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Not Really My Calling

Melinda Warty says call centres are great for summer jobs but when the vacations end, it’s best to go back to college.

Not sure what to do after graduation? Got really bored during the vacations? If you are not looking at other courses and also want that extra cash to go partying, shopping or holidaying, then a call centre is just the place for you.
The basic qualification needed is 10+2 in any stream and fluency in the English language. While most of the selection rounds are fairly easy to get through (Refer to ‘Cracking Call Centre Interviews’ published in JAM July 14, ’04), the last round – the personal interview is where most people fumble.

The best way to prepare for the PI is to just watch the Q&A round of all beauty and personality pageants. If you’re only looking out for a summer job, convince the HR person as to how life in college sucks; or cook up a financial crisis story. Convince them that you will be there to stay for a long, long time and that you want to learn and work to someday get into the HR department of the same organisation. (That’s what I did and it worked!) When asked if you would be willing to sign a bond during the PI, say yes coz most of them don’t have any!!!

Once you clear the PI, you are given an offer letter. Then starts voice and accent training where you get to watch movies and learn to talk in a weird way. You are also taught telephone etiquette and the qualities one should possess to be a customer response executive. This is the best part of your work experience coz you don’t have to do any real work during training. Most of the sessions are fun, which sometimes makes you wanna stay there forever. Next comes product training which includes buddy calling (if it’s with a hottie of the opposite sex then it’s known as body calling.) After that comes making mock calls. Please don’t try passing this stage for a long time or until you’ve been given a last and final coz the day you pass it is the day after which the pain of handling calls on your own starts!!!

When you start taking calls, all the fun stops and reality bites you hard on your ass. Your life isn’t yours anymore; it belongs to your Team Leaders, Quality Managers and everyone else except you. If you are put in an outbound project, you are expected to achieve sales targets. If you are put in an inbound product, you have to be prepared to hear painful woes of the company’s clients. Life sucks big time!

As for me, I’m just happy to be out of it and back in college again. I got so frustrated with my call centre job that I swore to study hard and get into something else. But I will always say that during my next summer vacations, I will start hunting for a job in a call centre again coz:
1) the money is good
2) you don’t have “Sir” or “Maam” anyone and
3) the friends that you make are really cool. Most of the time you survive only becoz of the sweet friends you come across.

But some things that suck at the call centre and big time are:
1) If you are even just a minute late after your break time; you receive a huge briefing on the importance of time and money.

2) If you say “of” instead of “from”, be ready to expect an hour’s lecture on the proper usage of grammar (and you thought only your English profs were Cruella Devilas.) that too by people who spell “grammar” as “grammer” and “convenience” as “convieyance”.

3) No experimentation is allowed; hence there is no job satisfaction at all even if you do your work extremely well.
Conclusion: It’s perfect for a summer job but it’s best to leave once college starts. (Trust me you will want to!)
Which leaves us to the last and final point: how do you leave a call centre? Keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Play your cards well, first take your salary and then scoot.

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