Confessions of a telemarketer

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

The job could have been a bust.

My university was putting together a small team of fundraisers - students who would call alumni and ask for donations. The pay was based largely on bonuses received by getting donors to pledge hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over the phone. Not an easy task, to say the least.

However, I'd been praying about employment. College was expensive, and I needed lucrative part-time work. So far none of the jobs that I'd pursued had worked out well, so this time I decided to turn to God more earnestly as I initiated another search.

I had decided that motivation was the key to finding a rewarding job. Why did I want to work? I concluded that my motivation was to use fully the spiritual qualities and talents that God had given me.

When I saw the ad for the fundraising job, I felt certain that this was the right opportunity. Friends and family, however, waved the red flag, feeling the likelihood of success with this type of employment was too low. But I went forward anyway, confident that if my motives had a spiritual basis, I could expect divine wisdom to guide me.

Not a natural phone gabber, I nonetheless easily passed the phone interview and the personal interview as well. Then it was time for training. The callers practiced on each other, reading the script and trying to bring it to life. We were told to be ruthless in our pursuit of money and not to hang up until the other person either said yes or slammed down the phone. Management felt this type of behavior was the only legitimate way to get around the impossible odds of phone fundraising.

I remembered my desire to express goodness in my new job. That motive didn't quite match up with how I was being told to treat others. I regularly studied the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. This statement in one of her books encouraged me: "... God is our helper. He pities us. He has mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers" ("Unity of Good," pages 3-4).

I figured that I needed to fulfill the requirements of the job, such as showing up on time and making effective calls, but that ultimately, God was my boss. If God helped and cared for me, then wasn't it logical that I should mirror that activity by being kind and thoughtful toward my fellow citizens? I resolved to take my cues from God about how to handle my phone calls.

Training ended, and we began cranking through our nightly routine. Often I made more than a hundred calls a shift. Management could plug into our phones at any time, which cranked up the pressure. I persisted in listening to God as I worked my way through my nightly stack of papers. As I called, I prayed that each individual I reached would be touched by Love and that I could see that each one was the child of God.

I also knew that randomness or luck never determined anything in God's kingdom. A belief in luck is merely the misconception that God isn't controlling everything. But in reality God is the only source of life and action. It was important for me to affirm that fact for everyone as I worked, not only for everyone on the job, but for the world as well.

It turned out that my spiritual intuition was right. It was a great job. Management did not mind that I took my own approach, since I was accomplishing more than their goals per caller. In fact, at the time I left, I had raised over $100,000, more than anyone else who had worked there so far.

The best moment for me occurred one evening when a manager was giving a group of recruits the standard line about the importance of wrestling each possible donor to the mat, assuring them that such firmness was the only route to success. Then he pointed to me and said, "Except for her. She gets donations because she is so nice."

God's laws lift us above the thought that we can't get ahead without manipulating others or having good luck. When our motives are spiritually solid and we trust God's direction, we find uncompromising opportunities to share in His abundance.

Your labour is not in vain
in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58

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