Life in a BPO-Hiccups and Sneezes

Indefatigably written topic and might be boring to most of you but the thoughts which are being penned down here are purely on the basis of personal experiences. There are no intentions to hurt the sentiments of anyone, so kindly bear with us. When I joined one such BPO, I actually looked at the big picture, challenges of handling a huge workforce, reduction of attrition, new techniques and models of motivation and engagement, dealing with the youth of today, their ideas and creativity and so on.

We won’t talk much about the advantages of such institutions of mass employment opportunities, may be not more than a paragraph devoted to their goodwill, but mostly as the title says it will be a journey of hiccups and sneezes…though medically both of them are good for health. :)

But the hiccups these young generations are facing seems brutal in some way or the other.. lack of sleep, tired eyes, no specific routine as shift keeps changing which means, people can adapt to changes in their sleep patterns, but often shift work means that a person will change their routines too often to adjust properly and a 9 hour shift generally ending in 14 hours. Reporting half an hour before the shift is important for the pre-shift meeting, not to forget the time taken to commute to work everyday.

Spectrum of rudeness – from sexual harassment to fury at unsolicited sales calls, to open racism and insulting remarks from customers, less incentives and unlimited working hours, non AC cabs in summers, wrong food habits, noises, repeating the same script over and over for eight hours or more is so exhausting and monotonous that you will end up feeling like a robot when the day is done, hire and fire policies, no leaves (one was not even allowed to get sick), deadlines and targets

The heartfelt agony and obscurity and health hazards, the smoke filled air, and divorce prone call centers….and what not.

Some who stayed for longer time period are promoted and have a clearly defined career path but for how long? After a few years with no higher education to support, no formal certifications you become obsolete and someone better educated is hired from outside and you are asked to support him/her with your experience in the company.

A similar case study is given here, which sings the saga of an insecure HR Manager who was once the apple of the eye:

Parool, was the HR Manager, her dream from day one was to reach this place; she joined this call center as an associate (caller) and was just an undergraduate. With her degree her career also started shaping up and she became a Team Leader and then got a job rotation promotion to the HR department. The journey was long but the learning curve was going steady and in 6 years she became a wife, HR Manager and was on the way of becoming a mother but the storms of working in night shifts made her journey crimped and she started working as a consultant with the same company (with no idea to anyone as to what she was working on).

In the mean time HR department was taken over by a more educated, trained and experienced professional but nevertheless she was supporting the Head of HR (GM HR).  But lately problems started to slink in when Parool, could not see her beloved department being handled by someone else. The anguish of politics started for this new person and the entire team was divided between the two groups. The Management in the mean time got really impressed with the changes the new person brought and no matter how many smoking sessions were spent with the MD, Parool,did not seem to be winning the war by any means,so she went along with the stride and played her games …from stealing the ideas to narrating her sob story to team members to draw some words of  sympathy.

She left no stone unturned to make the life of the new person nothing less than hell and so the tussle went on till the management got involved and clearly specified Parool’s work areas.

But do you think the agony for the new person was ever going to stop? The insecurities of people, who have never seen any other company and processes, are like frogs in a well who know nothing about the ocean.

Then there are some, who believe that they are Gods of their own functions and no matter who you are they will not let you enjoy your stay.




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