The morning crawled by. The snow has gone along with the ice and everyone was back at their desks.
Well, almost everyone, Billy didn’t turn up.
“That boy is skating on thin ice,” Masher said. “He’s phoned in sick again. Says he slipped on the ice.”
“How many times has he been off now?” Gunbir asked.
“Three in the last three months,” said Masher. “He’ll be on a stage three when he comes back after Christmas.”
When I got the chance I asked Panda what a stage three was.
“Don’t they tell you anything in training?” she laughed.
“If you go sick you get put on a stage. Stage one for the first time, stage two if you’re sick again within three months, then stage three and you get a written warning.”
“What happens if you’re sick again?”
“Stage four and out the door,” she gestured towards the door. “No excuses, no questions.”
“What, even if you’re really sick, with a doctor’s certificate and everything.”
This place gets worse and worse.
“If you’re not on a call you should be reading through you’re product brochure,” Ali Rana said when he saw us talking. “Maybe your sales would improve if you knew a bit more about what you were selling.”
A little later he called me into the pod.
“You need to focus on the fact that you’re still on your three month probation,” he said after he’d given me the ‘you’ve got a new manager now,’ speech. Your talk time is still way too high and you’re sales average is the lowest on the team.”
I was pretty sure it wasn’t but I was too stunned to actually say anything. Instead I just looked at the floor and nodded, trying not to cry. Panda’s right he’s a cock. This job is bad enough without an idiot like him giving everyone grief.
At one o’clock the phone lines closed and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Computers were switched off, people gathered coats, the lads were all off to the pub for a pre Christmas drink, Panda was off for some last minute shopping, Eloilia was picking up her little boy. With cries of Happy Christmas we all piled into the lifts and left the building. Rae and I waved at everyone as we made for the car park.
So it’s all over. No more work until Tuesday. No more calls about kitchen appliances. I don’t even want to see a Mad House advert on TV for the next four days. In fact, at the first hint of that damned music, the same music we hear when we’re on hold, or the slightest glimpse of the stupid cartoon people they use, I will change channels.