Working at Centrelink Call Centre is many things. One thing I didn't expect it to be was funny.
I'm actually quite enjoying it - mostly the people are pleasant to deal with, and I do actually feel like I am able to connect with and help people. Even if I can't do what they want, I can advise them of what do do next etc., where to go to get more help, things like that.
I'm also enjoying the company of people I work with, it's quite a good mix and we all catch up on our breaks and share info and tips, things of a valuable workplace nature.
We also like to laugh at people.
We share stories of nice people, angry people, people we've caught out trying to dupe the system, and just plain funny stuff. We don't use their names obviously, and it's not done in a mean way, it's just a way to spice up our day, which can get pretty monotonous.
Some of the better stories that I've come across, either by speaking to the caller directly or from these 'team meetings', I've decided to share for your enjoyment.
Like the girl today who rang to claim an advance. She was receiving a benefit for people who are looking for work, and was receiving the rate of a single person living in a hostel. After checking through all her details with her, during which she again confirmed she was still at that address, I processed the advance. She was so happy to have made it through the whole process, she then went on to tell me how much it will help her, given that she's pregnant and that she and her boyfriend want to set up the spare room for the baby. To listen to her backpedal and try to stick to her original story when I questioned what hostel had built-in boyfriends and spare rooms available, and what sort of work was she looking for now that she was pregnant, was almost too funny. Almost.
Then there was they guy who I told would be receiving a call "within two working days". His reply? "Yeah, but I'm not working, hey?"
Then there was the guy who rang up the day he was released from prison, and got stroppy when told it would take up to a week to get him on benefits. When he snapped at me, "I just got outta jail, I got no money, what am I s'posed to do?", it took all I had not to snap back, "How 'bout not committing a fucking crime!"
But my absolute favourite?
Watching my colleague try and keep a straight face as she collected a caller's details. Surname? Taylor. First Name? Jenny. Go on... say it out loud...