The Good Old Days

*** submitted this write-up to a community paper but it didn’t see print so it will now fill a space in my blog ***

The Good Old Days
Neliza Marie E. Dakoykoy

Ever had one of those days when you tell yourself the good old days are always better than today? You reminisce about the days when prices of commodities were cheaper, jeepney fares were not as high, and coffee was just plain coffee – not some fancy status symbol? Sometimes I have those days when I think of how the old songs made more sense and was not just composed of random ramblings or squeals; or those days when kids really were kids and still played in the streets and bathed in the rain. But this day is not one of those.

Because today, I do not reminisce of how it was better during the good old days rather how difficult it was for us who lived those times.

If I were a historian, I would refer to the good old days as the Pre Call Center and today obviously I’d call the Call Center Era.

I was one of those fortunate who lived thru the Pre Call Center Era and I witnessed the “shift.” When I graduated in college, I took the Civil Service Exam because my mother told me I needed it to get a good job in a government agency. (I passed but never got a government job.) I printed off gazillions of my resumes, checked the classifieds ads for job postings and walked around under the sun to submit my application to companies. I got my first job as a PR Person for an Optical Company and was paid a thousand every 2 weeks, sometimes given in installments. (Yes, back then, I was happy to get a hundred pesos for a day’s job; I was a fresh grad, I had to grab what was there.) After 2 months in that company, I got accepted in one of the leading Department Stores as Leasing Officer and I stayed there for five months before I got a job as a writer for an Advertising Agency. This time, I was bringing home at least two thousand every payday and yes, it was meager but ok then.

Then one of the first few offshore businesses sprung up in Cebu and I worked for an American Awards Company; first as Telephone Operator then as Customer Service Team Lead. That was when I first got a bigger pay and then all then all the shift happened.

People were drinking coffee that was more expensive than 2 value meals combined; they were having smoke breaks; cellphones and mp3s became a must-have and one need not graduate to get a high-paying job. Somehow it was now easy to bring in the bucks without slaving over assignments and projects in school.

Things have become totally different…

I am not saying it’s a bad thing of course, in fact I am saying that the Call Center Era is a good thing and that those who’ve been fortunate not to experience the Pre-Call Center Era should be thankful. Their lives are much more convenient nowadays, thanks to the Call Center Industry. These things might seem little yet there is much to appreciate about them, their lives are a lot better now and here are only some of their conveniences:

Resumes can be submitted via email or thru websites – beats all the walking
Initial interviews are done over the phone – no travel, no formal clothes, no expense!
Walk-in applications – you can enter a building jobless and come out with a sign-up bonus and a free movie pass
You can work while studying – and you’re not limited to just fast food chains
You can be an undergrad or a fresh grad and you still have an edge over those who’ve graduated – which was never heard of before
You could be earning more than your seniors – so true
No age limit – way to go grannies!
Your first job and you’re earning not less than 12K a month – imagine mine with only 100 per day?
You can wear slippers to work and not get in trouble – Havaianas anyone?
You can easily afford a cup of coffee worth 150 pesos and all other perks – sky is the limit for you plus you have a credit card too!
Best of all, you get the prestige that comes with saying “I work in a Call Center.!”

I would say to you though, enjoy it while it is still here and take advantage of it. And then later on, if and when the Post-Call Center Era does arrive, you can say “those were the good old days and I enjoyed it!”

August 3, 2010, Tuesday
@ 6:40PM

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