My previous job was for Dell, or specifically a call centre that was hired by Dell to provide customers with Technical Support for their products. This blog will cover my experiences and explain why I eventually made the decision to leave.
Take note: This blog is not in any way a means of discouraging anyone from working at this company or to talk about the job negatively, although it will cover both good and bad aspects about the job to show the full picture of my experiences there. I won’t call any of my colleagues by name for the sake of privacy.
Theoretically, you could say it was an easy job… Practically, even a call centre has its challenges, and keep in mind I’m talking about an inbound call centre here, meaning it mainly focused on taking calls, in this case from Dell customers who often bought hundreds if not thousands of systems and were mostly under warranty requesting repairs or technical assistance on-site. There were also a large amount of customers that could be helped without any on-site technicians needed, simple turn it off and on again level service. You’ll be surprised how many people you can help with very basic troubleshooting tactics.
Often though you would have to provide the customer with on-site service, thus sending a technician with parts you selected to see the customer and system in person and replace the parts and ideally check afterwards if this actually solved the issue, you’d also have to follow up with the customer, just in case you either made the wrong assessment and sent the wrong parts or something went awry on-site during the repair.
There is a depth and experience in the actions you had to undertake; I vividly remember the frustrated few days I had. For the customers who called often talking to a new person on the phone was frustrating enough but, then the time invested and the complete ineptitude of the one person who you’d expect to be a professional. It’s frustrating for both parties actually, but once you learned a bit more and started to get your act together, the frustration turned to delight. Eventually, after a few months of skill progression, you’d notice customers would be relieved they reached you specifically or another experienced colleague on the phone, and that’s why I liked the job, and why I sometimes wish I never left it.
Shortly I mentioned the colleagues, they’re just as important to the job as the customers. True it was sometimes frustrating to work with certain colleagues who simply didn’t work so well in a team. Technical Support is not only for your customers as you’ll realize during the work. If anything you’ll have days were you’re spending more time assisting colleagues, whether it be a difficult customer they we’re trying to handle, or terms they are unfamiliar with due to never having worked in any IT related function before. Help and get helped, something not everyone understands. So the colleagues you treat well, and maybe even solve one of their cases they’ll remember and help or assist you any other time. It’s a team mentality.
Everything taken into account, I was pleased doing this job. Still, in a function like this you can’t help but have the feeling one gets from working in a large international company they couldn’t be bothered to think about their employees on the work floor, your merely a cog in the machine to the higher-ups and if that cog rusts or stops turning, easily replaceable. There were meetings to gauge how employees thought about the job, and polls were somewhat frequently put out, but mostly everyone knew that that was just a thin veil to create the illusion of being listened to. The kind of person I am needs to see that something is done, not just someone who nods and tells you you’re idea’s and opinions will be taken into consideration. The same thing happened when I wanted to apply for another function in the company. I knew back then, the company had a policy to only allow submissions from people that had worked there for at least six months, I was just short of those six months, and I knew the policies they held; actually, I was happy with the way I was talked to, taken seriously. But soon after the feeling that it was just a guise took over me, sure I informed everyone who needed to know that I was looking for promotion, but it seems they were just fine with having me where I was.
The feeling of a promotion being unlikely was overtaking me. At that point I had figured out that even if I’d apply to the same function in another six months or even a year I’d be just as unlikely to be seen as a fitting candidate, as I noticed people that had worked there for 10+ years were just now getting a promotion after all that time, adding to that it was still a job on the floor as well, still taking calls, and still doing the same things just with a little higher pay and mostly more work to do. That’s not a gripe against them, they were happy with their jobs, or at least it seemed that way and if they truly liked it and the extra tasks bestowed upon them after years of service, great for them!
Thinking back on it, if anything; the probable lack of promotion was the catalyst. Besides that I’ve noticed for years that a lack of growth and possibility has a detrimental effect on me, the stagnating feeling often coerces me. A feeling that was not there yet, but soon would rear its ugly head. Back when I started the corporate training at the company, I knew that it wouldn’t be a job I’d be able to keep, yet the trainer inspired me for the function she held. In school I was pretty capable at teaching, often taking the reigns as the leader in group project… once I even went to Australia and was still able to lead a group and get them the passing grade as soon as I returned. So being a corporate trainer certainly felt like a possibility, that was of course before joining the workforce and noticing promotions just weren’t a possibility with the timescale I had in my head. It took quite a while for my concluding decision to be made, for an extended amount of time I was perfectly content but the fear in the back on my mind that I would have to leave strictly due to my thoughts was undoubtedly there even if stagnant at the time. Shortly after I applied for the Trainer position, I got offered a temporary contract, just to give them more time to work out the longer contract extension I got offered three or four. Those months we’re when my mind started racing more and more, personal things like my grandfather passing away got in the way of my performance, and the degradation of my motivation grew and took over.
If anything, the short extension was probably best for both the company and me, surely I’d keep doing my job well, even if I still worked there now, but the feeling of stagnation that wasn’t there yet would’ve hit. In the final weeks, it felt like there was no other choice, and I confronted my team leader. It wasn’t easy because I still enjoyed the job and I never heard anything bad about my work at least not from the team leaders. Having informed my team leader of my resignation after the contract had ended was for me a good decision. Only a few weeks left to go and I would permanently be leaving the office, sometimes I still miss the job just as I do some of my colleagues. Honestly, with my mind working the way it does, I don’t think I’ll be able to work for a boss, being self-employed was something that I hoped would still take a while perhaps taking an editorial job for a news outlet first, but it arrived earlier than planned, and for now, it’s the best I can do and could have done.
Before really starting for myself, let’s be honest when you make decisions like this you romanticize them, most things are set in stone now. Being officially registered at the chamber of commerce, the website is complete. All that’s left is hard work, and it’s easy to grow sedentary and procrastinate, scheduling different things and mainly doing new things in life is just very important just having appointments, people depending on you and a lot of different projects to do. There’s been a lot of good change in my life, and I’m always looking forward to the next thing.
Author: Mark de Graaf