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You Might Be in SRP If…

21 Jun

Here at IU, it is a requirement for all first-year graduate students in the sociology department to take part in the “sociological research practicum” (SRP).  What this basically means is that during the first couple of months of the summer, graduate students work as phone interviewers, cold-calling houses (or cell phones) from all across the country to try and convince them to take part in a “20 minute” (more like 40 minute) phone survey.  To be brutally honest, it’s a very tedious, monotonous, and somewhat dehumanizing job – the kind of thing that sociologists often write about and critique ironically enough.  You are stuck in a small cubicle, making hundreds of phone calls a night with an extremely small success rate (1-2 completed surveys a night is “good”).  Part of this is a national epidemic – surveys all across the country are at all-time low completion rates.

But this isn’t a sad post about working in a boring job (I’m well aware that it could be much, much worse – in fact, I volunteered to work this summer as a way to earn a little extra money on the side).  I’m here to look at the lighter/funnier side of SRP.  I’ve compiled a list of funny/quirky things that let you know (hopefully, at least my fellow callers will find some humor in this!), You Might Be in SRP If…

You Might Be in SRP If…

-The note “MI HU during FE” has meaning to you, or you’ve typed this yourself…

-Working from 6pm – 10pm feels like a “normal day” at work…

-You know the difference between “Busy” and a “Fast Busy”…

-“You’re starting in RefQ tonight” sounds like a prison sentence to you…

-A success rate of 1 for 90 (0.011) is good.  2 for 70 (0.028) is great.  And 3 or more in a night is outstanding!  That’ll get you benched on most baseball teams…

-You can dial the number “5141416” blindfolded in under one second…

-After dialing a phone number, you are shocked that someone answers the phone…

-You have dialed a phone number (on a touch tone phone no less!)…

-You get annoyed when people are rude to you, even though we’ve been harrassing them for weeks on end…

-You can explain random digit dialing in two sentences or less…

-“Whatever it means to you” is your go to answer to any questions you receive…

-You are convinced the question, “Are you at least 18 years old?” has a direct causal relationship to individuals hanging up the phone…

-You desparately hope for failure the final fifteen minutes you are at work…

-You have had to explain the difference (unsucessfully) between telemarketing and academic research…

-You have promised someone that he/she would be taken off “the list” knowing full well that they will be called again in a few short days…

-The question, “What do they make or do?” makes you cringe or even apologize for asking it…

-You feel a twinge of success if you are able to confirm someone’s phone number before they hang up on you…

-You wonder why – after 20 phone calls to the same phone number that has been busy every time – we are still calling it…

-You know when someone is lying to you about being younger than 18 years old and it pisses you off…

-You are really proud of yourself for a successful conversion – and not the religious type of conversion!…

-You feel bad asking so many questions about comparing oneself to to family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, people you went to school with, or what…

-You are convinced that America is comprised solely of older, retired, white people…

-You have debated the differences between AnsDev-U/Barrier/PhonProb…

-Your cubicle is littered with candy wrappers by the end of the shift…

-You are counting down the shifts until it’s all over!

I have talked a lot about my experiences in SRP.  Of course, workers in SRP have many other experiences.  Thinking about your experiences in SRP, what have I missed.  Tell me, what are some of the “You might be in SRP if…” statements that are important to you! 

Leave comments and let me know!

Hopefully, those who are in the same boat as me, find some of the humor in the quirkiness that is SRP/phone-interviewing!

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4 Comments

Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Projects/Activities, sociology

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “You Might Be in SRP If…

  1. Tamara van der Does

    June 21, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    When calling your friends outside of work, you start counting the rings and really want to hang up after 6!

    Like

     
    • trokspot

      June 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      haha. I’m wondering if you ever accidentally tell people that this is Kelsey Clark when you’re making personal calls!!

      Like

       
  2. What I Desired To Say

    June 21, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I currently work in an inbound call center where 1/90 is considered outstanding and not getting yelled at(boss & ‘customers’) for 10% of your shift is considered good. I feel your pain…

    Like

     
    • trokspot

      June 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      That is brutal! Ours is definitely collegial which helps make it a little more bearable!

      Like

       

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