January 28, 2018

I'm going to make up my own rules now

I've been busy for the past month, training for a job with a contracting company - a slave trader - as a "Customer Service Representative" for MegaCableCorp.

I started on January 8th, in an online course with about 25 other new hires. By the time I resigned today, we were down to twenty-one.

I don't know if that's a typical attrition rate for this kind of thing, but it seems high to me. Then again, I've always done well in corporate training - it's not hard - and I had expected that the other applicants would be like me, you know, techies eager to show their stuff and advance themselves and get ahead.

I was told that I had to have anti-virus software, and I had a new copy of Norton Internet Security when I checked in the first day. One of the students was using a copy of windows 7 "Xdark" (whatever that is), and a third had a non-USB headset. Our instructor told us, point blank, that only Windows Defender was acceptable, that "Xdark" had to be replaced with windows 7 Home or Pro, and that only USB headsets would do. Period. We were told to get it fixed before the second day's class, "or else."

The job ad said "Antiv virus software," which I had. The ad had said "USB Headset," so I couldn't sympathize with someone who didn't have one, since I had to drive thirty-nine miles to get mine. The ad had said "Windows 7, 8, or 10," and if that didn't include "Xdark" (whatever that is), well, I think the ad should have said that.

I chalked it up to the Golden Rule, and removed the Norton software - I already had the Windoze AV stuff - and went along while I was told to creat a new "Administrator" account for day-to-day use, since the company's software required an admin user. I installed an IM client called "Pidgin," after the preferred client turned out to be carp, and software to practice MCC's CRM interface and MCC's billing system software, and and MCC's "wiki" which we were told had all the wisdom of the ages. I was impressed, and resolved to get up-to-speed more quickly than the other students, a resolution which lasted until I was told we couldn't use any of it or practice with it or study it unless we were on the clock. Given the fact that we were being "instructed" eight hours per day, the opportunity to study was limited to two fifteen minutes paid breaks per day, but not to the unpaid one-half-hour lunch period.

It was a lie, of course: we were able to access any application at any hour of the day or night, despite the fear our overlords sought-after - fear of being "caught" working harder, or of being ambitious, or maybe of just deviating from the idiotic MCC rules, which contravene every tenet of common business sense.

Long story short: MegaCableCorp wants only twenty-somethings that believe a father-figure has their best interests at heart. MCC wants pliable, uneducated, fearful automatons whom will struggle constantly to meet an impossible standard of compliance to an impossible set of rules.

With me gone, it's an even twenty or thereabouts. I didn't quit because I couldn't keep up, but rather because I couldn't imagine myself participating in what is, simply put, a setup for failure. The "system" I would have worked has a plethora of rules, none of which could ever be followed by a live person trying to live in the modern age. It has twelve or more separate "systems" that its employees have to use and adapt to on a daily basis, all while trying to meet impossible goals for "efficiency," attendance, salesmanship, and accuracy. It is, in other words, a vicious and recriminative world where only 20-somethings would believe the carp the company throws at them, or believe that they could ever meet all the requirements, strictures, gotchas, and shaming that are built into its every cubbyhole.

MegaCableCorp has constructed a nightmare world where everyone is always a little bit behind, a little bit off the mark, and a little bit scared. That, sad to say, is obvious to anyone who is older than thirty - or maybe forty - and the twenty-somethings are going to serve MegaCableCorp from their homes, in return for about $0.20 per hour in compensation for the cutting-edge hardware MegaCableCorp demands they have. I have a 2.5 GHz dual-core machine, and the requirements say it has to be 2.6 GHz, but I think the interviewer let that slide because I impressed him with my customer-service skills during the mock phone calls with "angry" customers.

I'm too old for that shitte, or too well-educated, or too fed up with corporate dictators and their plans for world-domination. I said "enough," and resigned today, and now I'm officially retired and living on my own schedule and by my own rules.

I reinstalled Norton, destroyed the unneeded "admin" account, and told my wife that we don't need to budget for the extra monitor after all. The odd part is, I feel guilty, like I've let someone down. C'est la vie: I think I'll get over it.