The Name Game – Taryn


I once worked with a girl who was named Taryn, in a call centre.

The last thing you want in a call centre is to have a unique name. You would think having a unique name would be awesome but believe me, it costs you time on the phone. Here is how the average wrap up for a Taryn call would go.. the side fellow call centre operators would hear, anyway.

“You’ve been speaking with Taryn today”

“No, not Karen, Taryn, with a T”

“T.. A.. R.. Y.. N”

“Yes, with a T”

Yes, T.. A.. R.. Y.. N, that is right”

“I’m not sure where the name came from. Now before I let you go, is there anything else I can do for you today?”

(A long, long gap, during which the caller usually tells Taryn an unusual name story for no apparent reason)

“Thank you for sharing that with me. I really have to go now, there are calls in the queue that I need to answer. Thanks for your time today.”

The trouble with this was, every single time the call centre would review her calls, the ending wrap up as described above would be at least 2 minutes long. Sometimes a lot longer when the story the caller told her would be 5-10 minutes long. Plus, that last line did not fit in with the smiley happy warm and fuzzy vibe that operators were meant to portray.

Several times, Taryn was told she should use a pseudonym on the phones. Each and every time, Taryn refused to do this. Her call times were always much longer than everyone elses and a major reason was the above conversation which she was having over and over again, on every single call she took. Even when they moved her to making outgoing calls in the hope of shortening her call times, this exact same conversation would happen.

Eventually, the general manager of the company approached her about it and told her changing her phone name was a requirement for continuing employment with the company. Taryn went back to her desk, wrote her resignation, printed it out, signed it, and went back to give it to the general manager. She was then escorted from the building.

Taryn was an incredible call centre operator. One of the best I have ever worked with. She was also incredibly stubborn about her name and at the time I was totally on board with that, but as time has gone by I have seen how little it really matters.

Callers do not care what your name is. They are unlikely to call back looking for you to speak to, and if they do, 99% of the time they will get your name completely wrong. I got called Shannon all the time, and that is nowhere near my actual real name. My name has 3 syllables, Shannon only has two, plus the letter my name starts with is at the total opposite end of the alphabet.

I’ve had people call me Veronica, Alexandra, Cassandra, Katherine, Karen, Mary, Elizabeth, princess, darling, darl, sweety, dear.. the list of names I have been called is long and there are many names on it, and my actual real name is rarely to be seen on that list.

Taryn was right to quit, though. I only lasted 9 months in that same call centre and that place was awful, caring more about call times and stats than actual people.


I was tagged by Fish of Gold for this name game blog hop.

I’ll tag Kenton Musings as I have not seen them tagged anywhere yet, and their about page says “I am always on the lookout for the next writing topic.” The rules can be found over here.

Here’s who has contributed so far:

Silver Threading
The Chatter Blog
Lucy at the Excessive Gardener
DebraB at Debra Books
Mindful Digressions
Fish of Gold

Similar Posts:

call centre, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2014, pseudonym, work

10 thoughts on “The Name Game – Taryn

  1. So I’m guessing your name is Welsh. I don’t have a clue how to pronounce it, being somewhat unproficient in Welsh

    I like having an unusual name, it’s easier for people to remember it, but yes, when I first introduce myself people think I’m saying “Liz.” I spell my name and sometimes they still get it wrong. It’s just one of those crosses we different people have to bear.

  2. I have to be honest with you, I kind of understand where Taryn is coming from. I don’t like it when people call me Roseanne, or Rox, or Roxy. I love my name and it does matter. I get what you say that it does not matter for customers, and that is fine. In the end, we all only care about ourselves.

    I think if the call centre people would have wanted her to stay, they would have helped her figure out other ways to end the calls instead of asking her to change her name. When she was saying she did not know where her name was coming from, that was the perfect time to thank the customer for their time with one of those “well, I thank you so much for calling XYZ and since you don’t have any other questions, have a nice day”. There, saved three to ten minutes and a job.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • It was ridiculous that they did not even try to find another way, but this is the same place which extended my probation because I once wore a baseball cap inside. I had a good reason – a light was shining in my eyes and rather than move desks *again* when we’d just moved downstairs for the late shift and I’d spent half an hour trying to get a computer that worked, then sat in this seat for half an hour and was feeling a headache coming on from the light in my eyes, seeing as there was only an hour left, I asked the team leader if I could wear my hat to solve the problem. She said sure, great plan! So I did.

      The even more ridiculous part is, they spend 6 weeks training people at this place. So you would think they would want to keep people long term, not just throw them away for silly reasons.

      Taryn went on to a job at double the pay at a different place, as did I. They were low payers, too. So in the end it worked out much better for us. The best revenge is moving on to a job with a higher pay packet! ;)

  3. Hi Snoskred, I worked in a call center too and close to 15 years later still remember it. I had both great managers that cared about us as people, and those that cared more about the call times and stats, like you said. I don’t miss that environment at all. I say good for Taryn. Yes, the name doesn’t mean so much, but the quality of the work she did should count more than her stats and having them try to change her name…not cool.
    Thanks again for finding me! xx

  4. That is RIDICULOUS. The same thing would have happened to me, I have a billion of those stories. Someone should tag me for the name game!

    I agree, that is BS. Good for Taryn for getting out of there.

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