cubicle in a windowless basement, is not conducive to high self-esteem, or even sanity. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, plus Saturday afternoons, I sat there, in the most uncomfortable chair ever devised by sadistic life-hating jerk-faces, and was insulted, hated, cursed, and threatened.

And that was just from the other people who worked there.

No, but really, everybody who worked there was a grade-A jerk. The supervisors creeped over your shoulder, listening in on your conversations and docking your pay (which was barely above minimum wage anyway) if you couldn't get the angry deaf old man on the other line to make a donation. The other people in cubicles would frequently start games of 'throw-wadded-up-pieces-of-paper-at-the-new-kid' (me) while on the line with other angry yelling people who didn't want to donate money.

The sad part was, most of the people I called were either really REALLY old, and thus couldn't hear me, insisting that either the connection was bad or that 'you young people don't know how to speak up anymore' (as I shouted into the headset), or people who had just graduated and, as such, didn't have enough money to buy food, much less donate to the place they had just spent thousands and thousands of dollars on for a degree that couldn't get them a job in the first place. I didn't get to call the middle-group, the ones with the money and the incentive to donate. The people who had already been working at the Annual Fund Where You Hate Your Life for years got to call them. And since any and all bonuses depended on getting people to donate money, I didn't get any bonuses.

I only worked their for two months before quitting over Christmas break, but those were the two worst months of my life. Yes, I may only be in my early twenties, and I bet I'll have worse months (if I ever have children, I know I will), but SO FAR... The Annual Fund of Hatred and Loathing was hell on wheels. Or, hell in a cubicle, I suppose. Hey, for all I know, hell really does have cubicles. God, that would suck....

So my point is, next time a telemarketer calls you, hold back on your hatred for a moment. Picture where they are, in a tiny gray cubicle in a windowless basement, surrounded by jerks, being insulted and hated all day long for terrible pay. Shudder in sympathy, and shed a tear of relief that that is not your life.

And then scream something incoherent into the phone and hang up on them.


  1. Yes, I'm sure there must be cubicles in hell! The damned place is probably packed with them!

  2. I know how you feel. I just started calling outbound today and it was horrible. All I wanted to do was get angry at them. To those who hate telemarketers.. FUCK YOU ALL. telemarketers hate you as much as you hate them. So be nice to telemarketers

  3. Just found this on Google, I can totally relate. I go to a private university and we have to do the same thing. I got the job last year and could not take it. I got a new job at a restaurant just this year but I just had to quit because they weren't flexible with scheduling so I have to go back to phoning alumni in a few months because my work-study was taken away and I won't be able to get another job.

    I literally am dreading it. I have no idea how I can deal with that for 12-16 hours a week. I guess the paycheck will keep me sane. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is worse than this job.

  4. I know exactly how you feel! I just stumbled across this today while at... you guessed it, my telemarketing job! Mine is a little different because I'm calling friends of employees (or potential employees) to offer them the same job as their friend because we have such a high turnover rate. Even though I'm offering them a JOB, you wouldn't believe how many people scream at me for calling them. I wish that they'd realize that I'm a broke college student, living on my own, financially independent, and just doing this to make ends meet.

    Luckily for me, today is my last day! Don't know what I'm going to do to make money after this job, but anything's better than anxiety attacks, self-loathing, and constant dread of going to work.

  5. I feel your pain. I hated people before this awful soul crushing job I had to do before I got fired (I couldn't meet the quota the company wanted. Not my fault...maybe I don't know anymore, I'd like to think they wouldn't work with my two day a week school schedule, at least it makes me feel better about myself), and this just made me loathe them more. I got hung up on, yelled it, bitched at because I couldn't answer certain questions. I consider myself a strong person. I wound up crying at least once a work day because of this horrible job from the bowls of hell, and for what? A minimum I needed to keep in my bank account, monthly bus passes because I don't have a car, and book expenses. Just swallow your pride people and be nice to telemarketers. We hate you as much as you hate us, unless you just happen to be one of those 1 in a million people that are actually nice to us. To those people, I say thank you so much, you're the only light left at the end of the tunnel that are a sea of ass clowns that we have to deal with on a daily basis.

    I'm now looking for another job, but I doubt that's going to happen, I may just try to get a job on campus...and hope it isn't another telemarketing job.

  6. I signed up for one of those. At the same time, I had a class problem where nobody wanted me on their class team. So I emailed my telemarketing boss to put in a good word for me so I wouldnt get into trouble with financial aid. My boss then emailed me back and fired me. Now I regret raising money for them - and I actually did raise a bunch of money. Go figure. But I would have quit anyway - got in the way of studying and being rejected all night made it hard to focus and study.

  7. It really fucks up your mood day after day and if u do that shit for long it really fucks up everything you do. I've seen it. People (telemarketers) project that anger that strangers made them feel towards others, their family and friends. It's not a good thing. That shit spreads like a virus. Unless u really master the art of controlling your feelings then you can do that job. Otherwise, it will eat up your life. And I'm saying this because I see the effect it has on my boyfriend and he works 10 hrs. 5 days a week doing that crap and he's usually in a bad or depressed mood..

  8. Telemarketing right now. It's amazing. I love it. I can't imagine doing any other job under the sun because this is an amazing and engaging opportunity to make money while chatting with really exciting individuals. If you've never tried it before, you should. It'll help you learn to communicate better, speak well, read aloud better, handle rejection, and set and meet goals.

    1. I agree 100 percent! I'm fairly young still(24), I am telemarketing right now and this is the best job I've ever had. It is amazing how much you can grow as a person with the skills you learn.

  9. Ugh. I can sympathize. I'm about to start my second day as a telemarketer tomorrow, and I already despise it, despite the fact that I work for a company that actually offers decent pay. As soon as I find another job, even a low-wage one, I'm outta there.

  10. I get you. I'm a telemarketer for my university too. It sucks. I get a lot of irate alumni who, despite having a good education from a school they like, just love to yell at current students on the phone. My workplace sounds better than yours was- we do little competitions and games and have these really peppy supervisors. It's a nice environment, but its clearly making up for a crappy job. I'm staying until I hit a financial goal, then I'll find something else, even if it's lower pay.

  11. I do not like telemarketing because it is not Godly. First of, you are lying to people most times. You have to tell them something that is a lie to get them to say yes. So for you Christians out there, I would suggest for you to find a job before you miss the rapture for being deceptive. You will not be in heaven.

  12. I've worked as a telemarketer for only about a month now and I constantly dread going to work. I get paid $10/hour but I have to work a minimum of 20 hours a week (4 hours/day Monday-Friday). There is seriously no amount of pay that could make this job worth it for me. I struggled through depression for the majority of my life, apart from this last year. I hadn't felt depressed the entire 2015-16 year until I started this job. My self esteem has dropped dangerously low, I don't have energy after my shift or even on weekends, and I constantly dread waking up in the morning. The accusations, name-calling, and aggression that I receive over the phone is damaging. We call a list of people to set up appointments for insurance agents. One agent comes into the office to attack us if we schedule him for appointments that are over 30 min away from one another, if the person is a no show, or if they are no longer interested when he shows up. I'm a teenage girl who just wants to save some spare money if I ever need it. If I knew what I was signing up for, I wouldn't have taken the job. I'm luckily only there for another month but I will definitely need to see my therapist more often after. My bosses are lovely and understanding but this job should be outlawed as torture and abuse.

  13. If you have understanding bosses in this job, you found one of the better ones! Seriously! Good luck.

  14. If you have understanding bosses in this job, you found one of the better ones! Seriously! Good luck.