26 October 2009 – meeting the new team

Feeling like sysiphus

Feeling like sisyphus

After a weekend spent mainly sitting on the sofa in front of the tv trying hard to keep my eyes open, broken up only with the odd trip to the loo, lots of coffee (hence the trips to the loo) and some very half hearted cooking it was no surprise that this morning’s weigh in revealed no weight loss. Actually it was a surprise, mainly because I somehow managed to scrape together a stayed the same rather than the expected gain.

There has been no exercise. There have been too many lattes. The only saving grace is that tiredness leaves me hardly able to lift a fork when it comes to my evening meal. Currently eating takes second place to sleeping. In fact I have found myself dozing off with a fork half way to my mouth on more than one occasion. This is not a sustainable lifestyle.

Since I started this training I’ve gained two pounds. It may not seem like much but the alarm bells are ringing. I need to get on top of this and quickly. If I don’t I can see myself ending up right back where I started and it’s a place I don’t want to revisit, ever! Perhaps when the training is over and my head isn’t a whirl of facts, figures and worries about ballsing everything up or failing and losing this horrible job (which actually sounds like a bonus right about now) I can get into some sort of routine. Right now though it seems endless, like sisyphus forever rolling a bloody great boulder up a bloody great hill.

After yet another morning of training room fun, including some practice in setting up payment plans, I got to spend the afternoon with my new team. This was, on the one hand, quite exciting because it was something other than endless practice and lectures and, on the other, terrifying because I would be speaking to actual customers and meeting the people I’m going to be working with from now on.

My first worry was, as ever, that I was going to be the fattest and the oldest. Straight off I could see I was neither which was a good start. The team were all plugged into their headsets so it wasn’t really meeting them so much as being looked at briefly before heads were buried in screens. The only two people I met and spoke to were the manager, Maddie, and my mentor, Gunbir.

Maddie was stick thin, pretty and young enough to be my daughter. We went off into a little glass pod for a chat before I joined the team. She’d had a good read of my CV and seemed to think I was destined for management, maybe because of my previous managerial jobs or maybe because I’m old, therefore possibly wise (hmm, lets see if she still thinks that after a couple of weeks). I’m not exactly sure that is a path I want to take, although it would have the advantage of getting me off the phones I suppose. Not wanting to burn any possible management bridges I muttered something about not wanting to run before I could walk which seemed to satisfy her.

Gunbir was even younger, the same age as Mini Commando, and very laid back about life. He could only be described as pretty, with and elfin face, big liquid black eyes and a rather unusual hair do, silky black curls scraped back from his face with a stretchy black hair band into a kind of Pom Pom of shiny curls on top of his head. His fine boned, small frame made him seem almost girlish but not in a gay way.

In honour of my meeting the team afternoon I’d worn my best black skirt and matching jacket along with a white blouse. Maybe that was what gave Maddie the managerial ideas because everyone else was so dressed down I felt out of place and overdressed. Gunbir was wearing the baggiest jeans I’ve ever seen and a black hoodie with huge, brilliant white trainers.

The idea of a mentor is to have someone sitting beside me for my first weeks on the team to talk me through things I don’t understand (that’ll be everything then) and help me settle in. Gunbir said, “basically, I get to toss it off for a few weeks while you do all the work. It’s brilliant, I don’t even have any targets and it gets me off the phones. Getting off the phones is better than sex, well, almost.”

Today though, Gunbir didn’t get off the phones because my first afternoon was to be spent listening in to his calls using a special two way headset. The point was to try to follow what he was doing. Within seconds it became obvious this was going to be impossible, his fingers flew so fast over the keyboard and he flipped from screen to screen, thirteen of them in total (they never told us about that in training) that I couldn’t keep up. In the end I stopped trying and just concentrated on the conversations, what the customers were asking, the answers he was giving. Between each call I got to ask questions. Gunbir, bless his heart, didn’t seem to mind my total stupidity and answered each with good grace and humour.

At the end of the afternoon, at least for me because I finished at five thirty whereas the team stayed until eight, he said, “I like you, you’re funny.” So I have one friend on the team. I think I’m going to need one.

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