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Call Center Purgatory

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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Leaving Purgatory-The Last Day

  • July 22, 2011, 9:42 a.m.
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It started like any other day. The sky was dark because I hit the clock at 7 am on a Friday morning. But it wasn't just another day, it was the day. For six years I had come here over and over, punched the clock, drank the bad coffee, listened to the voices in my headphone drone on and on.

This was the end of it. I had dreamed about leaving. There had been so many versions, from the dramatic Dead Poet's Society version where I stand on the desk and make a grand speech to the Chuck Norris version where I kicked someone's ass on the way out and then every version in-between.

At one point, I reconsidered the Chuck Norris verson. My boss gave me a set of multiple trades that I knew would go wrong and then he coldly told me to remember why I was leaving. I told him he didn't need to worry about me forgetting that. He didn't speak three words to me for the rest of the day. I couldn't have cared less.

I told some of my customers that it was my last day, those that I had a relationship with. One of them, one of the hard-ass demanding people I had become used to, told me that I could call him if I ever needed a personal reference.

One of the girls from accounting brought me a bag of M&M's. Someone bought me some ribs for lunch. The girls on the floor bought me a cake. Finally, it was time to pack up. One of my best friends came over and spoke to me. He had been there the same amount of time I had. He was sort of emotional, and I could see he was sad.

"I know this sounds sappy, but I'm proud of you. You went after your dream of getting a degree, and now you are leaving this place."

We hugged and he was gone.

What I never told anyone on the blog was that I went back to school to get a degree so I could leave this place. I knew I had no skills that would translate to a better job. Half of the time spent here at Call Center Purgatory was spent biding my time until I got my degree.

I carried my cardboard out the double doors to the parking lot. I stood there and looked up at the ugly building I had hated for so long. I actually felt more than a twinge of sadness. How would I survive in a new job? I had been here so long, I had friends here, Now I had to start all over.

I remembered the speech Morgan Freeman gave in Shawshank Redemption,

"These walls are funny. First you hate them, then you get used to them, until it gets to you depend on them. That's institutionalized."
But I also remembered the one quote from Shawshank that was the real message, "Get busy living or get busy dying." I'd had enough of this place. A life outside of here had to be better, no matter what. If I failed, at least I failed trying. And I would give all I could. If I stayed here, I'd always wonder what could have been, what might have been. There had to be a better world somewhere outside of this place.

I took one last look around, incredibly, it started to rain. I have made up details in my writing to keep you off my trail, but not this time. This really happened. I finally loaded up my car, and rolled up to the security gate. It rolled open on a chain and I drove through.

I turned on the CD player and found a song by Tom Petty that made the day complete...

"It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was driving.
Trees flew by, me and Del were singing,
Little Runaway, I was sublime.

Yeah running down a dream,
That never would come to me.
Working on a mystery,
Going wherever it leads.
Running down a dream..."

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