In my second year working technical support, the weeks start to fly by, especially when compared to the first.
This is a sure sign that I’ve completed the initial adaptation to the job. When everything is brand new, time slows down as you learn to respond to stimulus you’ve never experienced before. But at this point, much of the day-to-day slog is routine. There’s no need to think too hard about what to do when presented with a certain challenging situation — I simply do what I did last time, making it seem like I’m somehow moving faster through life.
I wake up in the morning and follow the same grooming routine. Then I walk to work on the same path. I sit in the same cube. I buy the same set of items for breakfast, and rotate through a few preferred restaurants for lunch. I know who to talk to to help me with problems of Type A, and who to instead hit up for Type B style issues. When we have departmental meetings, I dress a little nicer than usual and pretend to be interested. I’m starting to understand where I can cut corners and where I can’t. Plus, I’m closing lots and lots of tickets out. Although my battles with the queue remain ultimately unwinnable due to enemy respawning, well, at least I’m not losing.
In short, I’m working more efficiently, exactly like a good Year 2 employee should be.
I’m not even the new guy anymore. We’ve got a couple of folks who came on board immediately following the purchase of SoftwareCompany by BiggerSoftwareCompany. I’m doing what I can to train them, when I have cycles.
Like I said, overall, I’ve made the adjustment to work. The only part that I can’t seem to get used to is the unrelenting customer related stress. They get angry. They demand resolution “yesterday.” They seem to number in the hundreds of thousands. My primary motivation to close tickets is not simply to satisfy my manager, Mr. Data. It’s to make the customers go away.
Thankfully, I’m getting better at that. If Year 1 was about getting used to the routine of office life — politics, procedures, and paperwork — then Year 2 is about Getting Better and Faster. I was no longer receiving cherry-picked problems with simple resolutions.
Suddenly I was being leaned on to produce, big time. And producing meant closing tickets. Producing meant giving the job everything I had. Producing meant making sure that the various cameras that monitored my performance were recording some kick-ass information to deliver to Mr. Data.
Because Mr. Data was also hard at work with his numbers and reports. Every week he’d sit down with you and tell you how you were doing. The focus was always on areas that need improvement — rarely things you were doing well. If you lack energy to be pleasant to customers on the phone, it will show up on your “customer satisfaction” survey results. Do you need soft skills training? If your queue depth is too high, it means you’re not closing tickets out quickly enough. Do you have gaps in your technical training? Maybe you’re not filing enough bugs. Or you’re not contributing to the knowledge base. Or your emails have spelling mistakes and typos. Or you’re not logging enough minutes on the phone.
You must appease Mr. Data, or these meetings do not go well.
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