Showing posts with label Call Center Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Call Center Life. Show all posts

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A year ago, I quit my post as a Quality Assurance Specialist in the Business Process Outsourcing industry.

The pay was good, but it was not worth all the stress and the toll it had on my health. I hung up the towel after a decade of working the night shift.

My job as a QA with various companies were all memorable, but the best ones were the unexpected responses from the agents either during a live call, or during coaching sessions.

During one ordinary shift, I came across a bad call and gave an agent Auto-Fail. I approached her station and took her in for immediate coaching. She cried and said she wanted to quit. I told her, "Hey, its just a bump in the road. Now you know what you shouldn't do. This job brings food to the table and sends you kids through school. Don't give up! I'll be here if you need help or when you need advice. Remember, every time you encounter difficulties, just F.I.G.O. - Forget It and Go On."

Touching base with my friends who still work in that company told me this girl is now a Team Leader. I guess I did something right.

Three years later, in another company, I got to do the task of being a Virtual QA (which means the agents I handle are off-shore), I came across a most unforgettable statement from one of the agents assigned to me. Markus was very upbeat in handling the customer's concerns and while the customer was waiting for her order to be completed, the customer asked him, "So how are you doing today?" I was expecting a canned response in the likes of. "I'm doing good. Thank you for asking." But no! Markus responded with something that hit home. He said, "Well, I'm breathing, I'm employed, and I get paid on Friday. Everything's good. All is good."


That was one wake up call for me. Why worry about the unimportant stuff when waking up is already a blessing in itself. Being able to breathe, walk, talk, interact, love and be surrounded with family and friends is a blessing! Doing what you love to do and get paid for it is a bonus! God is really good!

So now I go about living my life, my perfectly imperfect life. And when I get frustrated or depressed, All I have to do is remember Markus' words and carry on through the day. Fifteen words that touched my heart and made me be thankful of even the tiniest thing. 

Blessings sent! Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I am turning my back on the company I have worked for these past three years. I am giving up my health insurance; I have no back up plan, and very little savings. 

Don't get me wrong. I love my job. Its the management I cannot take. The stress level has taken a big toll on my health and before I suffer from a more serious stress-induced chronic illness, I'd rather stay home and be a housewife, a mother, a part time grandmother and go for my lifelong dream to be a successful blogger/writer.

In my ten year stay in the BPO industry, I have had great leaders and good leaders. However, I have had my share of the worst leaders in the industry. 

Here are seven responses you never ever dreamed to come out of the mouth of a so-called manager. 

1. "I can't tell you."
When I asked my manager why was I given a performance rating of only "Average" when I know I did my job well. She simply said, "I can't tell you." Keeping secrets and being lied to is so unethical and has no place in the corporate world. I am very certain that VISIBILITY is one of the company's core values. 

2. "Management does not need your opinion."
During a meeting, we were informed that we would be moved to a different shift schedule. The change would mean losing our transportation allowance. I said, "I think you should have asked us first how these changes would impact our paycheck before you made the final decision?" 
Her response: "Management does not need your opinion."

3. "You cannot have a copy of the email. It is company property."
I was placed on redeployment status (similar to being temporarily laid-off) because the account I was supporting did not renew its contract with the company. I asked my manager why I was not informed earlier so that I could have requested for transfer to a more stable account. I asked for a copy of the email which stated the reason for the account's pull out. I was the one directly impacted but I was kept in the dark. When I demanded to be copied in the email thread, her response was: "You cannot have a copy of the email. It is company property."

4. "Why can't you stop asking questions?"
I always ask questions. I guess it was part of my upbringing. I was taught never to be afraid to ask questions when things are not clear or beyond my understanding. My mom never grew tired answering my whys and hows. She said being inquisitive was a sign of intelligence. I would say I have an insatiable thirst for learning, so questions were always part of my daily life. 

In the corporate world, asking questions is frowned upon by management. They want employees who are blind followers. People who post questions are labeled as smart asses. I don't know how asking a question for clarification can be so offensive for others. Are they afraid to find out that their subordinates are better than them? Are they scared of losing their ground? During meetings, I try my best to keep mum and act dumb, because I was told, "Why can't you stop asking questions?"

5. "Can't you email the stakeholders yourself?"
I am all for empowerment. However, there are certain tasks that are supposed to be the responsibility of managers. 

