Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Help Desk Hell Hole

I spend a lot of my time sitting in help desk hold-music purgatory. It's just a part of the job when you work in the glamorous telecommunications industry. You know those long waits on the phone where you hope and pray that you'll get an actual person on the line just so you can do something easy, like change your billing address or something mundane like that; you know those calls? You know how irritating and long and painful they are? That's a big part of my day.

It is not unusual to spend an hour on hold just to speak with a representative from AT&T. Normally, I wouldn't wait an hour to speak to the freaking Godfather, much less some soulless cog in AT&T's intricately evil corporate machinery (no offense, AT&T). But the shitty thing is you can't just hang up and call back later because if you hang up you lose your spot in the line. Then when you call back, the wait will probably be even longer because you start at the back of the line and work your way forward. God help you if you don't take a trip to the bathroom before you get on the line.

So, as a result, I spend much of my day trapped on the phone trying to think of ways to keep from rapidly losing my mind. I'll multitask and do whatever work I can get done but inevitably I'll run out and as a result end up sitting and staring at my computer screen contemplating the nature of death.

I'm therefore compiling a list of things one can do while waiting on the phone to pass the time. This is, obviously, only a partial list. If you people have any recommendations, please leave them in the comment section. Here's what I have so far:

THINGS TO DO WITH YOURSELF WHILE WAITING ON THE PHONE
Compiled by Nat Topping
  1. Rock out to the hold music! Go ahead and dance! Play the air guitar. This one just requires a mind over matter mentality. You're going to enjoy yourself no matter what. Pretend that your at a Hootie and the Blowfish Concert and that the tickets were free so you'll be goddamned if you don't have a good time.
  2. Make up words to your favorite hold music! I have a favorite on the Verizon Business hold line: "We'd love to keep you Verizon Hell/ There's no escaping us/ Hell, your in hell/ and now there's no escaping hell/ no, no, no escaping this hell now."
  3. Practice the art of puppetry! I have become an accomplished hand-puppeteer over the course of a half-year here. Did you know stapler can be a shark given the right imagination? Experiment and see what items on your desk or body parts you can make talk (note: some body parts are inappropriate for use as puppets in the work place. Bear that in mind).
  4. Create elaborate paperclip sculptures! My buddy at work made a little free-standing paper clip man that I keep on my desk. Also note that your paperclip sculptures can be used as puppets. hey, you can tell your boss that you're multitasking!
  5. Teach yourself office martial arts! What office supplies can be used as weapons? The phone as some sort of nunchuks, maybe? Binder clips as throwing starts? Try snatching a pushpin from your own hand. See if you are accurate enough to put a paper clip in your co worker's coffee cup across the room.
  6. Learn to imitate a turrets syndrome patient! Swearing constantly is not only cathartic, given that you are slowly wasting away like a wilting flower and there's nothing you can do, but the streams of obscenity make for some great awkward pauses when the rep finally picks up the other line.
  7. Draw little stick figure cartoons of what you imagine the employees on the other end are doing right now! I used to have a very intricate rendering where the help desk people were too busy sacrificing a goat to answer the ringing phones. I would show it to you but, alas, but it was so elaborately drawn that the work is now hanging in the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.
  8. If all else fails, search for raunchy hardcore porn using the company's internet!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I'll multitask and do whatever work I can get done but inevitably I'll run out and as a result end up sitting and staring at my computer screen contemplating the nature of death"
good.
-smelly buttface.

Your old pod buddy said...

What ever happened to the Nat I used to know? Now he has all these fancy time-fillers. I still stick to the daily sudoku and crosswords. I suggest usaToday's website because they have a sudoku and a corssword. Additionally, post-it drawings are a lot of fun. Realistically, making up lyrics is just an evolution of coordinated humming.

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