Sweat Shop for Smart People
I had come to understand, with most of my classmates, that being a claims processor was not at all what we had imagined. I began softening up the Wife for the inevitable, but she still took the news of my termination hard, this morning. After all, twelve dollar an hour jobs with benefits don’t exactly grow on trees these days. However, I had said all my goodbyes to my wonderful classmates beforehand, and the loss of their fellowship is my only regret.
My God, what a badly run company this is. The training curriculum is an absolute joke. They lay on the sunshine thick and heavy with lots of regular supervisor interaction and tons of corporate emails urging engagement in socially responsible charitable events, but at its heart, the company is a hollow shell of neoliberal dehumanization, with ever-present threats of disciplinary action and termination.
And well it should be, for the Fortune 500 clients it serves are no different. The recent training hires are a ramp up process for the upcoming registration of legions of employees from TBTF banks and globalized crony corporations that I could never service. They have no computer system at all for training and most of the testing resources are ancient. I was in the fourth training class and the coaches and trainers were still creating cheat sheets so we could do our jobs.
Indeed, the trainees are completely responsible for generating a personal system to reference the endless manuals required to process claims. We took copious notes and created index card files in a forlorn attempt to make some sense of a system that even the corporation cannot grasp.
Because we were forced to train on the live system, the poor coaches worked endlessly trying to find claim examples of the things we were learning. And as our production increased, the coaches struggled to keep up with our emails of claims which we had suspended with questions.
It was a regular occurrence to be presented with a dead hyperlink or online assessment containing them. Even the assessments we were able to take were prefaced with answers to topics we hadn’t covered. Each of the modules we’d been trained on were available, so tests, rather than an approximation of our knowledge, were no more than an exercise in looking up info we might never use.
I just received a phone call from my long-suffering Wife, who encouraged me not to be upset and held that she wasn’t upset. She understood that like my previous employment experience this year, this last one had also been a sweat shop.
BTW, before being terminated this morning, I called for a meeting of the head of the processing department, the head of the training department, the training supervisor and my supervisor. Rather than embarrass a supervisor in front of the class again, I told them I wanted this conversation to be private. Then I told them that several members of my training class were fighting head colds and were very worried that they might miss a day of class, which is forbidden:
Having these sick trainees sit in a hot parking lot for ninety minutes did not help their convalescence. Detainees at Guantanamo are provided more protection from exposure than were we.
During my exit conversation, I asked if my statements to the supes a few minutes previous had anything to do with my termination. He replied of course not. However, I will always be glad I gave it to them one last time.