Tales From Tele-Hell: Bucket & Chest
Do you know what’s worse than being asked for money on the phone? Asking for money over the phone. I worked at a telefundraising company for 10 weeks, and it was enough. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad in the pits of hell. I got to raise money for organizations I care about, like the HRC, ASPCA, and PPFA, to name a few. It felt good to support causes I care about. That being said, the good feeling was often overshadowed by the hang-ups and the angry reactions to my calls.
There is one skill I worked on during my experience, though, and that was what I like to call the “Bucket and Chest” Practice. Ok, the name sucks, but hear me out . . .
Let’s pretend you’re working at Tele-Hell. When you speak with someone, you pick up a bucket. Every part of that phone call goes right in the bucket. Sometimes the caller helps you hold the bucket. Other times, the caller dumps a lot of heavy junk in the bucket. It’s your job to make sure you don’t drop the bucket, but as soon as the call is over, you gotta dump it into the chest. You really can’t forget to dump your bucket, otherwise you take it with you to the next call.
So about this chest . . . The bad news is you gotta take it home with you at the end of the night. The good news is a lot of what you dumped into it has leaked right out.
See where I’m going with this? When someone cusses you out for calling, you can’t take that anger with you to the next caller. At the same time, I’d never advise you to just “let it go.” Instead, put it to the side (i.e. the chest), and if it’s still there at the end of the night, you can process it then.
This is a good lesson I learned about staying sane and professional at the same time. It’s all about balance. Treat each customer with respect without denying your own feelings.
Do you see how easy this “Bucket & Chest” idea can be implemented for actors? Let’s say you get in a big fight with your significant other right before an audition. However that makes you feel is completely valid, but it would be a huge mistake to take that full bucket into your audition with you. Instead, empty it into your chest and pick it up again after your audition.
Again, your feelings are valid, but sometimes they get in the way. Note them and promise yourself to process them at the appropriate time. It’s the best way to honor yourself and your career. That, and staying away from Tele-Hell.
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