To cite an example, there have been numerous times that I lost connection with the remote server. When this happens, I immediately create a ticket for the local I.T. people to determine if it is a site issue. I email my manager and U.S. counterparts informing them of the issue and I include the ticket number for their reference. In most cases, the issue was resolved on site. However, on two to three occasions, the issue was on-shore. Taking into consideration the proper chain of command, emailing an I.T. Supervisor in the U.S. must be done by a manager. Whenever I ask my manager to please email the appropriate contact, she would say,  "Can't you email the stakeholders yourself?"

6. "Why are you so negative?"
I am not a negative person. Anybody who really knows me will say I am a great friend, I am easy to get along with, and a hard worker. 

I am opinionated, I speak my mind, and I am not afraid to tell someone that they are doing things the wrong way. I provide suggestions on how to resolve an issue. I am a "people person," therefore, I always look out for the good of everyone.

If that is negativity, then, I rest my case. 

7. "You have to attend the team building or else it will be taken against your performance rating."
Team building activities are sponsored by the company. Usually, we can expect to dole out a few hundred pesos to add to the fund, usually for food, or to pay for transportation. 

What goes on in this so called "team building" activity? It is usually an overnight or two day weekend affair in a resort. After driving several hours to get to the venue, you are required to participate in parlor games and relays to win small prizes. After that, you eat lunch and then it is "free time." The women do videoke, and the men drink. You have dinner and then go back to videoke and drinking. The following morning, you drive back home.

Why don't I attend team building activities? Because I would rather stay home and spend time with my family than to be in a far away place doing nothing but singing and drinking. That is not my kind of fun. If I would want to drink, I'd do it here. At home. With.My.Family. 

If I will be sanctioned for deciding to spend the weekend with my family instead, then I think their priorities are different from mine.

I have asked God's blessing in this major decision I made in my life. I will hold on to my faith in God and hope that everything will be for the best. I will miss my friends, however, I know they are just a text message or phone call away. 

I'll be keeping my chin up and moving forward. No regrets. No worries. I am setting my priorities straight, and I am sticking to it, no matter what happens.

In His time. In God's Perfect Time. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

It is the first Monday of August.

I sit here thinking about going back to work tonight. Lately, I seem to have fallen out of love with the work I have been doing for the past decade. Blame it on the lack of sleep, on the dwindling salary I receive, on the changes that have put so much pressure at work. For the past few weeks, I have been seriously considering quitting.

My dad once told me, "Before you make a major decision in life, get a piece of paper. Fold the paper in half. On the left side, label the heading with the word 'Pros' and on the right side, label it with 'Cons.' Write down all the positive things about your proposed decision on the left side, and all the possible negative things on the right side. When you are done, read through it and weigh out each and every entry before you finally decide what you want to do."

It was good advice back then. It still is today. And so I put it to a test today. Here is what I have written down:

So, as you can see, there are more positive things that can happen if I quit my current employment and concentrate on work-at-home jobs. But I still have to think long and hard about this.

Regular Income Jobs vs. Contract Based Jobs:

Employees get paid a daily rate for completing 40 work hours per week, regardless if you do your job or not. If you don't, then you still get paid. If you excel in your work, then you get paid extra bonuses. In contract based/work at home jobs, you get paid a flat rate for the entire workload which you are required to complete in a few days or weeks. They usually pay very well, however, the drawback would be stability. You cannot depend on being awarded contacts every time. There will be lulls and it may be a long one.

HMO Plans vs. Government Health Insurance:

One of the perks of being a regular employee is you are provided with health insurance by an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) provider. The monthly dues are paid for by the company you work for. Some companies even provide HMO benefits for their employee plus three dependents. If I opt for being self-employed, I will have to pay out of pocket for my monthly fees and make do with the Government Health Insurance that can only be availed of if I will be confined in a hospital. I could buy up my own private health insurance, but that would be very expensive.

Social Security and Retirement Benefits

Regular employees have mandatory deductions in their paycheck which goes into their Social Security Fund. The company also contributes two to three times the amount the employee pays per month. So that's me and my employer saving for my retirement benefits. If I chose to be self employed, I will have to pay a lot per month to maintain my current rate for Social Security.

Family Time, Less Stress, Healthier Meals vs. Graveyard Shift and Fast Food

I have been wanting to stay home and be with my family more. It is so nice to be able to earn my keep while minding the needs of my family at the same time. I get to prepare healthier meals for myself and my family. I will get more rest, therefore less stress and less sick days. As an employee doing the graveyard shift for a decade and living on fast food has given me uncontrolled blood sugar levels, gastritis, and elevated blood cholesterol. I come home physically drained and irritable. This is not the mom I want my children to have.

