Paid to be a BUM

The human persona is a very interesting thing – one moment it could want one thing and the next, it could abhor that specific thing it badly wanted in the first place. In my case for example, one moment I was ranting about my dissatisfaction in my current job and now, I am raving about how satisfied I am with it. Or maybe last I heard I was pushing him away, then now I am terribily missing him. But that is another story.

So moving forth in this job issue, the past days saw me disgruntled, yet again, on the current state of my career life. I felt like my full potential was not exploited and I was all too ready to get out of the BPO industry, of which I know my potentials are not deeply appreciated. But some reality check later, I found out that I have no choice but to stay where I am now, for the moment that is, until some circumstances in life, uncontrollable by myself, changes. And since such is the case, I need to make the most of what I have or where I am now. And thus saw the advent of the e-books.

I know I could read e-books at work, but I never had any inclination that in another part of the network, initially inaccessible to me, there exists a whole collection of the latest and most wonderful e-books. But my entry is not suppose to start like this so let me change track.

If before I wanted to be promoted the soonest time possible, now I want to remain Tier 1 as long as probable. Again, see the conflicting thoughts or emotions that I earlier said was interesting? What made me feel as such? The e-books were just the eye-openers. There were several graver observations that led me to such feelings.

Based on what I’ve observed, the higher you go up the ladder, the more your responsibilities increase. Of course that is to be expected as this is the normal course of things in any corporate setting. But in the BPO, there is a twist to this normal course of things. The responsibilities and workload not only increases as one gets promoted – it EXPONENTIALLY increases. Let me illustrate.

A Tier 1 agent (that is me) only has to report for work and take calls for 8 hours (including breaks). After his shift, he goes home or to wherever he needs to go, and spends the rest of the day the way he wants (most of the time catching up on sleep). And if it’s not queuing (huge volumes of call), a Tier 1 agent is free to do whatever he wants during the shift – read e-books, fix her nails or eyebrows, gossip to other agents, etc. Now when the Tier 1 agent gets promoted to Tier 1.5, that is a Senior Agent, he still retains the same job description as the Tier 1 agent, that is take in calls. However, he will sometimes be “asked” by the bosses to do something especially if he wants to be promoted to a higher level. He will constantly be asked to do floor walks, that is examine if the other agents need any assistance with their calls, and take escalations whenever necessary. And then he might also be “asked” to render overtime (OT) in addition to his 8 hours shift. Quite light, you may say, but look at the next level.

When one gets promoted to Tier 2, or an SME (subject matter expert), the workload dramatically increases. Not only is one required to do floor walks and take escalations, one also acts as an assistant supervisor, making reports, following up on agents’ performances and customers’ surveys, etc. etc. etc. And if one hasn’t yet done all the work one has to do, two hours is the minimum OT time required to finish all the humoungous workload. And it is possible to be forced to report for work even when one is on day-off or vacation leave. Talk about a life!

And when one rises up a notch, Tier 2.5 or to a Supervisor (or Team Lead) or a QA (Quality Analyst), the workload increases further, the amount of time spent at work becomes more demanding and the responsibilities becomes graver (or more serious or encompassing). I cannot bear to illustrate them here. And what do we expect when the level increases further?

Of course these are all based on my observations and for all I know the actual job descriptions and responsibilities may vary. What about the salary compensation? I heard it was not that large an increase. There are also exceptions of course, like trainers, who are also Tier 2.5 but I believe have a lesser workload, especially when there are no new hires. Also, the person at level 4 or 4.5 seems to have lesser workload, too, though more responsibility (that post will now be the PM or Program Manager responsible for maintaining the performance of the entire account or in other words making sure the supervisors or people below him are doing their jobs – you get the picture). But for the immediate positions near to my Tier 1 level, the workload and responsibilities are staggering. No wonder they kept on telling me to enjoy Tier 1 life as it is the most relaxed stage in the BPO industry. And no wonder, a lot of agents wishes never to be promoted, even when they have been in the job for more than a year now. Somehow, to preserve their sanity, they just keep switching accounts.

Then of course this is what employment is all about. I’ve had a taste of entrepreneurship and now employment and I could say that I have been able to compare both sides of the coin. Nothing beats entrepreneurship. I still believe I would make a fine entrepreneur and if I want the kind of freedom I’m thinking of, this is the solution for me. But for the moment, I must make do with employment, and hope that when the uncontrollable circumstances in my life changes, in the not so distant future, I would be able to move on to much more exciting and rewarding waters.

For now though, I must content myself being a Tier 1 – there are still a lot of e-books to read and my supervisor has agreed to allow me to bring in paperbacks when the need arises. I know it won’t be long when I myself am promoted to a higher level and subsequently given larger workloads and responsibilities – my nature would crave for that, but for the meantime, I relish this freedom I’ve found. I am free to do as I please provided I still get the job done by the end of the day.

And this I can say makes me content – for the moment. How long this will last, I cannot tell. Maybe as long as I have interesting e-books to occupy my boring shifts and Mafia Wars to play on my breaks. 🙂

Post Script:

Watch out for my reviews of Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town and Frank Collymore’s short stories like Shadows and The Man Who Loved Attending Funerals. These two books were my latest read and I can’t wait to share how much I’ve loved them.

Author: elleica

Jesus Lover. Writer. Blogger. Biologist turned marketer. Child of Learning. Thrill Seeker. I long for my next adventure.

6 thoughts on “Paid to be a BUM”

  1. Meron din, yung mga BPO na backoffice, yung iba nga lang mababa ang job offer. Sister ko BPO din pero office work, yung nahanap ko voice writer. Di na calls pero gagamit pa rin ng boses. hehehe..


  2. dati ako compacent sa Tier 1, tapos na-promote ako sa higher level, tapos tinamad na ako. Nung lumipat ako walang tiering… hehehe. I hope your complacency lasts long. Mine didn’t, will be leaving for another BPO company without calls. Hurrah!


    1. hindi.. sgs ako.. nasa probinsya ang call center ko (bad move apparently) pero pwede na rin..

      kung may unrestricted access sa net ang mga call centers eh baka wala ng nagawang trabaho ang mga empleyado… hehe…


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