The Night Caller’s Dilemma

It was just another monotonous day with the routine writing and editing work I was hired to do. All my writers were freelancers which ensured there was no meeting anybody. Just the big office with the sound of ACs (air conditioners) droning. The two small breaks were invariably spent near the coffee machine in the cafeteria with two tables. You couldn’t talk about personal stuff and surely not the bosses if you didn’t intend to get fired because every soul could hear each other breathe given the humble cafeteria space. The only amusing thing on the floor was the newcomer who had just joined as a Night Caller.

The name was Shawn. A well dressed guy of average height, chubby face, spiky hair and round eyes. He seemed to have this air of superiority about himself over us others. After all, we didn’t belong to the BPO (business process outsourcing) sector and were just novices who didn’t know the accented English pronunciation, would fumble even when a local phone rang on our desks, and of course how could I forget to mention the typical Indian summer dressing sense that we have! His Armani jeans & Versace jacket spoke volumes of our unfathomable fashion sense in the scorching heat. His eyes were the most amusing feature of his personality though. You’ll know why…

confused caller

So, while we were furiously at work on our workstations he would nicely roll his phone in his palm and peer into it as if he’s just received the most important mail of his life. The eyes spoke so and also the lips that puckered into an O shape whenever he glanced at the small screen! Then he would fashionably put on a brand new headphone every other day for hygiene reasons and insist with authority that no one else touch it.

One day, when finally it dawned upon him that the office had a coffee machine, he got himself the metallic cup with a spoon and sugar at the bottom. He was lost as usual in his own corner and two screens with the occasional O shaped mouth opening and shutting every now and then. He seated himself and sat stirring the coffee so mindfully that it attracted all our attention and we were all gaping at the source of sound that was pretty evident apart from the usual AC droning. I bent a little more forward than others to have a look at the tinkling sound and suddenly conscientiousness dawned upon him. He very slowly turned his head with the most sheepish look on his chubby face and whispered a meek “sorry” and my funny bone gave way. I laughed uncontrollably… To my horror, the next thing I notice was he was walking towards me! Thankfully enough, he went inside his boss’ cabin.

Few days passed by but the perpetual expression of amazement in his eyes didn’t seem to leave his face. It seemed that every order that his boss gave came as a new task to him that he had never heard of. I kept observing through the corner of my eyes and couldn’t help bursting out laughing yet again looking at my screen posing as if I had just read some hilarious joke while editing the medical finance article. He did seem to notice my laughter and sometimes just slightly he used to glance in my direction, shake his head and go back to his amazing work. So much so that now I was really curious as to what his profile was.

The next day I thought I will strike up a conversation whenever our eyes met. As luck would have it, the moment he came in with the same Armani jeans & Versace jacket, our common boss called us both in, introduced to each other and then I was assigned yet another task which I wasn’t paid for. More importantly, a task which I wasn’t even acquainted with. This challenge never stopped me from imagining myself placed on a border control office where you are expected to do anything and everything that your senior dumps on you. So, the first look into his eyes and a handshake it was. I had to write a ‘script” for this caller! I had no idea what that was. Anyway, thankfully I could control my laughter looking at my source of amusement in the face.

I asked him seriously, ‘what is your profile?” and he had that same look on his face and said, “I have no idea! They gave me a list and said start calling.” Needless to say I was trying hard to not show my teeth as I clenched them within my lips. I asked, “call whom and for what purpose?” Shawn said, “I have no clue! They didn’t brief me anything. I have to figure it out.”

Me: What is expected of you? And what is this script that the Manager spoke of?

Shawn: Ah! You need to give me what I am supposed to talk. That’s a script.

Me: I don’t know what you should be talking! What’s your target?

Shawn: (in a whisper) These guys didn’t brief me anything! I have no idea what to talk!

Me: You are from the BPO, right? You know calling! Is it inbound or outbound?

Shawn: I know calling but I don’t know the purpose yet! I have both kind of calls, inbound & outbound. They have given me this international number on which I keep receiving these phone calls.

Me: From whom and about what?

Shawn: Look, I told you I have no clue whatsoever. I didn’t have an induction yet.

Me: But you are here for over a month!

