Tuesday, November 30

BPO Bloopers

Once in a BPO, you get stamped in a variety of ways.

I’m not talking about prejudices people harbour or accusations non-BPO people hurl at you. I mean working in a BPO develops some traits in you that are peculiar to this industry.

For example(s)…

I now get ready to swipe my identity card whenever I happen to pass any door. It’s so spontaneous! As soon as I reach a doorway, whether I am at home or at a restaurant, my hand reaches for my I-card (which is obviously not hanging where it does when I’m at office). As we know, security and data privacy are top concerns in a BPO, so you are required to be frisked when you enter/exit and permitted admission to certain areas.

Another really funny thing - most call centre agents (also called customer service executives/representatives) pick up their personal telephones/mobile phones with the call opening they use at work! No, I’m not kidding you… as any agent will readily tell you… So, when a friend calls, the sleepy young man unpretentiously quips, “Thank you for calling XYZ. This is Amos. How can I help you today?” And the caller goes ha ha ha, making the person feel foolish and mortified. Yet resigned to the fact that that is how it is…

All part and parcel of being in a BPO.

Just like losing track time of time, and not following schedules.

I know people who work for BPOs and can sleep for entire days at a stretch. Sleep becomes the be all and end all of their life. They work their shift (which is usually not 9-5) and then their first and last priority remains to catch up on sleep. And considering that most of them stay alone, or with friends, and consume alcohol fairly often, sleeping indefinitely is no great challenge.

They have no clue whether it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday (for obvious reasons, nobody forgets the weekend, nor does anyone forget Monstrous Mondays – assuming that week offs are on weekends). They eat at any odd hour and are not particular about lunch time and dinner time. And more often than not, they are not punctual. Invite or plan something with a BPO employee, and they will definitely arrive an hour late. It’s the just the way they are…

(Yes, I said they. I’m a very organized person, in case you don’t remember/know, and I work by the clock, setting frequent alarms to remind me of various engagements and appointments.)

And well, if you’re late all the time, you can’t get all your to-do’s done for sure. Which means you keep putting off and postponing activities. And then you lose motivation and interest. Procrastination. One of the many things I hate the most. Extremely common among most people employed in the IT and ITeS sector.

This evil, unfortunately, I have acquired over the last few months.

I mean, c’mon ya. When you’re working 5 days (or more) a week and you’re frazzled, you just want to put your feet up and relax over the weekend. There are some chores that do manage to carry out, but others that are optional get pushed away week after week. So I arrange to have my bills paid in time in order to avoid the late fee, but I keep changing the reminder date on my schedule for other non-deadline tasks like shopping, checking out a particular place or catching up with a particular person. My weekends are spent doing nothing with good friends, or spending time with the family so that they don’t complain…

Another thing about being a part of this industry that I do not favour… Smoking and consumption of alcohol. The excuse is “we lead stressful lives, and our jobs give us much agony”. I fail to understand how other professionals are unruffled, it’s not like they have easy jobs. However, we shall abandon that debate for now, considering most people these days smoke and drink. A common word for them all – it’ll ruin you, stop it. If it’s for fun and you know you’re in control, well done. But if you are a compulsive addict, you’re in deep s*** baby.

Oops. I get a feeling I’m getting into the critical/patronizing mode. So, let’s call it quits.

Also, week-offs become more important than weekends (unless you’re in support functions and get fixed Saturdays-Sundays off). So, weekends cease to be forever exciting and motivating… The buzz-word is “weekly off”. And sometimes it’s split… But let’s not get into that snag.

Politics, hypocrisy and gossip – also a part and parcel of BPO life? Well maybe it’s omnipresent. No point condemning just this industry.

However, perception… That’s very important. Like I’ve shared before, you gotta manage your perception better than your performance. If people SEE what they want to see, then your performance can be fudged or fabricated. (That’s not the way I function, though I’ve noticed several people utilize this very effectively and successfully).

Now when I mean perception, I don’t mean only as regards work. It’s also about the things you say and the way you say it. So, what you mean as a joke could become an HR issue if the other person does not take it in the same jovial sense. You gotta watch what you do and you gotta treat people as colleagues, not friends. For most BPO-ittes, colleagues are colleagues and not friends. A lesson I seriously need to learn…

On that note, I say ba-bye… Have a good day!

Be back soon…



insouciant iks said...

really liked ur views. though m nt in bpo bt smoking seem to be gripping every one. plz read http://insouciantiks.blogspot.com/2010/09/quit-smoking.html.
and leave ur valuable comments

Kirti's Kitchen Katta said...

I was part of this industry for 5 long years. From an agent to a manager but i never skipped my commitments neither was i late wnytime....but all in all a good blog. Dont mind but ur other blogs are far more better and fair too...cheers n keep writing!

Anonymous said...

One or twice I also swipe my Id at home. It's just we get used to it. true, hypocrisy is there in every industry. I'm A part of the media and can relate to whatta u saying.Coming home at late night.Yeah, I oft furnish da excuse dat we lead stressful lives,that why we or I smoke. But u gotta point we are not the only ones leading stressful lives. I'm tryin to reduce smoking.
Cheers for this beautiful post.
(Btw, I also have the habit to do thgs at last minute..any pointers????)

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