Know This Before Calling for a Call Centre Job!


By Madiha  Javed from Wah Cantt

Pakistan’s call centre industry has established itself to be one of the most popular and successful sector of the country. The reason behind this success is that it has created vast employment opportunities for youngsters who have very little or no work experience and skills.

In a country like Pakistan, where unemployment rate is high, such job opportunities are bound to be welcomed by job seeking individuals.

Fresh graduates take this opportunity as sunshine towards a bright future. Call centre jobs are easily accessible and act as a good starter to generate income. If you have strong communication skills and feel you can talk to people over the phone with authority and confidence then that’s all what you need to get a job with a call centre.

Once you get the job things look quite exiting. Till the trainings are undergone it remains a fun, but once that’s over the real work begins. It does get boring and frustrating in a few weeks as you start the routine of answering one call after the other. Especially when most of the times customers are calling in to abuse you over different issues including balance deduction without his/her knowledge, network issues and so on.

When you are unemployed and get a chance to work at a BPO, your communication skills are enhanced and you learn tactics to handle calls efficiently, but still when the pros and cons are compared, its long term benefits are far less.

The repetitive nature of most call centres can be both good and bad simultaneously. If you’re feeling down and don’t want to go to work any day, the repetition can help you as you will not have to put in too much effort in your work. The negative side is that, at some point you will get bored of the monotonous nature of the BPO or call center industry.

I still remember the days when I worked at a call center and used to come home after work. I simply hated answering calls from anyone or even seeing someone’s name appear on my cell phone’s screen. I became rude, irritated, and began hating myself. There were severe impacts on my family life and I had to practically abandon my friends circle.

Job seekers take this opportunity as a first step towards the corporate world, but unfortunately only a few actually end up successfully shifting to a better job; most of them remain stuck in this job forever.

Long hours of work, permanent night shifts, incredibly high work targets and loss of identity are amongst some of the major factors adversely affecting the lives of employees affiliated with the call center industry in Pakistan.

The nature of work in call centers is such that an agent is made to work on a chair, continuously for nine hours, whereby he/she is forced to read a pre-scripted document at the start of a call for every customer. This tedious routine literary made me a psycho, insomniac, and rude individual with a disturbing my life as a whole. It’s one of the looniest jobs in the world as you are surrounded by your colleagues and friends constantly talking on the phone in 8 to 9 hour long shifts, with just 15 minute tea breaks and 30 minute lunch breaks in between.

This frustration, tension and depressive nature of a call centre job is driving our youth into adoption of unusual and abnormal behaviours and poses a serious threat to the society and is weakening our roots and culture.

In my opinion, the worst part about working at a call centre is the overly strict rules and regulations. Generally, if you are more than a few minutes late you receive a negative ‘point’. If you get a certain number of ‘points’ you will be fired instantly regardless of how good you are at your job.

In some cases things are even worse than words can describe. I myself worked at a call centre of a cellular company in Pakistan and I and was deprived of any employee benefits besides my salary. In addition to this, we were also dispossessed of basic employee rights, for instance, we were not given a single penny for working on public holidays. Taking a day off even for medical reasons is an uphill task there.

We worked in 9 hour long shifts and were given just a single day off after 6 days of work which is extremely tough; other call centers generally give at least two days off weekly.

It is indeed a challenging job that requires tackling different customers which include good, bad, abusive, moody and at times aggressive clients. You require a tactful approach to address the needs and issues of the customer.

A lot of sacrifice and commitment is required from an agent to work during night shifts and to alter his/her life to adapt to a new lifestyle; hence I salute all CSO’s (Customer Support Officers) for adjusting to such a tough lifestyle.

One year work experience with this industry is enough. A CSO gets far away from his social life and develops habits of rudeness and frustration in life. A CSO requires a lot of patience even when a customer is annoying and using abusive language. You end up taking out this frustration in your life outside your work place which impacts your relationship with your friends and family; please keep in mind that no job is worth more than these closely knit relationships.

Opting for a job in a call centre might not be the best job in the world, but it is better than being unemployed and sitting at home. However, I sincerely request youngsters not to consider it as a long term carrier.

  • Well presented Madiha! To me, Call centres should have some reserve staff and CSOs should be give a break after every 2 hours. It’ll not only improve the quality of service provided by call centres but also will lessen the turnover ratio in call centre industry. But Who Cares!!!

