Ring! Ring!

Adverse Effects

There are great benefits working in BPO or it has great effect in our country.. That’s for sure, but let’s talk about.. Not so good things about BPO. Unfortunately, there are a lot of it. It’s not I have this industry, but it’s a fact of life when you worked there. Been there done that type of feeling. I won’t be surprised that a former BPO employee says, “I’ve seen it all”

So, if you are planning or joining or thinking working in a BPO company, then take a look at this list. I might not cover everything so I’m apologize if I was not that detailed as it is.

Health risks – when you are working in a night shift plus doing this and that, boozing plus eating unhealthy and doing almost zero excercise, you are getting your health in trouble. When I was young, I can stay late or even work in night shift. But when I was older then did my last night shift work, my body just kinda resisted working in night shift. You became lazy and yes, the body really works at the morning. It’s not only physically you’ll be affected but also psychologically. There were days I admit I did not work at times, because it’s night shift plus I want to sleep more. I’ll be absent at that day, saying otherwise. For short, I was so lazy going to work. Unlike in the normal or morning shift, I’m working even I have slight fever or usual minor ailments or even I don’t have glasses which was very crazy. I had vertigo and still went to work.
There were other ailments I had, pharyngitis, my constipation got worse plus yes, even panic attacks. But those were not regular attacks but yes, they showed up when I worked that hard in this industry. Pharyngitis, wow, I’m not really speaking a lot, especially after work, but it just happened despite my extra care in my throat. Geez, I don’t want to happen that again.

Even yeah, companies have health insurance but they’ve changed as well. Before, you were getting big coverages and limits plus benefits, but now due to some issues plus other employees just well, faking illness just to avoid work.. Companies started to be strict and other companies are so strict, they won’t even allow SL even your condition should be getting medical attention. One great example, I had a team mate, who has stones in gall bladder and still taking calls. OM doesn’t want to allow him to take a SL or even Leave w/o pay, because he was threatened to be terminated. We are talking about an CSR who has been in this company for 8 years.. Talking about being number 1 center eh?

Yes, one more thing, since this industry is quite liberal, that includes sexually active as well. Unwanted pregnancies do happen and yes, even HIV. Although I haven’t experienced like a department or team who had those kind of cases, but I’m hearing a lot of cases like these.. It’s sad, but it’s just sometimes we need to control. You are free to do things but please safely.. Ah yes, reports of drugs or addictions got worse, well its kinda of norm in this industry. Geez, for me, my drinking got stronger when I worked here. I mean when you are drinking at the middle of a brunch because you just got out from work while others are eating brunch or lunch in the right time, something’s wrong right? hehe Or how about team buildings? Foster relationships? Improve teamwork? Are you kidding me? It’s a great time to booze! hahaha Even call center events, we haven’t start the program and yet everybody already got drunk. Geez..

Life is precious, so yeah, think about what’s in store for you. I haven’t talked about worst case health conditions. I know these things happens in other industries but try working like 12 hours straight in night shift plus after that your boss wants to drink and then everybody in your team wants to remove stress… Hmmmm and you do that like every other day, and longer in paydays… Let’s see how healthy you’ll be after that.

Politics – Like every office or organization, there will be politics.. Oh sorry, they use the term business decisions or strategy.. In a decade, I just realized, some decisions they did was more of making sure that the client is happy. Even dissolving one department just to save many agents. How about pulling out the account because the numbers in the other center peformed better plus cheaper.. How about raising stats even it’s unimaginable just to kiss ass for the client. It’s everything for the client right? Sometimes I thought it shouldn’t be. Most of the time. I don’t know what happened to the Verizon case but yeah, it’s affecting not only the US workers but also the most affected was the agents here. I’m imagining at that time, they are doing like 5-10 hours overtime per week due to that fiasco. Wow, so we are the last resort. It should be the other way around right?

How about exclusivity? Oh yeah that’s the norm before. It’s advertised that it’s the only center who handles this account and yada.. In the end, now.. It’s like all the centers have this one big account. With this set up, its giving an impression that everybody is equal. I don’t think so. One center has better management but facilities sucks. The other center of the same account has worse management but facilities are good. How about different pay schemes? So yeah, forget it..

Higher management is for the agent’s welfare.. Hmmmmm Out of the 7 centers I’ve worked, I think only 2 did really took care of agents or employees.. Others, notoriously bad in some parts. Others, they were great at first but became worst at the end. Especially when drastic changes happens. Which always ends up bad. I haven’t even talked about the TL agent relationship. The team dynamic issues or even agents vs. workforce fights…

So if you are planning to join this industry, yes, time realy flies fasts because politics and decisions made it fast. Don’t be shock that one day you have a job, one day, you’ll transfer forcely.

