Most of my engineering compatriots, have fallen prey to the call center or BPO industry.The primary reason for this is good cash and ……..nothing else.There is absolutely nothing attractive about working at any of these places ,the offbeat hours,remote locations and monotonous work schedule.
In 2004, a group of us decided to see what all the fuss was about.Why was everyone so lured by this new occupation.We had some “time off” before our semester started,so we decided to apply.We’d never done interviews before and we were fresh to the job world,The rounds of questions and basic math ability were conquerable.We were given our offer letters,it payed Rs.14000 or roughly $400.That seemed like a pittance,but we were second year undergrad students ,at the time,so it seemed like good spending money.The process we were selected into was for a US based credit card company,we were told we were needed to speak to the card company’s customers who defaulted on monthly dues and “collect” from them.Hardly seemed challenging.I wanted more,so,the next day I applied to this Tech based call center. There was a theoretical questionnaire,we had 20 minutes to complete it. It was about 70 of us that began the test.It was known that the top few would be selected into the process of America’s leading desktop & hardware retailer,and the others would have to settle for the “internet browser” and “image editng software” processes respectively. The results were out, and me and two others made it to the best process. That felt good,the pay package would be more for sure,but I was only doing this for a month right?so the money didn’t matter,as I had to get back to college anyway.
Reminiscing about that day,so long back,I still wonder how people actually do it.I’d lasted there for a full 16 days,before I quit. It was the single most pathetic experience I had ever have to endure. Yes, the process was interesting because ever since I was a kid I loved opening up my computer cabinet and play around with what was inside , so helping someone else do the same,a million miles away was not so bad, but leaving the house at 11 at night to catch a train,when everyone was tucking into bed felt very strange,and it literally turned things upside down.
The scores of engineers that turn to this “way of life” just because it pays better than most engineering companies do,is a waste of their four years of sacrifice and hard work ,and the surprising part is many of them opt for customer care, over the technical openings. I’d say, keep our engineers where they can actually use, even ten percent of what they’ve learnt, instead of “getting on the dialer” and selling crockery to some folks in el paso.