Tips to survive working in a call centre

Call centre jobs can be tough on your mental health

Written by Martin McKenna


For many school leavers and college graduates, the first step on the career path will be a job in a call centre. This was the case for me and for the six months I worked in that environment, I was experiencing levels of stress and anxiety that I had never experienced before. From the angry customers to the pressure of monthly targets, there are plenty of things that this type of role can throw at you that may get you down.

To give an example, on one particular occasion in the company I was working for, I was given out to by my team leader for being 7.2 seconds over on my lunch break. This may sound extreme but it was the norm. Also from what I have heard from my friends in similar jobs, their experiences weren’t too far off.

When I first started, I would be getting home from work absolutely exhausted and in a bad mood because of all the negativity that was being thrown at me on a daily basis. As I settled in however I started to find ways to lighten my own mood and make sure that when I clocked out at the end of my shift, I was leaving any negativity or stress behind me. Here are some of my own tips which may help you cope and possibly send you home in a good mood:

Talk to the people around you between calls 

Instead of sitting there waiting for your next call to come in, make an effort to try and start a conversation with the person beside you. You will be surprised how much you have in common and how quickly time will pass. Also when it comes to dealing with a particularly nasty call, it is always hugely relieving to know you have a friend sitting beside you that can relate.

Put a photo on your desk of something that cheers you up

I’ll admit, this one I completely stole from The Simpsons but it most definitely works! Whether it’s a loved one, a pet or even a sports team, seeing that positive image in front of you can help you escape to a happier place.

Try not to take it personally

A lot of the time when people get through to you, they have already been on hold for an age. So that means straight away you are fighting an uphill battle because they are already frustrated. Just remember if they start to give out to you about any issue that it is not a personal insult, you are representing a company and not yourself.

The same goes for your performance targets

If you are under pressure from your team leader to make sales or retain customers, remember it is not an attack on you. They have their own targets to reach and managers to please which can be very stressful for them also. So if you listen to the advice they give and show that you are making a conscious effort to improve, you will find that they will ease up on you.

Go for a walk on your break

Often the dullness of a call centre and noise of several people talking over each other can be extremely annoying. It is nearly impossible to gather your thoughts. So on your lunch break be sure to remove yourself from it and get some fresh air. Go for a walk and remind yourself that there is life outside of the call centre

I have worked a few different jobs at this point but without a doubt my call centre experience was the most difficult one I have ever had. On the plus side, I managed to build lifelong friendships that will never be broken. It is true that every cloud has a silver lining and you will find that if you try to adopt a more positive approach, your days will start to become much more manageable.

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