Comcast Employee Tells World How His Job Is Ruining His Life

A lot of people say they only barely tolerate their jobs. But not all these people take to an incredibly public forum to vent their frustrations about how what seemed like a dream gig has since sucked the life force out of them. Then again, not everyone works in phone support for Comcast.

Last night, a Comcast employee went public in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit titled “I work for Comcast, and it is ruining my life.”

Describing himself as “a really nice computer guy, but that’s not what this place wants,” the Kabletown staffer writes:

My hopes have slowly been diminished and crushed as requirements from ‘upper management’ become more strict, and not on promoting people to work harder but discouraging people from being helpful. The red tape that we drown in over the phone gives us the ability to say “Sorry” and if you talk to a good person they’ll actually pray your issue gets fixed as it flows down the rusted, broken down pipe.

Greedy lying manipulative sales people, technicians that blame dispatch and a dispatch that blames technicians, a training department that spends eight weeks on how to setup an account and two weeks on how to fix issues, outsourcing agents (OSRs) that DO read from scripts for out of date billing/repair systems and still manage to mess things up.

The stress from being one of the few in my office that know how to, and actually want to, fix things is over-whelming when it seems there are more rules in place to prevent that than help. I’ve got a teaspoon to poke at an ocean of problems. Feel free to ask me anything.

Since it was an Ask Me Anything, the Comcaster did attempt to respond to the ocean of queries and comments from Redditors.

ON WHY PHONE REPS CAN NEVER TELL YOU WHERE THE TECHNICIAN IS:

“Ugh… We have no idea, and there is no way for us to find out. They give us a tool to send a sort of text message to the tech for an eta but whether it works or even does anything is honestly questionable. We can email their local dispatch office but more than likely you won’t hear back and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they had someone just clean it out at the end of the day. And the amount of technicians that are rescheduled for what ever reason fits their fancy with absolutely no notice to the customer is deplorable. But on the front lines when you call in? Nothing we can do, and barely anything even a supervisor can do too.”

ON HOW A BIG, BROKEN MESS LIKE COMCAST CONTINUES TO THRIVE:

We’re big?

That’s the only thing I can think of because we do have some of the worst sales reps that are just out to make a buck. Yes, we can mail anyone anything for any kind of hook up (some areas -are- iffy on phone service because they’ll need to be setup before hand but mostly it’s okay). At the end of the day, they get their commission and the revenue and it’s up to tech support to come in and fix it. Sales and OSRs cost Comcast more time than they bring in from nonsense like that and the sad part is that it will never get fixed.

ON THE COMPANY’S “7 STRIKES” POLICY AGAINST ALLEGED ILLEGAL FILE SHARING:

[T]ypically we’ll notify you of what file we were told you downloaded.

For example, you download Broodwar (real life example here for me, back in the day). We’ll get told that IP address such and such downloaded such file and they want to know who that is. They can’t file anything against your IP address since it isn’t a direct extension of you, so they need your name and information.

We take that into consideration of course, contact you to let you know what is going on. It could be you’re on an unprotected wireless network and it isn’t you. Of course you’ll be held responsible, but that is what the system is for. The notice just let’s you know what the file is and who is claiming it was downloaded with some basic information on protecting yourself against wireless hi-jacking.

Now there is a contact number for the company making the claim against you on the notice. If you call and give them your information, even if it is to tell them that someone was on your wi-fi, they will more than likely try to sue you. They don’t care. It was downloaded from your connection so for all intents and purposes it was you.

Seven strikes, and seven notices is very generous considering out of a million people that could have pirated a certain piece of information, most of these companies only have the man power to send out a few thousand notices.

ON HIS NICKNAME FOR THE COMPANY:

“Cocmast is my favorite.

You get so used to the motion of typing http://www.comcast.net or .com that you’ll trip up and wind up with Cocmast. And our current slogan now is “The future of awesome” the present is terrible.”

ON WHETHER HE EVER THINKS ABOUT JUMPING OUT THE NEAREST WINDOW:

“If the building wasn’t on the ground floor, I’m pretty sure we’d have another Foxconn on our hands.

Maybe that is a little over the top.”

Comments

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  1. kanenas says:

    It is work. It is not supposed to be fun.

    • MrMongerty says:

      I don’t think he wants it to be fun, but maybe a little less soul grinding.

    • Jayus says:

      Why shouldn’t work be fun? Even a difficult job can be rewarding. Any job can be made to be fun and/or rewarding; I think both employer and employee are responsible for making it so.

    • CygnusTX says:

      Why can’t a person expect to enjoy his job? Is that really too much to ask?