Be my own Boss vs. Having a Boss

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do everything at your own pace without somebody breathing fire down your neck everyday? That would feel so much like heaven on earth. However, I would miss out on creating "code names" for people higher up the corporate ladder who do nothing but make others' lives miserable. Me and my friends have become so creative at this. We have "the Tele-tubbies," "the Whale Shark," "Shrek," "Princess Fiona," "King Albino," to name a few. LOL. That I would surely miss if I opt to stay at home to work.

So, have I decided to quit or to stay put? I still have two sons in college and losing a regular income might mean disaster. My hubby told me to wait until one of my children can take me in as their dependent for health insurance coverage. Little old pessimistic me was worried that I might be too old to qualify when that time comes. Haha.

And so, I will be patient and wait for the opportune time when I can go for my dreams and work at home. When that moment comes, I will then sit down and do what I love to do best - to write.

Pizza Party after the Monthly Team Update Meeting

Lighter moments with the team at the Videoke room at work

Breakfast at 4am with my fellow Quality Analysts

Early morning pig out at Pizza Hut
Wishing everyone a more productive and fun-filled week ahead!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Effective Communication and Change Management

Effective Communication is the key for success career in Change Management. Oftentimes, managers get so keen on being just that - a manager. A person holed up in a room, reading productivity reports, formulating processes and forgetting about the welfare of the people who put him/her in that room in the first place.

At a recent meeting at work, we were informed of a change that would take effect next quarter. It entails losing our monthly productivity incentive, quarterly incentive and attendance incentive. Anything in excess of 4 counts of tardiness and/or one unplanned absence in a quarter will automatically disqualify us from getting anything. It is an all or nothing, regardless of hitting 110% of productivity targets. I understand losing the attendance incentive if we exceed the allowable occurences, but to lose even your productivity incentive was just so demotivating.

There was only one thing that ran through my mind. So, if I am tardy for the 5th time, I won't do my work anymore. I will just slack off because I won't be getting anything anyway. I will not push myself to do more than is required, because my efforts won't be recognized anyway. So the poor supervisor was flooded with questions. Of course, she couldn't say much, because she does not know much. I said, "Why don't you involve us in your decision making? It is us who will be impacted with this change and yet you kept us in the dark, disregarding our thoughts, ideas and opinions." And then I heard a response I never thought would come from someone holding the title of "supervisor."

"Honestly, with the position she (referring to the Manager) is holding now, she does not need your opinion if she wants to make a change."

And to think that this person holds the position of "Manager."

In the corporate setting, changes are rolled out to improve processes and propel the business forward. However, the success of a proposed change will depend on the effectiveness of how it was communicated to the company down lines and its possible effect on its frontliners. Lack of communication can make or break a company. 

I have read a lot about the relationship between management styles, effective communication, employee satisfaction and the success of the business. Indeed, there are a lot of knowledge that can benefit even in the smallest enterprise. Here are some of the things I have learned:

1. When changes are proposed in an organization, effective communication should be in the form of conversation. Change managers and employees discussing a proposed change would foster a smoother implementation.

2. Be open to new ideas and suggestions in bringing about change. Leaders should listen to what their employees have to say, such as wanting you to hire commercial cleaning services to keep the office clean and pleasant, for example When employees are left out in the periphery, management can very well expect resentment, distrust and resistance to change.

3.  Poor communication can lead to employee apathy, poor performance and increased incidence of absenteeism. Leaders must get rid of the attitude, "Its that way because I said so." Be like a mother who is always ready to answer that "Why" question.

4. Acknowledge the fact that employees deserve to be involved in company decisions specially if it will significantly impact their attitude towards work, their lives, and their finances.

5. Employees feel empowered if they are able to have upward communication. This type of communication is when information flows upward in an organization and usually consists of feedback. If bosses or managers are able to listen to employees and respond, this leads to an increase in employee job satisfaction.In addition, employees are also happy if there is intense downward communication, which is information flowing down from superiors or managers to direct reports. (Source:

6. Power-tripping is the worst thing a leader or change manager can engage in. Unfortunately, some leaders use this as a way to get back at employees who "ask questions" and "show resistance." They then implement unreasonable goals making it more difficult for employees to feel happy with what they are doing. The end result is losing good employees to a competitor company.