Relationship cracks – I’m talking about the effects of this work into the people around you. Especially if you work at GY (graveyard shift). It’s hard for parents, breadwinners and students working in a volatile environment, your relationships will change.. I mean you are sleep while others are working or studying. At night, families are worried when you are going to work, plus yes, safety is not guaranteed when you are travelling to work. A lot of times, I missed events for my family or even closest friends. Most of the time, I always say “I have work tonight”. One time, I even drunk one bottle and left the even because I need to work at my shift. Good thing I was not caught. haha For parents, you’ll miss school events or even awarding because it’s either you were so tired to get up or needs to get a lot of sleep. Oh we haven’t talked holidays, yes. We are holidays proof. Unless the client has the same holidays as the Philippines. haha Even families or friends understood you, in the long run, they’ll need you and sometimes, you were pressed to do not hard, but harsh decisions for your career and relationships outside the office buildings.

If you can withstand these situations, or don’t care the people around you or even you have no friends or few friends, they yeah, you are very welcome to work here.

Work life balance? Don’t believe that if the company says that. I can only say only the select BPO companies does that. Most of them, don’t even know what’s work life balance.

Driver of the Economy – For this part, I’ll explain the bad side first. Hmmm It is true that there will be a time that BPO will knock the remittances of OFW’s. This industry also helped a lot financially, including me of course. hehe It helped other industries to set up more business such as real estate, retail or even taxis, Grab or Uber. Despite the health risks or shrinking health coverage, having a health insurance also helps not only you but your loved ones as well.

However, there are downsides of this industry against our economy. Remember, as other says, this industry is like a travelling industry. It comes and goes. Some companies already reduced the centers due to costs. I won’t name them but yeah it happens. What’s shocking, these companies who closed centers were the inhouse ones. Reason? Remember, call centers are a cost, not most of the time profit, just reducing operational expenses that’s in the books of their main offices abroad. But if other centers offer much savings plus greater service, why keep the bleeding centers open right?

There are threats already from other countries, China is now aggressive in learning English as they want to capture this market. I heard South Africa wants to do it as well for the EU companies, even our neighbors trying to copy us. It means, we can’t rest really our laurels despite being the number one call center in the world. We need to not only improve our quality of service but making sure we produce the quantity, the people who can perform such tasks. Unfortunately, as I worked for almost a decade, those 2 factors, we cannot sustain. The quality of CSR’s, back office associates, TSR or simply BPO employee is just diminishing unlike the first years of the BPO, plus the quantity? The projections of graduates from High School or College doesn’t meet or even qualify for call centers. It’s a problem and I hope we find ways to sustain those factors. I think that the government shouldn’t really rely in this industry. I mean, it’s not bad to push this hard unlike before but definitely, we have other industries to push for such as tourism, manufacturing, or even banking, or infra industry.. Our county should be doing more than BPO as it’s not really reliable for the long term. Look at the first 10 years of this industry, many companies did come, but many companies either cut back or worse, closed centres.

AI? Nah, they can use it in basic transactions like making payment, or balance inquiry or simple changing of plans but solving issues? Complex ones? People or customers still prefer talking to somebody than talking to a robot or answering machine. I haven’t talked about NPS or Customer service metrics which thru the years, it’s becoming a joke..

So, if you are qualified to apply and want to take a shot of this industry, go ahead and apply, just make sure you have a lot resumes for a lot of times you might not pass.

I’m surprised this became long, but that’s all I can say about BPO industry. Even I’m still quite working in this industry till now, I don’t know if I consider it BPO or KPO whatever, I still encourage you, a college or HS graduate, career shifter, unemployed or even looking for a different path, take chance in this industry.

Remember in life, there are always bad or good choices, but sometimes the good outweighs the bad.. I believe it has good things in store for you.

I’ll tell that in the next page. Besides, it’s not all bad in this industry. =)

Thirty Four

I’m glad CRAP still able to catch up. hehe Yesterday was kinda I felt iffy feeling that I’m now 34. I only got some breath of air yesterday as last week was kinda chaotic plus the immense pressure for the next weeks to study for the JLPT. But I admit, I won’t pass. haha I’ll study to give myself a fighting chance to at least answer the test right? Continue reading