Lately, we have seen a lot of people doing the ice bucket challenge. There have been videos of people, celebrities or not, dumping themselves with cold water and “nominating” other people to do the same challenge within twenty-four hours. But what is this challenge really? For what cause? For what purpose?
The Ice Bucket Challenge
Ice Bucket Challenge refers to a dare game in which the participant must pour a bucket of ice water over his or her head and nominate any three individuals to perform the same challenge within the next twenty-four hours. If a nominee fails to complete the challenge within time, he or she is expected to donate money to a charitable organization, most notably for research and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The origin of the challenge is quite unknown and has been attributed to different people and even organization.
The Shift to ALS
Despite being a rather old “game,” the ice bucket challenge gained mainstream fame recently as it has been used in a campaign to raise awareness on ALS. I have been made aware about the condition back in 2006 when I read about the life story of Jason Stuart in Awake! However, most people are not aware of this condition, thus, the campaign to raise awareness using the ice bucket challenge. I will not discuss the ALS here, but should you want to know about it, you can read about it here.
The shift to ALS of the ice bucket challenge is to let people experience how having ALS is like. According to some people, pouring cold water on your body allows you to momentarily experience what ALS victims experience—numbing of muscles and chills—however, this is not confirmed as ALS victims suffer more than just that. What is clear, though, is the fact that this challenge was designed to let people know of the disease and call an action to help those who suffer it by urging people to donate to any ALS foundation/organization. Quite a heartwarming intention. But the challenge has become something else.
What Is Has Become
The number of people doing this challenge is overwhelming. However, I cannot help myself from feeling indignant to some people who did the challenge. I might seem hypocritical and exaggerating here, but really, how many of those people who did the challenge actually know what this is about? Most of them, most likely, did the challenge because it the current social media trend. How many of them even know what ALS is? How many of these people actually did the challenge because of the original cause/campaign? And how many of these people actually did the challenge because they just wanted to join the bandwagon?
I have seen several videos online of people—celebrities and not—dumping cold water over their heads. It’s actually disheartening that majority of these people did not even take time to mention anything about ALS nor urging other people to donate to any ALS organization/foundation. Most people—local ones who did the challenge—simply poured cold water on themselves and nominated their friends (this is also true to some celebrities). They seem to have forgotten that this current “trend” is to, at least, raise awareness about ALS and, most especially, call an action to help those who suffer the condition.
Sadly, at least for me, this campaign has been hijacked by selfish individuals who wanted to market themselves in some ways. Let’s be real here. How many of you who did the challenge actually thought “Hey, let’s do this to let people know of ALS and urge people to donate,” rather than “Hey, this is going to be cool on my social media and gain likes”? And how many of those of you who did the challenge actually became aware of ALS before doing it? Do you even know what ALS is? Do you even know why this campaign was launched? How many of you there has the intention to donate and/or help ALS victims? I have even come across some videos who mentions “ASL ice bucket challenge”—simple slip of the tongue? I think not. It simply shows how little they care about the cause.
If you are going to do the challenge, at least mention the cause in your video or call an action to help those suffer the condition by urging people to donate, linking an ALS organization to your video, mentioning what ALS is, or whatever you can do to help raise awareness about ALS. Do not just join the bandwagon just because it is the trend. So if you are going to do the ice bucket challenge because it’s the current social media trend and not because you want to raise awareness about ALS or to call an action to help those ALS victims, please don’t.
the whole concept of flirting is just lost on me most of the time really. whenever someone is like “oh they were flirting with you” i’m just like. what. whenever someone is like “were you flirting with them?” i’m just like. what. whenever someone is like “oh you totally were flirting with them!” i’m just like. what. what is flirting. what is going on. what. i have no idea what’s going on. what
The people who know me really know that I swore to myself that I would never work in a call center; however, I get the wrong reaction all the time. Many people think that I look down on the profession, but I don’t—really, I don’t. The main reason why I swore not to work in a call center is the fact that I am not good at handling irate people and I do not like working graveyard shifts.
I have a lot of friends who work in call centers, and I admire them for that—for working graveyard shifts and being patient enough to handle irate people. What saddens me is that these friends of mine and every other call center agents have been stigmatized with several things. There have been massive misconceptions about working in a call center, and these misconceptions have become widespread through online social media and even through word of mouth. And with this blog, I aim to destroy these social stigmata placed upon call centers agents (because why not?).
It is a job for stupid people and rejects.
What most people only know is that call center agents either take or make calls—a thing that anyone can do. What they fail to realize that these agents take or make calls on a systematic procedure. Well, I cannot actually give specifics since I am not from the industry, but from what my friends told me, I can conclude that they do not just say hello, have a little funny chat, then, say good-bye.