7. Look for compromise. Instead of trying to win the argument, look for solutions that meet everybody's needs. This focus is much more effective than one person getting what he or she wants at the other's expense. Healthy and effective communication involves finding a resolution that all parties can be happy with. This is especially true in the workplace. (Source:

8. Employees value leaders who are human and who don't hide behind their authority. The best leaders are those who aren't afraid to be themselves. Managers who respect and connect with others on a human level inspire great loyalty. (Souce:

I will be back at work again tonight, hoping to get by the nine dreadful hours. I will pray before I start to work that I may keep my sanity and complete my daily tasks. I have crawled back in my shell once more, shutting out all negative and power freaks. Tonight, it will just be me, my monitor, my keyboard and my earphones. Just me, myself and I.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Working for CSAT, Getting Nothing but DISSAT

Tonight I start work in a new site - same company, different location. I should be excited. Its a new building, a bigger monitor, a new room, new equipment, and the site is only two kilometers away from home. But guess what? I am not excited at all.

I was thrilled to learn of the transfer months back. However, a lot of changes had to happen which created a impact on me that made me lose interest in this move. There were things that I had to give up, things that made me happy at work, things that helped me provide for my family's needs.

First, we were "ordered" to go on a graveyard shift. Fine. I have no issues with that. Its just a matter of tweaking my sleeping schedules and household routines. However, here's the thing - moving to a graveyard shift will cut down my transportation incentive to half. That means, I will be losing two thousand pesos a month. Management said that despite the cut, we would be earning a whole lot more for the night differential pay. Really???!!! The night differential pay is only 15% of the hourly rate and it is taxable income. I guess these people did not do well in grade school mathematics.

Second, we were not informed of their plan to change our work schedules. We were not even asked how such change would affect us. Let me give some clarification. I provide quality assurance support to businesses based in the United States, therefore, I do not have agents taking calls locally. My US counterparts do not have any issue with me working the 2pm-11pm Eastern Standard Time shift. So why the change? We asked management for the reason. The answer we got? "I will be working midshift, 4pm-1am Manila time. I want to see you guys." Lame lame lame. Another response we got - "I can't tell you."  There goes transparency and visibility. Sure, great job! Keep secrets from your front-liners! 

Third, we are not allowed to have anything on our desks other than the computer monitor, the mouse and the keyboard. I have never, as in NEVER, worked in such an environment that we are not allowed to "personalize" our work space. It is hell enough to work nights, but to work in an environment that controls everything is not just right. Show me a person who can stare at a computer monitor for 8 hours straight and I will recommend that person to be given an award for being a seaweed. It is those little bits and pieces of home away from home that takes away the stress. I guess there are just some people (I am not even sure if they are even worth being called that) who find gratification in power-tripping.

Fourth, I loved working in Eastwood City. It is maybe three and a half kilometers from home, still close and accessible. Eastwood City used to be General Textile Mills, Inc. It is where my parents used to work. My dad was the company physician, my mom worked in the Finance Department, and we were a canteen concessionaire in the textile mill. I practically grew up spending after school hours in that place. I could still remember where the company clinic was, where the motor pool and boiler room was located. Working in Eastwood made me feel like I was back in that time, that happy time where my parents were still young and healthy. The only original structure within the General Textiles compound that was not demolished was the church. It was originally called "Holy Family Church," and has now been renamed "St. John Paul II Parish." Spending a few minutes in that church everyday made me remember the masses we attended there as a family. With the transfer to the new site, I would be missing my daily quiet time inside a church. I will be missing watching the sunrise. I will be missing the occasional breakfast breaks with my eldest son who is now working in Eastwood.

Now, I would probably be getting reactions like - "just resign if you don't like to comply with the changes." This is not about an issue with compliance. This is an issue about honesty, about being sensitive to the feelings of others. It is about being a true leader. 

What do I plan to do now? I plan to blog like crazy, to grab every opportunity that comes my way. To "sell myself" to advertisers, to be more active in social media sharing - anything to earn back what I will be losing in my bi-monthly paycheck. I will pray harder. I will do it and I will succeed.

And for those who have impacted me and my workmates in such a negative, deceitful manner, I pray that they won't experience having to deal with a boss just like themselves. If they do, maybe that will be the time that we will be vindicated. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Changes And The Corporate Slave

Organizational change. Big words. Huge impact.

In business, it is so true that "the only thing constant is change." Changes are being made to improve the business process, to increase the company's financial gain and to be able to serve the customers better. Careful planning must be done to avoid a negative impact on the company's front-liners. These people are the ones working to keep the business afloat, therefore, implementing poorly thought of changes will cause employee unrest - and the business suffers.

