Practicing Non-Grasping: Process
On a more detailed level, the place I work in particular inspires grasping, greedy, and outcome-driven behavior. As a FOR PROFIT fundraiser that solicits funds for nonprofit and political groups (almost all left-wing progressive groups), it uses telmarketer tactics to exploit donors’ and callers’ genuine concern and passion for the issues, turning them into money. The amount of money we raise strictly for the profit of the company and how much goes to the organizations we’re calling for is kept secret, but a google search speculates that only 35% of the money goes to the organizations that hire us. We, as callers, are trained to be single-minded in obtaining donations, mislead donors about the nature of our work (almost all assume we are volunteers working directly with their beloved organization), and get as much money as possible in credit card form. In order to keep the job, we have performance perimeters to reach. We compete with each other to stay in the top tiers of performance, as the lower 40% of the room can be fired at any time. Of course we, individually, have financial rewards for raising more money.
Even before I started my experiement I was uncomfortable with the nature of my work, and I knew that I felt ever so much better when my conversations with donors respected their wishes (ie, “take me off the list,” “I can’t talk now,” etc.) But, grasping to keep my job and my performance numbers high, I needed to enact the conversational grasping behaviours that I learned in training, such as agreeing to take the donor off the list, and THEN attempting to get a donation out of them, overcoming their financial misgivings by redirecting their attention to the issues they care about, and misleading them about the nature of the call. Basic manipulative techniques.