  • Nice Article….. While on call you are representing a company and any negative word will directly affect the repu of that company. You have to be positive all the times no matter how you feel. This job requires nerves. Hats off to you to handel this pessure and family life.

  • LOL !!
    Qissa aik aur dukhi CCR ka :P
    bhaii hum sab apke dukh dard me barabar ke sharik hen afsos hua sun ker :P

  • I didnt get the point it was just a scream or what…! i m not discouraging the writer here but hum kisi haal mei khush nahe hein… !! hr koi apni job ka rona ro rha hey.,.,
    as for me; join a software industry and you will know .,., people sometimes spend more than 24 straight hours in the office,.,!! (off course as a girl you may get a benefit) chalo mein bhe ro leta hun :p
    hr kisi k pass koi na koi dastaan pari hey.,., but koi ye nahe dekhta hey.,., we are far more better than those who just send their resume to many offices without any reply, at least we are making a helping hand to our families or home; ALLAH tera shukarr hey

  • So what else do you want? 5 hour lunch break and 4 hour tea break? Apart from the actual job, the routine is the same for all other jobs.

  • It is all about whether or not you enjoy or at least feel comfortable with what you are doing. If you are really not enjoying it, its not for you. Not everyone can follow rules or time restrictions of 9 to 5, but there are others who can. So I if you are not enjoying,try to sort out something else for you.

    Its just not the case with call centers, most of today’s job’s require 8 to 9 hours of continuous work with just tiny break or two for a meal. But again main thing is whether you are ok with it. Call center is tough so that you have to talk whole day, everyone can not do this but believe me people exist who talk whole day and much of their battery is left.

  • If you do not enjoy the job everything becomes a headache. For me the Call Center Job was not a dead end. I improved my communication skills, Discipline, time management and grooming. As I moved on I still feel stressed this is how practical life is. Better to start early then wait for the dream job. Do what you love and you will excel automatically. There are far worse industries out there then BPO

  • Every Job has its pros and cons.. you dont need to end ur your life bcz the job is tough.. The article needs moderation and consideration for personal bias.

  • I was also working in a call center of a pakistan cellular company but our condition was not like that…
    We have 8 hours shift with 1 hour break mean total 7 hours…
    Something is better then nothing if you dont find any job call center job is best for you..

  • Very true, i totally agree with this psycho analysis. But there are soo many jobless brothers n sisterz holding healthy degrees so call centers are a rescue. The Epic paychological effects are imparative with every jobber, u need to refresh ur brain and energy with breaks like traveling and visit to any place one or twice in a quarter, family oriented activities after job timings, hangout with friends and all above if u make a routine to offer prayers regularly on time and recite quran once in a day i am so sure u can avoid the adverse affects of psychology.
    I still agree with ur stance, wt i have shared is my own experience

  • Anybody who has worked in a call center can better understand the words of this article. It exactly reflects my more than 3 years experience in a cellular network call center and perfectly describes every moment of my experience over there. Very well written post!!!!

  • An excellent analysis of the role played by call centers and plight of those working in the profession. The author has attempted very well to paint true picture of persons working long hours in such monotonous environment. However, this is not restricted to Call Center jobs . At the end, there are very few profession where job is not routine and monotonous. This is outcome of division of labor and specialization. The following statement is a bit over generalization:

    “This frustration, tension and depressive nature of a call centre job is driving our youth into adoption of unusual and abnormal behaviours and poses a serious threat to the society and is weakening our roots and culture.”

  • Madiha brilliant
    analysis and experience: through good and bad experiences are part of professional
    life. Your claim for CSR job wrt stress is 50% justified. I have lots of examples
    which can also validate the stress of other jobs, like traffic police sergeant who
    is doing his job whole day during extreme hot / cold weather, so different jobs
    (even ist or last) teaches us different experience whatever its good or bad J

    groups are outsourcing their support functions like post sales customer support
    and as you said it’s a hectic and tough area so for global markets (Pakistani)
    are the best partners for out sourcing of this service with tough KPIs and decreased
    OPEX. Above is not for Pakistani Telo Operators but I am giving you the global
    picture and increasing rates of call centers.
    2ndly Yes
    Government should take some serious steps to regulate the same laws and
    facilities for all employees and government should ensure the compliance of
    international and National Labor law.

    Best of luck to all fresh graduates

  • madiha i absolutly agree with u i did job at call center for two months and thats was my worst tym of life. now im an HR officer in a company with low salary but with satisfied heart and happy face :)

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