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Flash Fiction

Deblog 23: The Worst Job in the World

As most of you know, I haven’t worked full-time outside the home since 2013. It was in summer of that year that my on-ground university contract ended after six years. While it felt horrid, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I realized I was the square peg that was trying to fit into the round corporate hole.

Nope, not a good thing for either.

Not being outside the house allowed me to devote time to my family like I’d never been able to do before.

However, it’s taken a major toll on my pocketbook.

Call it creative financial planning. Or something.

Full disclosure — it stinks, having more month than money for an extended period of time. But what such creative financial planning does is build resilience. I pretty much always answer my phone, knowing that chances are high that it will be a bill collector. I know the drill by heart:

This call is an attempt to collect a debt and any information will be used for that purpose.

Sure you can! And my answer will be the same as it was the last time you rang.

Which was probably yesterday.

Or 30 minutes ago.

Because you know, auto-dialers.

I got such a call yesterday. The young woman sounded very bored and her annoyance that I was unable (what she heard was most likely ‘unwilling’) to make a partial payment right then and there made it worse. The fact that I had received the same call two days prior and one from the local office of this company the day before did nothing to sway her. When I explained that I did not have the funds to make that partial payment, she sighed, her voice went up, and she said, ‘Ooh-kayyy … I’ll make a note.’

I replied, ‘Thank you. Merry Christmas.’

She didn’t know what to make of that and replied, ‘Merry Christmas to you as well.’

Being in the collections department must be the worst job in the world. It can’t be easy, ringing people day after day who are behind on a bill, getting hung up on or ignored, hearing ‘I don’t have it’ time after time, being cussed out, and so on. Such a job, one that probably includes quotas, must make it difficult to be kind all the time.

However, it becomes fairly easy to meet people who have been on the other side of the telephone.

There was an obligation I made a number of years ago and had forgotten about in the course of issues with my family. A representative called me and asked me what had been going on; once I explained to her, she was very understanding and set up a reasonable repayment plan with me. I’ve had a couple of months where I wasn’t able to make the payment and she was kind through those calls as well. I suspect she’s been where I’ve been.

But it won’t last forever, which is why I don’t run from the calls.

Funny, because when I was making many more cash monies, I either ignored the calls or was less than pleasant when I did answer.

There are times when being brought down a few pegs is good for us all.

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