paaralin si maria

Hey Kids! One of my blogger friends, Ms Cecila Cabiao, asked me if I can lend some help her and her friends in promoting their cause, which is to send Aeta 2nd graders to school. They provide school supplies and hold feeding programs too. I'm happy to help out in my little way, so here it is!



Dali! Paaralin natin si Maria!





“Thank you po, Kuya”…these words made deafening reverberations inside my ear, as if I just successfully performed a complicated heart surgery…


The gratitude came from 7 year old Maria, one of the many Aeta kids from Porac Pampanga we gave school supplies to last year. She was one of the first graders whose eyes pin-wheeled upon receiving her loot of fresh school supplies- pencils, papers, coloring pens, erasers, sharpeners, and other school paraphernalia through our gift giving project.
Last year, my friends and I came up with the idea of helping kids with their school supplies. We tried to raise Php 30, 000 for funding this project only to receive a windfall amounting to Php 35, 000 plus Chickenjoy meals! All this became possible, thanks to our organizers, volunteers, and good Samaritans!
Because of that, we excitedly rushed to Divisoria and shopped for their school supplies like there was no tomorrow! :D Not only supplies were provided, Chickenjoy meals were also served to the kids, courtesy of our supporters!
The time spent, donations received, and support rained on us was all remitted with priceless smiles and thank you po­from the kids!
Maria will be a second-grader this coming school year. Just like last year, she is pumped-up for class’ opening, expectant of fresh school supplies!
And so, my friends and I, the same group that launched donation drives and garage sales last year, are equally pumped up, too! We would like to carry-on with this massive undertaking, not just this year but until the kids graduate. We would like to make sure that the kids’ future can go as high and far as their dreams!
We invite you to join in this mission! Take a look on how you could participate!
Here’s the exciting sneak peek of the plan:
DETAILS OF GIFT GIVING (The Massive Undertaking):
Date: June 04, 2016
Venue: Villa Maria, Elementary School, Porac Pampanga
DETAILS OF THE FUNDING (A big part of The Massive Undertaking)
TARGET BUDGET: 40K
TARGET KIDS: 60
TARGET LOOT CONTENTS: School Bag, 10 Notebooks, 2 pads of grade 2 sheet, Coloring Book, Pencil Case (w/ Pencil, Eraser, Sharpener, Crayons, Paste/Glue), Lunch box, Water Bottle and Towel
Cookies, Bread, Candies, Chocolates, and Juice
Chickenjoy Meal
DEADLINE OF ENTRIES: May 21, 2016
DETAILS ON HOW YOU COULD JOIN IN THE MASSIVE UNDERTAKING!!!
Everyone is welcome to help us out through the following:
Donations
Please contact Rolyn Go at 0917 8354581 (Globe) and 0999 8848921 (Smart).
If you prefer to do an immediate bank account transfer instead, please deposit your donation to Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Account # 8849 0211 42, under the name of Divine M Camama. After you have made the deposit, please contact us using the mobile number 0917-8179238.
Let us all open our hearts to kids like Maria and help them get through another year of school. Even the smallest donations will go a long way for these kids.
Do not make Aeta kids’ dreams a far-flung hope! Join us and make Aeta second-graders ready for school! #GetMariaReadyForSchool, #HelpSendAetaKidsToSchool
Note: Excess funds will be used to support next years' campaign.

call center

Call center (agent) ka?" Yan ang madalas kong marinig na tanong sa akin tuwing may mapapag-usapan kung saan ako nagtatrabaho. Kapag sinabi kong sa Makati ako nagtatrabaho, Ahh, call center? Kapag sinabi kong night shift, Ahh call center? Kapag sinabi kong nasa US ang mga kliyente, Ahh, call center?

Kapag may nagtanong sa akin kung sa call center ako nagtatrabaho, sinasabi ko Oo. Ang totoo, sa isang BPO company rin ako nagtatrabaho. Night shift kami. Nasa US lahat ng clients, at madalas kausap namin sila sa phone. Pero hindi kami call center.

