Fields of Work

I had just resigned from my job when I went to Iloilo for Workshop Courage Facilitators’ Training in February of last year. I told Nick that I no longer wanted a call center job and that I was waiting for a non-call center company to call me and hire me. I shared that stress levels in the call center environment is quite high because of the generally aggressive drive to produce numbers. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear about manipulation of numbers in order to meet client demands. A lot of employees grow more and more impatient over time. I had my share of impatience, too. I told him about the high levels of anxiety in those who are just starting with the job.

Nick normally asks questions and solicits information before offering his opinion. I said I thought that the call center environment nurtures a certain culture where there is degradation of important life and societal values. The industry reinforces job-hopping which to me is a great lack—if not the absence—of valuing opportunity and gratitude, I explained. A lot of our fresh graduates choose to or are forced to work for call centers instead of pursuing the careers they’ve prepared and worked hard for. I just think that we have learned to not persevere enough anymore these days and the Philippine economy cannot continue to depend on the BPO industry, but that is beside the point.

As truthful as he is, Nick told me he couldn’t see how what I said is necessarily degradation of values. And he, probably, thought that there was something else going on inside my head. So, I told him about stories we hear at the center where I used to work for—and stories from friends who work at other centers—about casual sex, infidelity, broken marriages and severed relationships.

He asked if I thought we could give workshops or seminars to help call center employees overcome the stress. I said that it might be difficult to give workshops to call center employees because of how employee scheduling is designed. I suggested that HR might not welcome Workshop Courage, for example. A lot of workshop graduates decide to quit their jobs after, having realized they have not been doing what they are supposed to be doing or have been called to do.

But I would think about Nick’s question again a month after, and again, months after.

I believe his message wasn’t only about helping by giving workshops and was not only about call centers. It’s about returning to “the field” where we can possibly impact and influence change. Most of the time, the fields we need to go back to are the same fields that sent us wandering and seeking for something higher, something more profound and true to our nature. When we don’t return, we become irrelevant.

When I started working again—for a non-call center company—in April of last year, the “Call” was to embody the principles of “imaginality” in corporate life. And I would find myself struggling because of the duality of forces in me—one pushes me to fight back and crush the restraining forces while the other tells me to let go and let come. At the end of the day, when I’m in the dark of my room, and in that silence and space, I reflect about my day. And then I sleep. And wake up trying again: work with forces that do not make being an “imaginal” easy. In the corporation, employees ask questions like why there has to be politicking or why it’s got to be a dog-eat-dog world. There has got to be something else more than competition, control, power and glitter in this world.

I sit down and feel. I sometimes read a book, or watch a movie, hoping it will help me see the interplay of forces in me or see my role in it. And then decide how I would like to think, act and feel the next day. I seek my heart for truths: what I really want, what my intentions are and what really matters. It’s the only thing that matters.

In fields like the corporation where most thoughts, actions and patterns normally reinforce old and selfish ways, our job won’t be easy. Accessing our higher selves is a conscious, uphill, soul-climb.

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