In late 2001, I started working for the Halifax. I worked initially in Dundonald (Belfast, Northern Ireland) but then at the main Gasworks call centre at the Ormeau Road in the centre of Belfast. I wasn’t looking for anything at the time, just another job really and definitely not one I saw myself staying in…
I used to work 8 am to 4.30 pm, which was fairly decent as I lived in Bangor at the time, and this avoided me rush hour traffic in the morning and the afternoon. I was a savings sales advisor, which largely meant being on the phone and taking incoming calls on savings accounts and also booking appointments etc. I can’t remember everything about the job, it was all rather a flurry of a non-event. While working there I had also noticed Richard Henry worked a few floors below. I knew Richard well from supporting Northern Ireland and selling ‘Here We Go…Again’ fanzine. Chats away from the desk were few and far between. There was no unique bond and no real satisfaction, other than your pay cheque once a month.
Though I did bond well with my team, which included the easily fanciable Lisa Rodgers (a Carrickfergus lass) and Chris Kruger (a South African). I became good friends with Chris and at one point was going to move in with him in East Belfast and then something happenned one day… The normal sort of thing I do as comedy became slightly more tragic. It’s only funny looking back! Actually I love the story and why not?
In each group there was someone assigned to updating the interest rates on ISAs and Guaranteed Reserve Accounts each week. One week it was my turn and I told Chris I would play a joke. It was April Fool’s day and as an April Fool’s Day joke, I sent round a group e-mail as a total joke to say that what the new rates were. I made them up! I made them higher than they should have been for a bit of banter! Such comedy I thought. And anyone who knows me wouldn’t exactly take it seriously. Unfortunately the management did and I got sacked for making up fake interest rates on April Fool’s Day. Interest rates that the Halifax had to give to all customers in Belfast (and further afield actually) over the phone, who opened fixed rate accounts that day and who had maturing ISAs on that day only. At least until 12 noon, when I withdrew the joke, which was simply an April Fool!!
People believed me and I was gone…soon I had closed all Halifax accounts and now hate the company. Don’t bank with them. They are the worst company I’ve ever worked for! Still it’s a nice story and not something I’ll hide behind a curtain. I’ll tell people…
Calls taken – 2,541.
Bored hours – All of them.
Months worked there – 6 months at a stretch…
Finest hour – the time on April Fool’s Day when I increased the interest rates and nobody found it funny!!
Key Song – Can’t remember who sing sit, but it went “In the end nothing really matters, I tried so hard to get so far…”