Sinasabi ko na lang na Oo, call center kasi madalas, tinatamad akong magpaliwanag kung ano talaga ang ginagawa namin sa office. Kung maexplain ko man nang napakahaba at napaka-detalyado, wala namang magbabago. At wala naman akong nakikitang masama.

Noong college, habang nagte-thesis, marami akong extra time, enough para magfull-time job. Kaya nag-apply ako sa isang call center sa Baguio. I could use the cash and the experience. It's one of the best decisions na ginawa ko noong college dahil napakarami kong natutunan sa company na yun, both sa skills at sa work attitude.

Sad to say, ilang buwan lang ang itinagal ko doon. Aaminin ko, hindi ko kinaya ang stress. I'm not usually a quitter, pero dumating ang time na hindi na kaya ng katawan at utak ko. Napapanaginipan ko na ang trabaho ko, at sabi ni Mudrax, madalas daw akong tulala at wala sa focus kapag kausap nya. Ni hindi ko masagot nung minsang tinanong nya ako kung anong petsa na. At that point, sabi nya mag-resign na ako.

Marami akong na-experience doon na tingin ko kay nae-experience rin ng karamihan sa mga call center agents ngayon, at iisa-isahin ko lahat ng stressful na kaganapang naranasan ko. (I am writing this post para sa mga taong walang ideya kung ano ang nagaganap sa isang call center, and especially sa mga taong walang ideya kung ano ang nagaganap sa isang call center pero malakas manghusga ng mga call center agents).

1) Transitioning from training to floor
Matapos ang madugong interview (5 interviews, inabot ng 12 hours), I was hired. Nagtraining kami for five weeks. Two weeks ang communication skills at three weeks ang mismong work process. I'm sure lahat ng dumaan sa call center training will agree with me on this: super masaya ang training phase. It's where you make friends at chillax mode pa. Madalas kaming kumain sa labas, maglakwatsa at mag-inuman.

Matapos ang training at transition, sabak agad. Bahala ka kung hindi ka pa nakapag-adjust.

After ng training namin, nalagas ang batch namin. Maraming hindi pumasa sa training, at ang mga naiwan, dinistribute sa magkakaibang team na magkakaiba ang shift. Ni hindi ako nakapag-goodbye dun sa mga naging kaibigan ko sa training kasi bigla na lang akong binigyan ng new schedule at wala na sila.

That was my first brush with the harsh realities sa call center: friendships come and go. Lesson #1: Learn how to detach.

Surely, I made new friends on the floor right? NOPE.

2) What are friends?
Pagdating ko sa bago kong team, ang nagwelcome lang sa akin ay ang team lead. I can tell na mabait syang tao with the way she talked to me. Pero kitang-kita ko sa maganda at maamo nyang mukha na sya ay puno ng stress. Pagod, puyat, dry skin (talagang naaalala ko yung dry skin???) Siya lang ang nag-welcome sa akin, kasi lahat half ng tao sa team ay BUSY. As in may kausap sa phone. The other half ay wala sa office, ibang shift sila.

On my first day, I already know the drill, salamat sa training at transition. Upo, suot headset, log in and wait for a call. Yung wait for a call, almost 1 second lang yan nagaganap, because the moment I hit the "Available" button, may call agad na pumasok, and that's it. I was officially a call center agent. After 8 hours, I was officially a stressed out, tired and challenged call center agent. Paos na ako by the end of my shift. I figured pagtapos ng shift ko, makikisabay ako sa mga new teammates ko pauwi, para naman may new friends na ako. Well, after ng shift ko, wala na sila. Ako na lang mag-isa.

Bukod sa wala na akong time and energy to make new friends, wala rin akong chance. Ang schedule ko ay nagpapalit every two weeks. Yung seatmate ko this week pwedeng hindi ko na makita next week. And like me, wala rin siyang time and energy. So yung mga team lunch, out of town trips and impromptu lasingan sessions na kinasanayan ko noong training ay nagtapos bigla.

