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Age Is Just A Number !

If you think a call centre is full of young people – think again. A paradigm shift is slowly but surely taking place in the outsourcing sector. If you have been to any BPO, chances are that you might have spotted the odd middle aged guy hanging around. And these are not the managerial level employees. But what are these old fogeys doing in call centres, you may ask? They are the agents just like the 18-19 yr. olds.

So how do these old uncle and aunties cope up in this so-called young profession? Do they feel too stressed?

Yes we feel a bit awkward taking orders from people half our age but after all it’s just a job.” says Vishwas from Daksh, an ex-major in the army. Vishwas, says he enjoys his job, although the same can’t be said about majority of the older people.

Then there are the ‘umar pachpan ki dil bachpan ka‘ type oldies who try to mix in with the young crowd. Some are there to kill time, some are there because they have an urge to ‘keep working. “They are not a pain as long as they don’t start the hamaare zamaane mein thing“, says Hardik from Intelenet.

Yes, old people are increasingly being preferred in the BPO sector because of the expertise they bring with them. Also, there is a siginificantly less chance of a 40 year old switching jobs at the drop of a hat or leaving the job for trivial reason. And ‘senior citizens’ are more mature in their behaviour- a welcome change from the typical brash young call-center employee.

Aaliyah was right when she said “Age is just a number” ! But too many oldies and the BPO office may start feeling just like home…

Stay Away !!

At the newly opened Qualcomm, there seems to be problems galore.

To start with, the training lasts only 2 days and the agents are frustrated. Kunal says that “They promised me 14K but at the end of the month I got only 6K.” And that too after meeting the specified targets. Also the salary is not being credited on time – in a sector which is famous for crediting salaries on the last night of the month. Plus employees complain that the company doesn’t provide any home-transport facility. Many have been shuffled between 5 processes in some months. There is no canteen, no food and employees allege that they get food only if they complete their targets. Scary na?

Will It Last?

Many of the BPO employees are simultaneously pursuing their master’s degree or other studies by correspondence. Some of them are working there ‘just to earn money’ to save on higher education or even a stop-gap between the end of college and their first big job. But there are others who have given it a serious thought and have quit their studies, as they consider this to be a ‘big thing’ in their otherwise non-existent career. The BPO industry in India is in a very good shape. Nobody knows long the BPO thing will last – but people have already put their lives on the line.

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