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.