Call Center
By Minerva Jones

Dedicated to everyone who has ever taken a call, dreaded it, tried their best – gotten screamed at for nothing – felt helpless – tried anyway – and took the next call, and never broke. Put up with managers who shouldn’t be allowed to manage the play area at a Burger King. They don’t know. But maybe now they will.

The Call

     I applied – easy enough via their online site, from an ad in craigslist. T. had told me no problem – easy work – sitting inside…inbound calls, customer service stuff – easy no problem!
    About three days later I was called in for an interview – unlike any of the other interviews I had had before, and trust me I have had a great many – this was by far the strangest. At first I was greeted by a very chipper young woman named Amber, who seemed to cover everything in the department called ‘vague’, next up was Anthony, though his questions were more pointed – they were still very circular in nature, yet oddly vague enough to make you second guess yourself.
    I was then told that I had made it through round one of the basic interview for an agent but they thought I had team lead potential – I was to come back in three days and interview again with a Bruce. And so…I did.
      Phase two of the interview involved some role playing – that of sitting across from my interviewer getting him to insert a disk into a DVD player the right way – determining if it was on, plugged in, the DVD turned up the right way or not.  I was recommended to be interviewed by the SOP – so come back tomorrow and interview again. Ok. Mind you this whole time I have no idea what kind of customer support or technical support I will be doing – at all. I have just been interviewed by a Cuban man who had me basically act out a phone conversation with the equivalent of my grandmother and get her to play a movie through her XBOX console – and for this I was recommended to be interviewed for Team Lead. OK – but of what?
    I go in for the interview with Alan, I have no idea what a SOP is, for all I know in my head it is another HR department person who just does interviews, and honestly that was what I was thinking the entire time – just some dude…another HR guy in what appears to be a never ending chain of surprisingly happy people. I went home and thought about it all.
    How do you find that, maintain that – almost hysterical sense of joy? I don’t know. I got an email, I got the job as agent, and training started the next week. I was cool with that.

The first week of training  – was fun, confounding – bizarre, different…confusing. We would have to take these ILN’s - online little training modules, ok…fine – I would be going through it – then come to the end and the questions for the part we had just gone through…literally, had NOTHING to do with it – nothing at all to do with the test questions. I would sit there and look around the room – confused as all fuck. Reading the questions over and over, and yes noticing every single spelling and diction error throughout.  I was skeptical, when the trainer balls out insisted she was Scottish royalty – kept on insisting. She had so little control over the training room and the class and other adults – not that we were rowdy – but that no one took her seriously as an educator. That she once threatened to call the OM and have him NOT pick up the celebratory pizza he was bringing us for having done well in training as if he were our Daddy….

Man, I shoulda fucking known then.

It only ever got worse – and between some of us it only got better. We became better friends, some of us hated each other more…other things flared up like storms at the edge of the desert.

In training we were bombarded with information that was conflicting, insufficient, badly worded and poorly delivered. You want to know how I figured most of it out? How we all did? A test account and google – then when I decided to move over to the chat team after training – it was worse – because that was payroll and taxes with a team lead who knew NOTHING and said NOTHING TO US – and would not get out of her seat to speak….but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Training, let’s just sum it up – bad. I mean…I had run a business before, I didn’t lose the business or file bankruptcy or anything, but you know training people to do the work the way you want it done is an investment – um like an important one, and almost some of it is like a trade secret at least in painting, the techniques are that cut down time and effort etc. For some reason they must of charged like they were sending us to Harvard but we actually were sent to community college on the Rez that the federal government forgot. Because everything was horribly mis-managed; the instructor was not a teacher – she had worked over at some call center before training there, but was really a rocket scientist. Swear to god. And so she tried to teach us about quickbooks – and taxes – while ramming the tax part down our throats in a three hour cram session and then a three hour test all while assuring us that we would never ever touch taxes or payroll – and all of this did not have anything to do with a real grade none of it did but it did because there were now ‘rankings’ - and those would determine shifts and we at some point would then bid for a shift …

See they were like that…and god love em, they would suddenly say something like yeah you know we want you to build this kitchen table thing with the customers, this real intimate feeling – so don’t worry about anything. And at some point maybe DAY TWO someone says something about being scored in this industry, cause Ive never heard about this – Ive never worked in a call center what the fuck is this scoring thing? OH yeah they say to us, don’t worry about that so much it’s a small part of your work here we are far more interested in customers being satisfied – and slowly and pathologically under your nose it goes from develop a charming relationship with the customer to, yes the percentage we need is 45% but that is so far below the industry standard that you would have to not even be answering the phone to 65% at the height of tax season when they have just laid off everyone for NO apparent reason - then you must maintain a 75% Tnpts in order to maintain employment here…and yeah I’m getting way ahead of myself.