What should be done to effect change and yet keep the employees happy? Here are some of the factors that should be taken into consideration:

Financial Impact:
What motivates your employees to go to work everyday? The number one reason is compensation. A rank and file employee knows that as long as they work 40 hours a week,  they will get paid. Should they exceed their targets, they know they will be receiving incentives for exemplary work. They know how much they expect to receive and they have carefully planned out the family budget until the next payday comes.

If the proposed change will affect their finances, think twice before you initiate your plan. If you ignore this, then you will be looking at dissatisfaction at work, increased number of absences, and worst, attrition. Organizational change with salary cuts is not good at all.

"If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings—and put compensation as a carrier behind it—you almost don't have to manage them."
— Jack Welch

The best way to reduce the negative impact of organizational change is to be honest. Talk to your employees. Inform them of the changes that management is planning to implement. Changes should NOT be kept secret until the day of implementation. Your front liners are the ones who have put money in your fat bank account. Why should they be left out in the planning? The key point here is to involve them in the decision making process.

"Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of their subordinates and who are receptive even to bad news will be properly informed. Communicate downward to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors."
— L. B. Belker

Mental Stress and Demotivation:
This is to be expected in any organizational change, especially if an employees' finances are affected and their life-work balance is disrupted. When this happens, the first thing that management will notice is a decrease in productivity. Employees may then start coming in late, taking longer than usual lunch breaks, or even skip work. The "devil may care" attitude hovers over the work place like an ugly dark cloud. Employee morale is a very fragile component of the work environment and this should always be taken into consideration. Managers should put themselves in the shoes of the front-liners. Work to create a win-win situation in every proposed organizational change. 

“If you slave away every day at a job you hate and come home drained and frustrated, what is that teaching your kids?” 
― Alexander Kjerulf, Happy Hour is 9 to 5

Situation in the Home:
Are your frontliners the breadwinners in the family? Do they have to attend to the care of a child, or an aging parent after work hours? Are their working hours beneficial for them to maintain efficiency at work, attend to family responsibilities and still get enough rest? Will the proposed organizational change significantly alter their life outside of work? It is true that there is no single formula that would work for everyone, however, constant communication and feedback from the employees will provide valuable information to arrive at a decision where everyone will be happy.

"A company that pays attention to the family unit is a successful company. We don't isolate the family. We don't make rides that say, 'Hey mom, dad, you go sit on the bench.'"
- Michael Eisner

I am but one of the millions of corporate slaves working in a call center. I have hungered to find contentment in my job. I thirst for acknowledgment of my sacrifice. I do not need certificates, gift checks or what-nots. I need to feel satisfied in what I do, get paid for my efforts, come home happy and stay healthy. I know it is only a dream and a that there is no perfect job that ever existed, and will never exist.

An upcoming change will be rolled out at work. The reasons are unbelievably shallow and has no business impact. I may be wrong, who knows? Everything is kept secret. "This is all I can tell you," is the trending sentence. As much as I voice out my opinions (or protest), I know I will never be heard. If I push my concerns, I would be at risk of losing my job. I could get a memo for insubordination. It is a death trap. Take it or leave it - that's the rule.

What do you think I would do? As always, I'd take everything with a grain of salt.

Why? Because that's just the way it is. I am a corporate slave.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Before I start ranting, I need you to understand that whatever I write here is my opinion.

I, together with around 4.5 million other Filipinos work in a call center. We provide much needed customer service, technical support, and back office processing to off-shore clients. This means work may start as early as 7:00 pm to as late as 4:00 am. Our biggest clients' businesses are based in the United States, Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom. So obviously, we are not customer-facing. We attend to our clients' customers through phone calls, chat, or email. When call center agents answer a call or respond to an email, the customer does not think about what the agent is wearing. What the customer wants is for their issue to be resolved. That being said, is a dress code really necessary to provide customer service?

Is anything wrong with jeans, a tee and sneakers?
Before I get a thousand raised eyebrows, let me explain what a corporate dress code is. This means men and women are supposed to come to work in a "smart business attire." For women, it means dresses, collared blouses, knee length skirts, slacks/dress pants, pumps/heeled shoes (open toe shoes are not allowed). For the men, it is dress shirts, slacks and leather shoes. Fine. Nothing wrong with this - if you have a day job and deal with customers face to face! Night shifters dolled up like this walking to a bus stop and waiting for a ride is like an open invitation for muggers. Of course, we can always take a cab, however, that could wreck havoc on our budget.

