Monday, May 28, 2012

Ever been yelled at through a deaf translator? No? You're missing out.

Okay, so before I get to my fabulous me-getting-yelled-at-by-a-deaf-translator story, I want to address the H8ters B H8ten post I wrote and put out on the world wide internetz last week.
(It's here if you missed it.)

Apparently that posting inspired a lot more people to come out of the wood work and write to me.
I should clarify that when I say "a lot more people" I mean a lot more positive people wrote to me than the previous haters.

These emails and messages were endearing, uplifting and downright inspirational.
So in comparison, turns out the haters were few, and repetitive, and nothing even slightly exemplifying the word "droves" that I used to describe them compared to the lovers and supporters.

Perhaps I'm not as big an asshole as some people like to make me out to be after all.

So THANK YOU to each and every one of my readers that came out from your silent "lurker" observation posts and wrote to me. You know who you are. I big puffy heart luff you, and here's some puffy heart stickers to prove my luff for you:


Now!

Let's get to the great story at hand, shall we?


My fearless co-worker Tammy received a phone call last week on our main office line that turned out to be for little ol' me, seeing as how I'm the recruiter in the place and all. 

Before she transferred the call to me, she told me it was some translator person for a deaf lady calling. 
Okay, this was honestly new for me in the work setting, but I'm game, send her (them) on over!

I get on the line, translator introduces herself, explains what's going to happen. 
I say okay, let's do this!

I was slightly excited and obviously, soon to be schooled. 

(Note to self: don't get excited over anything. Like ever again.)

Translator: "So my client's name is Lacey, and she's calling because she saw one of your job postings on a big job board. She wants to know more about it."

Me: (With brain suddenly confused, not knowing who to talk to, the translator or Lacey directly?) "Hi Lacey! Thanks for calling. Can you ask her which job posting she saw? As I have a few up right now. That would help me."

Translator: Whispering to herself while signing back and forth with Lacey...

Me: Eavesdropping like the shy teenager I was in class in junior high, trying to figure out what the popular people are whispering to each other...

Translator: "She says she wants to be an agent."

Me: In my brain: Of course, she's picking the hardest one for me to have a discussion with her about. Great. It's okay, it might take a while, but I can power through this. 

Me: Out loud: "Okay, can you tell me what kind of background she has?" My brain further confused, I switch tracks in an attempt to be less insulting, I say "Lacey, if you don't mind, can you tell me what kind of a job history and background you have?"

Me: In my brain: Note to self: stop switching back and forth. Pick a person to talk to and stick with it. Stop acting like it's amateur hour here...

Translator: Whispering some more, hands furiously flying (I'm assuming)...

Me: Adjusting my yellow lined pad of paper and pen, ready to take notes. 

Me: Adjusting my Pandora station selection as I've had enough of Kid Rock and need to switch things up a bit...

Translator: "She says she's still in college. She's done some ASL work. But that's really it. Nothing else."

Me: Pen poised for major note taking, I write nothing.
Me: In my brain: Great. She wants to run her own business and she's never had a job. Pffft. I hate this.

Me: Out loud: "Okay, well Lacey, what I'll do here is give you a brief overview of what's entailed with being an agent for my company and then you can tell me if it interests you or not. Would that be okay?"

Translator: "Sure, she says that's fine.

SEVEN VERY LONG MINUTES LATER... Translator Gal and I have gotten through the very painful explanation. I think Lacey understands but I'm waiting for an answer to my "Now, having thrown all of that information at you, does that interest you at all?" question.

Me: In my brain: I guess I'll play with Pandora station changing some more. It's either that or straighten up my paper clip supply. Who to choose? Dave Matthews Band? BNL? Christina Perri? Enya? Ministry? Great Big Sea? Weezer? Willie Nelson? Adele? I'm kinda tired of Rolling in Anything right now... oooh! I know, my Pirates of the Caribbean channel. (Yes, I'm weird people, I know you're stunned.)

I settle on music-relating-to-all-things-Depp and wait some more.

LOTS of whispering still going on between Lacey and Translator Gal.

Translator: "She said no, she doesn't like that option."

Me: "Okay then ... what does she want to do?" 

Me: In my brain: That came out really calmly. Because I wanted to go all caps lock on her ass and say it like "OKAY THEN, WHAT THE EFF DOES SHE WANT TO DO???!?! FOR CRIMINEY CRAPS SAKE?? QUIT WASTING MY TIME HERE..." 

Me: In my brain: I really hang my shit together well sometimes. I could really blow it, frequently. And totally get fired.

Me: In my brain: There sure is a lot of time for self talk when you're waiting for translator people. 

Translator: "She wants to work doing data entry."

Me: "Okay, Lacey, then what I can do is refer you to any of my agents that call in looking for some help in that capacity. They would contact you directly, would that be okay with you?"

Translator, rather quickly: "Yes, that will be fine." (Lacey must have nodded. That makes translating much easier, doesn't it?)

