How I Lost my Job

A while back I worked in a call centre.

It was a big call centre, thousands of people worked there, talking to customers.

But not any more…

  • First we mitigated the work, we removed all the rework and mistakes and backlogs, we got rid of all the things that went wrong
  • Second we automated the work, we used computers to do all the repetitive, tedious tasks.  Computerised voices telling customers their bank balances and web-sites capturing orders
  • Then we simplified the work that was left.  We streamlined it, we used rules for decisions, we set up work-flows, we made it easy to get right and difficult to get wrong
  • Finally, once the work was in a state where we could measure it and monitor it, we outsourced it to people who were very happy to do our dull repetitive work at a fraction of the cost.

By the end of it, all the work had gone.  There wasn’t even a job for me.  I boxed up my stuff and left.

The right thing to do?

We can argue if this was the right thing to do or not, we can argue about what it did for the customer experience or job security, or profitability but that isn’t the point.  Argue all you like, that type of work will keep on disappearing.

The office is still there, but it isn’t a call centre, it doesn’t have thousands of people working in it any more.

All the dull repetitive jobs have been mitigated, automated, streamlined or outsourced.  The only jobs left in that office are problem solving jobs or creative jobs or organisational jobs.

The bad news

If you have a dull repetitive tedious job, you probably won’t hold on to it for much longer, some accountant is working out how to get rid of you.  At best he will fix the work, at worst he will hide it off shore.  Either way he will claim you as a cost saving.

The good news

Work is changing, if you play your cards right, maybe you will get a better job instead.

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Job Disappeared

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Image by CarbonNYC



  1. Hi James,
    The inevitable quest for efficiencies and cost savings marches on. However, you are right that better jobs are, potentially, and will become available. Given that, whose responsibility do you think it is to make employees aware of the changes and to encourage them and equip them with the skills to seek out the better jobs? Leaders, managers or themselves?


  2. I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

  3. Jeff Larsen says:

    James, I enjoy reading your articles. Look forward to your next crafted insightful writing.

    Take care and thanks…Jeff

  4. Hello James

    What can I say except that I find myself in agreement with you. Perhaps, the place to find that new job is with a company that has decided to differentiate itself through great service through great people as opposed to standard service through technology.

    Great to know that it worked out well for you. Doesn’t always work out that way.


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