Sexisim, Rampant in my Workplace! Well, on the Phone at Least

I have to write a diatribe tonight, I’m sorry but events have conspired to require a bitch session.

I work in an industry dominated by men. Without giving too much info & getting myself in trouble with my company I work tech support, I talk on the phone & tell people how to make their tvs work with the dbs set top boxes my company provides. I also upgrade & down grade programing, discuss billing, check to find out why the installer who’s supposed to be there by 12 or 5 has not arrived & order pay per view for customers, I mostly do tech though. & I’m female, I work a 10 hour day & do on average, since the computer system at work was changed to a cumbersome, slow system, 55 calls a day (I used to run 65 to 70 calls a day- here’s to progress!) at least 10 calls a day I hear the same thing, ‘I don’t think I got the right department honey, I’m looking for technical help’ (begin rant to customer:) Look you backwards, foolish person, I don’t know what rock you crawled out from under but this is the beginning of the 21st century & how dare you presume that just because I don’t have a dick I don’t know how to fix your problem, how dare you perpetuate the myth that women are generally less technically inclined? Don’t take that condecending tone with me or call me honey, I am not your honey I am a level three technical support agent, I can point a dish in less than 5 minutes WITHOUT a signal meter, I can tell you how to set up your surround sound, dvd & make recordings of the entire season of Lost on your dvr while I’m balancing my checkbook, choosing christmas presents for my kids out of a catalog & writing a grocery list. Before you start honeying me or questioning every word I say to you remember, you called ME for help! (End rant to customer)

I have worked at my job for over 5 years & I found very quickly when I began there that you have to have a confident attitude, if you don’t or you’re unsure in the least the customer will smell it or hear it or something & ask to speak to someone else or to speak to your supervisor, (the real joke about asking to talk to a supervisor when you’re looking for technical help is that with onbaneofmyexsistencely 1 or 2 notable exceptions all my supervisors have been less tech savvy than I -or any of my coworkers for that matter- To give credit where credit is due, it’s less about the supervisor’s technical ability & more about the fact that technology changes so quickly that even 6 months off the phones without practical application every day ruins most supervisors ability to troubleshoot effectively. They have so much to do being in charge of 10-15 people they can’t keep up) Even more amusing, If I go to my supervisor or annother supervisor nearby & mention that the customer requested a male (That happens more often than you might think) they will find a female supervisor to take the call for me.

I had a guy today that every single thing I told him to do to get his problem fixed he’d say ‘are you sure you want me to do that honey?’ as if I might change my mind because I’m a flighty little woman! (I post pictures on here, there’s nothing little about me!) The old guys are the worst. Old people in general seem to have a lot of trouble taking instruction from a woman & I actually had an old geezer say to me after I instructed him to put his tv back on channel 3 & press the correct mode button on the remote- restoring his picture & his ability to change channels- ‘I hate it when a woman is smarter than me’ & hung up on me. that happened within my first year there & I still remember it.
I can not get over how many women will not even begin to do anything which seems technical, they’re ok with the remote usage but if they have to check the back of the tv or the set top box- omg!! you’d think the world was going to end  ‘oh honey, (there’s that honey thing again) I’ll have to have my husband (or son, or boyfriend, or brother) call back when he’s available’ they say. so they’re going to stop watching tv until they have some man around to help… Sometimes I despair for my gender too! Or the women who say ‘well, if I mess it up too bad you’re responsible’, if I can tell you how to fix it why wouldn’t I be able to tell you how to put it back together? Of course, it all boils down to how badly do they want the tv to work, if they’re like me, they can take it or leave it, I’d honestly rather be online or reading than watching tv, though I have been in the situation of the stay at home mom who says: ‘just tell me what to do, whatever it takes, I’ll get on the roof if I have to but get my tv back on, these kids are killing me & I can’t take any more Barney tapes!’

On the plus side of all this, there’s always someone during the day who just goes right along with what I say & is ecstatic that I was able to fix it for them, I have heard customers tell people on their end, ‘this one knows what she’s talking about!’ I have walked cocky teenage guys through fixing their parents systems & had them thank me very politely afterwards. Then there’s the little kids, I have troubleshot with children as young as 5 who are speaking for their parents because the parents don’t speak english- I really feel for these kids, if it’s a spanish speaker I have a transfer so I can get them to someone who can speak to their parents immediately, unfortunately we supply people with programing from many many different countries & if the parent speaks arabic, cantonese or hindi it’s a 24-48 hour wait to have someone who speaks their language call them back & so I troubleshoot with little kids too. My favorite customers though, are the guys who are obviously smart & don’t have an ego about it, after 10 minutes or so fielding every question they ask with a clear concise answer they often tell me they appriciate that I know my job so well & that it’s nice to talk with a woman who knows about technology, like everything else, you have to prove yourself, at least to those guys, most of whom, no offense to anyone reading this who might take offense, are under 55. It’s a help to have someone appreciate the work, lord knows the company doesn’t, it’s all more overtime, you need to work more, faster, longer, quicker. I try to always see the upside to everything one way or another, yes, it may involve dark gallows humor but I can usualy find something to laugh about in most situations. & of course, there is the fact that this job has made me smarter, quicker to come back when I’m confronted, not afraid to deliver bad news to anyone, financialy independent, not afraid of my ex husband (I talk to bigger & meaner every day at work- he’s actualy sorta stupid when it comes to arguments, I find, now that I’m better at it & don’t start crying when I’m confronted) Then there’s the best upside of all: I get home & get greeted with hugs & its all worthwhile!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s