Categories: Interesting, Unexpected
Tags: call center, jobs, malicious compliance, reddit, top, white text, work, working

Source: Reddit/AITA/@spartanxba

Wow, this story makes working in a call center somehow even worse than how I thought it would be…

And that’s really saying something!

But let’s get on to the story: check out how this worker dealt with management at their job that just couldn’t seem to get their heads on straight.

Management was “Not Ready” for my compliance.

“About 20 years ago, I worked in the call center at a budding payment processing company.

The main performance metric was the “Time Service Factor” (TSF), which required answering 80% of calls within 20 seconds. Due to a constant queue of calls, achieving this goal was impossible. Customers were unhappy. Management was unhappy. The stage was set.

This was going to be interesting…

Enter “tech support.” I was hired fresh out of high school to be the call center’s sole “tech support” and handle customer-facing application migrations. In retrospect, they basically brought me on as a project manager and systems consultant, but I didn’t know any better.

Unfortunately, our telephone system did not direct callers based on specialization/skillsets, so when customers called in specifically for tech support, there was a 1 in 15 chance of getting the lone tech support agent.

Management was pretty clueless…

Instead of investing in more tech support staff and overhauling the phone VRU (menu), management decided the best system was to have representatives physically line up at my desk.

It was frustrating and extremely overwhelming to balance my migration projects and the queue of callers that were waiting for me. So I adapted by remaining in “not ready,” as much as possible.

“Not ready” means your line will only ring for direct calls, but only my team had my direct line. Things were going smoother in terms of handling “tech” calls, people were lining up less, but management was not happy that the TSF goal was not being met.

Then one day my lead pulled me aside and confronted me with my telephone stats. My “not ready” times were 10x everyone else’s, to which I reminded them that I’m the only technician, and if 14 other people were lined up at my cubicle then they’re clogging the lines with people on hold waiting for me.

Management did not care, I had a special skill, but I was not special enough to be exempt from the metric.

No more “not ready.”


Cue malicious compliance.

I pretended my “not ready” button no longer existed and went about being a rank and file call center rep.

The moment I was done with one call, I had to pick up the next.

This meant during migration waves and outages, there were moments where my entire team was lined up at my desk waiting to transfer their callers to me.

Just following the rules!

After about 10-15 minutes of just seething by my cubicle’s window, some began to confront me. I explained that I was forbidden from using “not ready” to keep my line open, the call queue would have to die down completely until my line was open to accept a transfer call.

You could cut the tension with a knife. TSF continued to tank, then call abandon rates skyrocketed. Customers were unhappy. Management was unhappy.

So management did the obvious thing and hired more technicians right? Right?


They never learn…

First, the new protocol was to post a sticky note with the customer’s callback number and ticket# on my desk, tell the customer to expect my callback, hang up, then take the next call.

From then on, I was expressly only allowed to conduct the callbacks when there were fewer than 10 callers on hold.

Second, they took 2 of the regular call center boomers and sat them with me to job shadow.

Third, they tasked my lead with standing over my shoulder to observe my daily activities.

What I showed the team lead was that for every 2-3 tickets I closed out, 10 more callback tickets would roll in.

What he actually ended up doing was reprimanding me for having a high “RONA” (roll over not answered) count because I’d let some calls roll over if they snuck in while I was doing morning callbacks.

This place was going down the toilet.

Abject dismay.

The nightmare finally ended with the mortgage crisis.

Management’s brilliant business acumen had lead the company to insolvency.

I jumped ship to complete my college education, then the company shutdown about a year later.”

Check out how folks reacted on Reddit.

This person summed it up perfectly.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another Reddit user thinks they know what really happened here.

Source: Reddit/AITA

One individual talked about how things work in America.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This reader talked about the big problem…

Source: Reddit/AITA

Some people, I tell ya…

They never learn!