Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New job

Well, I've been at the new job for two days, and see a tremendous difference from the old one. This place is like a real business, with real bosses, a Human Resources department, Welcome New Employee packets and information, an intro to the company session, explanation of benefits, a 401k plan, and lots of other neat stuff.
Here is some indication of the difference - this is a shot of one of the call center rooms at my old company.

It's a medium size room with small tables stuck side by side with computers. About 80 reps sit at a computer and take incoming calls. When the caller wants to cancel their account the rep tries to talk them out of it - standard business practice. If the caller still wants to cancel the rep raises their hand, and a TO (Take Over) supervisor comes over, takes the rep's seat, and continues the sales pitch. The rep then moves to any open computer and continues to take calls. Lots of noise, constant calls to keep the noise down. No permanent desk, just people moving from computer to computer whenever a TO has to take the call.
Here is the call center at my new company

Does it look a little different? Each rep has their own work area, with low cubicle walls and a permanent desk. They put up pictures and cards and stuff. The floating number balloons are visual indicators from the company of people's worth - given at the start of the year for people who have been there for 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 years (the company has been here 9 years). About a third of the reps here have numbers floating over their cubes. Relatively quiet. And nobody yelling.
At my old company, which has been around 8 years, the person at the call center that has been there the longest has about 18 months on the job. Out of 100 or so in that center the turnover is about 10 per week (or more). So you can calculate that the average stay is - drumroll - 5 weeks! Some longevity. Leadership by threat - "if you don't follow the script word for word you are fired, no warning or second chance" - some motivation.
I've already completed one project, and started on another. Trying to learn the new system. At the old place we just kept track of things to do, tested ourselves, and put new programs right into production. Most things died after running a few minutes, no matter how well you tested the users pressed different keys and did things we could not anticipate. At the new place there is a formal change request process, analysts that review requests, a formal testing area and sign off process, and real documentation. And this place has fewer employees than the last. Big difference between having two almost hands on owners that have no leadership training or ability and a real corporation.
And now for something completely different - a clear day today, after solid rain yesterday. We had a record rainfall for one day in January - are you ready for this - of .78 of an inch. Yes, a little over three quarters of an inch of rain. Flooding everywhere, over 400 reported traffic accidents due to stupid drivers, and two feet of snow up at Mt. Charleston (45 minutes away). The valley is ringed with snow covered mountains, sparkling in the sunshine today.
But I am captivated by the blue sky - this was my first view Sunday going out for the paper -

I really like it here, even better now with a new job.

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