The losing battle of career vs e-learning children

I am composing this for all the single moms trying to balance having a career and children.

I am writing this for all the full time working parents wondering if they will be fired tomorrow.

I am writing this to the manager and CEO who is sitting back making decisions without thinking of their employees but of the bottom dollar.

What am I about to post may very well make its way back to my current employer but at this point I don’t know what else to do? Before I go on to what is going to be a rant I want to make it clear that everything I’m about to say is completely true. I have fought for not only myself but for all of my fellow coworkers in every department to be treated equally during this time. We don’t want special treatment, we need it! We need to find a way to work with these parents who are trying to balance everything at once.

If they are trying if they are making every effort to help your business run successfully why can’t show them the same respect?

Schools turning remote learning

Ever since March schools have been either canceled or turned to remote learning. This time was short until summer, and since it was so close to the end of the year not much was required, the school didn’t place much effort. As the months went by employers knew there was a huge chance it would not return to normal at the start of a new school year.

Call center life

Many companies that have a call center like ourselves, sent employees home to work, they assumed we could manage. Move our homes around to fit work and we did. We packed our computers, turned some quiet corner in our home away from our children and began working. We did it for months and during these same months I thought a company the size of the one I work for would start planning.

I have been asking my employer what would happen with us call center employees? How would we be balancing our calls and the responsibility of keeping our children alive? I mean let me be honest my children are keeping themselves alive, they are getting their snacks and drinks while I am locked in an office on the other side of the house. In eyes of the law, I’m almost positive this would be some sort of neglect.

Months of waiting for answers

So back to the point for months, I have been asking my employer what it plans to do and for months I have heard that management is working on a plan. They told us they would get back to us as soon as possible. Here we are months later schools have started and yet no plan of action has been set by this company. I can honestly say at least once a week I would bring up this topic or send an email.

Each of these times it was the same answer. The management team is working on a solution and it would give us answers soon. This went on for months.

Finally, we get a call from our direct managers letting us know that on a Saturday we were to join a conference call where this would be addressed.

Can I tell you what they say?

Could I honestly surprise you?

We were told they have discussed a few options but nothing had been decided. I am not kidding you fumes came out of my head. Granted I was being paid for this hour long waste of time call but still a waste of more of my time from my family.

Some two weeks or so have passed since that call and nonetheless, we get no answers. Anyone who has children knows this is a long time to wait for answers, but we did.

How a call center works?

Those of you who don’t know how a call center works let me explain a bit. We start our shift at the same time every day but ending your shift may vary if you get a call at the end. During that shift we get two 15 minute breaks and an hour lunch.

Additionally, if we need to do anything outside that time frame already scheduled for us we have 10 minutes. That may seem like a lot of time but when you are on back to back calls, stuck at a desk, and need to go use the bathroom or grab a drink that time moves fast. Now add in the fact your child needs you to become IT or your child has a question. Those ten minutes move faster than a shooting star.

I should also add that we are being told certain days our lunch will be mandatory 30 minutes if the calls are heavy and they are offering overtime. This will make sense in a moment.

The waiting continues

Still being considered I speak to my manager and ask for more information. When I had spoken to my manager he told me as long as my personal didn’t go over 30 minutes it wouldn’t be an issue. He also said that as long as it wasn’t an extended period of time or didn’t seem that I was taking advantage of the e-learning it wouldn’t be a problem. I even asked if this will negatively impact me when it came to reviews and he said “I will not use this against you”. I ended the call not 100% confident but hoping it was true.

Guess what? Not the case at all.

On Friday I received an email regarding my compliance, the time I spend on and off time phone. It was Friday at 5 pm so right after I clocked out the email comes in. This email said I needed to watch my personal time off the phone because I was only allowed ten minutes and had used seventeen. This is a week after speaking to him and nowhere in this email did he mention my previous conversation with him. Mind you this included the co-manager of my department, their boss, and two other managers. I wrote back making mention of our conversation. To say I have fumes coming out of my head is an understatement.

Just when you think things can’t get worse

My manager acknowledged seeing my email but stating he didn’t read it because he knew I was upset. Instead he set a meeting so we can talk.

I was told that each time I needed to attend to my children I am to completely clock out and clock back in once I’m done helping. During that same call, I was told that I could not go over the ten minutes of “personal time“ the company gives us because that would mess with their numbers. They continued by saying that we have to meet these numbers in order to keep the contracts but apparently if I clock out to help my children closing all of my work-related items and clock back in having to open everything again that would be OK.

This process of clocking in and out would not mess with the contracted time. Is that what I am to understand? I don’t know but I would think our company is not the only one dealing with this sort of issue. I would think that given plenty of time an agreement could have been made. I also don’t know the percent of working parents with our children but honestly how much of an impact can we be making that they rather have us clock out?

Could the companies we are doing business with not understand that these are not normal times?

That some parents are really struggling and wondering will they have a job tomorrow?

