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The Reality of Call Center Industry
Philippines Call Centers have been in-demand for most job seekers. And I thought that everything would be easy for this kind of job. Looking back, I have envisioned a call center to be some fully air-conditioned place with people on headphones, constantly typing on their computers, with mugs of coffee on their desk and dealing with different kinds of people. I have anticipated the night shift. I thought it would be exciting to be working at night and going home during the day, and not getting into the rush hours with everybody else.
But things have completely changed when I became a part of this BPO industry. It was my first job and so everything seemed to be really new and challenging to me. But I was determined to stay in this job so I get rid of all the expectations in my mind and instead accept the reality of this life. Yes, too many expectations when I started being an agent. However, I had expected the fun and growth, and these are what I got. Other than that, working in a call center is just like any other job. You have to work hard to keep your job. The fruits of your labor will be paid off at the end of the day and the rewards are even more fulfilling.
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A Balanced Lifestyle
We have lots of goals in life that we wanted to achieve so we work hard for it. Working hard really makes a person become tired physically, mentally and emotionally. Especially in a Philippines BPO Industry where lifestyle is very critical; sleeping disorders, too much caffeine, non-stop smoking habit and pressure at work. With these, sometimes we tend to forget the most important things in our life and in the end; we realized that it’s not worth it. This could be the worst thing that could happen to our work, health and relationships. So, a balanced lifestyle is very much needed.
Live a healthy way. Get sufficient exercise like taking time to walk when going to work. Make sure you get enough rest for it helps the body repair itself. Eat healthy food instead of eating too much. Drink plenty of water to replenish the body’s fluid. Cut down gradually on caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol is not that bad as long as you have a control of it. Set a daily goal and be positive in achieving it. Meditate for inner peace. Find some time to relax for it counters stress like a massage during day off or eating out with friends. And most of all spend time with family like a weekend getaway or a simple family gathering at home. As is rightly said by James Allen – “Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitable bring about right results.” So, love yourself, stay balanced and enjoy life.
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Balancing work and family is a very hard task especially for women. As part of the Philippine culture, a woman would stay at home and do household chores and take care of the family. But because of the unstable economy and the psychological need to develop self- respect, women are encouraged to take a more dynamic role outside the home and pursue full time careers. Many moms are trying to get into the call center in the Philippines because of its high compensation and its benefits. Dealing with pressure and demands at work, spending time with family and an endless list of household chores is an ultimate challenge of working in a Philippines BPO. No matter how risky it is, at the end of it all, it will always depend on a working mom on how she manages her time.
Here are some tips to help moms keep it together:
Set Priorities. Making a record of the activities can help identify priorities and insignificant things that could just consume time.
Delegate. If the kids are old enough, have them helped with the household chores. This will create a sense of responsibility within them.
Have fun. Spend a leisurely weekend with the kids, a date with a spouse and some personal interest. Remember, that time with family is always a must.
Take care of your body. Staying healthy is always a high priority. Proper sleep and diet are necessary.
Relax and be stress-free.
Don’t think that being a working mom is such a burden. It is a blessing and a wonderful gift.
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Back when I was still in college I dreamed far from what I was supposed to have dreamed. I am a holder of a degree in BS Accountancy but I ended up working in a call center. So after I graduated college, I went to Cebu and submitted my application letter to an offshore call center. I was lucky and got the position as a customer service representative.
At first, I was caught red-handed when I asked permission from my mom, she was worried because I will be far from them and no one will look after me when I’m sick and when I have problems. But there’s nothing to be worried about because I was able to adopt in my new environment in night shift schedule.
“My name is Rain. How can I help you?”. This is the pseudo name I used when I take phone calls and the lines I speak with customers over the phone. I have worked for 2 years in an inbound call center and over a year now in an outbound call center in Cebu City, Philippines and I can attest that my life has indeed changed in terms of lifestyle, personal outlook and financial capability. I’m able to save for my future and for my family as well. I’m able to send my brothers and sisters to school now. I can enjoy life buying new clothes and shoes. I can now do the things that I could not do before.
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My encounter with the smallest Primates
Bohol is an island of mystery and excitement. Aside from the white beaches and virgin forest we are gifted with the wonders of the world. Chocolate Hills, Baclayon church which is the third oldest church in the Philippines ,Balicasag black forest which is popular among the sea lovers and nature lovers as well of course who will forget the Tarsier.
When I was still in my Elementary days my teacher used to identify tarsier as the smallest monkey in the world I don’t even disagree who cares am not fond with this small creatures with big eyes . But then as time goes to an age they consider tarsier as a primate. Even at the age of 26 and as an outbound call center agent in an offshore call center ,I was amazed with the things that had happen in my life because without a thought the tarsier had become a part of my existence , my bread and butter. When I was invited by a friend of mine to replace her as a local tourist guide it was my first job then so I have to show my best foot forward. I am with a German national who visited Bohol and make it as her topic on her Environmental Research. We visited the historical spots and then we stop at Loboc not only to take our lunch but of course to encounter the smallest primates, the nocturnal living creature who peacefully lives in this small town. I have a bad impression on this animal since it looks ugly and dangerous.
