Thursday, January 21, 2010

My middle name is 'emo'

I didn't have a good start to 2010 as bad news kept flowing in since middle of December 2009. There was a structural change at work and I'm not really happy about it. Although I'm leading a smaller unit but Software Support comes under my wing this year, and that's definitely not a good news. Customer service/support is just not my forte. I never excelled in delivering it and suffice to say, I'd rather clean Malaysian public toilets than doing software support.

For some people, customer support/service runs in their blood but in my case I've had a few very bad experiences when I first started working about 12 years ago that I've been avoiding this area ever since.

Imagine this: You just graduated from University. You got a job with a company that was busy delivering a mega project. You are assigned to that project to provide Application/Software Support.Well, that's not the worst part yet. The new Malaysian international airport operation depends on those software. You were not trained for any of the software product. The rest of the project team members (the skilled ones) were all still busy chasing deadlines. In other words you're left alone, in an unknown territory and was instructed to fight dragons!

I survived there for 11 months. It was great suffering no money could buy. We were paid rather handsomely with all the additional shift allowances, mileage claims etc but I was damn miserable. The first few months I had to support POS users (not POS Malaysia lah.... P0int of Sales). The users at the retail outlet mostly were either dumb blondes or insane bitches. They just shouted at us mercilessly and treated us like morons. Many of them can be considered application illiterate (helloooo.... dumb blondes... what do you expect. If they could count from 1 to 20, you're lucky....) Some didn't even know how to punch in their sales. These dumb women, in a few occasions even called us names like 'budak bangang', 'bodoh' and a few others which I chose not to remember. There was a time when I attended to one of the problems and was turned away by a mean looking lady in extremely high heels (another blonde who didn't look so dumb). When I arrived at her outlet she simply shooed me with her hands and said, ' I don't want you, send another person here.'

The few incidents really brought my morale down. A few friends told me that in a few years' time I'd just remember those difficult moments and laugh about them but I just couldn't. I'd never want to relive those few months. If possible I want to just erase that chapter from my memory and my life. Those bitter episodes didn't teach me much but hurt a lot.

The rest of that year I was assigned to another department in KLIA but was still doing software support for products I never knew existed. The skilled engineers, upon handover to support team were all called back to HQ to do other projects. So, only us, the fresh faces were left doing operation, maintenance and support at the airport's 16 degree celcius data center. It was another difficult chapter but luckily nobody called us 'budak bangang' there as we only had to interact with IT engineers from other departments. Thank god, none of them were dumb or blonde.

So, when I got to know about the new unit I have to handle this year, it was all coming back to me. These few days were like Deja Vu. No matter how much I hate customer support, now I have to relive those KLIA days. Hopefully this time it's not as bad as 12 years ago. Well, I try not to put high hopes as the past 2 weeks have been hell. The pressure is mounting and I'm coping badly. That's why I'm damn emo. So, avoid me if you can.

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