I understand that we have to exude professionalism, because some people tend to look down at call center workers. The phrase, "Kaya ganyan yan, kasi sa call center lang nagtatrabaho," is such a insult to us, especially if it came from people who have no knowledge of the life we have.

My opinion is that you cannot judge a person by their clothes. Efficiency is not acquired from applying lipstick. 
Integrity is not an ingredient found in mascara and eye shadow.
Professionalism does not come with wearing high heels.

I would want to share an interesting article I have read a few days ago. The title of the article is "The Science of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Everyday," written by John Haltiwanger for Elite Daily. I was overjoyed that there was one person who shared my sentiment. The author mentioned such well known people such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and Barack Obama. I loved how the author discussed the pros and cons of simplicity and what got me right on was this:

Yet, we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about pointless aspects of our day. In the process, one might find that they are significantly less stressed, more productive and more fulfilled.

Oh so true!

I do not find anything wrong with jeans, as long as they are not ripped or worn "pants on the ground" style. I don't get it when sneakers or rubber shoes are not allowed at work. I really find it hard to part with my Chuck Taylors or my comfy all weather Saucony running shoes. If I had my way, the only things I would consider "inappropriate" for work are the following:

1. Leggings (yoga pants)
2. Tank tops
3. Halter tops
4. Blouses/Shirts with low necklines
5. Micro-minis/skorts
6. Statement shirts with offensive/racist designs
7. Shorts or whatever kind
8. Ripped jeans
9. Flip-flops/rubber sandals/slippers
10. Thin, flimsy or see-through shirts

In the event that clients would be doing a site visit, only then should we be required to dress in smart business attire. Don't you think this would be a better solution?

Oh well, since I am nothing but a corporate slave, I have no other option but to follow the rules no matter how much I hate it. However, I would never, as in never wear high heeled shoes. I love my feet, why should I make them suffer? Besides, I am diabetic and I am very careful not to cause any injury to my lower extremities or else... goodbye legs!

Before I end, I would want to share a video of one of my favorite local rock bands. The one speaking is the lead singer, Jay Contreras. He has been misjudged as being a bad person because of his looks. In the video, he speaks about it to his audience. 

"Hindi po lahat ng taong mahabang buhok kulot at maraming tattoo ay masamang tao...
Marami diyan, ang ganda ng damit, ang gara ng buhok, ang yaman ng dating, pero ang sama ng ugali.
Pero merong iba, mukhang adik, mukhang sanggano, puro tattoo pero grabe magmahal.
Wag nyo pong husgahan ang mga tao sa paligid nyo.."

Translation: "Not all persons with tattoos and long unruly hair are evil. There are some who have nice clothes, smooth, shiny hair, looking so rich and classy, but are evil deep inside. Its true. While those people who look like hobos, with lots of tattoos are the ones that know how to truly love. Please do not judge the people around you." 

You are welcome to share your opinion. Do clothes really make a person?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

One More Pat on the Back

Last week, during our Monthly Team Update meeting at work, I was awarded a certificate for receiving the Highest KPI Direct Results for the third quarter of this year. Another feather in my cap? Uhhh... I hate to look at it that way. I just happened to do what I needed to do. My peers are equally as talented, however, I could have just bested them out by a few points.

I am not an under-achiever, I don't mean it that way. However, at this point in time, I think I have already proven my worth in the industry. There are a whole bunch of people a lot younger than me. These people have their whole future ahead of them and I would be happy to see them succeed. 

The Certificate
The Perks - A Starbucks Gift Card
Anyway, just sharing with you a piece of my life, just one day that made me feel good inside, one more recognition, one more pat on the back, another job well done.

The Quality Assurance Team  (can you find me? haha.)
Blessed Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Life Lessons I Learned from a Computer Keyboard

My work entails sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours every night. There are weekly goals, reports and ad hoc tasks that always seem to be labeled "ASAP." The keyboard has been my friend. It helps me put down my thoughts, complete my tasks and taught me these valuable lessons that I apply not only in my job, but in my life as well.

