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The Challenges with Shifting Schedule

With teammates, 2011

It’s not the irate customers who curse me over the phone nor the supervisor who pretends she only  knows the best for the team that I despise in a call center job. It is actually the unpredictable shifting schedule. For eight years of working in the BPO industry, I had the best and worst schedule given to me.

I always prefer the Monday-to-Sunday-8am-to-5pm shift slot. I mean who would not want to be at par with the rest of day job employees? But honestly I never had this schedule for long, only when there is a need for transition or trainings. Yes we have a day shift but the management most of the time prioritizes those who have medical certificates and those who are pregnant to have this slot. Our company needs 90% of its workforce to be night-shift so we don’t have any choice.

During the first few years of being a call center agent, I find it hard to adjust my body clock. When I say adjustment, I don’t mean only the physical body but the emotional components as well. A lifestyle that tells you to sleep at daytime then work at night and requires you to work on holidays is not easy, I tell you.

I have experienced how many times to have a split - day off meaning instead of two consecutive rest days, they put one working day in between! I really hate it because I don’t feel the presence of the two rest days. I could not do much like go on vacation somewhere but just literally stay at home.

I also experienced working for eight hours then comes an email from a Team Leader announcing a new schedule that is effective to happen immediately. The one I could not forget is I had only six hours spare time to start another shift!

When calamities strike like typhoons that cause flooding, a lot of my officemates who live way farther from the office cannot go to work. Because of lack of manpower, I have also experienced working 10 – 12 hours per shift. At first I liked it because this extended paid work hours or simply called OT (for overtime) gives me additional money to bring home. But my years of working night-shift has somehow made me realize that to rest is one of the most priceless favor I can do for myself. Since we also work during holidays, I always miss get-togethers of friends and family.   

I am also very much aware that during my interview as an applicant I was asked if I am flexible enough to have a schedule that changes from time to time. I know I said yes that’s why I got the job. To anyone who are thinking of joining the call center industry, you can start from answering this question if you fit to this kind of lifestyle that is not for everyone.

Note: This is an entry to Sykes E-Recruitment Blog Giveaway.

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