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. 


  1. Tango lang ako ng tango habang binabasa to

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

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