They start you off slow, kinda like a dealer would I guess. Start hiring before the season explodes – we were not prepared at all. I got a ill feeling about it all – I took to the internet to fill in the gaps in my head about the product, and then about the company, and the BPO that I worked for and also the industry as a whole. So did everyone that was smart.

We would flock to the smoking deck, hilarity would ensue. We were all ages, from everywhere, having done lots of different things. Just like you. We were all ok in training we were safe still.


My Convergys Experience

“Hello, John Doe. Can you please tell me in detail the kind of issue you’re experiencing?”

“I understand the importance of having a working username and password. Let me do everything in my end to get this working for you.”

“Good afternoon, this is Jan from Comcast Live Chat Support. Can I speak with Mr. John Doe… Hi, John. I believe you now have a dial tone, am I correct?… That is so good to hear!”

These are just very few of the familiar lines my mouth is well practiced in speaking and my fingers automated in typing. Last March 29, those lines became nothing more than memories. I resigned from my job post as technical support agent for the Comcast account in Convergys. More than a year ago, I never pictured myself doing this kind of stuff.

As we all know, Filipino registered nurses are heavily unemployed, forcing us to take alternative job routes (only if employment-related immigration is momentarily impossible). The call center agencies are refuge camps for many professionals who can’t find jobs related to their degrees.

I was not planning to take that route. My ego was too big to venture into that kind of desperate path to employment. But funny how Destiny makes us swallow our own words… A week after a school-sponsored job fair, where all college candidates for graduation were required to participate, I was shaking hands with a Human Resource interviewer.

“Congratulations, you passed the screening. Welcome to Convergys. We’ll call you in a few days for your job offer.”

I passed the screening. She actually called it screening. I called it torture, considering I have undergone about TEN sets of tests, excluding the interviews, inside rooms with freezing temperatures. But then again Convergys is a big name in the BPO industry. I decided to give it a shot.

And give it shot, I did. I was assigned to handle CHSI and CDV (Don’t ask). For the first few months, we tackled and dealt with issues on no-dial-tone, intermittent internet connection, password resets, billing inquiries, and all manner of technical mumbo-jumbo. For six months I thought I was just having a “lifestyle shock” which is why, I reasoned, I didn’t seem to “like” the call center industry. For days, weeks, and months, I adjusted my expectations, chatted and sometimes called customers, and worked like a robot with a deteriorated circadian rhythm.

And then the Philippine Nurse Licensure Examination came. I reviewed while I worked for roughly two months. It was not a difficulty, really. It was an EXCRUCIATING HARDSHIP. “You deserve it,” I told myself. “You’re too arrogant to admit that you’re not a Superman.” Well, my sacrifice paid off since I passed. But it was reviewing for the nursing board exam that made a great impression on me.

Every time I entered the halls of the review center, I felt at home. The tension and the attention among the sea of BSN graduates, the witty and attention-grabbing discussions of the review instructors, and the copious notes we had to take were all nice. I felt at home. These nursing dudes, I told myself, were my kind of people.

And every time I got back to work, I felt alienated.There’s no sense of belongingness. I was not looking forward to anything apart from the end-of-shift and the pay day every 15 days. It wasn’t just a lifestyle shock. I really don’t belong in the call center.

But let’s face it. Dropping the job wasn’t that easy.

Apart from the good pay and the benefits, I gained many nice friends and acquaintances. I get to see that the stereotypes about call center agents weren’t true at all. Or at least they were not totally true. Our lives were toxic, extravagant sometimes, and demanding, yes, but we only have this tendency to squander money just to ease our tension. 

I have no major regrets in becoming a call center agent. I experienced what it was like to be mislabeled (implicitly) as a “delinquent nurse”, an RN who prefers to be paid big than to serve the sick and the needy. How narrowminded people are these days. Illicit generalizations are really annoying. If only I could slap my payslip at their judgmental faces.

Despite all of this, my teammates (Royal Dynasty peeps) smothered my disappointments and discontentment about my job. And for that I am grateful. To TL Dyna, Markjun, JB, JC, JH, Camille, Wella, Carla, Paolo, Maria, Khail, Marlon, Grace, Yuri, Sheryl, Daisy, and Herbert: I LOVE YOU ALL. Teehee.

“Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or queries. Thank you for choosing Comcast! Goodbye for now. Take care!”

user Jan Denn left chat room

After I resigned at Chowking last August 31, I got hired at Convergys on September 1. The gods are with me. Hehe. I already signed a contract but I think I will not continue at Convergys because SM cinema called me yesterday (September 2) and offered me a much better job and working condition. The SM job is near my place, no graveyard shifts (only mall hours), I will have two consecutive offs per week and the pay is much higher compared to my previous job. I’m just waiting for their call again to start my requirement processing. Hope I made the right choice. Amen.

Flair: The Convergys Alabang Yuletide Soiree

Convergys Alabang’s 2011 Christmas party was held at the Palms Country Club in Alabang. Here are some of the most fab shots taken. :D

My ever-so-fabulous team mates!

With one of Convergys’ Team Leaders, Eric Tamayo.

Sherwin with the ladies.

Maja Salvador and John Pratts shared their talents with us as they performed marvelously on stage.


Me, Agnes, and Jenny in our stunning dresses.

I have nothing to say to this. Haha. I love my aura here. :))

More on my Facebook page. I have to go, I still have shift tonight. Lol.

Kanina may job expo dun sa school namin, naki-sign up ako kunwari para lang sa libreng candies, tsaka para picturan yung tarpaulin ng Convergys! Syempre si Enchong Dee ang ambassador! x3

May libre nga rin atang “Krispy Kreme” doughnuts na isang box, kapag nakapasa ka sa interview! Hayy.. gusto ko na tuloy wag mag-aral, at mag-trabaho na lang sa Convergys!

Haha! x] ]


Turning Points

I have reorganized my portfolio and my six-page curriculum vitae. I love updating my CV because I get to flatter myself. LOL. I would’ve gone for a simple résumé but I find it unimaginative, crude, unappealing. Very not me.

Job-hunting is harder than it seems, no matter how impressive your CV is, though. I am now in the brink of resigning from Convergys, but I still can’t find a company that would potentially meet me with open arms. The phrase “unemployed nurse” is slowly starting to sink in.

The hell.

Government job posts for registered nurses were open but the Department of Health has halted receiving résumés due to the volume of applicants all over the Philippines. The RN HEALS program is more in demand than I thought it is. Private hospitals on the other hand are either uninviting (due to low wage rates) or biased (preferring to hire RNs graduated from their affiliated nursing schools). But I’m willing to take my chances. If I play my cards right, I will finish my Masters by 2013 and have a year of experience as a nurse.

In the mean time, I will have to continue my quest for gathering all necessary certificates and government-issued identifications, which is way harder than it sounds. 

On a lighter note, I got this letter from my great aunts: 

My beloved “lolas” has just caught wind of my passing the NLE. Nonetheless their letter of congratulations is the most precious to me. The electronic messages via text, call, or the Internet is heartwarming, but the old fashioned letters written in long hand and sent via post-mail has its allure too. :)

Actually, Truth be told. I never really imagined myself to be in a callcenter setting. But I ended up here anyways. I am an Accounting graduate but my first job was as a call center agent.July 11,2016

I still remember the time the HR told me that I got the job.

I applied in the company by accident, I walked in never knowing what would happen next. It was exactly 10am when I walked in, filled up some forms, after some series of exams and initial interviews. The HR then told me to wait for my contract signing and job offer. I actually waited for almost 4 hrs. It was one hell of an experience.

The next day was my first day.

There are times when I just want to give up and all I wanna do is cry. But then I take a step back and think that God might have put me here for a reason. Besides the benefits and the salary wasn’t that bad. And come to think about it I am not just employed in a BPO industry. I am employed in the top BPO industry.

I am a Convergys employee.

I know that everything happens for a reason and I might not know what that reason was. I just have to trust God because I know his plans for me is better than what I planned for myself. He will lead me to the right places.


Kailangan ko lang siyang kuhanan ng litrato. Bakit? May kakaiba kasing nangyari sa akin sa tapat ng gusali na ‘yan. Sa akin na lang siguro kung ano 'yun. Nakakatawa na nakakahiya.

