Three months after my last blog post, I return with exciting news: I FINALLY HAVE A JOB. No more making origami cranes and devouring all that's sweet from the fridge while watching anime. What I do now is commute for two hours to get to the office, talk to people over the phone about their credit card concerns, and commute for four more hours to get home. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I'm no longer a contributor to the country's unemployment rate, but there was a time I thought people who can't ever leave the call center industry were pathetic, and now I seem to have officially become one of them. Sure, it's a bit different with my current job because I was hired directly by a prestigious international bank, not a BPO company, but I'm still tethered to the phone.
Frustrating as the tediousness of the daily commute and the job itself already is, something I find almost as equally taxing is the fact that people all around me quickly come and go. A team-mate can just disappear after getting his first month's salary, never to be heard from again. A friend can suddenly decide he wants to quit because of all the stress, or get sacked because of something illegal that he did. Team members across a department can get reshuffled, and your extremely nice boss can move up the career ladder and away from you because he's been doing so great a job at handling your team. All that's a given with any company, but it happens at call centers at a much more rapid pace than anywhere else. And for a person who very slowly works up the courage to trust those he's surrounded with, that can be tough. I only have two choices: be emotionally shutdown or what the hell, get attached and make the most of the time I have with my co-workers. I'm not sure if it was my being apathetic that made me last almost two years at my first call center, because afterward I decided to let my guard down just a tiny bit and I didn't last more than half a year at my second and third call centers. It's been fun though, despite having had to go through some heartaches, and now at my fourth call center, even though I initially decided to be emotionally dead, I'm choosing to put myself out there again.
Four Wednesdays ago, I chose not to go home with my dad by car because my team-mates and I were going out for dinner after work with our beautiful trainer Tata. We had work the following day, but there I was at Yellowcab laughing hysterically at my team-mates' funny stories, not minding the fact that everyone but me can get home in less than an hour, coming all the way from Eastwood.
Having eaten all the pizza, pasta and chicken our tummies can take, we all decided to head home, and during the cab ride to the train station, one of the co-workers I was with got to talking about a girlfriend she's meeting in Cubao to lend some money to. They've been friends since grade school and they were quite close, but come college she started only coming to my co-worker whenever she needed financial help. In almost every company I've been with, I've met people who were like that. Sometimes, however, I couldn't help but wonder if for those others who don't use you for your money you're only valuable for the meantime because of your convenient companionship. Do they stick with you only because you're there? Do you only get to play with them because you're the toy that was handed to them by their parents? If after you part ways for a while they still want to be part of your life, then maybe, thankfully, the answer is no.
Quite a few times already I've been told I was melodramatic by the guy friend I'm closest with at work. My new team leader told me just last Friday that he approved of my confidence and fast pace of speaking over the phone but that he thought I was too emotional. I wanted to clarify that last point with him because I didn't think I was like that, but I simply concluded that perhaps my melancholic personality does have the tendency to shine through even when I'm talking to clients.
I've always been a forever-and-ever kind of guy when it comes to relationships, romantic or otherwise. I find it cruel, not to mention exhausting, rapidly moving on from one relationship to another, and there are people out there who seem to have made a lifestyle out of doing just that. That's why it's difficult for me to trust people, because when I trust, I trust fully. But maybe these people who shuffle through relationships like they were just a pack of cards are actually doing it right. It can be as equally exhausting at times only keeping to a small circle of really close friends, that's why these people spread out their social energies toward more acquaintances. A scatter shot instead of a bull's eye. Going to multiple stores instead of frequenting only one. Or maybe neither I nor they have got this friendship thing pegged and, just like in everything else, a balance simply has to be maintained. We do all shop at many stores and appreciate many different brands, but we also all have favorites, don't we?
That Wednesday night we dined at Yellowcab, I got home at 11 and slept for only three hours before I had to return to work the next day. But I had a great time with my co-workers. Right now, though we're all in separate teams already, we still try to go out once in a while. Starting tomorrow we'll all be having different schedules. Maybe nothing between us has to change. Or maybe this is the parting of ways which will determine who among us actually wants to stay in each other's lives... Or maybe I'm just being too emotional again. One thing I should always remind myself is that in my cab ride toward my destination there will always be people who are in merely for a couple of blocks. I have to try to enjoy being with such people, because though they may only be passersby in my life, we may never cross each other's paths again. But there will always be that handful of friends whom I know and who know me inside and out. And they will surely be there for the entire ride.