Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today was a very tiring day. I barely made it to the front door. I was dead tired. I could feel that my mouth was agape. I wanted to brush it off and think that it was just one of those days but something inside me tells me there’s more to this feeling than meets the eye.

Drained and only partly conscious, I took my shoes off and began to undress. Everyone detoxifies in their own unique way. I listen to music to take things off my mind. For today’s soundtrack, I flipped through my dusty record collection. Fiona's Tidal would keep me company today.

Days like this, I don’t know what to do with myself… all day and all night. I wander the halls along the walls and under my breath I say to myself… I need fuel to take flight.

One of the lead trainers called in sick today and I took over her class. I was in her class all day. I even sent out the reports and stuff. It gave me a taste of things to come. If I play my cards right, I have a pretty good shot at a promotion but after today, I started wondering if I even wanted my own class. I’ve been here for a year and most days, I find myself wondering if this is all there will ever be. What am I doing here? Am I making a difference? It’s silly- to be disillusioned after working really hard to get to where I am now. As the finish line approaches, why do I feel the need to run in the other direction?

My feet, if they could talk, would probably have nothing nice to say to me. My job requires me to be on my feet 80% of the time. I slowly massaged each one. I’m sorry, I told them. It was all I could say. It’s not like I have a choice.

Or do I? I’ve been thinking about the difference between what I’m doing and what I set out to do. People teach because we do not want the youth to be ignorant. We want them to be responsible people in the future. We don’t want them to venture into the world unprepared. Along with their lessons, we hope that teachers would instill a level of morality in their students. We don’t just want them to be learned, we want them to be righteous. That’s a mouthful and we all know the pay rarely suits the job description but a lot of my bestest friends do this for a living and they actually enjoy it.

What am I doing? I’m contributing to a consumerist culture. People buy things. People avail of services. Sometimes, things don’t work. Sometimes, the services need a little nudging. They need to call people to get things fixed. Labor is expensive. Let’s ship these phones to the third world country that has the best English speakers. They can’t all be good. Someone needs to train them. Let’s get a couple of those, too. While teaching and training may appear to be similar, there’s something about the selflessness in education that I seem to be craving for. Back when I was still teaching, I felt a sense of pride that took away even the smallest bit of exhaustion.

There’s something about the greed and all that corporate stuff that leaves me a little dissatisfied. Before you label me a hypocrite, I must say that it was money that brought me to this path. My friends who went into teaching full time are pretty well off and they can afford to live comfortably with the help of their parents. I couldn’t do that. I wanted to be independent, if not physically then at least financially. The thing that brought me here has me chained to my desk. Gotta work if I wanna buy clothes. Gotta work if I wanna hang out with friends. Gotta work if I wanna get this and that. This line of thinking has me living from paycheck to paycheck. Thousands of pesos have been spent trying to pacify the feeling of guilt that comes with abandoning my passion and calling. So why do I even bother?

I was pondering this thought as I got ready for bed. I was just about to kill the lights when my phone started beeping. A message! It was an ex-trainee from about two months ago. After the usual hi’s and hello’s, I asked him how he was adjusting to his new account. What he told me blew me away at first but after it sunk in, it totally changed my mind. Suddenly, I didn’t have any doubts that I was in the right place.

He got terminated for exceeding the total number of allowable absences. Good job, I thought to myself. I must suck at what I do if my trainees can’t even survive the first two weeks on the job. I told him that that was sad news and that (standard line) I hope he could use what he learned from me and my colleagues wherever he chooses to go to next. He told me he applied at another call center. It was one of the big ones and prior to training with us, he wasn’t really that confident he could make it through the first screening. After nine excruciating weeks with us, he was able to pick up the skills he needed for his future. Not only did he get accepted, he's officially hired and will be taking calls soon. Although his future may not be with us, at least he is now able to support himself and his family. He never thanked me but he might as well have. I may not be changing the world or shaping the youth but talking to this person made me see the value in what I do. Screw consumerism. We live in a consumerist world. If I could help just one person survive in it, everything- every bad day or bad week or bad month- would be completely worth it.

Yes, I love my job and not in the way that Emily from The Devil Wears Prada loves hers. It’s funny how a simple SMS exchange could bring me to that conclusion. Not only will I run through the finish line. I’m going to grab that silly piece of tape like there’s no tomorrow. I love what I do and I hope to still be at it in the years to come.

Fiona Apple
Sullen Girl


  1. i cant help it but be happy for you :)

    life is hard and we just really have to stand up to it for the hopes of getting a better future.Kudos to where your feet brings you-it's the passion that counts, not the money.

