5 Call Center Myths in the Philippines

It’s funny that every now and then, you’d hear things about call centers, and the people who work there, that are not true or are just exaggerated. I have heard so many of these things and some I would consider as myths. It’s sad that many of these myths have stuck on how we view the culture and lifestyle behind this vast industry.

As someone who has four solid years of experience working in a few of these offices, I’d like to bust the five myths that I usually hear about it.

Myth 1: Puyatan sa call center

On the myth that people who work in call centers don’t get enough sleep

There is a common misconception that people who work in call centers lack enough sleep. This is absolutely not true.

There’s 24 hours in a day, and like any other jobs, agents are only required to work 8 hours per shift. So they have 16 more hours left to do whatever you want, including sleep. As a matter of fact, most call centers even have sleeping quarters for workers who’d want to take naps.

Sure there are frequent mandatory over-time work, but those just run at an average of 2 hours and you’re most likely to be paid with premium and “night differential” for those extra hours. And those who work at night shifts don’t even have to worry about getting stressed with Manila’s traffic jams. Going to work and back home is a breeze for them. Surely it’s heaven compared to what nurses would go through with their 16 hour shifts.

Myth 2: Working as a call center agent is being a slave

On the myth that people are treated unfairly or slave-like

Those who work in call centers can earn more than those who work in other blue or white collar jobs. This is mainly the reason why many professionals from other industries would give it a chance to shift their careers towards this line of work. For them, they feel more “enslaved” working for their previous employers and not getting paid enough.

There might also be some people working from within who’d describe their experience as being a slave for big foreign companies. Unless the company that they work for isn’t following legal labor practices, these sentiments are usually isolated. People who hate their jobs are everywhere, not just in call centers

Myth 3: Puro bastos mga nagtatrabaho diyan

On the myth that people who work here are mostly promiscuous

According to a 2010 study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) called “Lifestyle and Reproductive Health Issues of Young Professionals in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu”, people who work in these contact centers faced a higher probability of exposure to HIV/AIDS than workers in any other sectors. The study also highlights that due to some stress factors that these workers may experience at work, some might engage in risky behaviors.

These kinds of studies and reports are important and they give us vital information on how this disease spreads. Unfortunately, there are people who do not see the importance of these studies and would rather use the information to add stigma on those who work in the BPO-call center industry.

It’s not true that all people who work in BPO’s are perverse. Many of them are just regular folks who just want to make a proper living. We must also put into consideration that it is a large industry that employs millions of people, so you’re bound to meet people from different walks of life and personalities.

Myth 4: Bagsakan ng mga walang pinagaralan

On the myth that only the uneducated fall in this kind of work

Many people who work at call centers actually have university/college degrees. You might meet a few people who have never stepped into college but nevertheless have passed tough intelligence assessments before getting hired for this job.

It can be an exciting sector to work in considering you’ll meet people who are talented, fun, and coming from different professional backgrounds. It’s a great place to grow your network.

Myth 5: Malaki sahod diyan

On the myth that call center agents have hefty salaries

Well it depends…

Agents enjoy salaries that are higher than the minimum wage, but I would argue that it’s only still enough for one person. Or not enough to enjoy a wider array of luxuries. Many call center agents still experience shortage in their budget especially a few days before their payday.

For those who are new to this job, or “entry levels”, you’ll most likely start with the most basic salary package. But every year, your performance is evaluated and will be the basis of your pay increase. Which means, you’ll have to wait many years before you could call your salary big.

Tenureship and experience are the main factors for a higher salary grade. Sometimes it’s connections.

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