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How I Became A Reluctant Customer Service Representative

I’ve received quite a few emails inquiring as to the reasons behind my change in job position. So, rather than type (and or copy paste) the same exact story 30+ times and send out a mass emailing, I figured it would be easier on all of us, if I just came out with it. Of course, I am going to have to alter the names of my fellow employees, and any other identifying attributes that may leave trace evidence as to where I work. I’ve already had that type of stern warning, and way too close for comfort closed-door meeting/threat of being fired for blogging about work. I am treading lightly over here people.

That being said, the following story, is the reason that I am currently working as a Customer Service Representative. However, I am a CSR that does not answer the phone, or talk to any of the actual clients. Mainly, because I don’t even have an extension. (Or Internet Access.) But we’ll get into all of that later on down the line.

Anyway……………………

Once upon a time there was a very kind, blue-eyed, white haired lady, named Betty. Betty was a hard working ‘Bond Girl’. (No, not the ‘007’ kind of ‘Bond Girl’, because that would be way too cool for this story.) Betty is the Insurance kind of ‘Bond Girl.’ After working for 25 years in a row, for the same boss, day after day, while single handedly raising her disabled daughter, after loosing her husband to a battle with cancer, and, moving her own sickly mother back into her house, Betty finally decided to take a vacation. Betty certainly needed and deserved a vacation more than anyone else in the whole wide world.

Betty packed her bags and set sail upon a mystical cruise ship in hopes of finding that fountain of youth other elderly people are always talking about. Instead, she found a puddle by the pool. And she slipped. And fell. And shattered her 64 year old kneecaps.

Once safely arriving home, Betty was in constant critical pain that may require several different possible surgeries to restructure what remains inside of her tired old bones. Obviously, Betty had to leave our offices and go out on disability in order to rehabilitate her once very strong, now very frail appendages, known as legs.

But who in the world would? Or could do Betty’s job? Without trying to steal it. Certainly not a ‘Temp’. I mean c’mon, after a few sips of our famous homemade coffee that tastes like burnt eggs and manure, brewed fresh to peel the lining off of your intestinal track, any ‘Temp’ would be drooling, pining, and fighting for a full time position right here at ‘We Live To Write Insurance LLC.’ Besides, by the time our office was done training s/he, we would have to let them go. Because after 25 of years of service and dedication, it is our responsibility to protect Betty’s welfare and to keep her job secure.

(Sidebar: In all seriousness, my office is really good like that. They truly have a sense of loyalty to their employees. I’m pretty sure that kind of loyalty is the only reason I still have a job. No one who has worked for ‘We Live To Write Insurance LLC’ for any length of time has to worry about being replaced if they need to be out of the office for an extended period of time due to major illness and or injury. At least that’s what was made clear to me upon my reluctant return to the office. Now, back to the story.)

What to do? What to do? How to fill the gaps and keep everyone gainfully employed?

As it turns out, there was a short, quite, blonde haired lady, with thin-rimmed glasses that already worked in our office…who just happened to be rather savvy when it came to being a Bond Girl. (Jack Pot!) Sarah was asked to ‘fill-in’ for a few days until ‘The Powers That Be’ could reach a final decision.

Sarah took to the bond department much like a duck to water leaving her close-knit associate CSR’s all alone. With an extra desk. And an extra pile of mail. And extra certificate requests. And extra Auto ID Cards. And extra clients. And an extra 2.3 million dollar book of business. Unattended.

Even with the ‘Super Hero, Multi-tasking, Take No Prisoners, and Take No Shit Employee’ named Tammy at the helm of the CSR department, fielding 99.9% of the incoming paper storm, there was simply no way to manage the incessant ringing of the telephones and faxes galore that come pouring out of the machines in a constant never ending stream of emergencies.

With Sarah handling Betty’s desk, and with multiple CSR’s ‘Missing In Action’, considering June, July and August are also known as “’Tis The Season For All Vacations Across The Insurance Land” that left the already short staffed CSR department practically vacant.

By the time the stack of unanswered insurance needs had reached the ceiling? I had returned from foreign soil also known as ‘The Worst Vacation Ever’. That’s also just about the same time I was approached by upper management.

When the Office Manager, Mona, cornered me in the break room and confronted me on my latest faux pas about what is the appropriate way to give notice when one will be taking time off from work, and knowing that I was already in ‘Jail’ without a ‘Get Out Free Card’ I was fully prepared to surrender to any offering she was about to lay at my feet.

Mona reminded me of the liberties I’ve been given time and time again. With my back against the wall, I agreed in advance to whatever “help” she was about to ask of me. Only with the understanding that all of my previous wrong doings would be forgiven.

It was then when I was politely asked to make good on their investment, by returning some of the favors I’ve been granted over a six- year endurance test I like to call my employment history.

What could I say?

Mona (my former arch enemy) beamed with glorious victory as she announced that I would be going to the CSR department. Temporarily. Until Betty’s triumphant return. I couldn’t say no.

