Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ode to my Survival Job, or Breaking News: I Have a Job Part II

A few months ago, I breathlessly announced that I'd landed a job after over a year of looking. I'd also mentioned that it wasn't a great one, but I didn't add that I went into it with few hopes for anything other than a paycheck.

What a relief and pleasant surprise it was, then, to find a positive and supportive work environment. I'm leaving this job soon for a full-time position, with benefits. When I got the offer, it should have been a no-brainer, but this job was so hard to walk away from.

Why? Like every good environment, it starts from the top. My boss started with the organization doing part-time phone sales, just like my co-workers and I. So he knew what it was like to do our job. He knew the challenges we faced, he knew how hard it could be to call someone away from their dinner and push through their resistance to get the sale. So, he respected what we did. He also provided endless constructive criticism to help us do better. Key word, constructive. He never made anyone feel bad about themselves. He never made anyone so insecure that they didn't want to pick up the phone. He never made us afraid to ask questions or bring ideas to him.

He also hired quality people. It could have been a petty, sniping, competitive environment. But, everyone was very nice. Everyone wanted to see one another succeed. No one played stupid head games, or sucked up at anyone else's expense. When a new person came on board, there wasn't any "FNG" syndrome: they tried to get to know you and make you feel welcome.

Even the work itself wasn't bad. If you're ever faced with taking a phone job, don't be too scared. I was working for a cultural organization and theoretically calling a decent sort of person, but I encountered very few utter jerks. I would estimate my calls resulted in about 70% answering machines, 25% nice people, and 5% jerks. I enjoyed my 25%. I enjoyed chatting with the old ladies who came out with their friends. I enjoyed talking to the couple my age who were trying a subscription for the first time. I liked the old guy who decided to stretch himself and come out to some classical music, even though he'd never done so before. I liked helping the man who was a bit strapped for cash but loved our organization find a way to stay involved.

I'll miss all of it. I even thought about trying to stay, and my supervisor assured me that the door's open if I ever want to come back. I may do so. I'm excited about this new job, but still sad for what I'm leaving behind. You know that you have a hell of a good boss when he advises you to take the better opportunity!

So, I start my new job on Wednesday. I'll be writing full-time!

1 comment:

Stella Devine said...

Hooray! I am stoked for you. It's great that your interim job was such a supportive stepping stone to something more permanent. I had a similar transition to my current role, and it was really hard to walk away from the nice job with nice people. To my elation, I've walked into an even better job, with just as lovely people. Hope the same is true for you.