From the lottery to Nobel prize: meet workers who make life-changing phone calls


For 12 years now, Anita Pires has been working at the call centre for Camelot, the company that runs the UK’s national lottery. She is one of a staff of 30 who answer calls from potential lottery winners, checking their numbers for prizes that range from £5 to the multi-millions. “In 2009, I had one of my biggest winners, who won £45m,” she says. “Even I couldn’t believe it. We only get an automated prompt just before they’re put through; it’s always very exciting. The claimants are in shock and don’t really comprehend that it’s millions in cash. There’s a real buzz in the office, with everyone anticipating who might get the call from a big winner that week.”

According to a 2016 report, more than 700,000 people in the UK are employed by call centres The work is often tough: it can be a difficult mix of monotony, stress and the emotional labour of staying friendly for hour upon hour of calls. But for a few call-centre employees such as Pires, the work is pure joy.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 18/08/19]