Everybody that has worked in a call center in India has a story to tell. Call center employees have a close association with cigarettes and masala chai. The smoke break at a call center the most blissful time for a call center agent, yes it is. This space is dedicated to every person that has worked in a call center, the graveyard shift zombies in particular.
Cigarettes and chai (tea) are hugely popular in call centers in India. Inbound calls and outbound calls, both have their share of frustration. The ‘smoke break’ at call centers is the most relaxing time forcall center agents. Though call center cafeterias are equipped with popular beverages/cold-drinks, masala chai rules. Most call center employees prefer to smoke their cigarettes with tapiri chai, rather than chai available in the cafeteria at their workplace. Why? It’s just that the chai strained through a stained muslin cloth tastes…incredibly good.
Taking calls can wear you down. Handling customers over a call is not as pleasant as it seems, especially if customers are in a mood to be entertained. Ask a call center employee if he/she likes taking calls? The deathly silence with an agonizingly painful frown will say it all. Every call center agent wants to get off calls, sadly a large number cannot. You have got to do the annoying mundane job of taking calls daily, to get paid. The highest number of smoke breaks is taken by call center employees after dealing with an irate customer. All that anger and frustration suppressed within after taking a call is let out with cigarettes and ek-cutting masala chai.
Does a call center employee have asocial life? This question can only be put forth by a person who has not worked in a call center. Call center employees get two days, or one day of the week to hone their social skills but those days are spent lying in bed, or paying bills, or watching movies, or shopping, or head banging at a rock show, or going to a nightclub, or drinking with other call center agents. Most call center employees have their off on weekends, the unlucky few on weekdays. More than 60% of call center agents are insomniacs. You have got to realize, call center agents get insufficient sleep because of odd work hours. Furthermore changes in shift cycle make matters worse. Call center agents that work on a graveyard shift find it extremely difficult to sleep. Staying tuned to reality is the most challenging aspect for a call center agent. Relationships begin fast and crumble faster at call centers, it’s a hectic pace you gradually get used to. While some love struck Romeo’s and Juliette’s remain stuck in their past relationships and weep bitterly, most move on.
Do you care? Do we care? Life goes on with cigarettes and ‘ek cutting masala chai’!
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