A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #40): Back to Work

My surgeon has cleared me to start driving again.  I have called my supervisor and advised her that I can return to work tomorrow, 11/18.  It may prove to be a hellish week.

The months of October and November have always been our busy season when we take phone calls about open enrollment from what seems to be every company and business concern on the planet.  We have to go live for phone calls usually as early as 8a until our shift ends.  For most of us that is 5p, unless we volunteer for overtime beyond our usual quitting time.  

The problem is that a new call comes into the queue as soon as the old call is finished.  We barely have enough time to breath between calls in the months of October and November, let alone try to solve the problems of advising callers about their health insurance choices for (again, what seems to be) everyone on the planet.

Breathing?   Let’s pencil that activity in for the first week of January, but we can’t guarantee that.

The callers expect us to know every single detail about their plans.  We do have some training about some of the plans, but most of the time we are learning the plan details cold.  The average time we have to review the plans which enables us to give an intelligent-sounding answer to the caller’s question is the same amount of time between answering the call and saying “Hello, how may I help you,” to the caller.   In other words, no time at all.

Many times, we can advise the caller that we will need to research our various resources to answer their question.  Many are okay with our promise of researching and calling them back in a few days.   Unfortunately, it only takes one nightmare call to ruin the day.  Invariably we all get this one call where the caller demands his/her answer NOW and it cannot wait, and suddenly it’s OUR fault that he/she procrastinated until the last day of their open enrollment.

Such are the perils of customer service in our modern, capitalist system.

At the end of the day, we are all mentally exhausted.  My employer does several things to relieve some of the stress.  They usually provide dinner from any of the local fast food outlets in the area for those who stay beyond 5p.  Occasionally they will do other things for the day shift who have to endure a hellish situation.

My employer also tries their best to ensure that they hire more people for the open enrollment season.   They were constantly hiring and training new employees throughout this year which, it was hoped, would be enough for the annual rush.  Unfortunately, there never seems to be enough people and resources to meet the demand which seems to be increasing year after year.

This is the situation which I am returning to tomorrow.  I hope that I am coming back at the tail end of the open enrollment season.  The greatest demand usually winds down before Thanksgiving, so I am hoping I will only have to endure one week of hell.

So yes, the good news is I am well enough to return to work.  The bad news is I am well enough to return to work.  It’s enough to make one start believing in organized religion again!

(Thank you for reading.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of office cubicles I will fear no evil.  Or something like that.)


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

After I had major surgery, I was off work for two months and then attempted to return to work full time right away. I couldn't do it -- by the end of the first couple of days I was grey with fatigue and ready to drop with exhaustion. So then HR put a graduated return schedule into place -- part time which gradually increased over three weeks until I was full time again. And my job was not as stressful sounding as yours! Good luck!

November 17, 2019 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

After breaking my hip (at age 42), I was allowed to go back to work part time after six weeks. I had to be carried out at the end of the four hours. It is amazing how fast muscle strength declines. Good luck!

November 17, 2019 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

First the surgery and now dealing with people who have, or need, insurance and have a billion questions?
I'd have asked my doctor to keep me off work until the January Breather.

November 17, 2019 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger Mistress Maddie said...

"I am hoping I will only have to endure one week of hell." And I hope for your sake your right, and for that, I guessing, you will be truly thankful for at this time of year.

I couldn't deal with the public and callers. It's why I do what I do. My hat is off to you.

November 17, 2019 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Dave R said...

I know what customers can be like when you don't tell them what it is they want to hear, though I usually have to deal with those monsters face to face.

November 17, 2019 at 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Old Lurker said...

I am sure your supervisor is pleased that you are pitching in during the busy season. I hope you have a good (or at least tolerable) week back.

November 17, 2019 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

I too !

Breathing is good.

November 17, 2019 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you, Debra. I had not thought about muscle fatigue when I decided to return to work. I made it through far, so good.

Thank you for the warm wishes, Jimmy.

Actually, Bob, my disability was approved up to January 2, but I was getting bored sitting at home, and the benefits from my disability would not cover all of my expenses.

Thank you, Mistress. We all have our missions to fulfill.

I used to work in a home center of a third or fourth rate department store chain (no longer in business.) I have had those same experiences Dave.

Thank you, Old Lurker. One down, four to go.

Thank you, Spo. Yes, I am hooked on oxygen.

November 18, 2019 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Travel said...

Congratulations on being well enough to return to work, take it easy. Dancing with the stars here you come.

November 18, 2019 at 8:37 PM  

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