Me: In my brain: Thank GAWD this is going to be over now, I can get back to work.
Me: Out loud: "Alright then, thanks for calling Lacey, have a great day."

About to hang up, Translator girl interrupts: "Wait. She wants to know when she's going to get a call."

Me: In my brain: SIGH.
Me: Out loud: "I don't know, it's very hit and miss. Could be next week, could be in a month. I never know how things are going in their offices and so it's very random when they call me."

(This is true by the way. I have NO control over what is going on in the 45 agents' offices that are within our particular District.) 

Translator: "Oh, alright. I'll be expecting a call then."

Me: In my brain: Yes, LACEY, be pushy and say that you'll expect a call...sheesh. Let me hang up already. You can't beat anything else out of me. Be professional and move on. I've offered to try and get you placed with someone.
Me: Out loud: "Yes, but like I said, I have no control or knowledge over when it will be. Thanks for calling Lacey."

Translator: "Thank you. Goodbye."

And we mutually hang up.

Phew.

I pat myself on the back, yell out at Tammy "I get 5 gold stars for doing that!", she laughs, I turn up my Depp music, envision him running down the beach with his knees up and his arms flailing about, smile, and move on with my day.

Enter scene: It's the next day.

Tammy's gone as she took the day off, boss man is out at an agent's office, I'm it. There's no one else in the office.

Phone rings, I see the same 1-800-Service # flash across my phone display that was lit up forever yesterday during my conversation with them both. This is another call from Lacey. 
Seriously? Should I hit the "Ignore" button?
Nah.
I'll be a stand up recruiter and talk to her again. 
(Famous. Last. Words. Err, Thoughts.)

Me: "________________ Insurance. This is Stephanie. How can I help you?"

2nd Translator Gal: "Hi. I'm a translator and I'm calling on behalf of a hearing impaired client. Are you okay with this?"

Me: In my brain: Am I okay with this? NO, I'm not OKAY with this, I haven't gotten any calls from anybody needing help yet and I pretty much just want it to all go away... and this translator sounds, ummm, how shall I say? Rougher. As a matter of fact, eerily similar to Marge Simpson's sister Selma Bovier, the chain smoker that works at the DMV. 



Not a regular Simpsons watcher? Congratulations, YOU get 5 gold stars. In the meantime, everyone should click on this link to hear just about exactly what I was hearing over the phone line.
Then add about 40 years to Selma's character, and you've got my 2nd Translator Gal.
Get the picture?
Good, moving on ...

Me: Out loud: "Is this Lacey?"

2nd Translator Gal: "Oh yes! You remembered my name! Cough * hack * wheeze!"

Me: "Yes, Lacey. What can I do for you?"

2nd Translator Gal: "I want to know why I haven't gotten a call yet about a job. I want to know why you haven't placed me yet."

Me: In my brain: OHMYEFFINGWORD. Is she shitting me right now? I am NOT a placement agency, I'm a recruiter. Who very STUPIDLY offered to try and set her up to work with one of our agents. This'll be fun. 
Me: In my brain: Amendment: THIS'LL BE BLOG MATERIAL!!

Me: Out loud: "Well Lacey, as I said yesterday, I would pass you on should I get anybody with requests for data entry workers. I haven't gotten any requests yet."

2nd Translator Gal: "Ehhh, ummm, she's asking why not?"

Me: Out loud: "She's asking why I haven't gotten any requests yet? Did I get that right?"
Me: In my brain: This might just turn out to be GOOD blog material.

2nd Translator Gal, voice raising: "Yeah! She wants to know why you haven't placed her yet! She says that she thinks you're being discriminatory to the deaf community. That's what she thinks is going on!" (Voice getting louder) "And she said she really thinks your company should be more sensitive to the deaf culture. That you're not handling things right!"

Me: Stunned.
Me, finally coming to my senses: "Excuse me? I'm not handling things right? What part of my whole interaction with you Lacey haven't I handled right?"
Me: Fuming.

2nd Translator Gal: Choking, wheezing, occasionally signing. Interrupted the process to hack up a lung.

Me: Still fuming. She's got some nerve. She has NO idea who she's talking to. She doesn't know my background with the deaf community. She just assumes I don't have one because I can hear. I could really unleash my fury on her right now. I have PLENTY to say to this ungrateful, Generation Y, I'm-entitled-even-more-so-than-my-peers-because-I'm-hearing-impaired chick. SHIT, I HAVE TO HANG IT TOGETHER. 

MUST. NOT. LASH. BACK.

2nd Translator Gal: "She's pretty pissed at you right now. I'm not even going to repeat to you the things she's signing to you. For all intensive purposes, she's doing a lot of yelling at you right now."

Me: Out loud: "Oh really. Huh. How interesting."

2nd Translator Gal: "Yeah, she doesn't understand why no one will hire her. She thinks you're all a bunch of jackasses."