A few weeks with the team, nalaman ko na ang isa kong kateam ay nakatira sa parehong building kung saan rin ako nakatira. In a normal world, automatically dapat magkakwentuhan na kami, sabay na kami pumasok at umuwi, may kasama na ako tumambay kapag 15 minute breaks, at may kaibigan na dapat ako. NOPE. Di kami magkasundo.

Wala akong kasabay kumain. Madalas, tig-dalawa ang pinagbebreak ng Team Lead. Hindi pwede magbreak lahat nang sabay-sabay. Yung nakakasabay ko ng break, hindi naman ako pinapansin. Di rin kami magkasundo. So kakain na lang ako mag-isa.

I found out from my team lead na sa team namin of 11, ako lang ang student. I was working dahil may free time ako from my thesis. I realized, my teammates were working because they had a family to feed. So Lesson # 2 is: Learn to love your job, otherwise, starve.

What was my biggest hindrance in loving my job?

#3 Schedule
Isa ako sa mga pinagpalang mabigyan ng napakagandang schedule na 1AM to 11 AM. Ang saya kasi nga naman, paglabas mo ng bahay ng 1AM, walang traffic. Yeah. Kasi wala ring masakyan.

Isa ito sa mga pinakamalaking problema ko sa 1AM na shift, ang commute. During normal hours walang problema sa jeep sa Baguio. There's always a jeepney na papunta sa kung saan ka man papunta, alamin mo lang kung saan ang terminal. But at 1AM, good luck. Wala akong choice kundi ang magtaxi.

At paglabas ko ng office ng 11AM, tirik man ang mata ko sa antok, mas tirik pa rin ang araw. I was lucky sa Baguio ako nagtrabaho, where the 11AM heat is a little bit bearable. Eh dito sa Manila?

Nung binago ang shift ko, akala ko mas OK. Nope. Binigyan ako ng "split shift". Papasok ako sa office, work for 4 hours, magbe-break ng 4 hours, at magwo-work uli ng 4 hours. Wala akong magawa sa 4 hour break, masyadong risky ang umuwi at matulog sa bahay kasi baka di ako umabot pabalik. Natutulog ako sa quiet room. Kasabay ang ibang agents na hindi ko kilala, ni sa pangalan o sa mukha. I found myself wishing for the 1AM shift.

By the way, bumagyo man o lumindol, uulan ng tubig, luha o dugo, may pasok pa rin. Never akong um-absent.

Bukod sa oras, problema ko rin ang araw. Never ako nagkaroon ng rest days na Saturday at Sunday. Madalas, Tuesdays at Wednesdays. Maswerte na ako niyan, kasi minsan may rest days na Sundays at Wednesdays. Even so, I still considered my self lucky. May ibang call centers na isang araw lang ang rest day. Imagine mo, isang araw ka lang makakapagpahinga, isang araw mo lang mae-enjoy ang kita mo, isang araw mo lang makakabonding ang pamilya mo. Isang araw ka lang makakapagrelax, at kailangan mo talagang magrelax, dahil pagbalik mo sa office...

#4 Multitasking
Ito siguro ang isa sa pinaka-nakakapressure na parte ng trabaho. Akala ng iba, ang pagiging call center agent ay paupo-upo lang, pa-English English lang, puro "May I put you on hold?" at "Thank you for patiently waiting". Base siguro yan sa experience nila kapag tumatawag sila.

But do they really have any idea kung ano ang nangyayari sa kabilang linya?

The moment mag-ring ang phone, dapat masagot yan ng agent within seconds. Pagsagot, kailangan malinaw ang opening spiel. May tamang balance ng Cheerful at Serious tone. Right after magtanong ang agent ng "How may I help you", magiging busy na ang mga daliri nyan sa pagtype ng sasabihin mo, with as much details as he possibly can.

