Cold Calling

I worked at a call center for almost two whole weeks during my first semester of college. I was excited to be a “representative” at a place called Vacation Tour & Travel. In my mind, this meant I was going to be a travel agent. My mother and grandmother have both told me exciting stories from their travel agency days, so I was enthusiastic about this gig.

There was a week-long training process. Not long after this process began, I figured out that the job would be much different than expected. We were supposed to memorize information about various timeshare plans, and then we would call people who had entered into certain contests and (regrettably) checked the box allowing us to call. This is called “warm” calling, but I feel like it  is usually no better than cold calling.

My Breaking Point:
One day, after training was over, I called a man on my list. I began my speech on the wonderful time shares and why he should invest in one. He cut me off mid-sentence to explain why he would not be interested in investing in a timeshare. His wife had just died. He sounded heartbroken. In hindsight, he was probably pranking me. A lot of people say horrible things to telemarketers (although I try to pretend that’s not what I was). But this guy… he sounded sincere!

I proceeded to apologize for disturbing him and for his loss. I was about to hang up, when my boss (who has been listening in) muted my line and told me to continue the pitch. He advised me to say, “Now would be the perfect time to get away! Your wife would have wanted this for you!”

I couldn’t do it. I didn’t even want to try. It seemed so wrong. I quit that day and never regretted it. I fell like it is great to push yourself professionally, but not beyond your moral code. Especially not for a job that won’t help you get where you want to go. 

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