Will the company I am working for really make me chose children over a career? What would you do? How would you decide if you have to worry about keeping a roof over your head and ensuring your children are cared for?

Can someone explain this to me?

Let me ask you this if you are having me clock in and out to help my children but they also telling me I have mandatory overtime cutting my lunch in half how is this helping me or your company?

When you ask your employees who are struggling to manage working and helping their children with e-learning to stay later to help a business that isn’t helping them, how do you think they feel? Why do you think they should continue to sacrifice family time and honestly their sanity for your company?

We aren’t getting overtime you are having us make up the time we have been told we need to clock out for. So for those who have missed it they don’t want to pay us during this time. They want to offer you over time but in reality, if you have to clock each time to answer a two-minute question you are paying yourself back.

I don’t see how clocking out and then back in would help meet these numbers yet simply using this personal time would help. As “value employees“ we only matter if we are benefiting them and helping with labor cost. It seems all that matters is that they can say we were short staff or mark us as unapproved time off.

Why am I not surprised?

I guess it should surprise me that I am dealing with these issues when this same company told me that if my internet goes down because my provider is having issued I must clock out and it will count as “unplanned time off”, or like the time I wrote my boss to tell him the news was reporting possible tornado activities for the next day and he told me that he has never heard of a warning like this for a tornado and that this too counts as unplanned time off if I had to get off the phone to seek safe shelter.

Devoting time, energy, and empathy

I have been working for this company for three years now and over those three years I have won several awards for my customer service. I have helped create new procedures to streamline our customer service, and yet using seven extra minutes of personal time was too much for this company. Allowing “special treatment” or any type of accommodation is not possible for a company this size because it might mess with the contracts. Yet we have 14 calls holding and they decided to pull half the team for a refresher on the material they just completed a month training on. What happened to not messing with our numbers now?

I know that every company has its issues and that no matter where I go I may have to deal with something I don’t like but I should not have to chose my children or my career.

Finding a Balance career vs e-learning children

I should be able to balance the two. I should be able to know that the company I have worked for isn’t going to fire me, mark me as unapproved time off, or reprimand me for simply trying not to fail. Fail as a mother and fail as an employee. D you know the stress this is causing families? Do you know what it feels like to go to bed and wake up wondering if today is the day you will be fired?

I want these managers and all the hire ups who probably don’t have young children to think about the stress us little employees are being put under? I would like to see the CEO who probably has a nanny helping their children follow said nanny for one day trying to balance everything. I want them to honestly answer if they would be able to accomplish it if they were in our shoes.

As you can tell I didn’t even touch on my kids being stuck inside all day. I didn’t mention the lack of social skills”. What’s the point if we can’t even get our employers to think of us, little people. We are just our employee number to them, no face to account, no one speaking up for us.

So here I am asking will it be your career or your children?

11 thoughts on “The losing battle of career vs e-learning children”

  1. I worked in a call center for a decade. Maybe the only thing different in my situation was that I was working the night shift (2 am to 11 am). My issue then was making sure the kids were up, getting them breakfast and sending them off to school. For 10 years, my life was super stressful. I quit 4 years ago, with no plan B in place, but I am now happily working from home as a freelancer. I can relate to what you are feeling. Call centers are companies that do not look at employee welfare. We are treated as stats. Keeping the client satisfied is what they are more concerned about rather than keeping their frontliners happy and productive. Work-life balance? No such thing exists in call centers. That is a sad reality.

  2. I totally read everything and I can say this definitely sums up how I feel for the companies I worked for in the past. I have been asked several times why I got fired and why I have to change jobs in a span of a year. I was belittled because I have children even if I work from home. I have to attend to the company’s rules and regulations. But when they needed you to do over time and work for them more they’re just going to easily grab your time and give you the money because they know it’s what you needed and you will do everything for that money, you will then end up neglecting your children’s needs because of your career. It is so not fair. If you get fired guess what you will receive nothing but the disrespect by blacklisting you in their companies so you can’t make them your reference the next time you applied for another company. As if you didn’t do anything good. Thanks though for this! This is such a wake up call for mother’s like us. We deserve to be treated with love and respect.

    1. Thank you for reading. You are correct they would probably make life harder if I left to go to another company and that is why I work hard to expand my own business. As a doula, I show families the utmost respect. We are trying the best we can to manage.

  3. It feels like we are stuck in a never ending cycle of not knowing – remote learning may be great for some but also putting huge pressure on others. I hope we all get some answers soon.

  4. Your blog post is of a disconcerting reality, it questions or rather clarifies a question that is debated so much in a completely sincere way. I was pleased to read you. Honesty.

    1. I am one of the lucky ones who has the choice to work from home or the office. So is my husband. This pandemic has proven that many companies are not willing to adapt to new things. Nobody should be forced to choose between their kids or their career. If I was giving a choice like that, my kids would win every and each time.

      1. I too work from home. I have been for three years but then you add 6 kids into the mix and things are not what I am used to anymore.

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