Me: In my brain: OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG hang it together.
Me: Out loud: "Lacey, I was going to pass you along to anyone that called in looking for help with data entry, PER YOUR REQUEST. The fact that you've been so unprofessional with me here today leads me to have no choice but to have to take your name off my referral list and cut ties with you here. I am NOT a staffing agency, I am merely a recruiter that was trying to help you out. I am not surprised you're having such a hard time getting placed if you are treating potential employers this way. Good luck with your job search Lacey."

And I hung up.

So here's how Lacey blew it with me, personally. 
Aside from the obvious impatience, yelling at potential employers through translators etc... here's what Lacey doesn't know about who she was yelling at.

When I was President of my sorority at CSUN back in the day, I and a handful of my fellow sisters spear headed a movement to get some great hearing impaired gals initiated into our sorority. We were the first "regular" sorority on campus to forge ahead and do this. We had to work extensively with our National Headquarters to get permission for this to take place, and let me just say, this wasn't easy. Not at all. 

For those of you only familiar with the "fraternal world" through bad slasher movies with naked chicks, the "ritual" portion is real. No, we didn't haze our new pledges, or slaughter cats under the moon light. But there is very specific knowledge that our founders created that has been passed down from generation to generation on campuses nation wide. Getting our National Headquarters to agree to have a stranger (ergo, someone NOT initiated, totally unfamiliar with our ritual) come in to do signing and explanations during our private meetings and ceremonies was next to impossible, and just about made me and my trusty sidekick VP Allison have a nervous breakdown. 
But we did it. 
We pulled it off. 
And it was so worth it.

I'm proud of us/myself for that - I think it's one of those "noted accomplishments" one would put on their personal list.

So couple that with the fact that my husband and I had to communicate with our sweet daughter through ASL for 1.5 years due to a severe brain inadequacy rendering her unable to speak, and you've got a woman that could be considered *slightly* knowledgeable with the deaf culture.

So HOW DARE LACEY accuse me of not trying to help her and of being insensitive and discriminatory to the deaf community. She's got a LOT of nerve.

And this, my little blog reading chickadees is yet one more lesson on how to *always remain professional* when job searching. Because guess what? You never truly know who you're talking to now do you?

Peace out my peeps.


















5 comments:

  1. SO TRUE about remaining professional! You just never know where a referral might come from - or who knows who! There's been so many times I've been glad I kept my sh!t together for just a few more minutes while I made a graceful exit. Totally worth it.

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  2. Looooovvvveeeeee!

    I kind of wish you had told her about your experience with the hearing impaired--maybe it would have stuck with her in the future to remind her to not be so quick to judge. Also, regardless of the type of job you are applying for, rarely have I heard of someone getting hired before a 24 hours has even passed. Good grief.

    I mean, it's very possible that she HAS been discriminated against in the past, but that's not going to help her in the future if she keeps assuming EVERYONE is going to treat her that way. Hearing impairment isn't the problem: No one wants to work with someone who is mean and who has a translator who yells and sounds like a terrifying cartoon character.

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  3. Draagonfly- totally agree, 100%. It's worth it every single time. I've had idiots with random industry backgrounds tell me off when I was literally SECONDS AWAY from giving them actual live job leads for positions they would have LOVED, in THEIR favorite industries. Because I pay attention to the city I work in and the companies that are hiring, I have access to this kind of knowledge that they don't. Their loss.

    Charcoal Renderings- I'm completely with you on the she's probably been discriminated against in the past but I don't care who you are, don't come at anybody with guns ablazin' right? It's just wrong. And I came *so close* to telling her just who she was yelling at but decided I needed to back off and hang up or I might just lose my shit right then and there. (And people wonder why I drink...)

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  4. Quite a few times I've had people come in and beat on the front desk demanding to know why I haven't called them back. One time I told a person who had come in screaming on three different occasions, that we didn't hire people with criminal records. Screaming,he denied any criminal behavior. I simply told him he was committing one now and would be escorted out by security and any further obscenities or screaming would result in police being summoned.
    When I was younger I lived with deaf people and was involved with helping them. Understandably some of them have quite a few more issues than being deaf. I'd say "Selma" had a few too.

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  5. wow, reminds me of when i was working at a small medical facility and a patient asked me to ask the lab for some information about his lab work.
    1. our lab wasn't the location where the work was done,
    2. the lab for whatever reasons doesn't have a network/database throughout all of their locations.
    when i tried to explain this to him, and explained that he would have to call the lab directly,
    he blew up at me over the hone, asking me what was so hard about me getting up and walking over to the lab to ask THEM to call the other location (not my job, i don't work for the lab)
    then when i told him i couldn't he yelled:
    why are you disabled? (in a very sarcastic tone)
    to which i replied: as a matter of fact, i am a disabled veteran.
    he hung up on me.

    people really need to think before they speak or in this case, before they sign,
    the fact that the translated wouldn't even repeat out loud what was being signed is a clear indicator that this woman, has a sense of entitlement when she has done NOTHING to earn it. no one owes her anything. you offered to help, which was more than she deserved.

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