Looking for a new way to feel completely demoralized and become sure that you’re a social leper? Might I suggest becoming a freelance writer?
I’m working on yet another newsletter article for Bob’s Mattress Shack. Bob himself is a real nice guy. People love Bob, and agree to whatever he asks of them. However, when Bob asks people to talk to me for a newsletter article? They tell him, “Of course, anything for you, Bob!” And then they tell me … nada.
Like, they don’t take my calls. They don’t return my calls. They screen my calls.
One guy put me on hold for so long that it took me back to the fateful summer when I waited too long to procure summer employment. The pickin’s were slim, and so I worked … as a telemarketer.
Yes. I called people with Conoco credit cards and offered them life insurance. It was miserable.
If you ever wonder where dreams go to die, look no further than a telemarketing floor. Nobody grows up wanting to be a telemarketer. And as if having a job you don’t like isn’t enough, that job you don’t like involves people actively hating you.
I got yelled at, hung up on, and called names. And yes, folks would set the phone down to go get the person I asked for … and they’d just leave. I sit there and wait and wait and wait, while my stats tanked. I knew my supervisor with the leather tie and safety-pinned “dress” pants would be mad, but it was so nice to have a moment when I wasn’t actively being crapped upon. Sitting in silence was actually preferable to real human interaction.
There were some bright spots. I spoke at length to some very lonely people. I was miserable, they were lonely, and we cheered each other up. Also, if you’re looking for a vocation that will keep you in school, out-bound telemarketing is it. I think only shoveling shit could be worse.
So, this time around, with the guys who don’t want to talk to me about Bob’s Mattress Shack? Well, I’m sure they’re busy. But for the love, is it really so hard to just say, “No, thank you?” If you can’t tell Bob, tell me. Stop wasting my time. As much as I hate confrontation, if I – of all people! – am telling you to be vocal? Perhaps you should do it.
The difference between interviewing for a newsletter article and telemarketing for Conoco life insurance is that I’m a touch mellower now. Bob’s Mattress Shack hasn’t made me cry, and I cried almost every day telemarketing. It was difficult for 19-year-old me to be very, very bad at something.
I was a horrible telemarketer. People would tell me “no” and I’d be all, “OK, thanks for not calling me a low-life telemarketing bitch” instead of going into the 3 scripted retorts. My coworkers would take smoke breaks and slam cans of Jolt and I’d be the quiet college girl drying her eyes in the bathroom, taking it all way too personally.
One guy I called politely turned down the life insurance, and as he was hanging up, I heard his conversation with a friend. “Dang,” he said, “She sounded hot.”
So, if writing doesn’t work out, I guess there’s always phone sex.