      I have had my share of sucky jobs but I have also left those jobs as soon as it is practicable. I’ve been in my current job for over six years because I actually enjoy doing it, enjoy the people I work with, and am generally happy with my entire situation.

    • Dave on bass says:

      Nobody expects work to be ‘fun’ – well, maybe if you’re 17 or something – but I think the point is that he works for a company that is actively unhelpful and doesn’t care, which upsets him.

      Now, it can be argued that the very nature of capitalism is to make money without regard for who gets screwed in the process, but I think we all would prefer to work for or do business with a corporation that at least tries to respect people, over one that doesn’t.

      • RenegadePlatypus says:

        People that expect work to be “fun” are the people who end up working in retail or as servers or as phone reps as adults. And they do certainly have fun, they can prolong their high school years indefinitely… complete with all the drama, slap-and-tickle, and minimal effort they enjoyed as teenagers.

        • ReasonablePerson says:

          This statement is 100% false. Those who get a good education, and work hard to get solid experience are afforded the opportunity to have options. These options mean you can pick and choose what environments you work in, ensuring you are in the place you want to be. If “fun” is part of your requirements, you can make sure you have that in the workplace.

          I have never once in my career been in a work environment that wasn’t a ton of fun, and I lead an extremely successful and lucrative career.

          • AzCatz07 says:

            I recently left a high-paying job – not necessarily because it wasn’t fun, but because my boss was such a raving lunatic. You never knew which one of her personalities was coming into the office, and everyone walked on eggshells because of her propensity to blow up over the smallest things.

            I’ve accepted a job that pays less, but it was worth it to me not to have a job that sent me home miserable every freaking day. This isn’t just a problem that affects low-level, unskilled people. If you’re working for assholes, your job will suck. While I’ll miss the fat paychecks, I realized you cannot put a price on happiness.

            • lyontaymer30 says:

              I had a very stressful job, the type where the customer was always right, no matter what. Surveys, didn’t meet quota they’d dock your sales bonus or take it away altogether. I moved from that job to one that paid lower and where I didn’t get a bonus. Much less stress even though I was making less. My peace of my mind overrules everything.

          • RenegadePlatypus says:

            I think there are some semantics here because of how I worded that. I am not saying that someone should not expect enjoyment or fun to take place in the course of the job. I’m saying it would would be a bad attitude for someone to “expect” what they do to be fun at work. In other words, to feel resentful if need arise to take on tasks that are not fun. We’ve all met those people act like it’s a grand tragedy to have to do something that they don’t consider “fun”. They are generally people with an immature work ethic, and therefore work in non-skilled jobs.
            But, yes certainly there are jobs where you are trading your time for money while doing something you enjoy, and also people who turn their fun hobby into a career.

            • Kuri says:

              I think anyone could have that attitude and still get their work done when something they don’t like to do crops up. Course, I tend to think of getting to something better as a reward while some expect the better thing right away

            • ReasonablePerson says:

              Your follow up posts resonate with me personally (can’t speak for everyone else). The key point I was trying to make, and should have stated explicitly, is that if you go into a work environment expecting it to not be fun, it will likely not be.

              I work really hard and sometimes have to do stuff that is super not fun…I work with people who share the load, shoot nerf guns at me, and play with my dog in the office though so it makes being there at 3:00AM working on problems something to be proud of rather than a hassle that you hate with all of your being.

              I hear what you’re saying though, you’re essentially defining entitlement without using the word, and yes, working with entitled people sucks.

        • moyawyvern says:

          If you think that most people in retail are just working there to prolong high school, you obviously have not worked there. I, for one, hate working in retail, as it is as soul-grinding as this guy’s Comcast job, but in this economy, it is all I can get and make enough to have some semblance of a life. Most of my coworkers are hard-working people who try their best, and I wouldn’t consider it a high school-type environment at all. Outsiders seem to think retail is fun, but we are doing what we need to survive, and I do not expect fun.

          • RenegadePlatypus says:

            I’m not saying that retail is fun, I’m saying the expectation of fun is an immature work ethic that correlates to being in a non-skilled job. But you’re starting to turn me around to believe that is an overblown generalization with too many exceptions.

            • RenegadePlatypus says:

              I see now, I said “they certainly do have fun”, but I didn’t mean their jobs are fun. I meant they are having fun by *not doing* their jobs while at work. Because of the mentality. But, again, I’m seeing that I falsely generalize.