1. CTRL + ALT + DEL. The greatest keyboard function that has helped me survive the worse of the worst. CTRL, short for "CONTROL". When I stare problems in the eye, I look down at my keyboard and stare at the CTRL key. Control, control, control. Chill. Relax. Take a breather. Sort things out. Temper flares won't get me anywhere. I have to take the reins and look at the bigger picture. Why did I have this problem? Where did I go wrong? What are the things that I can control? What are the things that I cannot? Then I move on to ALT, short for "ALTERNATE." I look for ways to work through the task. I said "work through" not "work around." There is a big difference between the two, wherein the former means to face the task and the latter means to find a way to avoid the task. I think of solutions to make me finish the work quicker without compromising quality. The last key is DEL, short for "DELETE." This teaches me to eliminate the factors that steer me away from the goal. Delete redundant tasks, useless files, and time consuming activities. Whenever I feel confused, angry or depressed, I remember those three keys - CTRL+ALT+DEL.


2. F5. Refresh. After sorting out a problem, I find it essential to refresh my mind to open up new ideas. Just like pressing F5 on your keyboard. I stand up, walk away from my desk and look out the window. I let my mind wander for a while, looking at the stars or the bright lights of the buildings around me. 

3. F11. Go full screen. Using the keyboard key F11 allows me to view a webpage full screen. In the real world, an effective strategy to solve problems is to look at the situation from a wider perspective. I can see other details hidden from my initial view of the matter. With all things clearer, I can now work on a viable solution.

4. F1. Pressing F1 in most browsers will take you to their Help tab. As for me, it reminds me that I can always ask for help when I need it. 

5. ENTER. The "affirmative" key. In life, we do have to take risks and "enter" doors that lead to either opportunities or misfortune. Until I am doubly-doubly sure of what I have written my my book of life, only then will I press the "Enter" key.


6. ALT+F4. The keyboard combination of quitters and non-achievers. Pressing this combination will close the window or take me to the Shutdown Menu. I have been tempted to do an "ALT+F4" so many times in my life. However, the calling of CTRL+AL+DEL was stronger, and I am definitely a fan of F5.


However, the best key I love is shown in this picture below:

Have a blessed Sunday and a great week ahead! :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Walk the Talk: Leadership by Example

"I think that the best training a top manager can be engaged in is management by example. I want to make sure there is no discrepancy between what we say and what we do. If you preach accountability and then promote somebody with bad results, it doesn't work. I personally believe the best training is management by example. Don't believe what I say. Believe what I do." - Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan

Powerful words.

In the corporate world, we have to learn and accept that not all bosses are in there to help you up the ladder of success. Some are slave drivers, some are slackers, some just happen to be a boss because their parents own the company you work for. A handful are real leaders. They rally their team to success and bask in their accomplishments. That is what subordinates dream of - to work with a leader.

How would you know if you're working FOR a "Boss" or working WITH a "Leader?" Here are some quotes from famous people to help you distinguish one from the other.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the ONLY thing. 
-Albert Schweitzer

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads and the boss drives. 
- Theodore Roosevelt

There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust. - Klaus Balkenhol
Leaders don't boss. They persuade. 
- Wesley K. Clark

The glue that holds all relationships together, including the relationship of the leader and the led is TRUST. And trust is based on INTEGRITY.
- Brian Tracey

A boss says "Go!" A leader says "Let's Go!" 
- E.M. Kelly

In the past, a leader was the boss. Today's leaders must be partners with their people. They can no longer lead solely based on positional power.
- Ken Blanchard

A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.
- Russel H. Ewing

Education can't make us all leaders, but it can teach us which leader to follow.
-Bel Kaufman

There is only one boss - THE CUSTOMER. He can fire anybody from the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
- Sam Walton

To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who does not know where he is going.
- Joe Namath

Strategic communication is the core of effective leadership. Through a leader's use of verbal and written symbols, employees are motivated or deflated, informed or confused, productive or apathetic. The leader's ability to carve off the verbal fat and get to the meat of the issue, idea or plan will find success at every turn.
- Reed Markhan, PhD

The wicked leader is one who the people despise. A good leader is one who the people revere. A great leader is he who the people say, "We did it ourselves."
- Lao Tzu

Monday, May 5, 2014

I have been working in call centers for almost a decade. For ten years, I have been lacking sleep everyday, depended on a fast food diet, and learned to love coffee so much I could not live without it. 

Being relatively "new" in the employment sector, call center workers have been the subject of discrimination by other members of the workforce. Taking into consideration my tenure in this industry, I can confidently state the common misconceptions of working in a call center.

Call Center workers have lots of money. 
FALSE. Call center agents' basic salary ranges from 15K-20K/month. That's the gross rate. Take from that amount the mandatory government deductions - withholding tax, SSS, Philhealth, Pag-Ibig. A per minute rate of tardiness is also deducted from the gross salary. For those getting 20K/month, the average take home pay per month would be more or less 13K-15K. If the company pays twice a month, then that equates to 6K-7K per pay out. For a single mom with 4 children all in school, that amount would not suffice.

