Career Decision: ACS Call center fixing Macs? Gut says NO, Pocketbook says "Meh"
November 22, 2011 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Should I work at an ACS Call Center supporting Mac Computers? More specifically, would that give me any career advantages such as if I later wanted to work at the Genius Bar or other (?) mac related jobs?

I have been offered a job at ACS. I've done call center type work before doing technical support (proprietary web service) and liked it. I'm quite certain I can do the job, I'm smart and I like helping people on the phone. But the pay is not great. It is a warehouse call center, worse than my last job. I would be a cog. I'd have to work a lot of overtime to make any decent money. Also, when I was waiting for the 2nd round interview I was reading on my iPhone about ACS, seems like there are some horror stories?

I'm somewhat interested that it is Mac products we'd be supporting.

While in general some job might be better than no job, I find myself only considering this job in reference to it being a stepping stone to something better. For instance the Genius bar*... Or something else internal to ACS/Xerox(their new owner). But maybe I'm totally off base?

Has anyone worked in an ACS call center, Or as a Genius bar*, and could give some insight? Is this just a dead end way to spend a few years making minimal money? If so I think I'll pass and wait for something better.

Thanks MeFites!

*I realize that ACS is a totally different company/subcontractor to Mac and the Genius bar. I'd just like some insight from that side as well, what they are looking for
posted by DaftMythic to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: PS I forgot to mention, they hired me as a Perm. Full time, and there are benefits (how good, I'm not sure, but they do have health, 401(k), dental, etc etc). So that's good.
posted by DaftMythic at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2011

Would they provide tuition assistance or training benefits? That might be useful. My old job provided tuition assistance, which I used to take a Beginning SQL class. That helped me land a better job once I got laid off.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:59 PM on November 22, 2011

I have worked at a call centre as part of Apple's official consumer technical support line in the UK. I worked there for 3 1/2 years.

The job was quite enjoyable, even rewarding, I really like being able to solve problems and this let me do it all day. On the other hand, advancement prospects were small, competition for promotion was fierce, turnover was high, pay was low and did not increase significantly with promotion. I quit after being turned down (again) for a promotion with the reasoning "you're actually way better than we expected, but we've decided we don't need to fill this position anymore".

The job was also outsourced to a 3rd party, and Apple doesn't outsource its 2nd line or professional product support, so I couldn't move into those areas. I quit and went to get a degree.

I'd say this job is better than most low-paid spots, but it is a low-paid spot without much promotion available. Yes you will be better placed to move into Genius Bar work or similar but that's not an especially highly paid job either, and it certainly wouldn't guarantee Apple would take you on directly. My position even had a no-compete clause saying Apple wouldn't employ us for 6 months following employment in this position. In practice, they ignored it, but the clause was there.
posted by fearnothing at 10:45 PM on November 22, 2011

I had about 5 years in corporate Macintosh IT when I quit and started work for a 3rd Party Contracted Apple Shop in a large city as a Laptop Tech. I got my Apple Certifications as part of the job, was there for about a year and left the shop. Went back to corporate Mac IT for another year. After I left that job, I applied at the Apple Store several times, but nothing.

I thought the fact I couldn't get an interview was kinda strange considering my experience and my resume. I kinda chalked it up to my job transitions, and started working outside of the field entirely. I was introduced a while back to an Apple Store Manager who I became an acquaintance with, and I mentioned the lack of interest to him.

He stated that Apple doesn't always like a lot of corporate or outside experience, as they're looking for a "type" of person who they will train to their styling and methodology, versus someone who has experience but may insist on doing things in a non-Apple approved way. He said that upon hiring for the more intricate jobs, you get flown out to CA for a week and go through an intense training course. Having students who need to "unlearn" stuff I guess is problematic, and they feel that these new hires will learn what they need, how Apple wants them to learn it.

That said, experience can't hurt, but IMO I would probably look for an Apple Store job within 3-6 months of being employed at ACS, so you have some experience, but you're not "damaged" goods...
posted by Debaser626 at 9:57 AM on November 23, 2011

Debaser626 points out something I had forgotten - during my initial training they said almost exactly the words he used - that Apple prefers to take on people who aren't so familiar with Macintosh technology that they've developed their own habits and methods. Additionally, most of Apple's certifications train someone to a depth of knowledge far beyond what a standard Genius Bar or phone support agent needs to know to do their job. Debaser626 probably knows as much as some of their server and professional apps support team (who have similar knowledge and status to 3rd line support, though doing a different job) and is therefore overqualified as well as trained in a way that might have made it harder for him to adapt.

To more precisely answer your question, I don't think it's bad to have as one of your early-career jobs but unless it is significantly differently structured from the company I worked for, it doesn't have the kind of progression in technical roles to have much of a future for someone who wants a tech career. If you want to move up in the organisation, you will have to turn into a manager, and you will have to fight tooth and nail for every rung of the ladder.
posted by fearnothing at 11:09 AM on November 23, 2011

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