A Day of Remembering

With Remembrance Day approaching us this week, I am reminded that I have zany employee stories for every occasion, even this one.

Right or not, most call centres are open Remembrance Day and don’t even stop for an official moment of silence at 11am. They will usually offer employees the opportunity to take that one minute for themselves, should they desire it.

In my cynical call centre management view, I am surprised by how few employees actually take this opportunity, giving that it means a brief respite from their phone duty, if nothing else.

We did have one employee who was particularly unimpressed with this policy. He was always a bad fit for the call centre business. He hated all of the clients and spoke to them like they were morons. (Plenty of the clients were nuts, but we did have normal ones too.)  He was always ranting about something and looked miserable dragging his butt into work each day. He was never going to last.

My boss sent an email to the floor the week before Remembrance Day explaining the company policy to everyone. It wasn’t new, but we always had new employees.

The employee I will call John thought the policy was awful, and at first expressed his displeasure in a professional sounding email to my boss. She responded in an equally professional email stating that she understood his concerns, but the company policy would stand.

I knew nothing of this email exchange while it was happening, so I couldn’t figure out why John threw down his headset and stormed off the floor.

My boss burst from her office to find John, because he had just sent her back an email telling her she was “pathetic”. That’s an exact quote. It was the nicest thing he said in his electronic tirade.

Calling the big boss pathetic is never a good career move. We didn’t have to worry about firing him for this exchange or his other moody behaviour and poor client handling, because John was so mad about the incident that he never came back. I guess his principled stand made life easier for everyone.

While I don’t agree with John’s response, his anger was at least well placed this time. I think all call centres outside of 911 should pause to mark this solemn occasion. Lest we forget.

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