Sunday, August 07, 2005

Can Ice Cream Solve the World's Problems?

My freezer currently has three pints of ice cream in it. Along with the pints, I have a ColdStone Creamery bucket and a box of Pudding Pops. At work yesterday, I ate a orange dream bar and had a piece of ice cream cake.

Ice cream makes me happy. I don't know why. Maybe I am remembering the joy of running out of the house when I heard the chimes of the ice cream truck (oh, the Pink Panther bars! I loved those! Bubble gum flavored ice cream and gum ball eyes! Yummy.)

What I do know is that when I got to work yesterday, there was a voicemail with bad news on it and I was furious and frustrated beyond belief. So I started eating ice cream. My hips won't enjoy this later, but it did help me function through the day.

Our call center, like many other call centers, has an attendance policy. It is rather lenient in the fact it allows people to be out sick 6 times before they lose their job. And people can earn back time. Maybe the problem is that the policy is too lax and people end up abusing the policy because of the extra time. Then an actual emergency or illness happens and they lose their jobs.

On Friday, I had to place a banker on a final warning. Unless the banker had perfect attendance through the end of September, their employment would be terminated.

That banker got sick and called in on Saturday. When I listened to the message, I let out a bit of an exasperated scream. Every time I walked by the empty desk, still full of pictures, I groaned internally. I do not want to fire this person, yet I must.

It makes me so angry! This is a person that I've worked hard at getting to be a performing banker. She started off slow and is now to the a-ha! part of her work where she gets it and is doing well. But all the absences were her decision. She is the one who decided not to stick it out the first 5 times. Then when she actually got sick, she is losing her job.

Now, if she had actually been sick the previous times, I would try to see if we could fight the policy. But unfortunately, the other times were just days she didn't feel like working. It just makes me angry. ARGH!

On a different note, still about work, I do have success stories. The six new bankers are performing fantastically. Our team actually has the highest sales rate of all the teams on my boss's side (there are two sides and each has 5 - 6 teams of bankers). As the bankers build up their sales base, their closed sales rate and profit go up. Our team's closed rate and profit increases each week. Our handle time is not something I like looking at right now, but I do expect it to be a bit high, especially with the fact we have NO senior bankers on our team. Our quality scores are getting better all the time as well.

We got three brand new bankers again. There are two more in training and another to start training this upcoming week. I'm excited still and love the fact the team has grown so much. Steve, the team lead, is doing great. You should see him at work. Every day he feels better and he is getting more and more comfortable around the bankers. He is even starting to open up a bit around me and he is so much fun to work with. We've only had one disagreement (which worked out in my favor) and it had very little to do with our team.

Tangent: The disagreement was over Steve's schedule. Our helpdesk manager approached him (without consulting me first, this is where my major issue was) to ask if he could switch to a daytime shift. Our team is primarily night time bankers. I want him there to help the team. Steve would like to work days (because he is a young man and would like a life) and I would like him there at night. I asked him, "Do you really think there is a benefit to having you here during the day time when our team works at night?" He agreed that it wouldn't help the team, it would just be nice for him. As it turns out, the day time hours are not an option, but Steve was quite aware of the fact I wanted him to stay on nights, since that is what I hired him to work.

We are doing well at work. It takes time for a new team to be established and we're getting there. It takes a ton of effort but the reward is fantastic. And then the connections I start making with the bankers make me smile.

For example, there is a banker on the team who works nights right now. She wants a schedule change to work the opening shift. If this happens, I would ask that she be switched teams. She performs great and I love her numbers, but it is not fair to her to work and never see her supervisor or team lead. And I wouldn't switch Steve to benefit one person when there are 16 others who need him. When she started, she had some major issues. She is an emotional person and would cry because the job requires she talks to customers instead of talking to her co-workers all night long. I finally found something she and I could talk about and now she loves coming to work and talking with me. We talk about scrapbooking.

Her schedule change was approved. I told her that because of the change of hours, she may be put on another team. She said to me, "But I like you! I don't want to be on another team." When I asked her how she would feel if she never saw me, Steve, or any of the other bankers on our team, she did respond, "Yeah, it makes more sense. I like all of you, but I don't want to sit here by myself." She knows that I don't want to move her away, I just want her to be happy. I consider this a success.

Enough about work. It's my weekend and I'm going to my dad's and karaoke and I should just bask in the fact I'm not being pulled in twenty different directions.

Oh, wait. Another funny work story. It is official and Andy (my previous supervisor and great friend) is being moved to our sales-only teams. He is from a program that the company put a ton of money into and so he doesn't actually stay in one job for an extended period of time. It's not his decision to move, but it is a good thing for him. I'm sad that he is moving to the other side of the building, but I know it is good for him. The team I used to lead is getting a new manager from this same program. They have a new lead and a new supervisor and many of the bankers are in a high turnover state. (I do have to smile about the fact that when I was the lead and we had three different managers, we never had a huge turnover. The bankers liked having me around to be a stable force on the team.)

The funny part of this story is the fact we had an all-supervisor meeting to hear the announcement (which Andy had told me long before the meeting). At the meeting, we were talking about having a new supervisor around. The call center hired two new supervisors recently, myself and a guy named Charlie. Charlie was actually hired about a month before I was. So I should be the new kid on the block, right? This does not seem to be the case.

At the meeting, someone said, "Hey, Charlie! You won't be the newest supervisor anymore." Everyone laughed and I sat there confused with Andy. Andy even said, "Um, Beth is the newest supervisor." Everyone seemed to think that this was not the truth and just accepts me. Charlie has had his battles. I guess that makes me feel good.