Shawn: Yes, tomorrow I am gonna tell me to brief me & at least tell me the basics of the business.

Me: Do that.

The next day I was too occupied and irritated with the promotional activities for marketing campaigns and e-mailers because we had to redo each and every task involved in the process from scratch. After a long day of repetitive work, I was about to leave when I saw Shawn sitting at his desk with the usual shaking of head and amused look on his face.

Me: Hey! Did you have your induction finally?

Shawn: Nope. But I have got my briefing.

Me: Oh! (sigh) That’s nice… Now you can plan.

Shawn: Yeah, right. The presentation was simple and short:

Presentation Slide 1: Introduction / Induction –

This company needs business.

Presentation Slide 2: Conclusion / Briefing –

Get business anyhow.

Shawn: (seriously) Now, I just have to figure out what the company’s business is all about. Can you help me with that?

Manager: (crept up from behind) Done with the list I had given you Shawn? How many did you call?

Me: (rolling on the floor laughing)

woman laughing

∗   All in a day’s work!!!   ∗

Saga of a Corporate Newbie

Remembering the days as a newcomer in the corporate world as a fresh journalism graduate. Though the experience wasn’t quite pleasant it was something that gave me a taste of the so called corporate world filled with sharks. If not anything else, my first stint in the work world did give me a story to share and feel proud of. Why proud? Coz I braved the sharks!

From a small town girl who barely knew how to switch on a computer to a journalism post graduate freshman from a renowned college in the country, I managed to fetch this job in an IT company. Located in the centre of the city I was elated with the idea of getting a salary for writing articles. Journalism meant field work, lots of it, especially for freshmen and here I had a desk job that would pay me good enough, considering the economic slowdown my country was going through.

Rushing to the washroom with toilet paper cartoon

The perpetual scenario in office

I was assigned the most private area to work, a PC just next to the washroom (I had the privilege of hearing the ‘toilet woos’ while the girls queued up with peculiar stances in the waiting line) & a desk phone (I assure you it’s not as alluring, especially when the phone has only within-the-office incoming capability). So, there were these two female seniors who made sure I never felt alone & graced me with their company, over the phone.

I can say that these two ladies didn’t particularly seem to have an acceptance towards my confident disposition (please excuse my sense of modesty here). One of them, a poker faced, plump female who was equally wary of me as I was of her was the Writing Head (henceforth referred to as Miss. Poker Face). She had this art of trying to convey something she didn’t like in the article you wrote by just pointing the mouse pointer on her screen (which was difficult to place as she was as steady as a choked valve with her mouse) & keep staring at it without uttering a word expecting you to know the issue. She could let a couple of minutes pass like that making you feel like an invisible dud.

Puffed-up puffer fish

Look alike of Miss. Cow, the editing head

Another one was this (okay, I am trying hard to be as considerate as possible at this) puffy faced and I mean as puffy as a puffed up puffer fish who’s swells itself to maximum limit when it’s shit scared, and a loud woman with a zero figure (O is a shape!) with the most explicit expressions who acted like the mother hen of the company. Henceforth referred to as Miss. Cow.

So, my job was to churn out three articles every day, send it for editing, get screwed for various negligible mistakes & then sit late for rectifying them. For example, I had written a sentence in a pregnancy related article, “When you are ready to become parents” instead of oh-so-grossly-needed ‘When you are ready to have babies’ ! Well, Miss. Poker Face wasn’t happy with my usage of words for sure and but obviously I had to change it to her perfect and unique way of expression.

The friendly boss politely giving credits for your work

The friendly boss politely giving credits for your work

Then came bloated Miss. Cow into the picture with her expert and so experienced advice (did I tell you she was a qualified doc with experience in editing articles over eight odd years of experience?), over the phone, invariably followed by a session in unison with Miss. Poker Face. When my extension rang just half an hour before the day was supposed to end I knew it was time for the very-necessary sessions being a newcomer. They seemed to get some kind of pleasure by shedding their professionalism and speaking in a manner that resembles a member of the parliament in India trying to overrule others & get heard during the Loksabha! Need I say more as to what those sessions consisted? Well, the picture should speak for itself…

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