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Working in a call centre is really an exciting job. Aside from the high salary, call centres really enjoy the environment of this work and this night shift job gives them lot of freedom. But people who work at call center are at risk for getting sick if they are not careful – possibly because of the chronic stress caused by their work patterns. So it is very important for call center agents to stay healthy to avoid these problems. Here are the simple ways.
You need to move to burn those calories, to keep your body “oiled” and reviving, and your metabolism humming just fine. A brisk walk is considered quite healthy so if you can manage a regular exercise regimen comprised of sustained activity for 30 minutes a day, you’re in good shape.
Your body heals and repairs itself and does its regulatory job while you’re sleeping. So give it the rest it deserves to keep you well the next day.
Consider vitamin supplementation.
Supplements — especially the important ones — are a necessity to help replenish your body’s stores.
Think twice about joining weight loss programs.
They could be a waste of time AND money. You don’t need to spend lots of money just to lose weight. There are lots of cheaper alternatives and simple exercise will always do. The better BPO centers will even help with this.
Eat more vegetables, cut down on red meat, caffeine, sugar and salt.
Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that can help to protect the body against some diseases including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some cancers and high blood pressure or hypertension.
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BPO – What is it All About?
You may have heard the term BPO and wondered what exactly it means. BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing and it occurs when one company hires another company to perform some function of their business. One business will contract the operations and responsibilities of a specific business functions processes to a third-party. For instance if you run a stained glass company and your staff is overwhelmed with phone orders you may consider finding a third party to answer the phone and take the sales orders for you. So you have just outsourced one business process, the taking of the phone order.
BPO has different names depending on what type of function is being outsourced. Back office BPO would include functions like accounting, record keeping, trade settlements. Front office BPO includes the services more related to the companies face to its customer. Contact center or call center services are an example of a front office BPO.
BPO was first used in manufacturing but has quickly spread to be a vastly popular and growing part of the U.S. Economy. Companies have found that when are able to outsource a business function it leaves them to focus on the parts of their business that they are most likely to be good at. Some business outsourcing has now moved to counties outside of the United States. This is known as offshore outsourcing. India and the Philippines are popular destinations for BPO since both of these offshore nations have huge populations of English speaking citizens and generally have a lower cost of living than that in the United States.
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The company that I applied is an offshore call center and currently looking for inbound call center agent. They are one of the big companies in the Philippine outsourcing industry. When I stepped inside the company I was totally trembling and my face started to become pale as I looked in the mirror while sitting in the waiting area. I looked at the applicants one by one and then I started to chat to some of the applicants which gave me confidence. I learned that most of them had call center
experience and some are newbies like me too.
When the receptionist called my name to be the next applicant to be interviewed, my body became numb and slowly my vision blurred and when I woke up I was sitting in the receptionist area where everybody was looking at me and some were smiling. I then learned from one of them that I fainted. It was the most embarrassing experience that I have in my whole life that even today I didn’t confess it to my family,friends and even to my best friend since child hood. From that day on I learned that I should be ready and focus in everything that I am going to do and be confident about myself. It was a lesson that made me strong and was my inspiration for my job hunting. Luckily, I’ve mastered the craft and am happily employed right now.
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It was a gloomy Sunday afternoon when I was all by myself trying to figure out the emptiness that I felt. I live alone in a dormitory here in Cebu, Philippines. Emptiness that has been in silence and emptiness that has been longing for fulfillment. Then I asked myself ,”what am I going to do with my life? I’m broke,I need money and I need a job”. I cried and when I faced the mirror I saw a newspaper. I immediately took the newspaper and went back to my bed. I read the newspaper and went to classified ads section. Then I wandered from page to page and the job vacancies were mostly call centers in the Philippines. So I asked myself why not try to apply since everybody has the guts for it.
Early morning of the next day I woke up and made my resume with the hesitation of pursuing what I have plan or just stay at home. Then suddenly I realized that this is the moment where I can show and tell to everybody that I can be a call center agent too.I felt that it was my lucky day and optimistic that things would turned out positively.I took a shower but deep within my mind I’m skeptical about my plan. I chose the best dress that I have in my locker, put on my make-up and hurriedly went to I.T Park and applied for an outbound call center that I’ve found in the newspaper.
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I was a fresh graduate and so many possibilities came to my mind. I was now in line, waiting for my interview and this had nothing to do with my profession. I was applying as a market researcher in an outbound call center. I have heard bad feedback from people about call centers because they said they discriminate against nurses, they said they won’t last in the industry. I wanted to change that. I was then hired and trained to be a market researcher and speak with people I haven’t dealt with mostly, Americans. We were taught about their culture, how to sound on the phone.
I loved what I was doing, we were doing surveys and I knew about their current events and I was actually involved, it was the peak of the elections in the US. After that I decided to quit and look for career advancement.
I was floating for a month, undecided and penniless. I was desperate for a job that time and suddenly without my knowledge, someone called me. An actual company was calling me, another call center. It was a starting company, they dealt with lead generation. I was hired and this time it was something different to me because we were trained to be sales agents. Until now, I’m still staying in the company that believed in me. People have to believe in themselves and if they want to see the change in their lives, it has to begin from within them.