We need to talk about your flare

I was recently thinking about jobs I’ve had in the past. The first job I had upon passing the ivory towers of the university was a telemarketer for the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association (TDPSOA).

NOTE: If you receive a phone call from someone taking donations for the TDPSOA, hang up. If you’d like to donate to the peace officers (or firefighters or any other public service organization) you can donate directly.

So my telemarketing job was rather monotonous. I did well at this job but after six weeks or so, I decided to spice things up a little. I used to call people and the conversation would go something like this:

Person eating dinner: “Hello?”
Person eating dinner: “Hello?!…”
Person eating dinner: “HELLLLOOO?!!!!!!!”
Josh: “Hello! Mr. Jack Kerblashulsnuckitz?” [Actual pronounciation: Smith. All telemarketers are required to butcher your name]
PED: “This is him.”
Josh: “Hi Mr. Kerblashulsnuckitz, this is Josh Janicek with the Texas…”
PED: “Actually, it’s Smith. Mr. Smith.”
Josh: “Right. How are you doing this evening Mr. Smitherblashulsnuckitz?”
PED: [Sighs] “Fine.”
Josh: “My name is Josh Janicek and I’m calling on behalf of the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Assocation and the reason for this phone call is that the DPSOA is needing some help this year…”

And I’d go on with my pitch. Fifty percent were naive and gave me their information so I could send them ‘something’. The other half screamed and cussed and told me where I could put my phone.

Employees couldn’t deviate from the script. I noticed the high turnover in this telemarketing cube farm so I decided to make my job more fun. I did so in adopting aliases because nobody bothered to know anyone’s name.

Josh: “Hi Mr. Uzbekistan. My name is Mike McCready.” (Guitar player from Pearl Jam)

The guy in the cubicle next to me overheard my conversation and snickered.

I overheard his next phone call.

PED: “Hello?”
Guy in next cube: “Hi Mrs. Jones, this is Ronnie James Dio.” (Singer for Dio)

This went on and on. We tried to out-do each other all day with obscure rock star telemarketing alter egos.

One day one of the managers came to talk to me. The managers were the guys who wore headsets and walked about the cube farm. They wore headsets so they could listen in on our telmarketing phone calls. This particular manager came and sat down next to me to tell me how great of a job I was doing.

He said: “Now Mike, you’re doing a great job. There are some areas we can work on, but all-in-all, great job. Mike, how do you spell you last name? Is it McKreedy?”

I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. Not because I was being recognized for doing good work, but because I had to tell him how to spell McCready – my alter ego and the guitar player for Pearl Jam.

At 5 O’clock when the siren sounded and the work day was over, the managers always gave us a pep talk. On this particular day, my manager said: “And congratulations to Mike McCready for getting top sales today!”

I turned beet red. Everyone clapped.

Ronnie James Dio sat at his cubicle, looked directly at me and laughed his ass off.

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