Advocate

If it is anyone that should be gone after, it should be the Idaho Department of Labor. It is my opinion that they have run for cover after causing quite a bit of trouble. Suddenly, they don’t have an answer. The only answer they have is, “What can I do to help you?” How about starting with repairing a community you destroyed. Idaho Department of Labor sold out to MAXIMUS. You don’t want to go after MAXIMUS because they didn’t do anything. I honestly think that people who are complaining about MAXIMUS are barking up the wrong tree. All they did was act like a normal call center in a right to work state.

For me, this started back last May. I had graduated from University of Phoenix a year prior and there was some transitional person e-mailing me lists of jobs that require a Bachelors degree. I skimmed those e-mails, mind you. At that point, I was asking University of Phoenix what my Associates is good for for three years. They never answered my question and insisted on “enhancing my resume with a Bachelors.” Verbatim. I was busy with repairing my house, car, and pets because I was too busy with school and now everything has fallen apart. Believe me, it takes about a month or so when it comes to repairing anything gas or electric. After less than a year after graduating, the communication suddenly ceased with University of Phoenix without an explanation. I e-mailed them for a month asking what happened. No response. I e-mailed the manager and the transitional person and I never got a response back. Someone stated that they quit talking to you a year after graduation. Nobody told me this. I found out later that the individual no longer works for University of Phoenix and that is why the communication stopped. This story will come later.

So, I e-mailed the Idaho Department of Labor on LinkedIn. I explained how I was manipulated into going to college and that I have no idea (and no answers) as to what I can use an Associates in Arts in Communications in. I went to college to stop working at call centers and I was still working at them two years after graduation and I have yet to make a student loan payment. Idaho Department of Labor told me that a new company was opening in Idaho called MAXIMUS. It was another call center, but I should apply for a supervisor position. I thought it was an interesting idea. A company was coming to Idaho that I could try something new at.

I applied at MAXIMUS. The moment I applied indicated how awful their information system is. I had to submit an application twice. I got a response after about a month. MAXIMUS told me to apply for the trainer position. Cool, a referral. So, I ended up submitting an application twice. I got an interview for the training position about a month later and learned that they did not know where they were going to be located in Idaho; the guy setting up the appointment was located in Virginia. When I was called to set up an appointment, the agent’s phone called me over and over and over. I finally had to text him to find out his phone had malfunctioned. No big deal. So, I had the interview and I could not hear them too well. I did not get the position.

While this was happening, everyone else I was working with was going over to MAXIMUS. It is hard to say who exactly had their hand in this, I assume it was our previous supervisor who was now a supervisor at MAXIMUS. There was much going on. Everyone on the team had their different reasons for leaving. Not all of them went to MAXIMUS, but half of us did. At the time, I had a nosy, hypocrite sitting next to me complaining to our supervisor about my negativity. When I got yelled at it by the supervisor, the individual did the same thing that I was doing. I suspect that the supervisor was someone who had bad mouthed our team to her original team who were regular agents and that she was out to get us. I can only assume because she made it difficult for us to succeed and had brought incentives down to a minimum. Our team also began taking regular calls as well as escalated calls, I already promised myself years prior that I would quit if I had to do retention again. Additionally, I had not seen a raise for over a year. So, to do what I was doing at my wage…that was something I simply could not do. Then to top it off, I was told that I did not know how to communicate with customers even though I have worked at call centers for eight years and I have a communications degree. It was a slap in the face. My thought is that if a customer and I are communicating on the same level and understand each other, you don’t need to be anymore specific.

I pitched a fit about how all of my team mates were going somewhere else and getting supervisor positions at MAXIMUS. So, people responded by saying that I should apply as a regular agent and work my way up. I did and MAXIMUS hired me on. Knowing how long it takes to get an interview and what was going on (about a month), I ended up giving my job one day notice.

For starters, we already knew MAXIMUS had a two year contract. To think that an agent had the contract for two or three years was ludicrous because it would not have been possible. To begin, there is no union therefore the agents did not have a contract; MAXIMUS had the contract with the building that they are in. Importantly, their contract is for two years, not three. Not to mention it is a right to work state, which means that they can terminate at will without any given reason. It says so in the document that we all signed that we could be terminated at any time. It is something that I have seen at every job that I have been hired at. There were no promises here, but they did hire a ton of people who already had a job.

I can understand where the confusion came from. When I was in training, people were boisterous and not paying attention. In fact, people would ask repetitive questions or redundant questions about things that were JUST explained. Most people did this to kill time because we were sitting around for about a month. At some times, they complained about random things. People were under the impression that we were going to get paid the second time we evacuated the building. The impression came from when we were paid for it the first time. It was something that should have been explained, but it is water under the bridge. It never stopped people from complaining about it. Sometimes people would complain and say, “Well, it’s not in the contract.” What contract? It is not a union job. It is a right to work state, they can choose to revoke breaks if they wanted to.

The most aggravating situation was the fact that everyone in the building was new. Everyone had the same information as the next person. When we were referred to call an “expert,” the person we called treated us like dirt. They yelled at us when we escalated calls to them when we were instructed by a supervisor to do so.

At one point, many of us realized that open enrollment was going to be over in a matter of months. We asked the supervisors and nobody got back to us. MAXIMUS did not answer that question about what were we going to do after open enrollment. We did not get an answer until February. In fact, it was an action. They announced they were laying off over 1,000 people. It didn’t really phase me because I was already looking when I was told that this does not fall under the Public Service program.

I am not annoyed with MAXIMUS. I am annoyed with Idaho Department of Labor. They are the ones that made a big deal over the arrival and hiring process for MAXIMUS. They are the ones that created this welcome wagon and who knows how much they made doing this. I still do not have an answer about my Associates. What is really funny are the job ads stating that you are going to need a degree to get a job; I have yet to figure out which advocacy group who created that cheesy advertisement. I went to complain and the only thing they want to do now is give a list of resources for applying for jobs. Not to mention the fact that Idaho Department of Labor is difficult to communicate with.

I contacted them again and explained this all over and asked them about the situation with promoting MAXIMUS and furthering education. Someone in Meridian, I’m in Nampa, called me and set up an appointment. I went looking and I did not know where to find them. When I called, I was directed to the office in Pocatello. This really annoyed me because I cannot call the office directly for instructions (and my Cricket phone deleted all of my messages). I asked to speak with a manager who was extremely condescending and lacked any empathy whatsoever. I told him I was in Nampa and did not know my way in Meridian and Idaho Department of Labor is simply wasting my time. All he could say, “How can I help you? I don’t know how I can help you. I’m in Pocatello, I don’t know what to tell ya!” I told him what an antagonistic piece of crap he was and he disconnected the call. Don’t worry, I know who to contact to place a complaint, Matt.

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