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Man Fired For His Online Customer Service Game

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the was-that-wrong? dept.

Canada 210

First time accepted submitter DiscountBorg(TM) writes "An employee of the Canada Revenue Agency lost his job after releasing a humorous game in which the player answers customer service calls for the Agency, usually leading to his termination. In an email National Revenue Minister Gail Shea said: 'The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive and completely unacceptable. The Minister has asked the Commissioner (of Revenue, Andrew Treusch) to investigate and take any and all necessary corrective action. The Minister has asked the CRA to investigate urgently to ensure no confidential taxpayer information was compromised.'"

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210 comments

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Butthurt (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748897)

Can't have our employees making light of our oppressive workplace policies, they might actually improve morale!

Re:Butthurt (5, Funny)

GiantMolecularCloud (2825541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749065)

"You think this is a GAME!?!"

Re:Butthurt (3, Funny)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749439)

"The truth?...You can't handle the TRUTH!"

Re:Butthurt (5, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749647)

Best thing about writing a customer-service simulator: if your code freezes, people don't care, they think it's part of the simulation.

Re:Butthurt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750047)

There needs to be another thread for playing that smooth lounge music, though.

Re:Butthurt (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750209)

Can't have our employees making light of our oppressive workplace policies, they might actually improve morale!

The beatings will continue until the moral improves.

Re:Butthurt (5, Insightful)

AtomicTomatoOfDoom (1729634) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750245)

In all honesty, though, their workplace policies aren't all that bad. I've worked as an IT analyst for the CRA for a few years. I regularly had to interact with employees that manned the phones and made friends out of a few of them, all of whom eventually quit. Essentially, the workplace environment isn't all that bad (I'd even go as far as to say that it's relatively nice). However, those who quit explained to me that they felt like they were slowly dying from the inside. See, their job is to call people owing the government money and essentially threatening them of legal action until they would pay up. Calling that one guy who owns a yacht and hasn't paid his taxes in 4 years feels okay, satisfying even. It's when they have to call a grandmother living alone in a small apartment, who breaks down in tears when they tell her the amount she owes that their job gets rather excruciating.

Correction please. (4, Informative)

will_die (586523) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748935)

As of the stories the guy had not been fired or another done to him. The guy is playing up that he could be fired and is using that as a reason people should purchase the game.

Re:Correction please. (5, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748985)

"Man not fired from job he doesn't like, for making game about how much he hates his job, to fund aspirations of leaving job" doesn't exactly invoke outrage.

Re:Correction please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749025)

"Man not fired from job he doesn't like, for making game about how much he hates his job, to fund aspirations of leaving job" doesn't exactly invoke outrage.

True ... but it's certainly a well crafted sentence, which is more than I can say for the headline or the OP.

Re:Correction please. (5, Informative)

benjymous (69893) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749149)

From his twitter, he said he was fired after that article was posted (which is why it doesn't mention it explicitly) but isn't able to talk more. Do you have information showing that this was false and he's still in the job (or quit rather than being fired?)

Re:Correction please. (5, Funny)

mdm42 (244204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749299)

From his twitter, he said he was fired ... but isn't able to talk more.

140 characters. Didn't stand a chance.

Re:Correction please. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749545)

Maybe he isn't allowed to talk more because he has a decent lawyer who told him to STFU and not say anything to diminish his payoff for illegal termination.

Re: Correction please. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749591)

Seeing as I only found out about that now...

Re:Correction please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749657)

Sounds familiar. He should try to work something out with Odd Todd [oddtodd.com] .

Re:Correction please. (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749973)

Sounds familiar. He should try to work something out with Odd Todd [oddtodd.com] .

Whoever writes that Odd Todd blog has something wrong with him. Reading that is like staying late without overtime at a job you hate to finish a task you hate for a boss you hate so you can look forward to more jobs you hate the next day.

Sitting around all holiday watching lost - What a loser.

Re:Correction please. (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749229)

As of the stories the guy had not been fired or another done to him.

Yes he has.

Re:Correction please. (4, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749575)

Game over Dude!!

Over Reaction from the Goverment ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42748939)

Welcome to fashist Canada, where satire is a crime.

Re:Over Reaction from the Goverment ! (4, Funny)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749801)

I always thought the French had the fashion industry to themselves, not the Canadians. Learn something new every day on /.

