Know Your ABCs
The sales-phrase “Always Be Closing” might as well have originated in a support center.
I know I’ve mentioned several times already that in tech support you must close tickets out. But this truth is so important that I’ll say it again. I could scream it a thousand times and still feel like I hadn’t yet repeated it enough.
You must close to survive. More tickets come are added to your queue whether you are currently working on 10 or 100. It makes no difference. If you’re not closing, you’re sinking in the mire. You might as well go and buy a coffin for your own funeral, because you’re already dead.
When I started the job, I got two or three tickets a day. Mid-way through Year 2, and I was getting five. And they were harder — much, much harder. I had to focus all day every day. It was normal for me to drink three cups of coffee over the course of eight or nine hours, get locked in, and slam through the workload with maximum brutality.
Then there was unpaid overtime. Nearly everyone in support worked a few extra hours here and there in an attempt to keep their own workloads under control. If you were in the middle of troubleshooting a tricky issue and your shift ended, it didn’t benefit you in the slightest to just go home. If you did that, you’d forget where you were in your trace and have to start it all over again the next day, with the added pressure of knowing you just got 4 new tickets and you had to get back to those customers ASAP so they don’t start calling in to your manager and complaining which does nothing but add additional overhead and stress to your day while placing you further and further behind.
Whew! Are you still with me?
At any rate, you can see why, if you were fairly near to resolving an issue, you’d be highly motivated to finish the work so you could shut the door on the sucker. If that meant staying until six or six thirty, so be it. Worth it, in most cases. You’d sleep better.
Because — say it with me now — you must Always Be Closing.
I really like your write ups so far. The page formatting is also spot on.
I definitely know how it is under management that interacts with you on an almost purely negative basis, but having weekly 1:1’s? Ouch. I get through my current job by trying to be the quiet, competent employee – which means I’m somewhat appreciated, but more importantly left the fuck alone!
Thanks a lot for the feedback on page formatting. I wondered about it. The posts are pretty lengthy for a blog.
Right, weekly 1:1s are just… ugh. I’m more similar to you — very focused, high determination and attention to detail/quality, and therefore I think that my work speaks for itself and I should be exempt from micromanagement. But no. The weekly touchpoints must continue! There’s always room for improvement! The bar is always rising!
MY first salary job included weekly 1:1s… IN ADDITION to weekly team meetings. They are torture
Liked the LOTR references, if only work were so glorious and meaningful. Once that trilogy ended, all was right with the world (although it does drag on a little too long after the scene at Mt. Doom…) In reality, the analogy would be that, before computers, goblins were more like Balrogs, less common but more difficult to defeat (Great Depression, WWII). Globalization, computerization, communication helped keep the goblins from getting too big to handle, but that means they are constantly being fought to keep everything working. Ultimately, the goblins will always be there, our job is to take on the battle from the previous generation and hope we don’t have to deal with any more Balrogs… Enjoying the series!
I love the extended analogy, btw, very cool. Are you saying that since I’ve completed my trilogy of Job Experience Posts, so I should be done? 😉 Unfortunately many years of work follow. I keep thinking the that each year I’ll have less to say, but when I start unpacking the history, there’s a ton of stuff there. Believe it or not these posts represent an effort to keep the overall length somewhat manageable. I know, I know — I need to try harder.
Wouldn’t that be awesome, if we put in 3 years and were done! Then could cuddle up in our hobbit-hole and reflect on the nuances of those years for the next 30 years… That would be an acceptable situation, probably for everyone, as opposed to 30 yrs of work and a few interesting musings from the minority. Hollywood and Penguin do not dominate the market on telling life’s story, we do. Keep on keeping on bro!
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I’m surprised how similar the daily grind is, even in such different professions! Your description of tech support reminds me of my couple years doing phone triage as a nurse. Just one minute between calls to document recommendations/forward to doctor/make appointment/take whatever necessary action. Messages and phone calls bouncing back and forth to doctors, patients, pharmacies, nursing homes, hospitals. We also had a “bucket” of outgoing calls to make–completion required by the end of the day, whether or not incoming calls slowed. In any case, there were always problems to solve, people to contact. I’m really fortunate in my new job! So much less stress, better pay. I’m 25 years old, unsure when I’ll attain FI. I’d like to think by 40, but with an estimated 2 kids in the future and the financial volatility of my husband farming FT, only time will tell! Devoured MMM, now your blog. Really helping me understand the logistics of FI. Slightly jealous of you guys with the high tech/engineering incomes! Hope you’re thoroughly enjoying your almost 2 years (so far) of FIRE!
Wow, the similarities continue! I had an on call rotation too–usually every 6th weekend Carrying around the phone felt like prison…I never did get used to it either.