Sep 14, 2010

Matt at Work: Welcome to Pepitoville

Day 318

Kristy got a real job teaching school down in Riverton, Utah so we backed up all of our belongings and we headed down south. It was great quitting my job at Convergys. The job itself was not bad but unfortunately the Logan Convergys had always suffered in the mid-management arena. There was a lot of good supervisors but then there were a lot of supervisors that only had the goal of self-promotion and looking good in front of others. At my last employment we had people that worked at the Logan Convergys work there. I could always tell which ones were supervisors there, they carried themselves differently. It was like they were trained to always strive to look better than other people and stab each other in the back.

Sounds like I have some stories to tell right?

But that is for another day. Today I am going to cover my next job. I was still working for Convergys but I was in a brand new project and I was working at a different facility.

I found a job about two weeks after we moved down to West Jordan. I applied to work a new project at Convergys. I was hoping that my experience working at Convergys would get me hired and it did. I was interviewed by my eventual boss John right on the spot. I went into the interview and bluntly told the truth of my time working at the Logan Convergys. He asked me what was one of the most important things I would want in this job. I quickly replied that I expect honesty and information, two things that I thought lacked in Logan. I must have made an impact with him because he then said "I usually don't do this but I want you on my team. I don't need to call you back." And I was hired.
I didn't know it going in but I was applying to work with Kraft. Yeah, the same company that produces Kraft Cheese and Macaroni. (that should be obvious right?) I was hired with another 20 people and we quickly began training. Training was a lot of fun. John and the Convergys reps were completely different people. I actually had Sick Days, I actually had vacation. I actually had reasonable goals. This was completely opposite of the Logan Convergys. I quickly picked up the system and made some fast friends and John relied on my to help lead.

And then Susan arrived. Susan was Kraft's representative, she was the one that would train us in Kraft's vast product line which we would handle half of. Susan and I didn't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. Clearly she was superior to the rest of us Joe Schmoe's and we could tell. She looked down on all of us. She would have a limo come and pick her up and take her home. She wore these insanely fancy clothes and was cocky. So it was obvious that we were not going to be friends. I tried to like her but we rubbed each other the wrong way. I think what drove her nuts about me is that I liked to have fun and it seemed to her that I was very unprofessional and was not learning. But I knew my stuff and I picked things up so quickly. In fact John asked me to help those around me and that really ticked her off. But the Kraft portion of the training was fun. We got to try all of Kraft's products. We tried all the Post cereals, all the Oscar Mayer meat products (and now I only like to buy Oscar Mayer hotdogs), all the Jell-O and all the Kraft dry meals. We would cook them up and sample them.

One thing that I do not tolerate is disrespect. You respect me and my fellow workers, I will follow you to the moon. You start slamming people that do not deserve it and we will have problems. And one afternoon Susan got snotty and I let her have it. There was this young girl in our class that was not picking things up very well and I was assigned to help her out. I did my best to help her and we became friends. But Susan didn't think nicely of her and she berated her right in front of everyone. And I openly mocked Susan for doing so. Susan essentially called her a dullard and hick (I don't think Susan meant for us to hear it) and I took offense. In our training Susan would pretend to call in to complain about something and we would fill out these tickets. John wanted me to help this girl (since I knew how to take the call) so I "quietly" made fun of this lady that was calling in which meant I was making fun of Susan. And she picked up on it.

We met afterwards and I told Susan that she was being very disrespectful and told her that she was losing the respect of everyone she was training. I will give her credit, she backed off and apologized. I think I also earned her respect because when she would come out to visit later on we got along great.

Like I said, the training class was a lot of fun. During that month of training we all bonded together. We would go out together as a class for lunch and chat. I remember one lunch quite vividly. We were all chatting together and suddenly one of the girls (not the one I was friend's with) blurted out that she thought having an affair would be the most exciting and fun to do ever! We all looked at each other with our eyes bulging out of our heads. Suddenly Cathy (an older lady) yelled out "It is whores like you that ruin marriages!" Oh the awkward silence that came after that. It didn't surprise us that Miranda wanted an affair. She was quite flirty and outgoing but to actually come out and say that. That incident ruined the dynamic of our group. It was months later when we caught her and our other boss in the parking lot. More on that later!

Pepitoville was the name of our row. I got along with everyone that sat in our row and it made the days go by very quickly. Pepitoville was also the name of our blow-up pickle. Yeah, we had a pickle. When I left my fellow co-workers said that Pepitoville was no more and they gave me the original sign that hung in our row.

