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Archive for March, 2011

Why did I work in a call center? (An Initial Outlook of a Nursing Graduate)

Its one of those scenarios where I needed to make a decision in my life. Not because it was the right or  a wrong thing to do, but because I need to do it. It was a time where I took the responsibility to be a man for myself, and not a son to my parents. I couldn’t say that I betrayed the profession that I took pride so dearly and yet here I am trading a stethoscope for a headphone. I did what others won’t do but some already did. As a nursing graduate, I end up working in a call center.

Whenever you associate a nurse to a call center, you cannot help but get ridiculed to the fact that you spent 4 years of studying different diseases and nursing procedures just to talk to a foreigner to a phone. Those 4 years were never easy to accomplish, along with the fact that nursing isn’t one of the cheapest courses around. How can someone like me, who graduated nursing, found myself working in an environment I have no business being in. I am a nurse. I am expected to work in a hospital or any medical area, facility or clinic. And yet here I am doing a job that I didn’t trained for, doing a job in which I couldn’t apply anything I’ve learned for the past 4 years. In truth, it hurts to do this, deep inside it does. But I have too, in a way, I got to.

God knows that I wanted to be a nurse more than the majority of those who passed the recent 2010 Nursing Board Exam. God knows that I deserved the license more than majority of those who passed. God knows that I worked harder, 10x harder than majority of those who passed. But I failed. I didn’t achieve what majority did. Maybe because I depended too much in God and I didn’t study that hard anymore. Maybe because I depended to the fact that I passed the pre-board exam and I had nothing to worry about. Maybe because I wasn’t afraid to fail and I had all the confidence to make it. But all of this maybes couldn’t really give me the exact reason why I failed. Reality is, some people will fail, and reality is, reality dictated already, for me to fail.

It would have been an easy pain if they are a lot like me. In case, there are a lot like me. But in a very twisted way, I had a lot of friends and classmates that made it. A lot of people in my school and other schools here and around the city of Davao made it. A lot of nurses around me made it. And as much at it was painful, I just couldn’t condemned myself. I did my best, but it wasn’t good enough. The time wasn’t for me to uphold yet, or maybe never. All I know is, what’s done is done, the hand of God has written my faith for taking the NLE Board Exam and rightfully so, maybe in all sense, I deserved it.

God has a reason Noel“, all my friends say. But what reason. Do I need to ask the maybes again? It is quite nothing more than an easy “comfort”, but in a reality, its not. Don’t tell me the reason, tell me why. But no one could ever do such a thing. Not you, not my mother, not even me could ever clarify that question. But in a sense, I found myself thankful for those who even care to say such thing. At times like this  a man has got to do what a man has got to do. A man must forge his own legacy no matter what the outcome is. It is not only for the friends that supported you, not only for the family that stood behind you, but for yourself, to do what needs to be done. A the end of the day, its all about living. Day in and day out, we need to survive a day by pushing through. Whether you’re as poor as a rat or you’re as rich as a man that is filled with gold that shines like the sun, everyday is a challenge you need to survive. It starts when you wake up and ends when you sleep.  This is where man forges his destiny to live, by in any means on how he will survive.

During my review days, I already thought about a lot of things in my future. Being a nurse was something I wanted to be. But of course, I wasn’t gullible. I knew that nursing in the Philippines isn’t at its best form. And even lets say success stories can be told by thousands of nurses, they were able to tell it because by in any pure luck, they were blessed to have it. For me to write a success story as a nurse, I far knew wouldn’t be an easy task. I understood that I need to be 21 years of age to practice nursing, and by the time the results will come out, I am still almost a year away to practice my profession. To waste another year without being productive was something I couldn’t live by. I need to earn, I need money to thrive, and then I came up with a plan. A plan that will push through no matter what the outcome is. For me to do it will be cunning, but by any means I know I will need to accomplish it.

