My scheduling story is one that most call center workers are familiar with. In the early fall, around September 2014, T-Mobile’s Menaul call center was in the process of assigning shifts to us for our next alignment. This type of scheduling procedure is commonly known as a “shift bid.” A shift bid takes place at T-Mobile every six months and is based solely on performance from the previous six-month alignment the reps have completed.
Prior to our fall realignment, I had been on an early morning schedule for roughly a year. My life, and my family’s life, is scheduled around my work hours. When I received the results of my bid that September, I was told I would be going from the opening shift (Monday through Friday 5:45 AM to 2:15 PM) to one of the closing shifts that would take place Friday through Monday. This shift is called the “weekend wrap.” This was going to be almost impossible for my family to work with unless my husband left his current job and agreed to stay home with my daughter at night. I felt trapped and found myself making any and every effort to swap shifts with another worker. T-Mobile’s idea of a fair shift swap is leaving a note on a board in front of the resource planning office. This board is not frequently seen, nor is it easy to go through every note on it looking for someone who wants to swap.
In the end, my family had to choose between my husband’s reliable night shift job, and my higher paying but very inconsistently scheduled job at T -Mobile. My husband agreed to leave his job and stay unemployed so I could keep my job. We had to cut our daughter’s preschool days down to part time to afford her tuition. This is just one example of the sacrifices my family has had to make for T-Mobile’s unfair scheduling.