As the tally of seemingly meaningless
statistics scrolled above my head, the reason we were all there became less
clear, yet somehow it all made sense to someone crunching the numbers for
If you’ve ever worked in a call
centre, you’d understand that call times, uptimes, downtimes, pretty much anytime
you spend on or off the phone – even going to the toilet – is all logged and
scrutinised. At the end of each pod of desks there’ll be an authoritarian
figure (hello, team leader) shouting out the numbers like a charioteer whose task is to
ensure we’re galloping along on course with the regional average, a flotilla of
headset wearing warriors charged with keep our customers happy.
Completing call centre boot camp – a
two week training course prior to our actual start date – those numbers were embedded
into each individual customer advisor’s head. If we couldn’t reach the targets,
there’d be someone to remind us that sometimes quantity is more important than
felt like I was lost in a sea of numbers – that I myself was just a number.
Here are 7 signs to look
out for that indicate you might be struggling:
- Loss of energy or motivation – not being able to
self-motivate or lack of determination to reach your goals
- Irritability or aggression that is abnormal
- Lack of sleep
- Changing in eating habits
- Strain on relationships in and outside of work
- A lack of self-confidence that occurred in the timeframe you’ve
- Increase in sensitivity, and a worry that you’re constantly
unfulfilling the needs of your manager
After what seemed like an
infinity, I decided I’d had enough and I would change this myself,
intrinsically thinking of the end goal in all of this – my happiness! My focus
then began to steer towards the customer experience, and how having more of an
interpersonal approach would benefit the person on both sides of the headset. I
exercised the points listed within this article over the course of a few weeks,
and found that in within the first few days my stress began to ease and I was
able to really get behind what mattered – my work.
When we look back on our
careers, there’s often that one job we can pinpoint, which still to this day
makes us shudder. One where we felt overlooked, underappreciated or overworked.
Maybe you didn’t get along with a particular colleague or manager, or your values
weren’t aligned with the culture of the company. Sometimes in the short-term
you just have to get on with the job,
but grinning and bearing it shouldn’t be at the determent of your longer-term mental
Most of us in professional
roles can think of times when we felt worn out and just needed to take a break,
but did you know that according to the Australian Human Rights Commission around
25% of workers have taken
off days due to stress? Studies show that job pressures can play out in various
mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression. The sad reality is many people
who experience this feel trapped or unable to leave due to financial
circumstances, which can lead to a feeling of further isolation.
Here’s what can you do to
Set realistic boundaries – Reasonable KPIs help us to benchmark our performance,
but don’t let them consume you to the point where you are at panic stations the
entire day. Speak to your manager or a respected colleague about how you can
meet your targets.
Ensure you take your full lunch break – You’ll have enough time
to read a book, eat proper food and leave your office or desk. You might even
consider reducing your screen time (taking a break from your smartphone) to wind
down and regenerate for the afternoon.
Get fit – If you’re going to improve your mental health, you’ll need
the energy to do it. Go for walk or a jog in the fresh air at lunchtime, before
or after work. Participating in sport and fitness activities as a hobby can be
a fun way to end the day on a high.
Maintain a positive image of yourself – If you’re good at
identifying the negatives, be better at listing the positives! Maybe you have
great conversational skills for network, you’re savvy with technology and
computer systems or simply always on time. Everyone has good (and bad)
qualities – focusing on your strengths will improve your confidence.
Understand that you’re not on your own – This brings me back to
the importance of conversation. Talk to your colleagues, your friends outside
of work or family, do not suffer in silence. An HR or recruitment consultant can
also offer guidance to help you find work that is a good fit with your knowledge,
experience and personal interests.
In my experience it’s been little
wins each day that have helped me grow by building my self-confidence. Of
course I always knew I was more than a number (more easily realised without
those numbers literally hovering above head), so if you’ve had similar thoughts
reading this, I would love to hear what tips you might have for better mental