The plans goes simple as by the start of January of 2011, I must already find a job. Just a part-time job where-in I could earn money for the meantime I’m waiting for the result and where i could get out any time. Looking for part-time jobs isn’t that easy, knowing the fact that available part-time jobs were way off my jurisdiction. It was with writing for a company where-in I got my 1st shot. But it didn’t satisfy both parties, so I went on to another path. That path was working in a call center. Working in a call center would mean a big trap for me. They can’t afford to cater to nurses who would just leave when they’re spare time is up. They offered good money, but they want applicants to keep true to their word of staying. I for one had a hard time saying yes to that commitment. My plan was just to work part-time, I couldn’t afford to be stuck for a long time. But then it hit me. I still won’t be able to practice for a year, so, might as well take advantage of this for the mean time and try to earn money. The journey of becoming a call center employee was a long story.  But having a detour to the plan was clear as crystal.

I failed the board exam. It was something I was prepared to experience but not quite expectant for it to happen. When I formulated the plan, it was compose of two ways:

  • Plan A: After passing the board exam, finishing the entire training and work as long as i can until I am eligible to work as a nurse, or partly get a gig or training as a nurse.
  • Plan B: After failing the board exam, continue with the training and work there to earn money. Retake the exam again while reviewing at home.

Sadly, Plan B pushed through. It is, up to this day, just a simple plan, but a real pain in the ass to go through. Its hard to focus on your goal when you have a detour to mind with. But in many ways, I couldn’t complain, I am already earning money. Money. Money. Money…

If there is one main reason why I am working in a call center, that would be money. Let’s be honest, you won’t get to earn money as a nurse until you’ve landed to another foreign country. You won’t earn money as a nurse unless you get to be regularized or absorbed in a hospital or a medical area. And with the thousands of nurses around that you have to compete with, only the lucky and blessed ones will ever get to fulfill what their profession is all about. I couldn’t afford to go back home and ask money for my parents to help me go in a review center again. I couldn’t afford to waste how many months to try to pass the board. I need to be productive for my family, for my loved ones, and for myself. Simply put, I was forging a way for me to survive life.

Working in a call center means a stab to the profession you took. Being in a call center is open for anyone, it doesn’t require a course. That is why working their would mean turning your back to the profession that you took. But for me, it’s not. Working in a call center, is a day-job. You earn and you get payed good money, of course if you are working in a very huge BPO. Working there takes a lot of thinking, but at the end of the day, as long as you can do the job and the pay satisfies you, I don’t see a reason why it is such a big deal. You took the course to learn how to use it as a profession, as a career. But it never dictates for someone to have it as a way of living. Truth be told I still want to be a nurse, but I do not close myself to the idea that being a nurse is the only way of being successful in life. There are plenty of success stories around the world that didn’t involved the word nursing. If I’m bound to be a nurse, so be it, but if not, than I’ll find ways to be successful in life. I do not plan to answer calls for the rest of my life. But if for the mean time this is opportunity to earn money, then so be it.

This is why I work in a call center. It’s all about me surviving life. Surviving means being able to cope up with everyday life. And to cope up with everyday life, you need resources. And for you to have resources, you need money. Graduating as a nurse only limited me to the world of nursing. But there are jobs out there that a nurse like me could do, and one of them is being a call center agent. I’d be lying to you if its okay for me to have career outside nursing, because in truth, I want to have it as my career, whether for 10, 5 or maybe just for a year, I want to live a span of my time in my life as a professional nurse. But if God forbid, so be it. We have to make a lot of decisions in life that sometimes, as much as it pains you, you need to do it because it is right. Like I said earlier, a man has got to do what a man has got to do. With all the different walks in life that we had, sometimes what is wrong for some is right for others.

I don’t know what the future holds me. Will I have a career as a nurse, or in the BPO industry, or maybe somewhere else. Only God knows, only in God’s plan or God’s time. Isn’t it the right thing to say? But all in all, with all the factors that surfaces in our everyday life, sometimes you are just left to the fact that some paths were never meant to be taken and some paths, whether you’ll like it or not, must be taken. I will forever be a nurse at heart. I took my profession much more seriously than any of the new RNs today. But I do not mean to take anything from them. That is the path that God decide for them, so be it. They worked for it, they deserved it. But this is mine. Working in a call center, is a starting point of my path. It is my stepping stone to whatever success I will guarantee to draw in the near future. This is not stabbing my profession,  this is me taking an opportunity for a better life, whether through nursing or not, whether in being a nurse, or not.