    I've always wondered about things like this too. Thank you for making my eyes see wider on why people wants to be a teacher despite the low income they get from schools.

    How I just wish I'd be there beside you right now and hug you tight as I pat you in the back for doing a great job :) You're doing great, sweetie. Keep it up

    much love, Herbs.

    p.s. I love Emily of DWP! she's the only girl crush i have.

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  3. i still think the whole greed/money thing is a question of self-valuation. i think you'll have a few more years of torture before the part of you that you don't really control decides whether it can spend the rest of your life doing this. =)

  4. @LOF perhaps it is. i dunno. we'll see in a few years if this is really for me. right now, i just really feel it is. we'll see.

    @herbs thanks! di ko naman nilalahat lahat ng mga guro. i'm sure some of them feel differently.

  5. nyl, don't think that trainers aren't giving or making or instilling any change in their trainees. personally, i really appreciate trainers, either in FST or PST. you do give something and make them better and more able for the job ahead. that's what teachers also do right qq they teach to prepare the students for the job they're dreaming of.
    screw greed. i don't even think it's greed, we just need to be independent. we just need this.
    anyway the "recession in my wallet" is on-going but, oh well anyway after 16 hours i'm gonna get my salary already. yey! it's pay day!

  6. agreed! as long as you enjoy it, do it. as long as you don't enjoy it, don't do it!

  7. you feet will reply: pause for a while, sit, and have a cup of deserve a do we...

  8. i remember the very 1st trainer who oriented me on the "BPO world". at first, i really thought i wasn't "BPO material" because i really had a difficult time expressing my thoughts in English.

    she told me, "you blog right? think of the BPO world similar to blogging. the only difference is, you're expressing your thoughts verbally." and she made sense.

    up until now (i quit the company over a year ago), what she told me really stuck on my mind and somehow gave me the confidence to use the language.

    teachers (or trainers), be it in a traditional classroom setting or not, make a huge impact to their students (or trainees) no matter what.

    keep up the good work!

    oh did i fail to mention that i was a teacher's pet back when i was in school? kidding. hehe ^_^

  9. @LOF the minute I start feeling like a total sell-out, I'll surely think it over.

    @Carlo "but, oh well anyway after 16 hours i'm gonna get my salary already. yey! it's pay day!"

    yay haha me too (sounds excited) ga

    talagang IP relay ang format qq ga to sk

    @the geek maybe i need a kit kat, too? hehe i'll relax from now on.

    @Jamir "oh did i fail to mention that i was a teacher's pet back when i was in school? kidding. hehe ^_^"


    anyway, what you said was nice. it feels nice to hear (or read) that kahit na di naman ako yung trainer mo noon. i recognized the link between trainer effort and trainee impact about a year too late.

  10. hahaha. you and your guilt! that's so 1870s. lol.

  11. I'm prepetually filled with Catholic guilt. I'm not even Catholic! haha

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  13. @Mr.Scheez toink! bat mo ni-delete? yes, may fulfilment talaga sa pagtuturo at sa pagttrain. yun yung big epiphany ko kagabi. minsan kasi may pagkaslow ako eh hehe

  14. OMG Nyl this is so beuatiful. Sometimes we don't appreciate the beauty of what we do, but don't forget there is beauty in what we do.

    We touch people's lives. A simple "long e" problem being remedied, God you don't know how thankful these people feel in their hearts. They may not all the time verbalize it, but I'm sure they are grateful inside.

    You're a very beautiful person.

  15. thanks juber!!! you're so sweet. sabi ko na nga ba makakarelate ka. haha

  16. Nyl Lim, In response to your post on consumerism and dissatisfaction with work/ life :

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

    "Growth Rate" - "Economy Rate" - "GDP"

    These are figures of "Ecocide".
    These are figures of "crimes against Nature".
    These are figures of "destruction of Ecosystems".
    These are figures of "Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality".

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

    Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

    Only after the last tree has been cut down,
    Only after the last river has been poisoned,
    Only after the last fish has been caught,
    Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.

    To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Delhi, India

  17. seriously, i felt very very situation on how you look at your job. hopefully, ill have the same soon... keep it up!

  18. @sushil hmm.. that's very interesting. while i do not always appreciate the consumerist culture, i don't think i would ever go against it. why would i despise the thing that keeps me alive?

    PS are you a real person? your comment kinda looked like spam. (no offense)

    @wandering commuter i hope you find your epiphany soon. :D

  19. SPAM, garden variety insanity, or, in the Indian subcontinent, another point of view. its safe to say its own of those three!

  20. i think it's more of the first one. f-ing spammers. they're everywhere.