John was one of the best bosses I have ever had. He knew when to be serious and when to have fun. He was one of us. He didn't like Susan either and was not happy that I called her out but then didn't do anything about it either. He respected me and therefore I respected him. When I was hired, I got a nice raise since I worked at Logan for a year but for some stupid reason (oh yeah, management at Logan) my PTO (paid time off) would not roll over. I told John that Logan would not honor my PTO (since we really were not allowed to take it) and would not roll over my time. John thought this was outrageous and he took it upon himself to make it right. He spent hours on the phone with Logan and finally he came out as a winner. Unfortunately, I had to make a trip back to Logan to do some paperwork but I would get my PTO. When shook his head in disbelief when he told me how backwards and stupid they were. It was nice to have that sort of validation. John totally earned my respect.

During some of our slow times John would take me off the phones and we would call in and play jokes on our co-workers. We picked on this kid Randall because he was so nice and humble and best of all, a complete sucker. John would tell me what he wanted me to say and I would ad-lib the conversation. We gave him all sorts of problems, like does Kraft have any recipes for squirrels, can Miracle Whip be used for lotion, and things like that. I would always give him a fake name, usually it was Lucifer or Satan. We would spend hours calling around and making jokes. And I got paid for it all!

John and I would also bet on Bronco games. He was an avid Bronco fan (he was from Ft. Collins originally and went to CSU) and we would bet packs of soda. I think we ended up being even but we must have bought 10-12 packs of IBC soda.

Daryl was my other boss. He seemed like a nice enough fellow and had a neat British accent but the more I learned about him the more I didn't like. He was a pretty lazy boss and we had an altercation. (Geez, bosses must have hated me) I took a call from a lady that was extremely angry (I think it was because there were bugs in her cereal) and she let me have it. I tried to explain to her what might have happened and she demanded that she speak to a supervisor. I finally convinced Daryl to come take the call since she would not speak to me. She was beside herself and called me all sorts of nasty names. So Daryl takes the call and and eases her tension and then tells her that he was going to put me back on the line to get more information. I shook my head "no" and told him that it would be better for him to take the extra five minutes to handle the call. I was listening to the call as well and she didn't want to be passed back to me either. But Daryl was lazy and didn't want to do it. He placed her on hold and demanded that I take the call. I looked him square in the eyes and told him "to do his job" and I left. He took the call (all about three minutes worth) and we pulled me aside and called me a for making him take the call. John got involved and I told John what had happened and that he should pull the tape (meaning he should listen to the recorded call) and that Daryl shouldn't have passed that call to me. John agreed with me and stuck up for me. Daryl was not happy and he tried to pin everything on me. That was until we knew about him and Miranda. Now I am not supporting blackmail of any type. All I did was ask him if my evaluation would also be held in his car too. And that put a stop to Daryl.

The job itself was not too bad. Most of the calls came from people complaining about a product or they had a suggestion or they wanted a recipe. We would fill out these tickets and refund money or send out coupons and send out recipes. Most of the people I spoke with were friendly and rarely did I get a bad call. John would often pull me off the phones and work the floor assisting my co-workers. Sometimes I would take supervisor calls as well. One thing that I did notice right away was that I would get the same phone call every morning of everyday. It comes through the Oscar Mayer line and the area code is Florida.


I would get these old people calling that there bacon was too salty. Every day! It was like clockwork! I can mimic these old people perfectly. One time I was doing my old man salty bacon voice for Kristy's family and my nephew didn't like it. He covered my mouth and told me not to do it anymore. Joseph was about six years old at the time.

Our class was so successful that Kraft decided to expand our operations and we got a new class. I was asked to help out with training this new class and I quickly made some new friends. I got to know them pretty well.

The job was decent but I was feeling a little burned out and I wanted to do something different in my life and I made the decision to go back to school. I quit my job 10 days before Christmas and it was sad to move on. I made some good friends and I really liked my boss. But all good things have to come to an end. They gave me a small going away party and a nice card signed by all my friends.


  1. I love reading about your experiences in the work force and this post was especially interesting! I'm glad you stood up for yourself against your jerky/lazy bosses!

  2. Very interesting read. I have to say that I hope I'm not the jerky/lazy boss you're describing. One of my biggest pet peeves is disrespect so I especially liked your commentary on that. I have called out numerous people on this sort of behavior ... but it is ALWAYS behind closed doors so they aren't made to feel bad in front of everyone.

    At the end of the day ... it's just phone calls people! Smile. Talk to people. Have fun and lighten up! I am sure you did so well and were so well-liked because you understood those important lessons. :)