Athens, two weeks into the project.
We, the call centre agents of the Civil Financial Regulation Office, draw a first balance of our calling experience and want to share some insights!
We are beginning to really get a sense of the inability of individuals working within large financial institutions to speak freely. Sometimes this takes the form of individuals who are happy to talk to us and give answers but only on the strict condition that they remain anonymous. Other times, it takes a simpler form: we feel an unwillingness to speak, and maybe even fear. Here are some examples of the various ways in which this has been expressed to us.
Employee: “I cannot speak in the name of Bafin” (Thou shalt not use BaFin’s name in vain.)
CFRO agent: “Do you have a personal opinion?”
Employee: “Yes, but I won’t and can’t share it”
Employee: “You have to go through the channels.”
Employee: “There is a strict procedural protocol which we have to abide by.”
Employee: “We get training on how to handle random calls because we have to protect our brand. Imagine what would happen if every individual just went around expressing their own personal opinions. You cannot have this.”
Employee: “It’s unfair to call up the experts directly to put them on the spot. They don’t communicate with normal people every day, they’re not used to it. If you put them under pressure like that then they may not give the best answer. You need to give them a chance to think. For this reason, you have to go through the press office and it must be via e-mail.”
Employee: “I am aware that I sound robotic but this is just the way that institutions like this work I’m afraid.”
CFRO agent: “Are you afraid? Do you feel like a robot?”
Employee: “I’ve been doing it for a long time now.”
CFRO agent to a secretary asking us to send an email: “Do you like your job? How do you feel working there?”
Secretary: “I cannot say.”
Secretary: “I’m just a secretary, I don’t know anything. I haven’t studied Economics.”
CFRO agent: “But what’s your general opinion?”
Secretary: “I don’t have any personal opinions.”