I’ve Been Fired!

After being on suspension for about 6 weeks, they fired me yesterday. I’m no longer bound by their contract so I’ll say what I damn well please now.

They said I was rude to a customer and it was gross misconduct. I wasn’t rude at any point of the call. I didn’t swear and I was not aggressive. I couldn’t give the customer what he wanted so he threatened social media. This is a big scare for HomeServe. My crime was that I forgot: ‘Sorry this has happened, but it’s good that you’ve brought it to our attention. Now let me see what I can do.’ Or words to that effect. They call it the ‘Glad, Sure, Sorry’ procedure.

This is classed as giving empathy, which they say I didn’t show. It is not compulsory, as they agreed in my disciplinary. As they said it is ‘a tool that we can use’. Note the word ‘can’. Not should, or must, or have to. No. It’s not compulsory.

They also said that I talked over the customer. I told them that I started talking when the customer had finished and he began talking again before allowing me to finish. He talked over me. They also didn’t like the fact that I said: ‘Can you let me finish?’

When you are trying to explain something and the person you are speaking to ignores you, then I think it is quite feasible to say this! The managers say it when they are speaking to customers or agents. I even heard Theresa May say it to Andrew Marr on the politics show!

I was told that they think I will forget the ‘Glad, Sure, Sorry’ bit again, and as I’m on a final from last year, they were now terminating my employment. Hello? Guess what? I’m human and I make mistakes. Obviously the managers are robotic saintly angels who never, ever, ever make a mistake! Course not. They are so perfect.

So there you go. These are the reasons for me being fired.

Now, just so that people know. I had put in a grievance before being put on suspension. A grievance about the 6 days extra holiday that I was buying. They were taking the payment out of my monthly pay, since October, but had not given me what I was paying for. This is a criminal offence. After many emails and complaining I logged a grievance. It has been ignored. A grievance should be dealt with before someone is fired.

I asked for a copy of notes from a meeting I had last year. Every time I asked for them it was confirmed that I would get them. I never received them. They denied me my legal rights.

I asked for a copy of the notes on certain calls for this year. I was told they would be posted to me. I’m still waiting for them. Denying me my legal rights again.

Our contractual hours changed in December. They sent me 5 letters that were all incorrect. I asked for a correct letter of employment. Never got it. Legal rights denied.

In my disciplinary, once they had told me I was fired, I pointed out these legal breaches and informed them they would be hearing from me. And now that I was no longer employed by HomeServe I would have to sort it out outside the company, with a lawyer. That was when all the excuses started.

I’ve been at that company for 14 years. There have been quite a few people put on suspension recently who have also been there over 10 years. Think of this what you will. I pointed this out in my disciplinary and got a load of excuses.

Rumours are rife. For those readers who know me you now know what has been happening. You can probably guess what will be happening in the future as well. My union rep says I have to take it one step at time. Not a problem.


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Enjoying The Sun

I’ve been off work for the last two weeks and have enjoyed the sunshine. Looks like summer has finally arrived in the UK. About time too.

We’ve had some lovely weather during the last couple of weeks. I’ve sat in the garden working on the laptop and getting a tan. My daughter, who works from home normally, has joined me. So there we both were working away, in the sunshine, in the garden, with our ice cream. Now this is how work should be. Not sitting in a dark room that feels like a prison cell with freezing cold air conditioning.

I could seriously get used to this life.

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Long Term Service

Is it worth staying at a company for more than 5 years? My simple answer is no. Not unless you want to progress into management and climb the ladder of hierarchy.

I’ve been at the same company for 12 years. I was asked, in the past, if I wanted to train as a team manager but I turned it down. The reason being that I’ve done the ‘responsibility’ thing at other companies. I’ve done the jobs where I’ve been in charge of other people, where I’ve been in charge of departments, jobs where I’ve had to exert authority, or where I’ve been in charge of personal details. Jobs where the responsibility meant that I needed to work over often as I needed to make sure that things got done, materials were got in on time, orders could be despatched on time, or staff knew that they were being taken care of in the company. I’ve had the nice job titles that impressed people.

It all changed when, at a particular manufacturing company I was working for, I found that the guys on the shop floor where earning more money than those of us working in the offices. What I mean is that they were earning per week what I and others were making per month. I then found a very nondescript job of entering data that paid the same money and was shorter hours, and it was right across the road from where I lived. Since then I’ve looked for the money and an easy life. 12 years ago I figured the call centre fell right into this category.

For several years I earned a lot in commission from the sales I made. It paid off big time. Then the FCA decided that agents (in any company) should not have commission as the proverbial carrot to motivate us. It was decided that a basic and a small bonus based on quality of calls was what was needed. I lost a lot of money in commission, as did many of my colleagues. However, at my age this job suits me. I feel too old for the responsibility that had in my 20’s and 30’s. I don’t want it any longer. I just want a job that I can do and then it leave at work, so I can go home free from stress.

Over the 12 years I’ve been in different departments and I’ve learnt a lot about the company. You’d think that experience would be greatly appreciated and looked after. Far from it. Those of us who have been there many years are being pushed out of the door, whether they’re trying to fire us for stupid things or whether they’re giving us a 1% pay increase, they are trying to make life difficult for us. People who have been at the company just a short while have had £500 pay rise while us ‘oldies’ have had £150 to put it in a nutshell. They’re saying that they’re trying to level out the pay structure. Experience means nothing.