To quote another writer, Griffin Dangazo, who addressed this issue: “They [the general people] have no idea how emotionally exhausting it is when your caller bombards you with insults and profanity or when you are faced with issues that are ridiculously simple it’s inexplicable why they even bothered to call or an issue that’s so hard that your knowledge base has no idea about it and your floor support instinctively switched to defensive mode giving you BS spiels to tell your caller just to prevent Sup Call. A call might ensue a complicated argument; a pleasant interaction or simply a call for help and help given but on top of these, we also need to ensure that we are meeting our metrics like customer satisfaction, first call resolution, average handling time and many more. Hence, only a person with no brain can call it a no-brainer job.” They go on extensive training from answering the call, making the call, logging the incident on file, empathizing with the caller, and much more. Anyone stupid cannot handle all these trainings.
Another thing that people point out is the fact that call center agents are rejects from their “original professions.” They are nursing graduates, educations graduates, HRM graduates, etc. These people did not make it to the profession they studied for, so they went on being call center agents. Now, let me ask this question: “Is there a degree specifically designed to teach people to become call center agents?” NO. There isn’t. They are not rejects; they are more of overruns because of the rapid rate of unemployment in the country. We have more nurses and teachers than what the government and the private sectors could employ. Besides, there are a lot of nurses working as editors, baristas, ESL teachers, and many other professions.
Call center agents are promiscuous and unfaithful.
This is, perhaps, the worst stigma given to them. For one thing, (sexual) promiscuity and unfaithfulness is not linked to one’s profession, but to one’s morals. There are unfaithful teachers, restaurant managers, students, construction workers, and the list can go on. And hell, I am a writer, and I can be promiscuous if I want to. Promiscuity and unfaithfulness are rampant these days, especially since the Philippine show business has decided to romanticize and sensationalize these matters. Point is, there might be some promiscuous and unfaithful call center agents, but being a call center agent does not automatically make you promiscuous and unfaithful.
Call center agents are rich.
Yes, they get paid quite a lot( quite higher than most jobs, to be exact), but that does not mean they are rich. If they were, why are they still working for someone else instead of having their own personal businesses?
There are a lot of people who keeps asking their call center agents friends for “free treats” or other financial favors. Look, just because they are paid a bit higher than most people are does not mean they have a lot of money to spare. They also have bills and other necessities and financial responsibilities. Perhaps one of the very reason they entered the industry is they needed that amount of a salary. At the end of the day, no matter how small or big your monthly salary is, it is all up to how you manage your finances.
Call center agents are arrogant douchebags and assholes.
Again, whatever your profession is, you can be an arrogant douchebag and asshole. I have a lot of call center agents friends who are actually great people. Granted, there are some who are arrogant douchebags and assholes, but again, it isn’t automatic that you become of these people when you work in a call center agent. You can be an arrogant douchebag and asshole no matter what your profession is.
Call center agents are social climbers.
A social climber is someone who seeks social prominence, for example by obsequious behavior. The term is sometimes used as synonymous with parvenu, and may be used as an insult, suggesting a poor work ethic or disloyalty to roots. Call center agents are often stigmatized as social climbers because: 1.) they have better gadgets than most people, 2.) they tend to speak English most of the time even in “inappropriate” places like public transport, 3.) they “tend” to show off their means and other bragging rights via social media, and the list can go on.
I cannot say much about the other things, but what is wrong with bragging what you have when you actually worked hard for it? Call center agents work their asses out to reach quota/goals to receive incentives/bonuses—hell, they even need to work on holidays like Christmas, Valentines, and even their birthdays or that of their families or even during storms and typhoons—so if they brag about having something new or being someplace else, what of it? They deserve something to reward themselves.
And as for speaking in English: they work in an environment EOP (English-only policy), thus, they are somehow “conditioned” to do so. For some, it has become a habit while others find it hard to switch from English to their mother tongue in a blink of an eye especially when they are surrounded with people with whom they converse with in English at work. Yes, perhaps it might look a little “douche-ish” when they speak in English on a public transport, but then again, what of it? No one’s getting hurt when they do, right?
Why the stigma though?
I could list a lot more of stigmata that these call center agents have been given, but I think I only need to address those that aren’t true as I have seen first hand from my friends. Come to think of it, a lot of people are not willing to work in call centers because they are afraid that they’ll be stigmatized with these, but what they fail to see is the great employment opportunity for them: leave credits, bonus, high salary, health insurance for themselves and their dependents. There is nothing wrong with being a registered nurse working as a call center agent or being simply a call center agent itself whatever your educational or former professional background is.
So instead of discriminating the industry and the people who work in it, why should not we, instead, be grateful for what it generates: more jobs for Filipinos and the opportunity to support their families. Perhaps, it all boils down the “traditional” thing that we Filipinos have—crab mentality. I think it’s high time we removed that mentality from our lives and move forward.
And for all those call center agents out there, perhaps these stigmata won’t fade really soon and there could be nothing you can do to stop other people from spreading these, but there is one thing you all can do—prove them wrong.
Wait, wait, wait. Sam has the anti-possession sigil inked on his chest, so how was Crowley able to possess him in order to kick Gadreel out of Sam’s body? Ooohhhh … My head hurts.