So habang dinidikta ng caller ang lahat ng problema nya sa kanyang fluctuating Internet connection, phone bill dispute or whatever else concern, kailangan nado-document yan ng agent clearly and accurately, dahil later on, may babasa ng kanyang notes at ieevaluate sya.

Matapos madescribe ng caller ang problema, kailangan may sagot agad ang agent. At habang sumasagot sya para magbigay ng solution, suggestion o apology, busy pa rin ang daliri nya sa pagtype ng mga sinasagot nya sa client.

Sa bawat sagot ng client, take notes.

Sa bawat sagot ng agent, take notes.

May code sa bawat issue, kailangan mailagay sa notes.

May code sa bawat solution, kailangan mailagay sa notes.

Kailangan mabilis ka magtype, mabilis ka mag-isip, mabilis ka magrespond sa caller.

AND DO IT ALL IN ENGLISH!

Pagtapos ng call, pag-hang up ng client, may ilang segundo ang agent para ayusin ang kanyang notes. Within this alloted time, kailangan nakapag-notes sya, nakainom ng tubig, at nakapagprepare na, dahil kapag time's up na, may bago nang call sa linya. At wala syang choice kundi sagutin. And do it all over again.

Ang dinescribe kong scenario ay ideal. Paano kung galit ang client? So sa pagitan ng pag-iisip ng solusyon, pagsagot in English at pagtake notes in English, kailangan nya ring tanggapin lahat ng insulto na pwedeng ibato sa kanya ng caller.

At may golden rule sa bawat call: Hindi ka pwedeng mag-hang up. Hangga't hindi ka binitiwan ng caller, wala kang choice kundi tanggapin ang kanyang poot.

Eh meron ring tinatawag na Average Handling Time. Ito ang measure ng efficiency niya bilang agent, base sa kung gaano nya kabilis natapos ang call. The shorter, the better. Dahil average ang kinukuha, a whole day of short calls can be ruined by one long call dahil lang sa isang irate caller na gustong murahin ang buong angkan nyo. At dahil nasira na ang average mo, humanda ka sa evaluation.

Eh pano kung during a call, naiihi or najejebs ka? Sorry. For you to go to the restroom, kailangan mo maglog-off sa work mode at maglog in sa bio break. You can't do that habang nasa call.

Now tell me again na ang pagiging call center agent ay paupo-upo lang.

One night naka-prepare na akong pumasok nang kinausap ako ni Mudrax. Alam nyang hindi na ako masaya. Alam nyang mabigat na sa loob ko ang pumasok. She reassured me na hindi ko ito kailangang gawin. Magconcentrate na lang ako sa thesis. Which I did. I told myself, Who needs this kind of stress in their life?

Now that I look back to it, I DID need that stress in my life. Doon ako natuto how to hold yourself with grace under pressure, how to be professional sa gitna ng insulto at pangmamata, how to commit a job that takes everything away from you, and how to love NOT your job, but your means of living.

And most importantly, natutunan kong ma-appreciate ang mga call center agents, masaktan kapag kinukutya ang industriyang ito, at magalit kapag tinatawag silang "call center agents lang". Hindi "lang" ang pagiging call center agent. Hindi ko ikokompara ang stress ng call center agent sa stress ng isang nurse o sa stress ng isang construction worker. Pero bakit by default, nirerespeto ang mga nurses, ang mga construction workers, pero nilalait ang call center agents?

Yung mga taong for some reason eh ang baba ng tingin sa call center agents, yung mga nagsasabing mayayabang, ma-feeling, social climber, maarte, at pasikat ang mga call center agents, baka yung mga TAO na na-ecnounter nyo ang ganun. Nagkataon lang na sa call center sila nagtatrabaho. Maraming mayayabang, ma-feeling, social climber, maarte, at pasikat sa kahit anong industriya, hindi lang sa call center.

At yung mga nagsasabing "Ay call center agent, may AIDS yan", your statement says nothing about call center agents, but says a LOT about YOU.

The end. MWAHCHUPA!
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