Pesos to Pennies: Chapter 1— Call Center

Hello everyone,

I decided to start a chapter post of my book, Pesos to Pennies. I’ll post two chapters in a week until I get done will all  chapters. I have a total of twenty-two, but don’t worry my book is not like novels that are long. I’ll be precise on my blog post about it. I promise!

My goal is to let you know a little bit about my book (it’s available here, here, here, and here!) and the story behind each chapter.

The first chapter is Call Center.

Call center

When I was writing this book, I didn’t intend to be thorough about how Tim and I met. I thought just by simply saying we met at the call center in Manila (Philippine capital) was enough to be part of my memoir but it wasn’t until a few people—including my book editor—suggested that I should tell more about the way my husband and I met. So I did.

A month after I graduated from a state college  (in our town), like many of newly college graduates, I went to Manila to find a job. My hometown, Daet, is not big enough for job opportunities and besides, Manila sounds big and exciting! Also, working in Daet doesn’t pay much. In the Philippines, the pay rate in provinces and cities is different. Of course, provincial rate is lesser than city rate.

I don’t believe much in astrology, but it hits the nail when they said Sagittarians like me  love adventures and travels. And I really do! So I went to Manila to live with my oldest sister who’s been living there for three years. We lived in a slum where the room was enough for the two of us to move, to sleep, to eat, and we shared bathroom with other tenants! At that time, I figured it out why Manila has higher pay rate than provinces. The cost of living in the big city is darn expensive!

Again, I wanted to see what first job I could get. I became a book salesperson which I only lasted for a week. I also tried to become a real estate agent and Herbalife sales rep by attending their seminars, but then again, I quit. At that moment, I figured out I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was dependent to my oldest sister who was working as an accounting clerk with the above minimum salary. I’m so independent by nature. I don’t like relying on other people. My situation for the first few weeks with my sister was awkward, mainly because of me not having my own money.

Finding a job in Manila is like going through a needle. It’s not easy even finding a secretarial job is a competition. Finally, I found a call center job but I had to work the “grave night” shift. Meaning just like my fellow call center applicants said, we would be just like bats from now on. Sleep all day, up all night! The toughest part of working at the call center was they changed our schedule quarterly.

Here’s the example of the schedule:

10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Midnight to 9 a.m.

2 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Anyway, the call center company provided customer service for satellite service (DISH Network).  At the call center, I got a few phone calls from Americans that asked about the Philippines. It was then when the company allowed us to tell customers our location because before they told us to say we’re somewhere in the USA. They did it for two reasons—to avoid prolonging the call and to avoid upsetting some Americans who would eventually ask for American agents!

But some of them though enjoyed it when they found out they were talking to someone who is across the globe from them. In between our conversation, they asked a variety of questions—-the weather, cost of living, beaches, where the Philippines is located and the like. But it was almost dawn when I received a call from a man who asked the same questions like other curious Americans. He also asked personal inquiries about me…and I ended up marrying him almost a year later after I answered that phone call from the man from Nebraska.

Have a lovely Monday, everyone!

Gladys

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6 comments

  1. Marie says:

    To be honest it was this opening chapter at the call centre that got me hooked! So frantically told, I was glued. Again, I really admire your perservarance and energy. Well done!

  2. Marie says:

    It’s me again. The link you gave me is for an American site, I’ve no jurisdiction there so I did review on Amazon France and it has since been published, I just got a confirmation. Thanks again for the story!

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