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What people don’t understand about working as a call center agent?

My workstation, 2009
When I was a college student, I never wished to work in the BPO industry. My perception of the people working here is very shallow. I thought all it takes to work as a call center agent is the ability to speak a foreign language particularly English. I said to myself I did not finish a two-year diploma and a four-year course just to work by taking calls from the other side of the world.

I also pitied those who are degree holders and board passers but ends up working in call centers. I was looking forward to land to my dream job right after college… but just like them life has become uncontrollable if not unpredictable.  Though I had a scholarship grant that helped me finished college, my parents filled the gap of what my sponsor cannot such as support, efforts and money for miscellaneous things. I knew I have to find a job as soon as possible to help my family. I ate my words and chose to be practical. I found myself applying for a job I once hate!

My officemates, 2006

Speaking from a nonstop eight-year experience working in the same call center company, I would like to share the basic answers of What people don’tunderstand about working as a call center agent?

1. A call center agent has to work nightshift and even during Philippine holidays
I know this is dumb but in my 8 years of working as a call center agent, I always find myself telling the same explanation of why call centers operate at night and during local holidays. The simple answer is most of outsourcing companies are based in North America, Europe etc therefore the work schedule should be based on their daytime slots

2. A call center agent does not need to wear uniforms  
This is one thing I so love working with my headset on! I think employees who are required to wear uniforms are those who do business transactions with their customers in real time. In the case of the  BPO since they talk to customers via phone, I don’t think there is a need to have prescribed uniforms. A business casual attire and paired with the official ID and lace instead should be worn at all time.

3. A call center agent’s schedule changes from time to time.
My top reason why I always rent a space nearer to my office is because I knew the fact that working in the call center means a work schedule that changes from time  like DST’s, internal management decision so on and so forth. I have experienced having a split off (which I hated so much) and after working for 8hours there was a sudden change of my schedule and its effective immediately so I only slept 6 hours then went on another 8-hour shift.

These are just the basic tidbits of information that we need to know especially to our family who care for our health and safety all the time. I it is really tough sleeping at daytime given the brightness of the day and noisy home. I am glad that I live in a space where all of my housemates work in the same call center office so we know how to respect each other’s need when we need to rest and all that stuff. 

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

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