It did not feel like a productive day at all. Hoo boy, did it ever not. But it started out deceptively well. At first it was going well, because I was validating $ISSUE_SIDE_JOB, calling up a certain percentage of the respondents and verifying that the interview had been conducted correctly. That took an hour to talk to ten households. At least this time I didn't need to be walked through every step of it painstakingly. I had to ask the Old Lady Monitor what the first two steps were, and then I was zooming, though I did have to go back and ask what I was supposed to do again if one of the responses didn't jive with the collected data quite right.
We have new monitors. Did I mention the new monitors? Figment is one of them. There are at least two other young men, one thin sandy-haired young man who looks like my mental conception of the concept "emo" (though real emo culture people would probably tell me that I was way off) who I met the other day, and another one I met just today. This other new fellow reminds me of a certain young man I knew back in Alaska, the geeky younger brother of my baby sister's cute violin teacher.
I've worked with Pseudo-Emo Monitor before, and he's quiet and getting to know the ropes. Geek-Clone Monitor is eager to learn in much the same way that I am, and I think it's very cute.
Geek-Clone Monitor and I were working on the same job today, being the only $ISSUE_SIDE people there today. He speaks Spanish and I do not; after I finished validating, I split up the job with him. I took somewhat over half of the people, and he took the rest. I snagged more because I know it's somewhat overloading your first few days. However, by the time I was done with my first four people and an hour had passed, I was ready to start with the heavy hurting.
We monitor people in order of priority. First priority are the people who are flagged as needing extra feedback in general. Second, new people. After that, people training for l33tness. Then, everyone else.
The first two people were not so bad. Granted, the second person did earn a minus, but it was well-deserved, and frankly from that interviewer, only expected. Then I got the towering heap of newbies, some newer than others. I did not have an experience to equal the experience I had the other day, where I found that some newbie was diligently making each and every refusal (including one shocking "Put me on your do not call list!") a call back for a random time this same day. I did run into some other newbie moments, but nothing to equal that.
As it was, writing up the reasoning for why I'd rated the poor performances with a score they'd earned took a few minutes after each call was ended. I am accustomed to being able to acknowledge that the monitor segment is through on the dialog box, click the session end time button, stop the tape and fast-forward it to record the next person on the other side, hang up the phone, write up any last comments, commit the report, review it, print it, then select the next person to monitor and flip the tape and get started. That process takes, or should take, two minutes or less. I just timed my process, in fact, and barring system slowness, when all is in order, it should take me around 45 seconds to get ready between monitoring sessions.
So anything that makes me take an average of five minutes between monitoring sessions makes for some bad, bad, bad mojo.
When you have a minus report, for starters, you can't just send it off to the printer on its merry way. You have to disentangle the headset from your hair, get up out of your monitor room, walk across the cavernous cube farm of phone carrells, go into the copy room, grab the sheaf of papers that have emerged from the printer (and sometimes wait for the thing to come out), sort through, find the report (all pages of it, should your commentary be long enough to warrant several pages being printed), and deliver the report to the Shift Ops Super, who's often Pink Shirt Guy. If it's Pink Shirt Guy, he may ask you to deliver a mini-justification of your scoring, so the supervisors will know what exactly to harp on if the businesslike language of the monitor report does not do justice to the wrongness of the incident. Then you walk back to your monitor room, sit down, put your headset on, and figure out where you left off in your list of people to be monitored.
If you can do that in 45 seconds, I want to know where I can get a dragon or a time-turner like you've got.
The real wrongness of the day didn't start out until I was finally through with the new people and onto monitoring some of the people who'd been there for a while and had been judged to be doing well enough on their own without need for constant feedback.
On one of the projects we do, we sometimes speak to teenagers. This is an important plot point, as is the technicality that in order to include the opinions from teenagers in our study, we must first ask and obtain the permission of whatever parent/guardian is in charge, or else there will be $LAWSUIT.
Now, the interviewer was zooming along fine, and talking merrily with the person on the other end of the phone, explaining the purpose of the study, finding that there were people who fit the profile of people we were looking to speak to in the household, and yes, teenagers -- and talked to the parent/guardian, explaining the study, the purpose of speaking with teenagers, other demographic stuff, and you're the parent/guardian, right? Great. And in order to select which teen we want to speak to..."
I sat there boggling. Always, always, always, right after ascertaining that the person is the parent, and before selecting which teen in the household is spoken to if there are more than one teen in the household, there is the explicit permission asked of the parent for someone of this company to speak with the kid. Always.
It went by in the blink of an ear, and I sat there stunned for five questions before my brain woke up, captured the phone number of the household, wrote down a note in the comments section of the monitor report, and (as the brain kicked back into life) smacked the zero-button on the counter so I could rewind to hear that section of the tape again just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.
I hadn't been hallucinating.
In the words of "The Terrible Mister Grimshaw": "What the fuck happened?"
And that was about how my day went.
Cleanup was better, because Geek-Clone Monitor was trying to figure stuff out and wandering around asking bright-eyed, sweet, clueless, hard-working & conscientious, and endearing questions. That was nice.
But dear suffering GODS, I don't want to have to deal with that many minus reports in a row again!