So I got a call from my bank the other day telling me my credit card was hacked…again. I wasn’t as freaked out as I was the other three times, but it did make me wonder. Who got my card information? How did they do it? I thought of the nineteen-year-old who sold me an alternator yesterday at the auto-parts store; the last place I used my card. Did that little bastard copy the numbers from my card?
So while this was all going around inside my head, the woman from the bank had been talking and of course, I had not been listening. Focusing my attention back to the banks’ customer service rep, I realized this wasn’t Aanandi, the heavily accented young lady from Bangalore who had walked me through this canceled credit card maze before. This was somebody new.
“Excuse me’” I interrupted, “You’re not Aanandi, who are you and how did you learn to speak English so well?”
There was a short pause, and then she began to speak. “My name is Jean, Mr. Bryant, I live in Springfield Massachusetts.”
“What was this?” I thought to myself. The economy is getting better, we’re bringing back jobs to the good old USA!
“So the bank has hired you back?” I asked, adding, “That’s great news for you!”
“No, Mr. Bryant, the bank did not hire me back. I actually worked as an industrial machinery designer until I was laid off back in 2007. This customer service job was the only thing I could get.” She said.
“At the bank,” I added.
“No, Sir, I was hired by Aanandi Limited, an Indian company located in Bangalore. I work for them.”
“So you have a degree in design and…”
“I have a PHD in industrial physics.” She interrupted.
“Right,” I said. You have a PHD in industrial physics, you lost your job in 2007 and after eleven long years were you able to get a work-at-home job from a company in India who only exists because the companies in America are not paying a living wage to its own employees. The money is good?” I asked.
“There was another pause. I get seventy-eight cents for the successful resolution of each phone call.”
“Not an hourly rate?” I asked.
“No, it comes out to about $4.88 per hour after the online job clearinghouse takes their cut, then, of course, they pay me through PayPal which subtracts another two or three percent for that service.”
“Sounds to me like you’re no better off then you were when you lost your job 2007?” I said.
“I’m no better off than I was in 1988, when I had a lemonade stand in front of my parents’ house in Dubuque. I was twelve.” She replied. – Gary Paul Bryant