September 24th, 2010

Different breeds

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I was talking to one of our calltakers recently.

The normal career progression in the control room is for staff to join as a calltaker. Here they spend a couple of years answering calls from the public, either via 999 or non-emergency lines. This is where they learn about the job, our internal procedures & policies & how we deal with stuff.

Then a good number of calltakers will come over for radio work. It’s not a promotion, just different work.

Rob has been a calltaker for 2 or 3 years, so I asked when he was coming over to the dark side.

I was surprised to hear that he wasn’t considering such a move & furthermore, that he enjoyed his work as a calltaker.

To me this was the equivalent of someone without a toothache admitting they enjoy home dentistry.

Now I make no bones about it, I bloody hate calltaking. Fortunately I don’t do it too often, which is just as well. I fail to see what enjoyment people get from spending half the shift or more either talking to numpties, being abused, shouted √ā¬†& sworn at or banging your head on the desk from the frustrations of speaking to people who don’t understand the concept of answering simple questions. Of course, not every caller is like that, there are some√ā¬†perfectly√ā¬†reasonable & pleasant callers.

A good calltaker is like gold, they get all the information, filter out the crap & never get annoyed or upset by the callers. It’s a job I hate.

So it was a real surprise to hear that Rob didn’t want to leave calltaking behind & move onto the radios.

Good luck to him, I couldnt do it.

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  1. Simon says:

    You know the bottle of Evian Water this calltaker has and drinks from every few minutes….well it’s full of Methadone and thats why he enjoys all the calls ;)

    September 25th, 2010 at 08:53

  2. boy on a bike says:

    OT – but I thought you’d like this:

    September 25th, 2010 at 11:33

  3. Tony F says:

    Sounds like a real gem to me!

    September 25th, 2010 at 19:47

  4. Plodnomore says:

    In our control room we used to rotate so that each person spent some time either a call taker or on the front desk (at times of extreme short staffedness(?) the call take was often the person on the front desk, juggling the ‘don’t let the phone ring more than 3 times’ rule and the often long list of people who walk in off the street and espect to be seen IMMEDIATELY! One of the guys was brilliant on the front desk/calltaking but when put on the controls where he had to run an incident, he used to freeze, necessitating someone else take over. We tried to use his strengths though the (non-Police) supervisor would quote the job role and insist he take his turn on the controls – it was strange that whenever several incidents were running, this same supervisor was nowhere to be seen – with the result that the atmosphere was not as serene as it should be. His skill at using logic and reason to placate angry callers was a joy to behold. We later learned that he was a volunteer for the Samaritans!

    September 25th, 2010 at 21:00

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