Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Call Center Work: Perceptions and Reality

Much has been said about the call center work both against and in defense of the industry in the social networking sites as well as in the mainstream media.

I will attempt to pitch in and contribute in the discussion, albeit late, not because I feel there is a need to correct the misconceptions but because I want to address my fellow call center professionals.

The Perception of Financial Supremacy

The first thing that comes to mind when someone learns that someone is working in a call centre is that, that person earns a lot.

While it is true that call center professionals generally earn more compared to most of the working population in other industries, I feel that this reality also is the roadblock why the profession has yet to receive the respect it deserves.

When a call center professional receive a negative comment about his/her line of work the most common and immediate reaction has always been ‘at least I earn more than you do!’

This has got to stop my friends. Not because it is not the reality but because the reality of the call center profession is larger than that.

So What If We Earn More?

The Philippine economy in the last few decades have been relying highly on the revenues being generated by our OFW friends until the BPO industry started to peak.

Today and in the last decade the annual revenues generated by the BPO industry is undeniably one of the strongest force driving the country’s economy in the form of tax, job creation and boom in food and in commercial and residential realty.

It is said that if we compare the two the BPO work outweighs the OFW work in terms of direct economic consequence.

This is because for every one employee employed in the BPO industry there are approximately five jobs that are created elsewhere.

This observation is validated by proliferation of 7eleven and Mini Stop stores in BPO areas as well as fast food chains (Jollibee, McDo among others), the boom of food stalls, condominium units (either rented or sold) and most importantly office spaces across the country.

If we take the BPO industry out of the picture Makati, BGC, Ortigas, QC, Cebu, Davao would be a lonely place. Imagine how many buildings would not be occupied or constructed at all?

The truth is, the Starbucks barista should be smiling at you my friend because your BPO employment necessitated the growth of coffee shops in the country and so is the local and national government for the huge amount of tax that you and these industries generate monthly.

Simply put, the BPO industry pumps the blood that other industries need to survive and thrive.

But I Am A College Graduate!

Oh this one is the most painful misconception because it underlines the fact that the profession is not recognized much more respected both by those who are in it and outside of it.

There are a lot of BPO workers who up until now thinks that it is not a profession and it is just sad and I think that it stems from the fact that they see it merely as a means to get their bank accounts filled twice a month.

The truth is, there is more to the BPO industry than answering calls.

You can be a people manager- not any different from an office worker or a business manager. You can be in training and people development- not any different from any corporate training professionals. You can be a quality or reports specialists- not any different from analytics professional in other industries who crunch numbers 9 hours a day!

Or you can be a world-class call center associate- not any different from a hotel staff who maintains the best customer service with guests and customers!

So what if it was not your course in college?

My friend, no one said that you have to derive your self-worth from your degree. The best doctors and teachers out there are the best not because they have applied what they learned, they are the best because they deeply and genuinely care about people they deal with and that passion is translated to what they do.

Simply put, it is not what we do, it is the value we put in what we do that matters.

Something Has To Change

The recent onslaught of non-stop rains is a testament to the waterproof commitment and dedication of the call center professionals in this country.

My friends, there is dignity in with the fact that we have explored different means to constantly go to work, leaving home with a sick family member or a baby or worse risking our own safety so we can perform our duties.

This is what I meant when I said that our defense or knee-jerk reactions towards criticism should not just be confined in the argument of who earns better.

By leaving the debate of salary to facts, we establish ourselves as professionals who are beyond monetary gains (although, mind you it is very important!)

We should establish ourselves as professionals who are highly flexible and dedicated worthy of respect and recognition not because we earn more but because just like them we think about our families and we believe that this profession is the best way to provide and improve the lives of our loved ones.

A diploma is only wasted if it is not used to its maximum potential. The BPO path is not any different from any other professional paths.

There is also a need for us to stop the superiority complex (which is a defense mechanism) and the extreme sense of entitlement.

Let us start to be more appreciative of the things that we have. A lot of the people I know in the industry constantly ask for more- and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that- except that we have to constantly pause and say thank you.

I will not enumerate the benefits that is exclusive to our industry, you know what they are and I suggest that you start appreciating them for what they are.

Simply put, a person cannot be happy by demanding more. A person can only be happy if he/she starts to appreciate what is at hand and look at the future with optimism and resolve that he/she can be the best in what he/she does. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Heaven Won't Stop Weeping

I am writing this blog inside my car hoping that the rain would give me a reprieve now that I have been stuck here not moving, hungry and extremely worried than tired for almost five hours now.

My twitter feed said that C5 was ok so I decided to drive back home only to meet a heavy downpour a fraction through my travel. The horrors of last year's Habagat not only was resurrected but this time reincarnated with a vengeance.

