ARE you reading this with a line-free forehead, painless back and reasonably positive view of the human race?

If so, you’ve probably never worked in a call centre.

When you’re repeatedly called by people mispronouncing your name and looking to address imaginary car accidents, you’re unlikely to have a high opinion of call centre employees.

As with the vast majority of customer service issues, though, the fault lies with the company and not the worker.

If you’ve read any of the stories this year about call centres attempting to monitor staff in their own homes, you won’t be surprised to learn that some of these companies are not exactly dedicated to improving their employees’ wellbeing.

It’s an industry in which I met some of the best people I know, and worked for some of the worst.

Still think you could handle call centre life? Here’s what you’re in for...

Depending on the campaign you’re assigned to, there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with a sales manager.

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In the same way that not every Trump voter was racist but all the racists voted for Trump, not every sales manager is a horny creep but all the horny creeps are sales managers.

He’s the “where’s my hug?” guy, constantly trying to find a way to make 21-year-old women on his team feel uncomfortable while passing it off as banter.

A word, incidentally, that he uses as a noun, verb, adjective and HR interview defence. Conor McGregor is his spirit animal.

He tells you that ABC stands for “Always Be Closing” and wants you to “sell me this pen”.

Your job will involve constant monitoring and zero autonomy. You’ll be allowed two 15-minute breaks and a half-hour lunch, all of which must be taken at designated times.

At least you can grab a breather in the bathroom, right? Yes, but only for a total of five minutes in the course of an eight-hour shift. Yes, your trips to the toilet are logged, but they’re charmingly referred to as “comfort breaks”.

Because nothing says comfort like someone timing your bowel movements.

A minute over on the “comfort” or regular break and your bonus could be affected. Keep it up and it’ll be a disciplinary.

Your calls are timed, with “average handling time” calculated on a daily basis.

Take too long, and you’re penalised by a manager. Speak too fast in order to not take too long, and you’re penalised by the Quality Guy, who is not necessarily a quality guy.

Not only do you have the privilege of reading the same script 36 times a day, you also get the Quality Assurance Specialist informing you that you missed three words from that script on Tuesday and now you’re not getting your bonus.

The seating chart is your bible. Salvation lies within. Try to avoid sitting next to The Headset Slammer.

Despite the fact that tens of thousands of calls are assigned randomly to over 100 people on a daily basis, it’s always The Headset Slammer who has the worst customers.

Don’t look him in the eye unless you want to be treated to the full repertoire of sighs, desk kicks and performative eye rolls. Every Friday he says “that’s it, I’m done with this place”. Every Monday he’s back slamming down that headset.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be next to The Lifer. On her first day she was given the Yellow Pages and told to start dialling.

Twenty-five years later she wears the haunted expression of a Vietnam veteran.

She’s heard things, man. Think Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, but with less chance of parole.

Nothing fazes her, plus she brings in some nice cakes on Fridays.

Every few weeks you’ll be subject to a Big Client Visit. A bald man with an English accent walks in and now you’re not allowed a can of Irn-Bru on your desk until he goes home.

Occasionally he’ll come over to make small talk with a phone agent. Remember your line: 'They’re treating me very well. I’m very happy here.'

And then there are the customers, holding you accountable for decisions made in fancier offices by people on 10 times your salary.

I’ll let you in on a secret, and this is a biggie ... 21-year-olds earning £8.36 an hour aren’t responsible for British Gas increasing its energy prices.

Young and old customers are generally patient enough when dealing with call centres, but it’s the middle-aged who treat you with absolute contempt.

When I trained agents in call centres, I would see young women on the verge of tears, and my response would be “you never need to deal with that guy again, but he has to live with himself for the rest of his life, you win”.

In an ideal world, you could ask these guys if they’d be happy for their own daughter to be subjected to that kind of abuse.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and I know that because in this world I spent several years working in call centres.

Get busy living, or get busy dialling.