stories on rejection: from japan to the call center

1:16 PM

Over the summer, I decided to work two jobs for a while to earn a little extra money. And by for a while, I mean for about a month and a half. I wasn't working full time at the MTC and once spring let out of school I had a lot of free time with not that much money. So I applied around, I interviewed at a bunch of places, and I wound up with a job at a call center. #livingthedream.

I'd heard plenty of horror stories about call centers. And it's not like I was looking forward to making calls straight for four hours. But I was far past the point of caring what kind of work I did as long as it paid. And, well, to be honest it wasn't that bad.

1. It paid decent enough. I scraped in around $10 an hour with opportunities for bonus money every day.
2. It was super easy. I felt like I was as good as any other employee after four days of calling. You pretty much just sit there and wait for the computer to make a call for you and then read a script. And, like, I'm pretty good at talking or something.
3. It was convenient. Close by, the hours fit in well with my other job, and I didn't feel the pressure of staying on into the school year.
4. They generally played pretty good music.
5. It wasn't straight cold calling. The people had at least checked a box online that we could contact them (whether or not they knew they were doing that is a different story - but it's still better than cold calls). And we were providing a good service by telling people about educational opportunities in their area. Anything's better than sales.
6. Pizza Fridays. Also Rebecca Black on repeat Fridays (you win some, you lose some).

My Sodalicious addiction began with this job.
Dirty Dr. Pepper for daysssss.

People knock on call centers mainly because of the mean people. This part bothered me the least.  My coworkers would get down when they just got hang ups all day and I'm like, "Hey, who cares? You get to talk less, ammiright?" Really, it doesn't get all that much worse than a hang up. But, like, I hang up on telemarketers all the time, so who am I to hate? I'll admit, there were days where people were just flat out rude and go off on insulting me and I'm like, "Sir, you haven't even seen my face so how can you know I'm ugly?" Seriously, people need to think through their insults more. But in the end I was mostly just entertained when people got rude. It provided for some great tweeting material and stories to tell at the end of the day.

[Going through qualifying questions]
"How old are you?"
"What year did you graduate high school?"
"Are you currently enrolled in school?"
"Are you a US citizen?"
"Okay, are you a permanent resident?"
"No, I'm here illegally."
"Oh are you?"
"Yeah, I'm from Africa and I'm actually really worried that they're gonna kick me out of the US."
"Sure you are."
"Yeah, I mean like I've got AIDS and I don't know what to do cuz I left my parents back in Africa and they got eaten by lions!"

Of course they did.

Other Call Center greatest hits:

Customer: "Who's calling my damn phone?"
Me: "Hi, may I speak with Angela, please?"
"No you may NOT!" *click*

"No, I don't want any education EVER. I'm stupid and I just want to get belligerently drunk all the time so could you please stop calling?"

75 year old man: "Listen, honey, I don't really care about what you have to say and I don't want to listen. But if no one else has told you yet today, I love you. Bye!"

"Nah, I'm not interested. But listen Lauren, you have a really cute voice. You give me a call when you get off work, okay?"

Me: "Are you just not interested for the moment? Or not at all?"
"Not at all for the moment."
"...That doesn't answer my question."

"Sorry, I'm in the shower."
"Then why did you answer the phone...?"

Me: "We're calling because we saw you were online looking for career and education opportunities..."
"I can't use a computer, I don't even know what offline is to go online!" (someone actually said that once).

"Hi, may I speak with Walter?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Lauren from the blah blah blah center."
"Where are you calling from?"
"We're located in Utah."
"Are you Mormon?"
"Yes, actually I am Mormon."
"Oh, I don't talk to Mormons." *click*

I can never escape that one, I guess.

Freak, I served a mission. I guess the rejection over the phone really never phased me because nothing can top the rejection I got every single day as a missionary in Japan. You can say that I've gone to the big leagues with rejection, you feel me? But in that case, it was something I cared about that I did full time, not something that I did for 4 hours a day to pay rent. Nevertheless, I remember some pretty good, entertaining times I had over there, too.

"Hey we're..."
"No thanks."

*sticks hand and waves it in front of their nose and walks away.*
What, do I smell, or something? We dubbed this common "no-thank-you" gesture the shark fin.

"Hey, we're the missionaries..."
"No thank you, I'm busy."
"Oh, will you just take this flyer then, if you don't have time to talk?" 
"No, my hand hurts and I can't hold the paper."

"Hi, we're the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!"
"Oh, I'm not Christian." *walks away*
Obvi you're not Christian, why do you think we wanted to talk with you?

"Hi we're the church of Jesu..."
"No thank you."
"Oh do you have religion?" 
"No, I just don't like you."

I knocked on a door once and I was greeted with, "Sumisu (Smith)?"
Shocked a little bit I was all, "Um, yeah that's my name?"
She blabs on a little bit about this one time we met and then I remembered seeing her about a week earlier. She seemed excited to see me again, but had no time to talk.
"Oh well, okay, could we come back tomorrow sometime and say hi?"
She BURSTS out laughing at the preposterousness of the proposal and just says, "No no no no." and then closes the door.
"Okay! Just asking..."

Someone comes to the door dripping wet, wrapped in a towel and just says, "Sorry, I'm in the shower!"
"Yeah, you didn't even need to come to the door, lady."
 Seriously, why do people do these things? Apparently the shower excuse is universal.

"Hi, we're the Church of..."
"Any talk like that is NO!" *slams door*

"I'm actually just about to leave..." (doesn't)

"I can't speak English!"
"Oh we speak Japanese!"
"Um... I have to go."

We ran into this one man while knocking on doors. He seemed to be in his mid 40's and he seemed to think we were beautiful. I asked if he had a family and he said, "No, they're all dead. Ladies are welcome!"

And my personal favorite:
"Hi! My name is Sister Smith! How are you?" response or any sort of acknowledgment that I exist.

[but hey, we got popsicles from a lady who rejected us once. you can't hand out popsicles over the phone]
[believe it or not i've looked worse]

People are hilarious, guyz.

Nah. The bottom line is that despite the ease, despite the convenience, despite how much I loved awkward conversations while waiting for the computer to load and trying to pronounce unpronounceable names, and despite the pizza - YES EVEN THE PIZZA - that job just sucked. It is the epitome of a "staring-at-the-clock-willing-it-to-turn-faster" kind of job. The rejection never phased me, but I think that was why that job was never worth it in the first place. The rejection phased me a lot in Japan, but that's because I was fighting for something I cared about. I was helping people and it made me sad when they didn't want to hear from us. The rejection was worth working through for a year and a half. Not even the funny stories at a call center were worth more than a month's time.

You have funny mission rejection stories? Ever worked at a call center? I'd love to hear about it.

Also, life lessons learned from funny customers at the bookstore.  

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  1. "We're missionaries of the Church of..."
    "I'm so old! I don't even have teeth!" *walks away chuckling.

  2. Haha oh man. This is awesome. :) my main rejection experiences have been on my mission. When people reject me face to face I always have issuers


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