I am very happy that I took this customer service position, even though I hope to have another job soon and not have to renew my contract. I would like to be working in my field more. I have applied for writing and editing positions and I hope one of them pans out. If nothing does in the next month and a half I will be sticking out the holiday season working retail. My guess is that they’ll be offering some holiday bonuses, too, but it won’t be overly generous, after all.
I have a post written about the downside of retail which I plan to post after my contract ends. Meanwhile, I don’t mind working the job. I don’t like the company culture which promised to be all rah-rah but isn’t. In my heart I know they criticize way too much and do not ever give us positive feedback. I have gotten plenty of this from customers, though, and even from other departments. I believe this is the number one reason I don’t want to stay there, the negativity and sly dishonesty, which I explain in my future post.
The good part is that I get criticized regularly. Due to trauma my instant response is to get on the defensive when bashed by my employer, or bashed by customers, which happens now and then. I have learned, first how to handle the screamers on the phone who are mad because their $2,000 dresses didn’t arrive, then how to handle the overly critical supervisors. I think the supervisors can be harder to deal with. My coworkers have experienced the same thing and they find it upsetting, too.
I have learned to handle the supervisors just the same as I handle the irate customers. Who the fuck cares who they are, anyway? I will not see them, ever, and they can’t truly harm me. What would such harm look like? What is the worst thing they can do? The worst would be to engineer a police visit to have me hauled off, and that simply won’t happen. They can’t do that in my situation as none of them can access my address. So what is to fear? The worst won’t happen, and beyond that, any other harm is petty.
I have heard of incompetent customer service people pushing customers over the edge by jeering at them or making insensitive commentary. The customer gets irked, gets madder and madder, then, the customer service person phones the cops on them. Why? To prove the customer was the deranged one. It couldn’t possibly be the customer service person, right? Fortunately, I don’t do that, nor does anyone else at our workplace…I hope.
I have had name-calling, swearing, calling me all sorts of things, and even sarcasm. The sarcastic ones generally turn irate and start yelling. This is somewhat of a warning sign.
Here is my recommendation for dealing with irresponsible or verbally abusive behavior. You have to realize that the other person is acting badly. You have to realize that the issue isn’t YOU, it is something else in their lives. You happen to be the nearest and most convenient person, so they are likely to yell at you for anything at all. Realize that you have acted in good faith, that you are not guilty of what they are claiming, such as stupidity, slowness, ignorance, or deliberate rudeness, or in the case of the nasty supervisors, not following their protocol. Even if you messed up, know that you did not do this maliciously as they very well may claim.
Let them yell and do not argue. What is the sense? The yelling will only get worse if you contradict them, so just go along with what they are saying. Agree, then, keep your real opinion to yourself since they are beyond reasoning with. Think of them as you might think of a drunk person. The person is out of character, as is a drunken man, and just dismiss it as that.
Once you realize it’s not you, it’s them, you are totally free of getting upset by inappropriate criticism. You learn that there are times that it’s not even worth it to fight back. If the person is your superior, you won’t succeed anyway, you will only make yourself look bad.
Another possibility is that the rude person is projecting their own fears onto you, that is, the negative character traits that they claim you have they are guilty of themselves.
I am gradually getting used to being criticized and even able to ignore it now. Because of psych abuse it was hard to take such rudeness for a couple of years. I felt the urge to fight back, which I was taught in the nuthouses, and now I realize that fighting back is not the right thing to do.
Now I don’t let it bother me because I have acclimated to it. I try to realize that complete strangers are nothing but pebbles. You see pebbles once then you may very well not step there another time. Yelling? Rudeness? It is no longer a big deal.