Great people and good work life balance.
Pay is not that great.
I worked at NYC Information Technology & Telecommunications full-time (More than a year)
Large complex system to work in with a diverse employee population.
Organization has way too many silos, and in order to advance it's about who you know. Every time a new administration comes into power the vision changes with tons of money going toward service fees for consultants.
Advice to Management
Growth is impossible unless you're a member of a click that's in-charge.
The location on Maiden Lane is fantastic, a few blocks from the World Trade Center. Co-workers are mostly very nice, as are the supervisors just above the call center representative level.
I expect there to be a need for punctuality and the insistence on not providing opinions, guesses, or unsubstantiated information, e.g., from the internet. However, after I left, I did thorough research on call centers for a course in my MBA program. There are basically two kinds or two management styles: (1) what can be called a "laid back" type, and (2) a "rigid" type.
The 311 center on Maiden Lane (I believe there are other locations other than this one, the main location) is not laid back. And by laid back, I do not mean that the guidelines I mentioned above are relaxed. They are necessary because, for example, there are thousands of calls coming in all the time, the number of staff working at any one time has been calculated based on prior call rates under similar circumstances (time of day, events going on, weather and other emergencies, etc.) and these calculations are quite accurate, and if people are late or suddenly have to leave (without good cause), callers would be kept waiting. This is not good. City residents have been pleased with 311 because they quickly get good answers to questions. It has been a great for a complex place like NYC. People don't have a lot of extra time and don't need to be kept waiting. As for visitors and out-of-towners, these people definitely don't need to wait. Tourism is huge for NYC, billions a year, thousands of city jobs are supported. These callers need a quick and accurate response when they call, the city is bewildering to most of them.
All that being said, the research shows that, contrary to what it might seem, the laid back approach is no less effective than the rigid approach in assuring that these standards are maintained. However, if those in charge, at or near the top, are uneducated about the huge amount of research that has been done on call centers of all types (including telemarketers), they may believe that it is necessary to be rigid to maintain efficacy. This is NOT true but, unless things have changed (with new people in charge), the 311 call center is so rigidly managed that there is an amazingly high level of animosity among the people taking the calls, even though they are nice people and usually not antagonistic to each other, just those at the top.
The place is run like, for example that isn't from personal experience, the Situation Room at the White House as it probably was as the bin Laden operation was underway and everyone was waiting for news (like, "Is he captured or dead" or "Are our people wounded or dead?") or like it was described as during the Cuban Missile Crisis. You always got the feeling that WWIII was about to break out and a 20 megaton nuke was poised over the city ready for detonation.
And everything is on a Top Secret footing. Nothing is allowed to ever be said to anyone about what it is like to work there. I know that there is clearly some cause for concern, with 9/11 etc. However, 9/11 was not the city's fault. It was the fault of many people outside the city, from the FBI, CIA, NSA, and who knows who else. Nothing anyone in NYC did would have made any difference. There is no need for 311 to be run on a wartime footing. (Yes, I know we are supposed to be at war with terrorism but does that mean we will always be at war forever?)
I worked at a major defense prime contractor at a time before the SALT treaties reduced nuclear arsenals and later when the Soviet Union dissolved. We built all the missiles that launched nuclear weapons, including the multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles, the MIRV missiles that each had I think 10 nuclear bombs that could each be targeted separately (I think the first SALT treaty kept it from being deployed in the end). There was always a concern for what we did. The same missile that launched people into space launched bombs to blow up the world. There were rules just like during WWII, "Loose lips sink ships." Need to know was operative all the time. Everyone had Confidential all the way to Top Secret Nuclear, Top Secret Crypto, and other separate Top Secret clearances. You just knew never to ask someone what they did and no one asked. However, the atmosphere was very laid back, we had fun. It was a joy to work there, at least as far as most of the people were concerned. You could go into almost any manager's office without an appointment, sometimes just to sit around bullshitting.
Nothing like 311.
So if you want to get an ulcer, take a lot of tranquilizers, or get a "who cares" attitude, go work there, unless its changed which, from what I've heard, it hasn't. And like I said, there is nothing better, as far as outcomes are concerned, about the rigid approach. It is just that uninformed people think that because they don't know the research. And it's too bad, it could be a joy to work there are still do a fantastic, even better, service for the city and those who visit it.
Oh, one other thing. I remember being told, "Forget everything you ever learned. You do it our way. It doesn't matter what you learned." Very nice. (not)
Advice to Management
Get an education about call centers. Get an attitude adjustment. Stop thinking you are in the Army... NOT the U.S. Army, the North Korean Army! Talk about paranoid, that's what 311 was like.
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I worked at NYC Information Technology & Telecommunications (More than a year)
If you don't want to work and still get paid, work for the City of NY
Technology and Leadership thinking is archaic.
Leaders don't trust employees
You are better off being a contractor than an employee. Being a union employee as a city title but being a manager is the kiss of death. If you become a manager, be sure you fall under the City Manager title an not union
Ethics don't exist. Common sense doesn't exist. People use corporate terms and REALLY don't understand the true meaning e.g. Agile, PMBOK
Benefit are the awful compared to corporate. Sure there could be $0 cost, but out of pocket cost will get you. You get what you pay for.
I have been working at NYC Information Technology & Telecommunications full-time
Only pro is that its a city job.
Unfortunately this is a 20 word minimum.
Advice to Management
Learn how to manage.
I have been working at NYC Information Technology & Telecommunications full-time (More than 5 years)
- Plenty of holidays
- Average salary for the sector; I've seen a lot worse
- Retention doesn't seem to be a problem
- Few career growth opportunities, since upper management rarely moves up/out.
- Merit raises are almost non-existent
- Some of the full-timers are quite "unmotivated" and management turns a blind eye to lazy employees
Advice to Management
- Reinforce end-of-year ratings with disciplinary action
- If they are expected to support infrastructure/systems after consultants are gone, engage lower-level full-time employees as stakeholders early on
Great people if you are in the right department.
Room for advance if you are smart and put the effort.
Work can be unstimulating
I worked at NYC Information Technology & Telecommunications full-time (More than 10 years)
It's government so the benefits are good. Other than that, there isn't much.
Filled with ass kissers and brown nosers. It's the only way to advance in any way.
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