It was 2016 and I can still remember it clearly. I was very happy and excited because finally after all those nerve-wracking interviews, the call center company I applied to called to inform me that I got hired! At the same time, I started to worry. I quit school to give breathing space to my parent’s financial liabilities and I literally only have 50 pesos to my name.
During training, I remember that what stressed me out the most was not during the class. You see, I was never good at math but the company assigned me to a payroll account, where we assist the customers to organize their payroll. However, I was interested and I needed the job! Also, it was fun and I enjoyed learning! It was during the breaks in between classes that I would start getting anxious.
At first, I was getting by from just drinking water but this week’s pay is still too far and I still have to survive for 2 days! I was really on a very tight budget. The only thing I have is a big lunch box full of rice. My batch mates would often invite me to eat out in a carenderia because they were also saving money – little did they know that I have to make every centavo count and I can not afford to buy even the cheapest of dishes since I was saving my money for my fare.
As Pinoys, we always joke about how we bring our own rice and then just ask for a bowl of free soup in the carenderia, but for me, it was my reality. My literal sabaw moments! Long live and God bless the person who had the brilliant idea of making soup free in every carenderia! It became my routine. Every lunch break I would grit my teeth, swallow all feelings of shame and pride as I walk into the counter, ask for free soup, and hope to God that the server won’t ask me if that was all that I am getting.
Finally, payday came, and hearing the mechanical whirr of the ATM as it prepares to release my hard-earned money made me emotional. I could not believe that I am receiving my first pay! The first thing that I did was to go back to the karenderia and confidently ordered the same free soup but this time with meat on it! With extra rice pa! It was a huge thing for me!
The fact the I am an undergraduate with no prior work experience, the BPO industry provided me with the opportunity to not only survive but also help my family financially. Most people including my old self thought that we just “simply” answered calls but that wasn’t the case. People not in the business misinterpret what we do, they probably think that It’s an easy job. A call center company has a lot of resignations and incidents of AWOL than any other industry! If I could only show the constant battle of patience and anger management issues that we have on the floor they would look at the industry differently.
I am proud to say that the BPO industry is still a booming industry that caters to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of applicants every day. Unfortunately, a lot of brilliant people are quitting almost every day because they don’t want to work outside of their comfort zone. The people who succeed in this business surprisingly, are those who can not even communicate well in English but are willing to learn and be taught. They still excelled and made a very successful career in this industry.
As for me? I am still happily employed as a BPO agent and not to jinx it – I am currently saving money for the day she walks on the aisle. Don’t worry libre sabaw sa reception!