Prior to this I read a joke posted on twitter saying that the rains were paid for by Napoles as a distraction so Pinoys have something to talk about aside from her and her business partners at the Senate and Congress.

Then it dawned on me, that 10 billion pesos could have gone a long way in terms of flood control initiatives had it went to the right hands. Then I became sad more than worried.

If you could still remember, analysts during Ondoy time, were saying that such a catastrophe only happens once every few decades but as we have seen and experienced now- that is no longer the case.

Sure you can blame it on climate change but by blaming climate change you are confronted with the ultimate question- what are you gonna do about it?

What has really changed after Ondoy? What has changed after last year's Habagat incident? Barely anything.

The Metro Manila remains to be a disorganized and unprepared urban area devoid of any solid and concrete flood prevention and control infrastructure, just waiting for the perfect storm or monsoon to happen so it can turn itself into a water world.

So unless something is drastically changed I guess it is a gruesome fact that millions of Filipino people would suffer every year. Yes, as you can see the problem is not just contained in the Metro Manila, as years go by many cities and developing municipalities across the country would become acquainted with this annual tragedy.

And no, do not thank the governor or the mayor if he wakes up early to declare that the class is suspended or that they have given away a truck of relief goods. We deserve better leaders than that.

You see people like me and you are stranded at the road because we came to work and like all law abiding citizens of this country we pay our taxes with eyes closed twice each month.

So it is both infuriating and frustrating just thinking that the hard earned money went to the pockets of the likes of Napoles and Satan's minions at the halls  Congress and Senate.

But as I sit here not knowing when the rains would stop or what time I'd be able to go home I was reminded of a facebook post I made a few weeks ago:

'Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep the right attitude while waiting'

And as I ponder on that principle I entertained myself with happy thoughts and started calling people that I love and is close to my heart and my heart was filled with gratitude and joy knowing that somehow, someway I will be home today.

The sad thing is, the same cannot be said about our leaders and the tragedy that is Metro Manila at this time of the year, each year.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Pork Barrel In A Bathtub

At least 5 Senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives are implicated in the 10 billion-peso pork barrel scam which was allegedly orchestrated by Janet Lim Napoles.

When asked to comment on the issue, the senators involved quickly denied the allegations saying that they do not even know who Napoles is.

 The outright denial was then contradicted by a photo showing Napoles conspicuously present in an event where both senators are in attendance too!

When pressed to comment further here are their reactions:

Jinggoy: Hindi ko alam may gate-crasher pala sa party ko! I should have tighter security next time!

Bong: Lahat ng bagay ngayon pwedeng i-photoshop! Kagagawan ito ng administrasyon upang siraan ako sa darating na 2016!

Manny: Hiyang-hiya naman ako sayo Bong! Tatakbu din ako sa 2016! See you in the presidential debate!

The whistleblower alleged that the money derived from these ghost NGO projects are being delivered at the Napoles residence and is placed at the bathtub.

In the spirit of fairness NBI raided the Napoles residence and found no bathtub. Instead, they (the NBI) found an Olympic-sized pool!

Forbes released their annual list of billionaires. Henry Sy gained the top spot for six years in a row which left many wondering where the hell is the name Janet Lim Napoles in the list?

Also in recent news, the Pope asked priests all over the world to refrain from living a lavish lifestyle.
Janet Lim Napoles and her daughter were relieved! After all, they are not priests!

Petitions to relocate Mali, the lone elephant in the country housed at the Manila Zoo, to the elephant sanctuary in Thailand is growing.

A separate petition to house senators and congressmen in the crocodile farm is also gaining grounds!

Meanwhile Senator Mirriam filed resolution to decrease pork allocation for lawmakers every year until it is totally eradicated by 2016.

COMELEC was worried that no one would run for Senator and Congressman on 2016!

Janet Lim Napoles and her daughter quickly reacted to the news and was quoted saying ‘paano na and kabuhayan namin?’

Meanwhile, the 10 billion pork barrel scam and the ghost projects inspired this year’s MMFF entry to be topbilled by no less than Jinggoy and Bong tentatively titled Shake Rattle and Roll 10 (Billion): The Ghost

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares commented that 90% of self-employed professionals in the country are not paying the accurate taxes due to them.

Janet Napoles was not so happy about the news.

In other news:

Claudine filed a case versus husband Raymart Santiago for allegedly abusing him mentally, psychologically and physically.

Raymart’s camp is preparing to use their star-witness to debunk the claims of Claudine in the person of Mon Tulfo.

In the recently concluded SONA by PNOY, many commented about the absence of three topics- the pork barrel scam, the FOI bill and the GMA blame game!