              • VintageLydia says:

                Take it from a former retail worker, most of us would be much better at our jobs if upper management (as in, those above our store manager and even above our district manager. I’m talking corporate office) didn’t tie our hands with stupid nonsensical micromanaging policies and didn’t cut the hours so our choices are 1)help customers OR 2)do this task that I can get fired for not doing properly AND both need to be done RIGHT NOW THIS INSTANT! This usually leads to neither being done very well at all. When I had the opportunity to quit, I took it, even though I really loved helping customers :(

                But thanks for taking the time to reflect that your original assumptions may have been wrong. There are bad apples out there, but most people who do retail as a career actually really care about their customers and even those part timers that don’t want it to be a career usually care, too. There are bad apples out there, but don’t let those cloud your opinion of the others :)

        • Kuri says:

          Feel free to explain that to the people who work at places like Thinkgeek, Google, Valve software, and American Science and Surplus, because they certainly do have fun at work.

    • dolemite says:

      I’ve worked at my company for 10 years. It was much better 10 years ago. More freedom, more personable, caring, etc. They’ve since moved to more of a “micromanaging” style. To them, they are “cutting the fluff” and forcing people to be more careful, etc. So they expect costs to go down and productivity to go up. Instead, they are taking all the joy out of work and people are simply slogging along, working slower, making more mistakes, etc. Also, there’s a ton of red tape that goes along with all of these micromanaging procedures, which further slows down the process. Forms to fill out, databases to update, clocks to punch, etc. I simply can’t wait until I pay down some bills and quit. It pays pretty decently, but I’ll gladly accept something for half the pay that I somewhat enjoy.

      • Kuri says:

        If you are sure you’ll make a mistake, or are scared of making a mistake, it increases the likelihood that you will.

        And numerous studies have shown that being stressed out ruins your job performance.

    • kc2idf says:

      I have three jobs. One pays the bills, but the other two I do just because they are fun. If you can get paid to have fun, you should definitely do it.

    • Rhinoguy says:

      Says who? Is this a federal law, or just what your mother told you? Last time I worked I enjoyed every minute of it. And got paid very well too.

  2. raydeebug says:

    I hope he gets picked up by a company that gives him the power to really help customers, because there’s nothing so frustrating in working retail as wanting to help a person, and not being allowed to see a problem through to a workable resolution. :(

  3. TrustAvidity says:

    What building isn’t on the ground floor?

  4. eccsame says:

    Man that’s tough. If only there were other companies out there with customer support departments for this guy to work at.

  5. BoneThugg77 says:

    Pro tip: quit Cocmast and go to college. Don’t be a call center cowboy for the rest of your life.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      If he can’t afford college without taking out a loan, I’d say this may not be a good idea. Lots of college grads can’t find jobs right now and are even worse off because they have mountains of debt.

      At the least, if he’s going to go back to school, he should consider a community college for the first two years. I wish I’d had the foresight to do my education, which I paid for myself, this way.

      • BoneThugg77 says:

        I think the fear of loans is overblown. If you take advantage of your local community college – and maybe your state university after that – and get a degree in a practical area, it will generally be worth it in the long run.

        • AzCatz07 says:

          I agree with that. Unfortunately, too many students are going the for-profit college route and getting screwed in the process. If you go the CC and state university route, that makes more sense.

          I paid out of state tuition at a state school. It didn’t hurt me because the job market was much different when I graduated college, but if I were going to school now, I wouldn’t do that.

    • VintageLydia says:

      Most phone techs and CSRs I know are college graduates (At least an associates but often a bachelors.) A college education doesn’t automatically grant someone a job in his or her field, especially when those jobs often just don’t exist in the numbers to support all those graduates.

      • NotEd says:

        I just finished being a phone tech for 3.5 years and I have a Masters, but no really good experience to back it up, only peripherally related job experience.
        Ended up getting a job as a phone tech because it was related to my experience and was lucky enough to not become a Tier 1 or 2 tech. Just started a new job this summer and hope to never have to work phone support again.

        And the moral to this story is don’t get a graduate degree in a field you don’t work in as the first step to change fields. Especially when the economy is in freefall.

    • laurakat says:

      I know people that went to college and ended up at comcast. I was once hired to work at comcast, but turned them down. One of comcasts technical call centers is in Michigan (near Detroit), which is a huge source of cheap labor from people who don’t have a ton of other options.

  6. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    ON HOW A BIG, BROKEN MESS LIKE COMCAST CONTINUES TO THRIVE

    Simple. When you’re the only choice for service, many people will put up with your sh*t instead of going without.

