Being a call center agent may be a well-paying job. Yet, it can also be a means to helping the less fortunate and seeking answers to the meaning of life. Leomar Maranan describes how to find balance in this kind of job.
PUBLISHED ONAug 2019
Having returned from Mexico after living away from the family for almost two decades, I came home to take care of my ailing father. I needed a job and speaking Spanish served to be my ticket to the call center world. It is worth noting that I have never worked in my own country before; that is to say, this is my first real paying job in the Philippines.
The call center is a booming business in the Philippines. It is less expensive for international companies and Filipinos are the best in delivering the quality of service required. We are known to be humble, hardworking, committed and reliable collaborators.
Sending my resume (CV) online and waiting for a call back was not really difficult. The very day I forwarded my resume online, I got immediate responses. As I have mentioned, being bilingual is my sure ticket to the call center world; coupled with an excellent attitude, I was hired right away.
The Working Schedule
The job comes with different names but generally it falls under Customer Service. People are hired to work and offer services, attend to calls or emails of the clients and offer the best attention possible. These are international companies. English fluency is a must and there is a Language Premium if you speak another language.
The pay is more decent than other professional jobs but there is a catch: your day becomes night and there are no holidays and work suspension. Your working schedule is based on the location of the clients and even though there is a super typhoon, you are still encouraged to report for work and be professional about it. No man-made calamity can stop a call center agent!
It has been 17 months since I started working in a huge enterprise. Our project is international and I received sufficient training to be competitive before I was ushered to the “production floor”. The company is known for its quality of service; the hiring process was diligently planned and they prepare the collaborators to be at their best possible state before starting the job.
Our work force is composed of fresh graduates and a good number of experienced professionals who left their previous daytime job to search for greener pastures. I was surprised to find out that I have overqualified companions, having either a Masters or at least two university degrees. They have embarked on this path because they get paid better and they can provide for the financial needs of their respective families. I am surprised to find out that most of them are breadwinners, supporting younger siblings with their studies and still affording to live a more exciting life than ordinary office workers. Unlike my siblings who are educators, I don’t need to check homework after my working hours and prepare the lesson plan.
I do not know much about other projects, but I find myself doing work that challenges me in a different level. It is more a journey towards my inner self and the search for a purpose-driven and meaningful life. I have become an expert in offering first class service.
I attend to the needs of the callers and give them my best service, but do I give them something else to think about beside resolving their immediate needs and complaints? Is there something transcendental in what I do? Should I be satisfied knowing that I live decently, provide for the needs of my family and resolve the concerns of the clients? Sleep during the day; take my vacation leave and fly to a neighboring country because I can afford to?
Working With A Heart
Fortunately, in our company there is corporate citizenship. It is not just business but also commitment to go beyond profits. They have projects to assist schools and poor communities. There are environmental concerns too. They engage the collaborators to live and maintain a healthier and balanced lifestyle through different activities. Every month there is community building.
I love that there is a good balance between work and leisure. I call it work with a heart. We learn to care for the least fortunate, the marginalized and neglected.
I am in this call center world. I am invited to be a witness in an environment filled with temptation, luxury and sacrifice. I have lived and worked with people who have to face challenges and are searching for the meaning of life. Once in a while I pause and get scared. Am I going to live the rest of my life like this? I have tried to keep a healthy balance but I have that longing to be more relevant and transcendental. It is not enough to earn a living, is it?
I believe that whoever we may be, there is a moment to pause and ask, what am I here for? Who am I and what makes our world a better place to live in? The self-examination is louder in moments of silence and that is why most people try to distract themselves with other things to not pay attention to that voice in the silence of their hearts.
To Be An Agent Of Change
I do not know how long I will be here but while I am here, there is a need to make my presence felt and make a difference. This world can either change me or I make a stand and evangelize it through my presence and witnessing. I can do that through honest hard work, doing what is right and proper and not succumb to temptations.
I must be a sign of the Above instead of being earthly. I am called to be an agent of change, be a living witness of the gospel message or search for a meaningful and relevant existence! Being an expert of customer service in a call center is an invitation to be a service provider. Call to serve…call to be a witness of God´s compassion, love and mercy…a call to each one of us!