American sweatshop (5, Informative)

alphatel (1450715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748959)

You have to smile while you're on the phone (uhm really?), follow the cubicle dress code (but I just answer the phone), not allowed to hang up on abusive customers no matter what they do. The week's vacation you earned and got approved 3 months in advance was just re-allocated as forced time off due to the business being slow. World's worst health insurance if you get any at all.

Fluorescent lighting from hell, vending machines for lunch, 19" square monitors from the 1980's, computers running Windows XP, no service pack.

We live this job every day.

Re:American sweatshop (4, Interesting)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749055)

And then complain when it's outsourced for someone else to cope with.

One point to note is that _we_ are the abusive customers. I personally always try to be nice (I'm not talking "have a nice day" nice, I mean sincerely - I don't have to do it all day, every day), especially to people I call up for a service (even if they do have to try and sell me the little add on warranty whatever it is at the end).

Re:American sweatshop (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750383)

And then complain when it's outsourced for someone else to cope with.

Comments like these that earn +5 Interesting must be getting mods from foreigners. I say this as a citizen of the USA: we like to complain, sure, but we also like to do hard work.

The problem with shill posts like yours is that they ignore the "hard work ethic" most Americans actually do have.

So fucking-A right we complain when the JOBS WE GO TO WORK AND DO EVERY DAY DESPITE HATING THEM GET OUTSOURCED.

Re:American sweatshop (4, Insightful)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749069)

Not me! I left the US behind almost 6 years ago. In the meantime, I've had a full year of paid holiday (6 years x 35 days/year holiday + 10 days/year of federal days off.)

My gross salary is even higher, but the net salary lower with the 50% deductions.

No desire to go back. The lack of unlocked phones and reasonable prepaid plans it just one recent example of you guys taking it in pooper.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749743)

Not me! I left the US behind almost 6 years ago. In the meantime, I've had a full year of paid holiday (6 years x 35 days/year holiday + 10 days/year of federal days off.)

My gross salary is even higher, but the net salary lower with the 50% deductions.

No desire to go back. The lack of unlocked phones and reasonable prepaid plans it just one recent example of you guys taking it in pooper.

I would be very curious to know what country.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749823)

cue obligatory self-congratulatory "any other country is better" in 3...2...1...

Re:American sweatshop (0)

MatrixCubed (583402) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750065)

Any country IS. What's your point?

Re:American sweatshop (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750095)

cue obligatory self-congratulatory "any other country is better" in 3...2...1...

No, many are worse. Also many are better.

It depends on what you want out of life to decide on how you measure better.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749947)

Sweden first, Germany now, Denmark soon.

Re:American sweatshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750015)

"federal days" suggest Germany. But this could be the OP posting a translation for the 'merucans from "public holidays".

What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749081)

That's a whole other Slashdot story...
I LOVE my 19" square monitor, can't stand widescreen. I am not alone.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749135)

I've never seen a square monitor.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749515)

Some workstations in the 80s and early 1990s had square CRT monitors. It never really caught on in the mainstream.

Or perhaps he was being hyperbolic and referring to early 5:4 "square" LCD monitors from the middle of last decade.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749939)

I've seen 20"x20" screens attached to alpha workstations at a military radar control installation in the late nineties.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749405)

I hate those friggin widescreen monitors as well. They're only good for watching video. For actually doing work and reading I have to continuously scroll every few lines.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (2)

deroby (568773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749525)

That's not quite true.

My wide-screen allows me to have 2 pages next to each other which can be utmost convenient at times. Off course you need to have decent resolution for that, but I have my current wide-screen 1920x1080 over your 1280x960 any time. Sadly there's a lot of 1366x768 screens out there which is like going back to the middle ages.

I'll admit that I hate everything has shifted from 16:10 to 16:9 though, 1920x1200 was bliss.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749627)

They're shifting to 1920x1080 instead of x1200 because of cost - the industry is pumping out a LOT of 1920x1080 displays for TV sets, so that exact resolution is cheap.

Square, high-resolution displays do exist.... generally used in radar applications.

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (1)

deroby (568773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749773)

I understand the why, more or less.

But honestly, how many laptop-screen-size-like TV's have you ever seen ? There isn't all that much overlap IMHO ! The resolution of a 32" TV (or bigger) may be identical to my Dell laptop here, it still requires a different production line to make this 15.6 inch screen. They could have stuck to 1920x1200 and pump out just as many, it wouldn't have affected the TV-production-lines in any significant way IMHO.