    • pythonspam says:

      This. When the public service commissions don’t do their job and properly regulate utilities (and yes, this is a utility because they use our right-of-way and easements and hang on electric poles), we the consumer is stuck with the monopoly of whichever company has wires on our street.
      I would even be okay with something similar to how we buy natural gas since deregulation — the company who bills us just pays to insert gas upstream, but the delivery is taken care of by the more regulated utility (in this case, Atlanta Gas Light) who owns and maintains the pipes.

    • Kuri says:

      This.

      Where I used to live Comcast made a deal with the trailer park management to literally be the only provider within the trailer park, so it was either them or dial up, which was almost as bad as nothing.

      We dropped Comcast as soon as we moved.

  7. benminer says:

    So they will cancel your Internet service if they get more than 7 notices? Why would they care what you download? They aren’t the ones going to get sued.

    • ReasonablePerson says:

      Why does the ESRB exist?

      • benminer says:

        What does the ESRB have to do with download notices the ISP receives?

        • ReasonablePerson says:

          “Why would they care what you download? They aren’t the ones going to get sued.”

          This statement implies you don’t understand why the warnings, and potentially bannings, exist. They don’t exist because Comcast might get in trouble right now, they exist because Comcast doesn’t want the government to heavily regulate how ISPs manage piracy on their networks.

          Much like the ESRB, which only exists so that game companies will not eventually have to be regulated by the government (look at Australia), the ESRB, like Comcast warnings, exist so that lobbyists can say “look guys, we are doing something to self-regulate”.

          You can argue that the self-regulation isn’t effective, and this argument is made often, but the fact of the matter is that these companies aren’t currently heavily regulated by the government, and these polices/organizations are the reason for that.

    • Kuri says:

      They only care so long as it enables them to remove any kind of liability.

  8. Press1forDialTone says:

    On the other hand….

    I have never had anything but positive experiences with Comcast’s call center
    in Ann Arbor which is the one I get when I call in from south-central Indiana.

    The local technicians are fantastic, real people, and they know what they are
    doing. In the rare instance where I have a problem, the tech is right on time or
    calls ahead to make sure the time he/she will arrive is okay with me.

    When they get here, the problem is diagnosed in 15 minutes or less. The proactively
    check for bad outside connections, check signal strength and stability, and they don’t
    leave until my TV and Internet are working at top performance. The often do preventative
    repairs on outside connections to make sure they don’t come down during a storm.

    I think Comcast’s service level varies widely and I happen to live in a sweet spot, well
    that and Ann Arbor is a lovely city as well and is in the midwest and I actually talked
    to a call center rep who was FROM my home city in Indiana.

    Flee the big cities, most are broken.

  9. joescratch says:

    If he doesn’t want that job, I’ll take it. I can be there by 9 am tomorrow.

    • areaman says:

      Dig your attitude sir.

      As bad as working at Comcast is I would probably want to work there if I thought there was going to be a growing gap in my resume.

  10. Budala says:

    Don’t like it? Quit.

    • VintageLydia says:

      Bills don’t pay themselves!

    • Anubis says:

      I’ve never understood this attitude. Yeah, he could quit to work somewhere else, but he’d probably be making less money with the same problems. I work retail where I’m treated poorly and have no chance to move up. Employees are given contradictory orders like take care of the customer, but do everything you can to make the customer pay out the nose while receiving as little as possible in return. It is soul crushing in many ways.

      I plan to go back to school and eventually quit, but not everybody has that option. If I just quit, I’d have the same problems regardless of where I tried to work. Based on what people report here and what my friends say, most companies now are doing everything they can to add responsibility to jobs, fire people, and damage morale all in the name of cutting costs. If every place is the same, how is quitting going to help?

    • Booboobunnygirl says:

      Hah hah ha.

      funny.

    • sherrasama says:

      I did. Working in Comcast’s miserable hellhole of a call center was giving me panic attacks that I am still dealing with today. I’ve never worked a job where I’ve been punished for being “too helpful” until then.

      I had no backup plan when I quit, but thankfully I landed a real IT job in a smaller company that actually gives 2 shits about my opinions. Plus it pays better.

    • dicobalt says:

      Did lol

  11. dicobalt says:

    Not that I used to work for Comcast tech support but… yes, all of it, and more. If I could get a Comcast executive to listen to me I could lecture them for days on the specific problems they have.

  12. Obtruder says:

    Work is work, and is not always enjoyable to be sure, assuming you aren’t a lucky one actually doing what you love for a living.

    But I understand the sentiment. It is difficult to feel good about yourself if you actually have a brain and a soul that questions your faceless upper management overlords and their skeevy tactics and lack of leadership. That can grind on your disposition after a while if you actually give a damn about your job.