Written by: Aiza Llave Calligraphy by: Kevin Apolonio “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer Dear you, I saw you once. At the backseat of the UV express, where you rested your head mindlessly on the window. The morning sun flare bathing your hair was majestic, I swore you could be a stock photo model that instant. Tagged under the category “young professional making her way in the world.” I saw you once. In a dark alleyway, around two a.m., with a forced wakefulness hanging around you. I saw many of you. Gathered in a hallway that smells of cigarettes which I like, stale jackets, secret rendezvous, and a thousand footsteps of people who have come and gone. In a joint surrounded by multiple storey buildings, most likely with someone just like you, wondering what your job actually means. In yet another job fair promising more lucrative careers. In a car showroom, finally getting your own car. Something to show for the years you have smartly toiled to learn and master the ropes. Something to actually drive away, not just the fear of clients taking their business elsewhere. I had admired you since then. Like most promising and endearing things, your industry started in the country in the early 90s. Stats might be the bane of your existence, but may I interest you that, hey, this year, it is projected to generate 1.3M new jobs, with a 17% annual growth. Imagine, more people like you! You are so not alone. Sometimes I imagine you in any particular shift, in a hunched position from the almost below zero room temperature, with only the thoughts of your loved ones keeping you warm, or the prospect of having frappe after your shift with friends. You know what the difference between a call and your life is? Sometimes you are willing to put the latter on hold. I wish I was there for you when you just wanted to press the mute button of the world which asks so much of you, to finally have the word and speak up for yourself. I wish I was there for you during the times that you have successfully delivered your promises, for in a world that things like that could be easily forgotten, you are a gem. One heck of a gem fulfilling physically and mentally taxing demands, one service ticket at a time, but a gem nonetheless : ) Polished by the life choices which led you to your current BPO job. No one has ever made me feel as being heard as you do when you listen to my ramblings about life. The lost art of listening you have fashioned for yourself taught me new ways of finding myself. I always hope people see you in a different light. It is true, your profession molds you. I wonder if you can still remember how you spent your first paycheck. I wonder if you still hold the anticipation of the next big thing coming your way. I really hope you still do, because having something to look forward to is a good boost to one’s disposition. And I for one, believe that despite the never-ending calls, service tickets, and metrics, what matters most is one’s happiness index. Or the time when your team celebrated getting the account even if it means more work and possibly additional working hours. But it’s okay, you guys still did that happy dance anyway. Because even though everyday you dread getting the sack, you believe that you can achieve great things if only you put your mind and effort into it. Because I see, the skills you are learning here are translated to other aspects of your life. There might be times when I’ve been ungrateful for the things I worked hard then and now have. So thank you for being a great example and for making me see things the other way. You taught me that people come and go. (Hey, you also pointed out that it is called attrition rate.) That the most difficult people are the ones who indeed need love. And most especially, by making me question if I am just truly being contented or just enjoying the shades of my comfort zone. I hope you also find joy and aliveness outside the work that you do for a living. Know that you are not defined by your 9-5 or 2-10 or 5-9 or any shift for that matter. If you spend the next ten years of your life in the industry, does it matter? If you don’t spend the next ten years of your life in the industry, does it matter? Stay strong, soldier.
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