(I guess they can re-use the driver/electronics parts somehow but I doubt it would add that much to the cost. Damned bean-counters.)

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749995)

Agreed. I find it hard to believe there is that much demand for 1080p TVs under 32".

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (2)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749633)

Try two 22 inch wide screens with one oriented vertically. You never have to scroll again :P

Re:What's wrong with 19" square monitors! (2)

tippe (1136385) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749949)

Maybe you should change careers and get into ASIC or FPGA design/verification. Widescreen monitors are great for viewing waveforms. The wider the better as far as I'm concerned...

Re:American sweatshop (4, Funny)

Grimbleton (1034446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749291)

You got Windows XP? I had a fucking amber text WYSE TERMINAL in 2007. That they're probably still using.

Re:American sweatshop (4, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749379)

I would recommend two things in this situation:
a) Found a union, based on continental European approaches. The UK and US approaches are not that good.
b) If a) does not work, because your colleagues and fellow US citizen like to be mistreated, leave the country. In Europe we have standard health care above the MediCare stuff you have. You get 4 weeks holiday a year, protection from too many over hours, payed sick leave (in Germany) etc. according to apologists of neo-liberalism that will cause high unemployment rates. However, we do not have such thing in Germany.

On a side note: You really should get organized in the US. The information we get from the US looks more and more like stories normally associated with developing countries not a first world country.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

lexa1979 (2020026) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749693)

no high unemployment rates in Germany ? Could you tell me what the Belgian and French medias mean when they say "Germany has no unemployment, instead they have several thousand 1€/hour workers in the car industry". What's the trick ?

Re:American sweatshop (5, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750103)

I never heard of any factory worker, who works for 1€ per hour. This 1€ program is for people who are unemployed for a long time, who require help to get back in normal jobs. Therefore the state provides them with a basic income, called ALG II. which is considered the existential minimum (I personally think it should be higher, but that is not the point here. They get money to live and the state pays their rent and health insurance, definitely more than the average unemployed person in the US has). On top of that income they can earn extra money in such so call 1€ jobs. By law these job grants are not allowed to be used by employers to replace staff on normal income.

I personally think, that the German system is too harsh, but compared to the US, it is still better.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

lexa1979 (2020026) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750291)

thanks for the explanation !

Re:American sweatshop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749753)

I would recommend two things in this situation:
a) Found a union, based on continental European approaches. The UK and US approaches are not that good.
b) If a) does not work, because your colleagues and fellow US citizen like to be mistreated, leave the country. In Europe we have standard health care above the MediCare stuff you have. You get 4 weeks holiday a year, protection from too many over hours, payed sick leave (in Germany) etc. according to apologists of neo-liberalism that will cause high unemployment rates. However, we do not have such thing in Germany.

On a side note: You really should get organized in the US. The information we get from the US looks more and more like stories normally associated with developing countries not a first world country.

A few comments:

Unions are not the panacea to these conditions. It sounds like you're from Germany, where management-union relations are more cooperative, but we (in the UK and US) do not want to have the same situation in France, where unions strike over anything and they can even sit down and block the motorways and railways, bringing the economy to a halt and inconveniencing everyone else. Unions say they're for more equality but in reality they are for a different kind of class system - those who have heavily protected jobs for life, and those who do not. Look at Spain for an example.

>>b) If a) does not work, because your colleagues and fellow US citizen like to be mistreated, leave the country.
Great idea! Umm, what's this, I need an employer sponsored work permit? How about a free trade and free movement agreement between the EU and US/Canada? What, increasing immigration is politically controversial on both regions? How dare they!

If you're stuck in a dead end job you hate, take it into your own hands and up-skill, go back to school or train yourself and get a better one. I was there (at a call center) at one point in my life. Blaming others only goes so far...

Signed,
An American who has moved to Britain (no plans to go back, btw)

Re:American sweatshop (4, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750055)

" The information we get from the US"

and is mostly false. It's mostly good here except for the noisy people with political agendas to push.

Re:American sweatshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749455)

19" monitors in the 1980's? Were you even around in 1980, let alone working in a job that involved computers then? I think not.

Re:American sweatshop (3, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749723)

America has always been about sweatshop workplaces. We need more unions, not less but styled after a European one. Heaven forfend should we offer an real perks to our employees. Why, perish the thought, we might be seen as socialists! Hopefully you've concluded that my statement is dripping with sarcasm. No wonder America ranks lower than its industrial counterparts in lifespan, health, and education.

Re:American sweatshop (1, Insightful)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749943)

instead of a lame attempt at comedy by improper use of "dripping sarcasm", perhaps you should try critical thinking.

America has always been about self determination. If you are at a job where you don't like the situation, you have many choices. Here are a few of them, listed in increasing risk/reward order: You can join or form a union (even in non-union states, most of the time you can unionize even if it's a right-to-work state.) You can speak up and try to change the culture of your workplace. You can find a different job with the same skillset. You can move to another city with better economic prospects. You can increase your skillset through training and education and then find another job. Or you can start your own company and run it however you want.

And before you think you can get away with linking job satisfaction with education, remember that government-run schools are the ones you're complaining about. In the aggregate, private, parochial, and home-schooled kids rank far better on standardized tests than the schools you're excoriating. Think about that. The parents that follow the path of self-determination for their kids are exceeding the average, just like the people who start their own businesses do. As for lifespan and health, that's partly genetic, partly cultural (fast food, etc.), but has almost nothing to do with workplace satisfaction. Look at Japan, where they have arguably some of the worst job hours and stress in the world, but their average lifespan is higher than the US. If we were to conclude that job satisfaction correlates with lifespan and health, Japan should be doing much worse overall than the US, which isn't true.

Re:American sweatshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750203)

In the aggregate, private, parochial, and home-schooled kids rank far better on standardized tests than the schools you're excoriating.

I agree that the schools are garbage, but I don't think that ranking higher on standardized tests is much of an accomplishment. Our standardized tests are all about rote memorize, not understanding.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750335)

when comparing between countries, standardized tests are used to gain statistical relevance... it's not about accomplishing anything per se, it's about comparison, which is what the GP was spouting off about.

Re:American sweatshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749891)

You forgot to mention Amtelco and their crap-tastic software.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749975)

You have to smile while you're on the phone (uhm really?), follow the cubicle dress code (but I just answer the phone), not allowed to hang up on abusive customers no matter what they do. The week's vacation you earned and got approved 3 months in advance was just re-allocated as forced time off due to the business being slow. World's worst health insurance if you get any at all. Fluorescent lighting from hell, vending machines for lunch, 19" square monitors from the 1980's, computers running Windows XP, no service pack.

It is just as galling when the company's communist propaganda machine (aka HR) calls these benefits, "excellent and competitive." We live this job every day.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749979)

Some of the things you list, I agree with. But some of those things, you clearly don't understand.

You have to smile while you're on the phone (uhm really?),

Smiling when you're on the phone changes your tone of voice. The idea, which works in reality, is that you sound friendlier and so customers are happier to work with you. Doesn't apply 100% of the time, but it is a successful tactic to improving a company's image - and diffusing some of the ire from the other end of the line.

follow the cubicle dress code (but I just answer the phone),

You may not be visible to the customer, but you are visible to your coworkers, and they deserve your respect. Agreed, some dress codes just don't make sense, but people have been known to show up to work in the same clothes that they've been wearing all week with no shower or or clothes-washing.

Re:American sweatshop (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750229)

You may not be visible to the customer, but you are visible to your coworkers, and they deserve your respect.

But it's subjective. The fact that you don't like someone's clothes doesn't mean that the clothes are objectively bad or ugly. I never really understood this silly, superficial fixation on clothing, but I guess many people are petty, so it's not too surprising.

Re:American sweatshop (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750137)

And as a phone monkey you can't actually solve real problems. Solving problems will drive your call stats down too much, and low call stats will lead to your termination. The best possible outcome for you is that for whatever reason the customer should give up almost immediately and go away. Perhaps because they can sense the ineptitude oozing down the line at them. Those guys aren't rated on customer satisfaction or problems successfully resolved, They're rated on how many people they can convince to go away in an hour. If you hear that hopeful spark when that phone monkey asks you if you tried rebooting it (You will, if you listen for it,) that's why. If you do get someone who knows what he's doing, I guarantee you that person will not be there long. That sort of person doesn't last long in phone support.

Re:American sweatshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750247)

"19" square monitors from the 1980's"
Back in the 80's, I would have killed for a 19" monitor.
Pretty sure this was either a 7" or 9" monitor: http://www.highdisplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/1980s-computer-monitor3.jpg

Re:American sweatshop (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750301)

not allowed to hang up on abusive customers no matter what they do.

A friend used to work for a different government agency, Passport Canada. He would give verbally abusive customers one, maybe two warnings, and then yes he'd hang up on them if they persisted. One time, someone called back and demanded to speak to his manager, the call was transferred, after talking for a few moments the manager asked the caller if he had been verbally abusive before my friend hung up on him. When the caller answered yes and started trying to justify it, the manager told him "good" and hung up on him.

(Being professional doesn't mean you put up with abuse, of any kind).

What happened to Canada? (-1, Troll)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748967)

I used to be proud to be Canadian. Now I see Canada as an over-taxed, rigid, boring place with nothing except natural resources. We have too much government, taking too much money, to do too little. Fuck you, Canada. Take THAT, CRA. Come and get me, you fascistic bureaucratic automatons.

Re:What happened to Canada? (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749075)

Heh some people are slow to wake up. I left Canada 20 years ago...

Re:What happened to Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749297)

I second this: 18 months was enough for me, it's a shit of a place to live.

Re:What happened to Canada? (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749757)

the Conservative government.

We're with the government... (4, Funny)

VendettaMF (629699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748971)

We're with the government. We don't have a sense of humor.

Did he do it at work or at home? (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42748979)

If he did it at home then firing him is a flagrant abuse of the departments power. If he did it at work then its a flagrant abuse of his position and he deserved to be fired. Anyone know which?

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749005)

Neither: he wasn't fired.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749471)

Yes he was.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749503)

He was.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (4, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749017)

Years ago when I had a phone job - I got pulled in to the office for drawing at my desk. I said everyone here doodles. Apparently there is a skill level limit to the doodle. Bored managers amusing themselves by being awful never helps a bad job.
Good job this guy didn't work there http://www.biro-art.com/ [biro-art.com]

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749103)

It's incredible just how often 'phone jobs' make their staff fucking miserable. If you're doodling / drawing you must be either not busy enough or not engaged in the conversations well enough to do your work properly.

Now I don't entirely agree with that, as someone who passes work out to the other staff, I can understand a small aspect of wanting the staff to look busy but I'd rather they were happy than miserable, often happy employees are more productive or at least easier to manage.

Any phone jobs I've had have been IT based, so my web browsing was traditionally, incredibly excessive but I've mostly got away with it throughout my career. None the less I can sympathise for sure. (There was a time when older women were welcome to do knitting during phone jobs, those days seem gone too as well)

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (5, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749253)

I did a few years of tech support for a Real Estate software company. They claimed they had 700,000 US Real Estate agents as customers.
* The software was written in Visual Basic 5, and used an Access Database.
* We suggested that customers limit their list of potential customers to 20,000 so that the database would not have issues as often (it was Access based so it was guaranteed to have at least some issues some of the time). One of the people I talked to wanted to load 1 million names into his database, and tried to do so before calling. He had no forethought to back things up first. It did not go well.
* Real Estate agents as a whole do not understand computers, and seem generally to have little patience for any problem - whether or not they caused it. The conversations got rather heated - a lot. I remember one guy who worked in Beverly Hills, screaming at the top of his lungs that he was losing 100k a hour while he was on the phone with us. My coworker in the cubicle took the call but I could hear it clear as day over top of the call I was taking at the time.
* We had over 60 tech support people crammed into their cubicles. I must say the quality of the Staff and the Tech Support leaders was actually quite high.
* We had a script we were required to follow and which was almost never relevant. This was a major problem since usually we could identify the problem quite quickly, but had to trudge through the routine first until that failed to solve the problem and we could carry on with actually solving the problem.
* A lot of the problem was of course the Sales staff who would lie through their teeth to get a Sale, knowing that Tech Support or Development would have to solve the problem, not them. In general, I hate Sales people as a result of those at this company.
* Our in house tools were written by the company too, and since what they knew was Visual Basic, thats what they wrote them in. Since the database they knew was Access, thats what we used. Every day at noon, for 1 hour, we had to revert to pen and paper because the Access Database for *our* customer base had to be repaired. Then we would madly enter call details in, in between other calls until we got caught up.

It was an "educational" experience, but not one I care to repeat if I can avoid it :P

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749557)

A lot of the problem was of course the Sales staff who would lie through their teeth to get a Sale, knowing that Tech Support or Development would have to solve the problem, not them. In general, I hate Sales people as a result of those at this company.

