Evil telemarketer says job was just for money

Amy Brown

Amy BrownETC Editor

I was one of those evil telemarketers

During the summer of 2003 I had the best — and worst — job on my resume. For about three months, I was a telemarketer.

I am not a salesperson. I have no ambition in business or marketing. I am a journalism major. When I interviewed for the job, I could not picture myself harassing unsuspecting people over the phone. But when I heard the salary, I figured I could survive the job for a few months.

It paid well, close to $10 an hour, better than any of my prior jobs. I would reluctantly answer when friends asked what I was doing for my summer job. Hey, at least I wasn’t cleaning hotel rooms or working at a fast-food place.

The hours were okay, and I always had Sundays off. The dress code was business casual, but blue jeans were acceptable on Fridays. And my daily grind meant sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day in air conditioning.

I got tired of wearing my headset. And it was frustrating to be hung up on constantly. The half-cubicles we worked in reminded me of Office Space — the movie that co-workers frequently quoted.

Our building even looked like Initech from the movie. The difference was my boss didn’t drive a Porsche, and I never got to knock down any cubicle walls – even though I would have liked to.

After the first month, I was starting to hate my job. But it was a summer job, meant for a few months between my years at SDSU. I survived from June until September, but I was happy to turn in my ID badge on my last day and be escorted out of the building by my boss, as was company policy.

Although it didn’t require a name tag (we had photo IDs instead, much like Office Space) or any embarrassing uniform or funny hat, the job was both the best-paying and the worst job I’ve ever had. I’m not a salesperson, and eventually I didn’t want to be hung up on. I was delighted when the person I was calling wasn’t home.

Working for a good paycheck has obvious economic benefits, but I hated my job so much I counted down the days after giving my two-week notice.

So to any future telemarketer: Be prepared for good pay, crabby people hanging up on you – or swearing at you – or both. But most of all it is a job. And thankfully, in my case, it was only a summer job for three months. I went on to lower paying jobs that were not so hateful. And I developed an “official phone voice” for leaving clear and coherent voicemail messages.

If you do plan to take on a telemarketing job, invest in a copy of Office Space. It will be even funnier after you’ve stared at a computer screen in a tiny cubicle for eight hours a day, five days a week.

Alicia Brown is junior journalism major and philosophy minor.

#1.884443:1000764594.jpg:Alicia Brown.jpg:Ali Brown, Columnist: