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This is a question Absolute Power

Have you ever been put in a position of power? Did you become a rabid dictator, or did you completely arse it up and end up publicly humiliated? We demand you tell us your stories.

Thanks to The Supreme Crow for the suggestion

(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 14:09)
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I'm the person who decides whether to refund your bank charges or not.
and generally, i'm pretty nice about it and i'll listen and understand. i don't agree with bank charges (if you look at the letter of the law, they ARE fucking illegal whatever the court decision was.) other people i work with act like they're some kind of almighty superhero and take pride in never cutting anyone any slack. those people are arseholes and prannocks and deserve to be punched in the genitalia.

the power trip comes thusly and if you've ever worked in a call centre you'll understand.

people who call up and are nice will get listened to and i'll do all i can to bend the rules to get them their refund or overdraft increase or whatever. people who call up in a rage will also get listened to as long as they don't get personal. i completely get people who call up and say "i'm not having a go at you, you're just doing your job, but you can understand why i'm pissed off." i do understand why they're pissed off and i'll help them out.

but people who call up and swear at you, call you names, talk down to you and threaten you can fuck right off and are going to get precisely nothing. if you can't treat a fellow human being with a bit of decency that's all you deserve.

i once had a nurse who lives in my city tell me that now she knew my name she would make sure i got the shittiest treatment possible should i ever be unfortunate enough to visit her hospital and hoped that day came soon. my manager and i closed her account down for being abusive.

hardly absolute power but still. if you can't treat people with respect you can fuck right off.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 21:58, 35 replies)
I usually phone up, speak to someone at your level and ask to speak to your supervisor before anything is said, because you don't deserve to be shouted at and they probably do
This always results in a nice chat with person at your level and charges refunded/upgrade happening easier than usual.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:09, closed)
You play them like a cheap violin.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:13, closed)
depends where you work at.
half the managers here never worked their way up, they were brought in from the outside so they know less than us about the day to day stuff. we can't put you straight through to one, they call you back within 2 days and they never overturn what the advisor has said unless the advisor fucked up in some monumental way.

however for some places this is totally necessary, like our dreaded customer services department where they pay the staff fuck all and barely train them. even i get pissed off with them but i just remind myself there's a 3 month turnover of staff for a good reason.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:18, closed)
" speak to someone at your level and ask to speak to your supervisor before anything is said, because you don't deserve to be shouted at and they probably do"
i don't understand why a supervisor probably deserves to be shouted at.
it's not like the supervisor determines policy.
supervisors are human people too.
and how can you ask to speak to a supervisor "before anything is said" and then have "a nice chat with a person at your level"? unless you then don't speak to the supervisor but remain talking to the lower level employee?
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:21, closed)
Human people, isn't that an Oxymoron?
I ask to speak to the supervisor, but because as Orestes above has stated, it's not possible to speak to the supervisor, so instead I will continue speaking to the same level person. It is because you have requested to speak to their supervisor because you don't want to shout at them for something that isn't their fault, but are clearly irritated, will take you seriously/not want to piss you off too much. This is easy if you make it clear that you're annoyed but not so much with them because they are simply doing their job.

By supervisor I meant the person who's name is on the letter you've received but is mysteriously never in the office during office hours.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:40, closed)
haha, you NEVER get to speak to the person on the letter!
and generally they ARE the ones that make up the policies and only care about increasing the profit margins and shafting people. that's their job and they never have to answer to it.

but you won't even be able to get within 3 levels of management of talking to them in their fucking glass office.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:54, closed)
Ahh, but if you find out their email address, you can spam them lots and lots and lots :)
Seriously though, I expect that you guys get a lot of shit from people who have gone over their overdraft limits and want someone else to blame for their own stupidity. I've done customer service type roles for too long to be an arsehole to the guys in the firing line and often have nice chats with them instead and they're more than happy to help me out.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:58, closed)
this is brilliant
and if i could give this information away over the phone without being fired i would.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:03, closed)
okay, one question answered. and i think orestes must've answered whilst i was typing.
now then, why does a supervisor probably deserve to be shouted at?
it's not like the supervisor determines policy. and what orestes reports pertains to where orestes works. although we all know there are similarities between organisations. i have always found that with BT/UU/Barclays/BG/HMRC when i ask to speak to a supervisor then there has been one there to speak to me.
I find it somewhat irritating to be offered a "call-back", which generally never happens...
supervisors are human people too.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:05, closed)
If you'll look at my reply properly, you'll see that I have termed 'supervisor' as the person who has signed the letter.
The very person responsible for making that policy. So if the company have gone against this policy and in doing so irritated me, I would rather give that particular person hell than the person on the end of the phone who is just doing their job.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:10, closed)
becky, i do respect you sufficiently to have read your post properly.
my point is this: you cannot imply that someone who signs off a letter is responsible for making the policy contained therein, that will be down to HR and LEGAL. a pro-forma letter from file is what they are signing.
am i not right there?
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:22, closed)
this is correct
but it is normally drafted by the wanker who makes the policies. or more likely by an underling of the wanker that makes the policies because they're far too important to do something like typing a letter.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:28, closed)
as i said...
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:30, closed)
i think i've realised you can't generalise between companies
HR's sole purpose at my work is hiring, firing and getting your wages wrong. legal will tell the policy makers that they can go ahead and levy these ridiculous charges that people complain about but they don't set the policy. person on letter does.

as i've found out elsewhere, it ain't the same everywhere.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:36, closed)
haha, you NEVER get to speak to the person on the letter! and generally they ARE the ones that make up the policies and only care about increasing the profit margins and shafting people. that's their job and they never have to answer to it.
From the mouths of proles (no offence). I'm pretty sure I can assume that they made the policy or had some part in forming it. I expect they were human people once.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:28, closed)
policy comes from HR/LEGAL (or similar level, definitely not "supervisor", it is their job to "oversee" which is what supervisor means). it's not the job of HR to make direct contact with "us"if they can avoid it (£150/hr+) more to instruct the "lowlier ones"(£25/hr) to do such, and to act as a buffer.
I have almost always spoken to the signee of the letter when dealing with the bodies i mentioned in my previous reply and almost always found them to be more than reasonable.
after all, if they get caught being a cnut then they can be well busted.
at least in the real world.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:44, closed)
where you are, maybe
£25 an hour? do you shit gold bullion for a living?

i think my model is pretty much how it works in any bullshitty frontline bank/isp/utility company jobs. HR make more than we do but not THAT much.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:48, closed)
charge-out rate.
not Pay rate.
i was referring to out-sourced HR and Supervisory charge-out rates for private business. not banks maybe, but the real world. i.e. any U.K. based industry not massively subsidised by the government and employing fewer than 10 people (ie the largest per-capita sector in the employment market)
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 0:06, closed)
As a civil servant I often have to write to people, sending official notices and things. My own name and telephone number is at the bottom of those letters, but it doesn't mean I'm a supervisor and it certainly doesn't mean I was the policy maker.

Not sure how banks and other companies do it, but it might be similar?
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:28, closed)
good point
not all companies are like mine. it definitely is the person on the letter here, i suppose i just thought that was universal.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:32, closed)
Absolutely it's not the case for most companies. However, having spoken to the initial advisors and asked who the person is who signed their name, I've found more often than not, they are the decision makers