Don't feel bad, like you're biased or something. In general, the sales "people" at any company behave precisely the same way. Whether you're talking about a delivery tracking software company with a dozen employees or IBM itself, this is how the sales department always behaves. No one should ever talk to the salesmen, because they will sell features that don't exist that they thought they heard someone say was in the product but might only be theoretically possible, or indeed, theoretically impossible. Treat the salesmen the same way you treat HR, like lepers who might get some on you.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750225)

Back when I was a phone grunt, I first started out by doing homework. Then they said no, no home work allowed. No reading any more either. So I switched to doodling. I, too, got hit with the "skill limit" warning because my doodles were too good. Then they forbade drawing entirely for anyone. I switched to origami for a long time - just something to keep my hands busy - and when they told me to stop with the origami, I finally quit. I have no regrets.

These days, many call centers are actually distributed, so unless your supervisor is monitoring you with a web cam, they really can't tell what you're doing in your home office. I think that might finally be the end of that particularly vile variation of micro-management.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749487)

I was in a similar situation. Then I noticed there were women that would knit while on the phone and they didn't seem to have a problem with that. So, always up for a challenge, I learned to knit. I made a 22foot, stitch for stitch replica of the original Dr Who Scarf.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (2)

Yebyen (59663) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749857)

At our phone job, we actually encourage the call-center employees to doodle, because it's a) not on your screen, where the work/customer record is supposed to be (at all times excepting breaks), which makes it much better than either youtube or reading the news and b) it's something that's easy to stop if the customer picks up the phone, since it's an outcall position with no auto-dialers, a lot of time is spent repeating three dead simple steps of clicking onto the next record, pressing the dial button, until you have someone on the phone and just waiting for an opportunity to read the script and introduce one's self, only to be told that you've woken up the wrong person and you should call back/never call again.

(I feel sorry describing it that way, pretty sure it's not as bad as it sounds, but I don't run the phones so I honestly can't say how much it sucks.)

I have seen the more impressive doodles going onto the refrigerator and whiteboard, we keep plenty of whiteboard magnets mostly for this purpose.

Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749183)

It's conduct unbecoming of a public servant. A lot of civil servants have something like that in their contracts.

RTFA (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749027)

That is all.

Gail Shea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749127)

is a fucking no-good c##t from Lower Bumfuc PEI, whose biggest achievement in life has been sucking Stephen Harper's willy

all you want to know about this game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749235)

"no confidential taxpayer information" (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749261)

He was investigated for disclosing "confidential taxpayer information". Right. He used real customer names and numbers? At least they could be honest and say his crime was making a joke about his job -- and since it's a government job, at the tax department, (though he didn't actually say that in his game) it's not like they have to worry about losing customers.

Re:"no confidential taxpayer information" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749317)

Indeed. My beef is less about snippy managers firing (or considering firing) an underling because he had the gall to publicly humiliate said management, and more that they are trying to feign some sort of legitimacy by raising the specter of PII leakage. That's bad mojo any way you slice it.

Re:"no confidential taxpayer information" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749659)

Would you rather they just got "eh" and assume that none was released?

Re:"no confidential taxpayer information" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749883)

That's generally the SOP unless you are given reason to suspect -- otherwise, everyone's actions would eternally be under investigation. What about this scenario gives them reason to suspect that PII has been released?

Be reasonable: management is using a fabricated investigation to justify the firing of this employee. The really bad part is that they probably don't need to justify their actions, but feel a need to... which is pretty telling in its own right.

Real problem with phone jobs (3, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749329)

There are a lot of people out there calling help or support lines. Some of them are frustrated, some of them are angry, depressed or helpless. Depending on their mood and way dealing with it, they use the support stuff as a verbal punching ball. However, for some problems there is a solution.

a) A person calls and does not have ready all the stuff required to have a successful help line talk. For example, the do not have their customer number or other details available. And they start searching for them while on line.
Solutions:
A) Tell the person on the other end which information they have to collect, and that they can call back when the have it. These request should include all required and optional information you want to have as a help line person. Then wish him or her goodbye.

