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Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Well, I can hardly believe it, but it's been 6 and one half months now since I started worked for Marusa Marketing/TeleperformanceUSA here in Cambridge.

In my last post about this I had just finished the firast day of learning lab which the two weeks after the training in which you have to get used to actually taking calls from customers but not expected to perform to production expectations (call length, number of sales, etc...). At that point I was pretty much in a "grit my teeth and bear it" mode simply because I needed a job and this was it.

But on the last day of learning lab, a Friday, I heard that a position in Mission Control (more on that later) had opened up. I filled out an internal application for that, emailed a soft copy of my resumé to the training manager as soon as I got home that night, came in on Saturday to specifically drop a hardcopy. On Monday, what was to have been my first shift on the production floor, I came in about 3 hours early, all dressed up with a tie, to try and get myself an interview for the position. The idea was to show that if I would do this much to try and get and interview then just think of what I will do if I get the job.

Shannon, the Mission Control person on shift right then, told the Branch manager about me and about an hour or two later she came into the cafeteria where I was sitting and said "My shift is done soon and when I leave we won't have a Mission Control for this evening. Kim [the centre manager at the time] said to show you what to do and let you be M.C. for the evening." So for 15 minutes Shannon tried to show me what I was supposed to do for the evening and then she left. Later they told me that the problems that night were some of the worst they had had since the centre opened, and by the time of my telephone interview later that evening to corporate head quarters Salt Lake City, Utah, I was feeling very overwhelmed and much like a chicken with its head cut of.

But I must have acquitted myself well because Chad, the person in charge of hiring me, told me that the interview was just a formality since I had proven I could do the job even after getting thrown to the wolves. I ended up working 55 hours that week, coming in early so that I would be there at the same time that Shannon was (her shift ended about 2 hours before min began) so she could show me what I was supposed to be doing. But I was glad — I was off the phones!

About three weeks earlier, the evening M.C. had come into my training class to fix some computer problem — so originally I had thought that Mission Control was the IT department. Ironically, I had said to him "I want your job". :-)

But it's not IT, not really. Mission Control's area of responsibility is basically making sure that the agents on the phones can continue to take calls smoothly and use the various software tools for that and for accessing the customers' accounts. To do that you need to know some systems administration stuff but there is an actual IT person who takes care of the LAN. Mission Control is also the liasion between the local centre and Sprint's über-Mission Control in Kansas City and the other TeleperformanceUSA centres running SprintPCS traffic. This is so Sprint can send out real-time directives to the centres and because problems which affect one centre can often end up affecting all centres.

All in all, even though the new position wasn't quite what I thought it was when I handed in that internal job bid on the last day of learning lab, it is something that I like far more than I would have felt about being on the phones. I am glad I have it.

If you get an email from an address like this FirstLast@invitation.sms.ac, don't even bother opening it. It is spam-scam crap.

It looked shady to me the first time I got one and as I have been getting more and more (and always from people on my MSN contact list) I decided to look into it. On one web page about it I found the following:

"Once you put your mobile number in to agree to send free SMS', they will deduct $3.00 from your mobile phone account for every 3 messages you receive through them. They then send you an sms every day containing advertising so that you are automatically billed for $3.00 every 3 days! For receiving adverts!"
This spam-scam has even been mentioned at ripoffreport.com. Read than you'll be suprised at how unethical sms.ac seems to be.

Also, some person by name of "Sean" has left what appears to be the exact same comment (cut & pasted?) in the followup threads of multiple blogs saying basically "Oh, if you'd just read the terms properly..." as well as insulting people who complain about sms.ac's spam-scam crap.

Not only that, but sms.ac has sent cease and desist letters to bloogers who had posted entries warning people about the spam-scam. Check the list of links below to see what others say about sms.ac.

Whatever you do, do not sign up with sms.ac!