Clenuar: Expectations and reality

Alyssa C. Clenuar

NIGHT falls. People don their pyjamas, climb up to their beds. I see them stretch before completely burrowing under their blankets.

Me, I sip my second cup of coffee and I keenly prepare myself – as if going into a battle--for the night, nay, day ahead. And while they slip through another realm, I walk out the door to begin my day.

I’m a night owl. I scurry through the night and don’t see daylight by choice. There others like me. I am of the others who think greener pastures are found under the dancing lights of business hubs in the city.

Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) through the years has been one of the most dynamic and fastest growing industries in the country. It has mainly flourished in cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao, and is expanding rapidly to second-tier cities like Cagayan de Oro.

In a country where employment is a dilemma, BPOs are the greener pastures. The industry is also not picky, you don’t need to have a degree to land a job where your prime weapons are a phone and a computer. Although there are others that strictly require a degree, depending on what position you’re applying for, there are no board exams to validate your qualifications.

But it’s an industry that requires you to sacrifice one of the essential needs of a human being; you’re paid to disobey the order of nature and to convince yourself that today is actually yesterday and tomorrow is really two days away.

It is a different time zone. It requires you to communicate with customers who live on the other side of the world, to help them out with mundane problems until they are solved. The problems can vary from unlocking an iPhone, to fixing their cable signal for a happy binge-watching on Netflix.

Millennials, those aged 15 to 34, rule this workforce according to an October 2015 report by the National Statistics Office. For many, they are the “uncertain” group infamous for being "lazy" and "entitled," shifting from one job to another and staying only two years at most. I’ve seen people come and go in the workplace, as if the next employer is easy to find. For them, the sky don’t fall and echo under the dancing lights.

They say millennials are products of Boomers’ failures. They say everything has been delivered to them on silver platters and there isn’t so much to do except for take pictures and a lot more pictures. They say such behavior is a product of failed parenting strategies.

We are told to believe that our innate talents will thrust us towards success; that we just need to believe every step of the way and we’ll get "there." Our parents must have been hallucinating when they were saying this.

Nobody told us that we must prepare at least 50 resumes and get 49 rejections upon entering the real world. That it is a nine-hour shift of ups and downs every single business day. That for a position you’re interested in, it takes a lot of work experience to even qualify. Nobody told us that success, just like Rome, was not built in a day (or in our case, in a night).

We thought the sky wouldn’t fall and make an echo.

I guess it is best to wait for daylight so I can sleep.

Alyssa Clenuar always wanted to write. She is attempting to hone this skill by writing in her secret blog on a daily basis. She works at night and does photowalks during the day. Her weekend consists of sleeping and working that she is no longer able to distinguish Monday from Sunday. She plays football if time permits. She currently lives in Cebu City with her fat cat, Mooji.