(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:41, closed)
there is a fundamental difference between "policy makers" and "decision makers" in both private and public sectors.
and a very important difference it is.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:47, closed)
Sorry B69 I forgot you need it spelt out for you. By decision makers I was implying those who have ultimate power and are able to create and change policy whenever they want to.
I won't forget this again.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 0:05, closed)
I don't need it spelt out to me.
I am 40 YOA (i.e. I have been in employment for 24 years off and on), the director of 2 companies and majority shareholder in 3 (all fairly new ventures and not making huge amounts of wonga yet).
I may not know more than everyone on this particular subject but i would suggest that it is more my area of specialty than yours.
you don't seem to understand/realise that policy comes from HR/LEGAL/DIRECTORS not Supervisors.
Policy Makers ultimately decide the parameters within which Decision Makers get to operate, based upon the framework that Companies House allows them to operate within. a legally defined framework.
At best Supervisors are Decision Makers. They work within the Structure handed down to them by the Policy Makers.
at worst Supervisors are glorified Policy Monkies.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 0:20, closed)
Just a theory, but maybe
you've worked or been part of companies that are small enough to have the same people doing multiple jobs. HR never decides policies beyond hiring or employee relations. As has been mentioned in a previous reply, HR exists to hire/fire, and be completely unable to tell you how much vacation time you've accumulated. This seems to be pretty standard in English speaking countries.

Legal tends to be responsible for determining whether a policy is, in fact, legal. They are also sometimes responsible for non-marketing PR (i.e. spin control).

Neither of these departments determine policy. Not unless key people from them also hold other positions, or whoever setup the company doesn't understand what these department labels mean.

If your long experience indicates otherwise, be advised that you've been part of a series of non-standard organizations and your impressions are different than the realities of the majority of people that work for companies larger than a food kiosk.
(, Sat 10 Jul 2010, 8:54, closed)
If I might stick my oar in again with my own example
I am a decision maker because I make decisions about what action is taken on individual cases. I must make those decisions in accordance with the law and with the organisation's policy, neither of which I determine.

The policy makers for my work do not see individual cases and may not actually have the skills or equipment to make the decisions. If you ring the JobCentre you won't get Iain Duncan Smith making a decision on your benefits.

A call centre supervisor may be a decision maker and may have more discretion and leeway than a normal operator, but they are unlikely to be a policy maker and won't be able to change the rules.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 1:03, closed)

it certainly varies from place to place, although you will find that managers/supervisors are more invested in their job and more willing to internalise company policies. there are some that are far worse than any front line advisor but as i said before there are plenty of advisors on a trip with their shitty limited power and of course it does vary from person to person.

and yeah, it is irriating to not be put straight through to a manager but ;
a) often it can be sorted by the person you're speaking to and they just haven't been given the chance (this has happened to me loads) and
b) there are 8 managers and about 150 staff so if they talked to every person that demanded to be put through they wouldn't be able to do any managing.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:14, closed)
The thing is
no one, at any level, will accept being shouted at by someone who is in the wrong. 999 time out of 1000 you have a bank charge because you fucked up, and you're phoning up cap-in-hand to beg for them to cut you some slack. Shout all you like, they'll just hang up on you. I always did when I worked in a call centre, and continued to do so when I was promoted to a management job. Just pay your fucking bill on time and stop being a baby.
(, Wed 14 Jul 2010, 19:47, closed)
I will endeavour to use this word in the office tomorrow!
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:00, closed)
i can't take credit
see; armando ianucci who also coined the wonderful insult "village branson."
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:16, closed)
a well known goodie!
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:50, closed)
I knew there was a good reason
That I'm always polite to call centres. Though it's a balance - I'm probably *too* polite - you need to be firm and a little pushy as well really to get certain things done I suspect.

That nurse is incredibly unprofessional. I don't know if they do the whole oath thing that doctors do, but it's definitely not within the spirit of the profession. It'd please me if she'd been reported to her hospital...
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 0:42, closed)
On a related note
people who ask to speak to the supervisor are up their own arse and deserve to be told to FOAD.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 11:05, closed)
I do sometimes get sweary....
...but apologise for it, and am only ever sweary about the situation, not the folk on the phone. I do hope this doesn't make me one of the bad uns.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 11:47, closed)
i always get why people do this and i've done it myself. some people just have an axe to grind and want to take it out on someone they perceive to be lower than them. they can fuck off.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 23:56, closed)

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