Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Call Center Hell# 3: Homicidal first day at work

Posted on | April 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

BW Kimber1 300x244 Call Center Hell# 3: Homicidal first day at work

Illustrated by Rebecca Hanson

5 am.

Back to sleep.


6 am.  Back to sleep.


6:15 am: Fuck.  6:30 am: Fuck.  6:45am: Fuck.  7 am: Fuck.

I’ll start by saying that 7 in the morning is a strange time in the day for a person recently unemployed.

Work at the Call Center begins at 8.  I’m buried alive in my covers. Naked, I dive to safety.  Shivering, I make it to the shower. Anxiety builds in my stomach and I puke up phlegm.

The morning is a disgusting and scary place.

Homicidal and half conscious I stumble across the Halifax Commons minutes after the pederasts, murderous gangs of children that swarm strangers, and night time joggers have all finally gotten into their comfortable beds to dream of sugarplums.

Nighttime security workers zig zag past, zombified by their evenings work.

I tell myself to enjoy the calm cool air and stop smiling like I am challenging God to hit me with a lightning bolt. Hope I don’t look like a serial killer.

First days are hard on little to no sleep.  I’m scared of my alarm clock, so I wake up every hour on the hour to make sure I wake up before I have to hear it’s maddening scream.

Walk through the door into my work.

Smile at the bald man who interviewed me and gave me the job.  He winks and gives me a thumbs up.

Asshole.  Smile… don’t murder… smile.  Not like that.  Polite shy smile.  He smiles back.  Success.

My eyes are opening and closing.  My brain is turning on and off, words like need coffee buzzing through my mind next to the fluttering of my dream mind posting irrational questions like should I have worn a suit, as bits of television shows from my childhood flash through my imagination.

Asshole points to a half filled classroom, “Your teacher will be here in just a moment… have a seat.”

Homer raises the stake over Vampire Mr. Burns, “Should I dare to live the American dream?”  He stabs down and pierces the crotch of Mr. Burns.


Blink.  Nod.  Go sit down.

This is not the ideal time to make my introductions to the members of my class at the Call Center.  To my tired mind they  look like cockroaches dressed in their Sunday best.  The girl closest to me is digging her fingers so far up her nostrils I think she is trying to commit suicide.  I know that she won’t think I saw her.  She is going to want to shake hands when we say hello.  I devotedly ignore her, hoping she will go away.

I should have gotten a coffee.  She doesn’t notice me.  She’s smiling and still picking her nose.  I wonder if her fingers have started to touch her brain.  Maybe she’s smiling because she’s slowly going brain dead.

I move to another desk.  This time I’m next to a couple. They introduce themselves, and I wish I had been paying more attention, so that I would remember their names. They are one of those couples that look alike, as if they were brother and sister separated at birth. I chuckle to myself.  They don’t notice.

This is their fourth Call Center, so the brother/sister couple have a lot of practice in not paying attention to the insanity of others.  Luckily, I’m a quick learner.

They tell me that this is the best one… they treat you like family here.

Greasy haired 40-year-old next to them comments and says, “People always say that. They want to think that it doesn’t get any worse… I’m going to wait to see how bad it is before I make any judgments.”

I excuse myself, go to the bathroom, and once more move to another desk.  This time I am sitting next to a hippy chick with long dreads. She looks high and doesn’t seem to care that I’m sitting next to her.

She begins to scratch at her skull.  Dandruff falls like snowflakes.  The teacher enters the room, and I realize I’m trapped.  She won’t stop scratching, her intoxicated mind, fascinated by the snow globe suddenly appearing in front of her dilated pupils.

The teacher looks like Satan, if Satan happened to hail from Spryfield, face adorned with a spade shaped goatee and body adorned in a name brand sweatsuit.

Within five minutes a life insurance form is placed in front of me.  He explains that if we are interested in investing our futures, the corporation has a place for us.  After months of unemployment this sounds enticing rather than horrifying.  I do wonder if anyone works long enough to cash in on the life insurance, or if this line of work has hazards I’m unaware of.

“250 dollars if you can get your friends to sign up.”

Satan tells me to convince my friends to do the same stupid fucking thing I’m doing. He’ll give me cash for their souls.

I won’t take my eyes off of him.  I worry that if I turn around, the brother/sister couple will be frantically tonguing each other.

“Probation ends after three months,” says Satan. “Then your pay goes up by two dollars.  We reward loyalty.”

Translation: Few people last past 3 months. If you can we’ll give you just enough money to keep you from looking for work.

I’m not that lucid yet. I’m thinking: “I’m rich. I’m rich.   I’m going to get so drunk after my first pay check!”

“Every Friday there is a draw for an I-Pod, exclaims Satan.

Translation: “It’s hard to get you back after you leave. We’ll give you stuff if you come back.”

The suicidal nose picker has taken her arm out of her brain and has raised her hand to ask a question.

“How many vacation days do we get a year?”

Satan chuckles. “Ten every year.”

Translation: If you come here enough we’ll let you leave… not for long, but you can go.

“What about sick days?” she asks.

“You only get one sick day every month, and you need to do get a doctor’s note.”

In a month I will get one of those doctor’s notes and use it to get different employment.  We are not there yet.  Right now, I’m barely awake and counting my money, filling out a form to get life insurance, so that my loved ones will be taken care of when I’m gone.

“Someday you too could be management.”

Homer’s voice cuts into my thoughts in a nauseating cycle, “Should I dare to live the American dream?”

Check out the next Call Center adventure here.  Check out the first and second parts as well.

Welcome to the Colony of Losers, a world of quarter life crises, anxiety, depression and the friends and the failures on the way to your future. This is the story of Michael Kimber’s panicked fall into adulthood.



2 Responses to “Call Center Hell# 3: Homicidal first day at work”

  1. Brad
    April 25th, 2010 @ 5:28 am

    I think you should reconsider your relationship to antistate/anticapitalist politics in the context of this post. I mean, this is exactly what capitalism is offering (and offering the luckiest of us, here in the first world) – is it worth it?

  2. CallCenterGuy
    May 10th, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    Very cool! I just bookmarked it too so I look forward to seeing more.

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    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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