Hindi na sana maulit 'yung ganung eksena. Convergys, bakit? LOL

[ 141/365 ]


  • got hired last November 9, 2010
  • original start date: December 10, 2010 (yes, had to wait for a month)
  • HR called me a day before the NHO that our start date will be moved
  • went to CVG for the change of the contract
  • start date: JANUARY 14, 2011 (yes, another freaking month!!!!)
  • HR texted me yesterday that we need to go to their office for the RJP
  • told us to be there at 7am; was already in Makati at 6FREAKINGam
  • Met my wavemates? (or whatever they’re called).. New friends, yay! :D
  • According to them, our account is really easy to handle, well I hope so :P
  • NHO on friday, for 8 hours.. 3-11pm.. Uh-oh..
  • Found out that a lot of MDC graduates actually works there, so double yay? :)

I think I’ll be having a very nice experience there! *fingers crossed*

from my Convergys Alabang Employee Engagement Champions formerly Employee Engagement Team. :) I have always loved these people and the boss i look up to and respect so much, Mama May Buencamino, the best events specialist/manager! :)

It’s almost the second week of my PST. I may have adjusted in some aspects but the shift!! When I get home, I couldn’t easily sleep unless I’m totally burned out, and that’s usually during the early evening. For the record, my shift’s 3am-12nn. As a result, coffee has become my new best friend. Anyway, on Monday, I’d officially be a working student. After a month or so, I’ve decided to enroll and study while I work. I brought up this issue to one of my wave mates, she told me I’m fortunate that my parents and granddad compel that I continue my studies because not everyone are given such opportunity and are financially supported. That struck me, so, thanks, AJ! There. As regards to my mixed up priorities then, I’ve invested so much effort to be part of the employment rate, well, it might have been my first job interview when I got in, luckily, but the training’s harder than I thought, not to mention the sweat, blood & urine (seriously) I had to give out on the three drug tests, medical check-up, and all the requirements I had to submit. Another reason why I grew to love Convergys, aside from being the top Business Process Outsourcing Company, is having part of a class with bunch of bright, competitive and good-humored wave mates!  A company, professors, and a class to brag, we have my fellow Thomasians, alumae of Med Tech and Food Tech, ECE board topnotcher, a graduate from Mapua, La Salle alumna, Psychologist, Clinical Instructor, Professors from different all the rage Universities, A.B. English graduate, CSA expert, government employee, educator and nurses. So far, we’ve already had two professors, though they don’t want to be addressed as one because inside the training room, name courtesy is disclaimed. Viju Girao was our trainer for 2 weeks during our Cross Cultural Training at Insular Bldg., Ayala. Now, it’s Aris Mape training us for PST at Vertex One, San Lazaro. They’re both influential, intellectual but humorous, they’re both U.P graduates, and are equally admired. Another thing that could add up to its legendary status, and would make it real unforgettable is that it’s my first job, and my first job together with my sister, also her first job, under the same Company. Much as I look forward to going to work, I’m also excited for my first day as a Senior Chemical Engineering student! :)

call center*sumusubok lang sir!!

mga ilang linggo na rin akong nag'aapply sa mga call center.. uma'abot ako ng exam, minsan hanggang final interview.. nakakaubos ng lakas at saya sa katawan at nakakabangag ang experience.. oo.. wala nga ata akong future sa ganoong tipo ng trabaho.. 

kahapon sumubok ako sa CONVERGYS.. whatta exp man!!! ang kulit!!! para sa initial interview ay papipiliin sa mga pictures at magkukwento ka about dun sa picture nakuha mo*random kasi dahil naka'face down yung mga pics.. dapat may reason kung bakit ganun yung pic, parang present, past, future.. basta

ang nabunot ko ay isang larawan na parang nasa isang training yung mga sundalo, pota!!! on the spot english at on the spot na story telling na nun ko lang na'exp!!

*sabi ko:

In this picture you see a group of soldiers undergoing a training for anti'riot.. blah blah.. so on and so forth.. may ilang segundo akong natigilan dahil di ko na alam ang sasabihin after kong mag'formulate ng kwento.. pero mabait si sir na HR dun sa convergys dahil nag'tanong siya agad..

*sabi ni kuyang HR: translated in tagalog kasi di ko na ma'alala yung exact english words eh..

sa tingin mo magagawa ba ng mga sundalong yan ang kanilang trabaho? masu'suppress ba nila yung mga taong nag'rarally o yung mga gumagawa ng komosyon?

*sabi ko naman:

Yes, because they are very well trained.. 

after nung initial interview.. pinag'antay nila kami sa may lobby for the results.. and i passed.. tokwang giniling!!! exams naman!!!