I do not scare easily. Growing near Cebu IT Park, I have seen what it looked like before it was developed to what it is now. Back in the day, you can see that It used to be an airport, it was just a wide spread of land, covered with overgrown grasses. At night, without proper lighting, it would become so dark and eerie. But that was before – now, not only is it home to Cebu’s BPO Industry but also a haven for food and entertainment!
If you have worked in Cebu IT PARK especially in the 1st generation buildings, I know you’ve heard of Chelsea. Chelsea is rarely seen but is often felt to be a “special” visitor on the production floor. Those who were fortunate or unfortunate enough to be visited by Chelsea would know that she is around because you would hear the echoes made by two little feet running around on the production floor. And if you try to ignore the sound how can you ignore the cold little hands, teasing and brushing against your exposed ankles? Chelsea is a playful visitor. A naughty child inviting you to play hide and seek, teasing anyone to come and find her.
As a trainer, I have my fair share of paranormal experiences, Chelsea just being one of them. Team leaders and trainers would tell you that most of the time we give you a brave front in dealing with such experiences because if kami ang magpapanic first, eh di nagkagulo na sa production floor! As they say, don’t see, hear and speak of evil. We ignore them and let’s all hope that they would all go away.
Another paranormal experience I had was when I was still a trainee call center agent. Before attending the training, we were briefed that our batch had 15 trainees. We were asked to sign an attendance sheet with 15 names on it. While waiting for our training session to start everyone was excited and was doing small talks and introductions. When our trainer finally arrived, he first did a roll call based on the attendance sheet. It was weird because he asked if there were names he did not call. And we told him that everybody was called. He had this confused look on his face. He asked us to do a count-off, and true enough we ended up with 15 people, the same number on the attendance sheet. He told us that it can’t be because compared to the list he can see 2 extra people at the back! He was seeing a total of 17 heads! Almost instantly you can feel a deathly hush fall into the room. Everyone became still and quiet as if we were placed inside a vacuum. All you can hear was the sound of the AC and a few chairs squeaking. Suddenly, our trainer jokingly said that he was just messing with us and started with the introductions! Everybody pretended that we did not notice the fear on his face and nobody dared to look back to check that indeed, there were 2 hazy figures behind us whispering with each other.
After we graduated, everybody seemed to forget the collective paranormal experience we had during training. I guess our fear of the paranormal was replaced with an even bigger source of dread. The production floor. Nobody is safe! Be it, newbies or tenured agents! Nobody wants to receive a call from the much dreaded “Karens”! An irate racist Karen who you can not pacify and will almost immediately ask for the manager because she does not trust you to fix her problem and that you can not help her. For me and almost every other call center agent, a Karen will always be the scariest thing in the BPO industry.
Oh! One last scary thing that is currently happening in the BPO industry is how the new generation of agents is very different from before. Hindi ko nilalahat ha. This is just based on my 12 years of experience in the industry. You see, way back we really value the job and the company. We were so grateful that there is a company that offers people to earn a lot even without high educational attainment. Your pay and growth are always dependent on the work you do. Your age, sex, and beliefs do not matter. Your work ethic does. Meanwhile, our data shows that most new hires, on average only have about a year of work experience on their resume. If they feel wronged and or just unhappy, they would rather rant on social media and with their friends instead of bringing it up with the management. It is sad to see that a lot of new generation agents are always going on AWOL without properly resigning. One minute you have an agent, the next biglang nawala na lang! Diba talk about ghosting! Mahihiya si Chelsea.