I did, however, get all sorts of ‘Robert De Niro’ from the movie ‘Analyze This’ on her.

“You.” “You’re Good.” I said. “You Got Me.” “ I walked right into that one didn’t I?”

“Yep. You will start on Monday, June 23rd at 8am.” And Mona walked away. Which, from a distance, and if you squinted really hard, could have been mistaken for Dancing A Jig.

And there you have it.

I will be stationed in the CSR department until Betty can return to the office which may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am doing and feeling much better about being in this ‘new’ department.

1. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it makes the most logical sense to have me in this position.

2. I ‘honest to blog’ feel like I’ve finally buried the hatchet with the Office Manager. We seem to be starting on a fresh page, with a clean slate, what with all of her unsolicited “Good Job” compliments.

3. Also, I genuinely have a newfound respect for these ladies. I want to make each one of them their own personal Trophy. I am increasingly impressed when I personally witness what these hard working ladies go through on a daily basis, without ingesting Valium by the fistful. Although there is a lot of Tums and Rolaids being passed around kind of like a peace pipe, or crack.

I can’t believe I am going to admit this, but…it’s actually starting to feel good to be a ‘Team Player’. (Rather than The Outsider.) I am truly happy to be able to give back to my company (specifically my boss) the way he has so freely given to me.

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  • First, ROFL at this post. lolololol

    looking for the fountain of youth Instead, she found a puddle by the pool. And she slipped. lololol

    And Mona walked away. Which, from a distance, and if you squinted really hard, could have been mistaken for Dancing A Jig. Too funny, I LOVE your writing, such a vivid, funny, nicely detailed story. meleah, i had too much wine last night, i can’t be laughing this hard in the morning. lol. funny!

    oh yeah, glad you’re feeling like one of the girls on the ‘new’ job. you have to stop by betty’s house with a pair of air jordans and help her with her rehab, get her running. lol. hope she gets better soon. will you want to give up your new position when she returns? you might love it so much.

    a bond kind of girl. lol. well i do work in the bond department myself and not the 007 kind, the public finance kind. am i sleep yet.

  • I am laughing at the Tums and Rolaids being passed around like a peace pipe. Hilarious. Glad you’re settling into the new position a little more. I knew you could do it!

  • That was a great story. I was chuckling as I read it.

  • I loved reading that!

  • Was I the only one to grab his knees when he read about Betty’s fall?

    You deserve a trophy yourself dear. 🙂

  • Meleah

    Valerie:
    Oh! I am glad I made you laugh. (Even if it’s too early in the morning and with a wine hangover)
    It was definitely a fun post to write.

    Selma:
    We live on Tums and Rolaids down here. It’s a totally different element in the Service department in comparison to the Marketing.

    Ingrid:
    Yeay!
    xxoo

    Paul:
    Sweet!

    Dazd:
    I’ve been grabbing my knee caps for weeks since I heard about what happened!

  • although customer service can really wear on you over time,, i think you will be amazed at the knowledge and scope it will give you in a short period of time…

    i am thrilled that you are feeling better about it,, so just hang out and take everything it offers you… i think in the long run you will agree it was after all time well spent….

  • CBG

    You had told me the reason a while ago . I just like reading your post… Hey what can I say I am a Fan !!!

  • I’m glad you’re feeling better…. I knew you would given some time 🙂

  • Meleah

    Paisley:
    Agreed. And Agreed!

    CBG:
    I digg that you are a FAN

    Dawn:
    Me too. How about you??

  • Change is good. Very familiar with CS positions as I know a startup company that has had many “issues”. Tums and Rolaids… GRD Hell!

  • Who knew an insurance story could be SO entertaining? I’m glad you’re feeling comfortable and can (sort of) see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Where did my comment go?
    OK….here it is again…..

    So now you are a Bond Girl?…then you need a snazzy Bond Girl name!

  • I give UP!

  • Meleah! My 2 previous comments got eaten….

  • Meleah

    Oscar:
    Change = Heart Attacks and sleepless nights
    CS = Really Really Challenging.
    I need some Tums right about now!

    Terri:
    Aw. Thank you. I tried to make it as upbeat as posible.

    OlgaTTB:
    Damn it!!!
    What The Hell.
    Shit.
    And you leave some of the best / funniest comments around.
    Okay. I found it. It was in my SPAM comment folder.
    No One can leave a LINK in a comment without my approval.
    I will check that out.
    Even though I AM NOT A BOND GIRL

  • As I see it, this is all good karma for helping Betty. Poor woman! Can I bake her a cake or something?

  • awww, poor Betty!!

    This was a great post, Mel. This new position was like a new pair of shoes: A little tight and uncomfortable ’til you brake them in.

  • Meleah

    Momo:
    I know I feel so bad for Betty.

    Somegirl:
    And she is such a NICE lady. Just terrible.
    Im glad you liked the post!
    Oh and I love that analogy!

  • You, my friend, are a class act.

  • I think that you should just blow up the office. That will solve ALL problems. Trust me.

  • Meleah

    Diva:
    Why Thank You.

