“I had to wear a dunce cap, because I didn’t meet the metrics”

3. Dezember 2012: Jules Crouse, 41, was a customer service representative at the Chattanooga, Tennessee, call center from 2007 to 2012. She worked at T-Mobile USA from August 2007 to March 2012. In the beginning, Jules loved her job, but over time, her work got increasingly stressful.

“I was doing customer service work. We handled billing questions. Over the years we took on every function you could think of. We went from being just customer service – where we helped people with bills and questions about phones. By the end we were doing tech work, we ended up doing almost everything.

The pressure to perform was enormous. Sometimes Jules had problems meeting her numbers. Supervisors increased the pressure on her to perform. She remembers one specific instance in which the coach took extreme measures to humiliate her publicly – to help ‘motivate’ her.

“Because my “average handle time” (editor’s note: the average amount of time spend with the customer) was high for two consecutive months, my coach made a little dunce cap and then left it on my desk. I wore it for a little bit. Then it just kind of moved around to whoever had the worse stats that day. It went around my pod for weeks and it was probably on my desk two to three times on different occasions. It made me feel belittled and ridiculed.

Jules continued to have problems meeting the metrics and was progressively disciplined. Her “average handle time” was high and her coach told her to report to the office. She was informed that she need to go home and write an essay about why T-Mobile should continue to employ her. “If they felt what I had written was good enough, I could keep my job. But if it wasn’t something that they felt was heartfelt, then I was going to lose my job.”

“I sat there and I knew that I had to do it; otherwise I was going to lose my job, and I wasn’t in a position that I could afford to lose my job. I cried the whole time I wrote the letter because I felt like I was a child in school being punished. But I wrote this letter basically begging for my job, telling them that, you know, I loved T-Mobile and didn’t want to leave T-Mobile. It’s very belittling. I left there feeling like I’d been suspended from school and now I’ve got to beg to come back. Writing that letter was hard, because I’m a very proud person. But I wrote it exactly the way I knew they wanted it. I used what we call T-Mobile verbiage.”