My Mission And Ground Rules

On Monday, I start looking for some telemarketing work.  Not the work I really want to be doing, but at 41, I have to pay my bills, and I have to look for some greener pastures in my life.  I am not a child anymore, haven’t been for a long time, and it is time I face up to that.

So let me explain what it is I’m looking for specifically.  They are my ground rules, and depending on your respective situations, they might be good rules of the road for you, too.  Basically, it comes down to a few things.

Point One: at minimum, the job must pay an hourly wage in order for me to take it.  This currently varies from job to job here in Pinellas County.  Most jobs are hourly or commission, whichever is the greater amount.  The bad part about these jobs is you have to earn the same money twice, but at least you are guaranteed something.  Now, an hourly plus commission job is a much better prospect, and those jobs are fewer and far between.  Any commission only job should be avoided, because you stand the risk of losing money to work.  Work should not be a gamble.

Point Two: the job should allow me a day to notify friends and family to inform them of my plans before I begin.  For example, if I take the job on Monday, I shouldn’t have to start it until Tuesday.  A small point, yes.  But you would be surprised how many companies do not offer you that courtesy.  A few years ago, I applied at a place off of US 19 in Clearwater who put me on the phones right away without bothering to tell me that this was their intention.  Wound up staying there all of 20-30 minutes.  If an employer doesn’t treat me fairly right away, then they’re not going to treat me any fairer as time moves along.  Get out and get someone who will.

Point Three: the job should give me at least three days off out of every fourteen.  If an employer wants to work you six days a week, they will burn you out.  If they’re willing to burn you out, then they do not care about you.  You are just another easily expendable piece of meat to them.  Now, because of my situation at the present time, I may waive this rule, depending on the situation I encounter.

Point Four: if the checks bounce, that’s an immediate resignation.  If I can’t cash my check, I can’t make money.  That’s a no brainer.  If I believe I’m shorted (not being paid what I made), I will stay at the employer until it happens on three different occasions.

Point Five: I try to avoid places with strict dress codes, because it’s a brainwashing/cooperation game that’s unnecessary.  The one place that wanted to talk to me “about my future,” Dial America, has a strict dress code, to the point where you can’t have piercings.  Tattoos must be covered up.  I have neither piercings and tattoos, but when you’re calling people up on the phone all day, who is going to see you?

So I’ll see what happens on Monday.  I think I’ll be able to get something rather quickly.  It just boils down to one question: at what price?


Legalized Extortion

Another problem with being a telemarketer in Florida is what the state is doing with this whole licensing business.

First off, let me state clearly that there are scumbags running these call centers.  But they are not ALL scumbags.  Not only do they attempt to bleed the people dry on the otther end of the phone, they do likewise to their own employees.

In the middle of the 2000’s decade, the state of Florida decided that if you’re going to be a telemarketer in the state, you’re going to have to shell out 50 bucks or so to be licensed.  When I first ran into this at Suntasia Marketing in 2004 (where I thought the rules were so predatory against employees I left training after about an hour and never came back), I thought it was a joke.  It wasn’t.  I started running into more and more firms that starting kissing the state’s collective ass.

You may think that licensing telemarketers is a good thing.  On the surface, this would be true.  But licensing does not protect the customers from fraud, nor the employees from being fleeced by their own bosses.  Nor does it improve working conditions at these boiler rooms or other such offices.

To get a license to be a telemarketer in Florida, you have to tell them everywhere you’ve worked, plus every telemarketing firm, office, or boiler room you’ve worked in the past three years.  So this appears to be nothing more than information gathering.  Every telemarketer has probably been a few other places, because of the high turnover rate the business seems to have.  So the state gets that information and can check who is licensed and who is not.

In the spring of 2012, the state busted some firms in central Pinellas County, such as United Marketing Solutions, where I was once employed in 2004 when they were United Marketing.  If you’re licensed, you’re good.  If you’re not, you’re deemed illegal.

My mission on Monday: to apply at a place where a telemarketing license is advertised as not being required.  Seems to be a good place to begin.

Dress Codes And Other Nonsense

So Dial America in Clearwater wants to talk to me about working for them. Yes, I applied to them last Wednesday night, and yes I went through their silly assessment test.

The test bills itself as having no wrong answers. Note to all prospective professional telemarketers: if a test is billed as having no wrong answers, there usually are wrong answers.

I will decline the offer to work there, though. They have a business casual dress code.

Why do some call centers have dress codes? It defies logic. Its not like the people you call up can SEE you on the other end of the phone.  It screams of anal retentiveness. And those who defend such a practice swear up and down that if you look professional, you will feel professional.

To that I say: bullshit. If someone is comfortable, they got one less thing to worry about. I’m not saying men should be proudly showing ass crack, or women should be showing off tramp stamp tattoos that are the rage these days. Dress responsibly.

Dress codes in boiler rooms speak to two things. One, a lack of individuality. Two, the people who run these companies don’t want people who can’t afford business casual attire working for them. Kind of a hidden discrimination.

Even though a lot of people that need these kind of jobs are the very type of people who probably can’t afford business casual clothes. So more or less, they defeat their own purpose, but that’s not my problem, nor will it be made mine.

Dial America, I am crossing you off of the list.