    Angry Man:
    But then where would I get my paycheck and health benefits and um, blog material from!
    xxoo

  • Way to step up to the plate Mereb! You won’t believe me now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you become quite attached to some of those hard workin’ ladies by the time you leave that department.

  • Well it sounds like its not quite so bad being in the “new” dept. Poor Betty, I hope she feels better soon 🙁

  • I’m so glad that something stressful is turning into something awesome for you at work. I’m struggling with work issues lately. I just quit and am unemployed, while starting up my own business with a huge leap of faith! AHHHHHH!

  • Meleah

    HollyGL:
    I know. I think you might be right about that

    Barbara:
    I will send Betty your love.

    Blessed1:
    Good Luck to you!

  • Michael C

    I’m glad you feel like a team player and that you have VP in your title (hehehe), but I don’t like the way you were kind of called to the floor to take this job for past favors they made to you…

  • I can’t believe I’m saying this but : sometimes change can be GOOD for you. It can open up new opportunities and adventures and people will start recognizing you for your efforts. I was able to do that and am doing that. However…please don’t forget us little folk who stuck by you all this time, when you get the success that u so truly deserve! 😉

  • Meleah

    Michael C:

    Leave it to my TWIN to pick out the Very Same Thing that’s bothering me.

    (Um. Wait. How come your blog isn’t linked in?)

    And I have really missed you around these parts.

    Roshan:
    I suppose change is GOOD. But, yanno, Its not the same reward if I don’t resist it just a little bit.

    And, um, yeah..I will never ‘forget the little folk’ ya’ll are what help me be successful.
    xxoo

  • Meleah,

    How rude of me…I spent all this time with you and NEVER once asked WHY? I think in my head that I figured they had the opening and they needed someone to do the job and they kinda forced you into it!

    Now…I know! 🙂

    At least there IS A LIGHT at the end of the tunnel – you can go back to your old job later! I had no idea!!

  • Change can be hard to get use to. I’m glad that you are doing better. Are you sure that you didn’t mean to say, …I’ve finally buried the hatchet IN the Office Manager. (?) ;o)

    Thanks for blogrolling me!

    By the way I had a difficult time getting to your blog. It took 3 times to get in tonight. The third time I got in immediately. I just wanted to give you a heads up because I think that you’ve had problems in the past.

  • Meleah

    Rinaldi:
    Well, you are slightly ‘preoccupied’ these days.
    Now you know why I am in this department!
    xxoo

    Awake:
    ooops. Thanks for finding the typo!
    Hmm…I wonder why my blog was running slow?
    If it happens again, please let me know.

  • the loss of an arch enemy is always always a good thing.

  • You write so well, the description is so vivid 🙂
    Such a fun piece to read.
    Though this is temp, this could be an opportunity for you, now you can include CSR into your resume and CSR is always needed, in every industry.

  • Meleah

    Hollydolly:
    True Dat.

    RMH:
    Aw. Really? I dig that you like the way I write.
    xxoo

  • oh Meleah I have so been here! These unexpected job position changes really sting at first…but thankfully they challenge us as people and eventually make us stronger! I’m glad you and the office manager are getting along better…it will make both your lives so much better to work together on things.

    YAY for you!

  • the best friend

    I can’t even go into detail about how funny this entire post was, because there were so many great parts. Your writing is excellent. I am still laughing outloud. Mona cornering you! The whole Betty intro! I LOVE IT. You’re the best writer ever Melz.

  • Meleah

    Heather:
    I have wanted to get along with Mona for 2 years now, we just had serious personality issues/clashes…we seem to be OVER now. I am amazed.

    Jen:
    Dood. “Mona” really did corner me. And she got me. I lost that round. Big Time. I am happy to hear this post made you laugh. Thank you for the writing compliment. I love to hear things like that!

  • Lee

    I will say, when you get backed into a corner you cave with the best of them! 🙂 Actually, congratulations on making the best of a less-than-desirable situation. I’m not sure I would have been able to do the same thing.

  • You are way too funny for your own good.

    I like the segways and the side bars or what ever they are called.

    I’m just happy your are finding comfort in your new position. Sorry it was under the circumstances of a woman falling on a puddle (I recall that being said).

  • Meleah

    Lee:
    I had no other choice.
    It was take it…or quit my job.
    My parents wont let me quit.
    So here I am…making the best of it.

    Urban:
    ha ha ha
    Thanks!
    I love when I make people laugh.
    Poor Betty. and her shattered Knee Caps.

  • So….what is your Bond Girl name?!? 😉

  • Meleah

    OlgaTTB:

    I am NOT a “Bond Girl!”

    But IF I was my name would be:

    Jess N. Thyme

    xxoo

  • Well I’m glad to read that this is all working out. CSR gigs are rough but if there’s a strong team thing going down then it can work well.

    I did think you meant actual Bond Girls like in 007 were working there. I was getting ready to ask you for a job application.

  • Meleah

    Ricardo:
    HA HA HA

    Bond Girls 007 style would be awesome.

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