In cases where people are waiting for hours to get through, this is often not an option. Also some company policies could require you to keep the line open. In that case use B

B) Tell the person on the other end which information they have to collect, and that you are waiting for her/him until she/he can bring all the information. To survive this situation you have to switch from a goal centric state of mind, to a service state of mind. Even if you are doing nothing beside breathing and other vegetative stuff, you are there for the caller, your pure presence is the job. This might look like nothing, but it means a lot mentally for the caller, which has now someone who is there for him or her. For Europeans and people with a similar cultural determination have often a problem with that. That's why (beside the money) India is so popular for helplines. For help on that issue ask someone who meditates or a Buddhist.

In cases where the person is angry or otherwise aggressive, it helps to think that it is not you the person is angry with. It is like parenting. If you little baby cries, it is not angry with you it is just angry. It is not personal. Therefore, do not act like you are the source of the anger. You just have to comfort the baby. For older children, the approach is a little different. However, do not try to persuade it, as it is not open to any reasonable argument. Working at a help line is very similar. And you should act similar to that. Also you might have a supervision talk with your colleagues on a regular basis. If your company is great, they pay for it. If not, do yourself a favor and organize something privately.

Re:Real problem with phone jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749859)

A) The business process should allow for that customer to direct-dial back to a specific rep and be served by that specific agent. The current call in progress should be queued to the front of the line after the rep explains to the situation to the customer. (not sure the hardware has this capability, but it should) All calls should have all in-progress data stored as a business object that is delivered to the next rep with the call. This is already done sometimes and known as a "screen pop" by PHBs. Implement it and you'll get a glass trophy on your desk, maybe even a promotion.

B) wastes time

Plea to someone with the means... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749559)

....please give this gentleman a real, non-soul sucking, non-phone job.

The kid that was kicked out of school for finding the security issue was given an internship and a scholarship to help get him back on track when he was the victim of administrative idiocy. I hope someone with some power to help can do the same here.

Re:Plea to someone with the means... (-1, Flamebait)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749993)

....please give this gentleman a real, non-soul sucking, non-phone job.

The kid that was kicked out of school for finding the security issue was given an internship and a scholarship to help get him back on track when he was the victim of administrative idiocy. I hope someone with some power to help can do the same here.

The only non-soul sucking job is to be running your own business and not depending upon a supervisor or manager for your livelihood.

He got one thing right (2)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749563)

usually leading to his termination

Yep, just like what happened to him in real life.

A good thing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749583)

I'm just glad to know that some tax collector has been fired.

No Canukistan Free Speach? (1)

hduff (570443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42749735)

He pissed off the wrong people, the ones with the tight asses and dour faces.

How may I obtain this game?

Re:No Canukistan Free Speach? (1)

Prokur (2445102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750293)

Game available for free in many places like here [flashghetto.com] .
In order to download, use firebug or any other plugin suitable to save SWF files.

His game criticises his employer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42749907)

and involves employees getting fired.

Surely this result was not a surprise. He should be thrilled that he got what he wanted AND gets to whine in public about it.

I wonder why this game is not free (1)

Prokur (2445102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750027)

Looks like a plan to earn money, because in order to download this indie game you have to pay 2 bucks. And all those news is part of good promotion and advertising program.

Re:I wonder why this game is not free (3, Informative)

Prokur (2445102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750035)

nevertheless, game is available for free here [flashghetto.com]

One wants to believe... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42750109)

Truly and deeply wants to believe that

The Minister has asked the Commissioner (of Revenue, Andrew Treusch) to investigate and take any and all necessary corrective action.

...means that the Minister is referring to sad state of customer "service" in the agency and not to someone who's poking fun at it. But that's a sucker bet, for sure.

Check out his podcast! First Level (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750153)

He does a podcast on the Bonus Level Radio Network where they take a look at the first level of video games. You should totally check it out.

http://www.bonus-level.com/podcasts/first-level-2/

Are you a CUNT ? Canada has a job for you ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750171)

The Canadian government is a bunch of cunts, but they are
always looking for more cunts so they can achieve their goal
of being 100% cunt.

Canada is a pathetic nanny state, I used to want to live there
but now I am glad I don't and furthermore I won't spend my tourist
dollars there either.

Fuck Canada.

One tricky pony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750331)

You have to hand it to slashdotters to take a post that is (a) misrepresented in a headline (the guy wasn't fired) and (b) about civil service in Canada and turn the discussion into an argument trashing both the United States and Microsoft.

Do I see a trend here? It's almost as if people come to slashdot with an agenda to push or something ...

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