I’m now in my 50’s and regardless of what the government says, companies do not readily employ older people. I just want an easy life at work but I want to be treated fairly. I want my experience to be worth something. But it seems that loyalty to a company means nothing. Unless I’m eager to climb over people, lick ass, and climb the ladder I’m considered worthless. And how many people in their 50’s want to do this? Ageism is alive and kicking in British companies regardless of what is being said in public.


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It’s Over!

Ok it’s over. We can all get our breath back again. Just another 12 months to wait for it to start up once more. Not long to go.

I had a lovely Christmas spent with family. Playing games and eating a really nice dinner. Lots of chocolates going round. And bloody awful TV! Apart from Mrs Brown’s Boys, which makes me laugh even after watching it 8 times, there was nothing at all decent on the box. We ended up watching my grandson’s new DVD, Horrid Henry, about 12 times. Some of the family wanted to see the news but it was so full of doom and gloom, so utterly depressing, that it was banned.

Tomorrow I’m back at work. How utterly exciting. Can’t wait. (Pure sarcasm there.)

I’m so glad I wasn’t in this weekend. I can just imagine what they’ve had to deal with. All the customers who have had problems over Christmas and have been trying to get through to claims but keep pressing the wrong options and getting no one. The very first option is ‘if you want an engineer’. There are many people who don’t press option 1. They could have no heating, or water leaking through the ceiling, but they’ll still press ‘for any other enquiry’ option. When we get back to work they come through and have a go at us, like it’s our fault that they can’t be bothered to listen.

Oh yes, I can’t wait to get back to work.

 

 


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The Right People To Work Here

The higher ranks of the company have mentioned recently that they want the right kind of people for the job. Mentioned several times actually. They have also said that anyone who does not have the right attitude should go elsewhere.

During a meeting last week where we were discussing what would make the company an even better place to work for, one of the directors began to ask people if they would like more facilities to help with religious matters. He mentioned praying facilities, better facilities to wash feet, and anything else that people may find beneficial. Well I jumped at him.

‘This is a place of work not a place of worship.’ I said.

‘Oh but we need the right kind of people for the job.’ He replied.

So am I take it that non-religious people are not the right people for the job? Lovely case of discrimination if that’s right. Or does the company prefer people spending their time praying and washing their feet rather than actually doing the work they are employed to do? Surely the ‘right kind of people’ do their job at work and personal issues, such as religion, occupy them outside of work.

Why do some people expect the work place to accommodate their worship preferences? If you worship a God, whatever God it may be, then shouldn’t you be thinking about that deity at all times, not just in worship? And shouldn’t your actions belie the religion you follow? For instance, if you believe that God created everything and is the prime artist, then shouldn’t you be treating the artists work as being priceless, in every form it comes in? Should you not be working to the best of your ability in honour of the fact that God provided the job for you? Or should you be wasting the time of other people by washing your feet and spending your time praying? I can’t see any God thinking a time waster or work skiver is worthy follower to have.


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Internet At Work

We’ve at long last been given some access to the internet at work. It’s been a long time getting and it’s very limited. However we are able to do a bit of Christmas shopping while doing our work, on Amazon and Ebay. Trouble is we can’t be in when it’s delivered as we’re at work!

Next week is Black Friday when many stores cut their prices – just in case you didn’t know. Could be some good Christmas bargains out there. Enjoy your shopping!

 

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Why Work In A Call Centre?

I began to write a blog about the day to day experience of my working life. I’ve been working at the call centre for over 11 years now and this seemed like a good way of getting rid of stress and of laughing at some of the stupid things that can happen at work.

I have never mentioned the name of the company I work for – I don’t particularly want to be on the end of a lawsuit, although I sometimes think that being fired would come in very handy. I also don’t mention the names of any colleagues or customers for the same reason. Saying that I think I manage to convey what is going on reasonably well.

You may wonder why I’m working in a call centre. Well the reason is very simple. I got sick of being treated like a pack horse and being plied with responsibility while being paid peanuts.

I began my working life as an office junior after a year at secretarial college. I picked up the ropes very quickly and eight months later I landed a job as branch secretary/PA to general manager at a different company. A few years later I left to have my daughter.

After maternity I began working at a foundry as a buying assistant/materials controller. I loved it. I stayed for several years but in the end it was the pay that made me look elsewhere. Along came the position of secretary to three lawyers. After a few years there I moved on to a new company as materials controller. It was here that I had my eyes opened.

I remember one of the foreman on the shop floor complaining about his pay. He was in charge of people using machinery and would he would let me know if any raw materials were running low. He showed me his pay slip and said it was for one week but the company had short paid him. They were paying him more in one week then what I got for the month and I was far more qualified. I then found out that the guy who swept the shop floor and did the occasional delivery was on more than double what I was receiving. He had no qualifications whatsoever except a driving licence.

Well that did it. I wondered why I was working for pennies and being laden with so much responsibility. So I began to look at the job market. Guess what? I found a part-time job inputting data for the same money I was getting as materials controller. I went for it. Typing in figures and having my afternoons free. And it was a five-minute walk from where I lived.

After that I went into sales. I realised that this was where the money was and it was up to me to put the work in. No responsibility and I could double my basic pay easily every month with commission. I’ve done this now for several years.

Of course all good things come to an end. The commission was not compulsory so it could be removed at any time. Now the Financial Conduct Authority no longer want sales staff rewarded by monetary means, so the commission has disappeared.

Working in the call centre is no longer as profitable as it once was.