Call centers are the dumping grounds of college drop outs.
FALSE.  There are centers who are "equal opportunity" employers, meaning they do not discriminate against an applicant's educational attainment. High school graduates are even welcome to apply. However, not every Maria, Pedro or Juan can make it through the rigorous examinations. Although there is no particular skill set required, call centers choose those who have impeccable English communication skills, a bubbly personality, a team player, an effective multi-tasker and with a high degree of resistance to stress. 

Call center workers are substandard employees.
FALSE. We often hear the phrase "sa call center lang pala nagtatrabaho" (Oh, she just works in a call center) This annoys me so much, every time I hear someone say it. It is not easy to leave home in the wee hours of the morning, to be the target of robbers, of hoodlums and other ill-doers. It is not easy to stay awake the whole night and try to sleep at noon time. It is not pleasant to be screamed at, cursed, and receive derogatory remarks from someone halfway around the globe. We are put through so much stress everyday but we just take everything with a grain of salt and move on. We work from log in to log out, our breaks are scheduled and timed. And this is what others call substandard?

Call center workers drink like there is no tomorrow.
FALSE. Whoever thought of this should think twice (or more). Seeing a group of agents having after-shift FBs (few beers) is not drinking like there is no tomorrow. They could probably be celebrating someone's birthday, or meeting the team goal for the week, or just wanting to relax after a stressful week. If having a few beers with close friends is an eyesore, what can you say about the shirtless, unemployed big bellied bullies drowning themselves in gin on the sidewalks? Please do not be too quick to judge.

Its an easy job.
FALSE.  Working for a sales account demands that you need to close a certain number of sales PER DAY. Agents have to convince a customer to purchase over the phone. That is NOT easy - to sell something to someone in another country. If agents are not able to meet their sales target for the day, they may be at risk of losing their job. Customer service agents have to be extremely patient and resistant to stress. They have to provide resolution to the customer's issue during the call - and make sure that the customer will not call back with the same issue. Then they have to be within the acceptable range of the call handling time. Some centers require issue resolution in 3 minutes. Financial and credit card collection accounts are even more stressful. 

I work for the Quality Assurance team and it is NOT an easy job. Finding calls, evaluating, preparing reports, calibrations, coaching. The life of the account we support depends on us. It is our task to weed out the non performers and recommend the best improvement plan for them. 

Just like any other job, the key to success is to love what you do. Call centers are not places where people do nothing. We generate revenue to keep this country afloat, we put a lot of sacrifice for our families, to the point of putting our health and safety on the line. 

We deserve more than the senseless phrase - "Sa call center lang pala nagtatrabaho."

Me and my fellow Quality Coaches

Midnight coffee, Birthday pizzas,
Accentuated English, Dashing clothes,
Irate customers, Mood music in cabs,
So much money,but so little time.
Late night parties and sunrise beer.
Crush on Team Leads, The fight for appraisals,
Die hard friendships and tears for love.
Nothing missing, Just everything!
People call it Call centers.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sharing with you photos of a day in the life of a night shift worker - that's me!

My "day" begins in the late afternoon. 
Today I aimed my camera up to capture the airplane flying overhead.

As dusk creeps in, I start making dinner for my family.
Their "dinner" is my "breakfast"

I take a short walk to the corner store/bakery to buy a few things.
Freshly baked buns, half a dozen eggs, maybe a bottle of ketchup or a bag of potato chips. 

It is 9 pm. 
My last task for the day is to take the garbage out, then its bedtime for me.
3-4 hours is enough.

It is now 1:30 am. I leave for work.
No need to put on sunscreen. 
No need for shades.
This creature of the night just wishes for one thing...
To go back to bed and sleep.

This is how our street looks like in the wee hours of the morning. 
I have to do a 50 meter walk to the main road where I get a cab to take me to my workplace.
It only take 10-12 minutes to get there.
I have almost forgotten how it is like to get stuck in traffic.

And then I spend the next 9 hours of my life sitting on a desk, staring at a computer screen.
9 hours of listening to the agents' calls, and trying to stay awake.

It is 11 am. 
Another work day is done.
I do my grocery tasks and start the journey home.

This is the best part of the day.
The next two steps I need to make to get in the house.
I'm home!

"There is no other feeling comparable to the warmth of being with family."