The phone rings at home around dinner time and there’s a connection delay at the other end. Uh oh, I think, India calling. "Hello, this is John from ..... International," the caller announces with a distinct Asian accent. "John," I reply, "do I know you..?" "Err, nooo," he cautiously says. "Okay, then," I suggest, "let’s leave it that way. Bye." Click. Cruel, I know, but that’s how it’s become with unsolicited tele-marketer calls.
Yet one can’t simply brush-off workers in offshore call-centers contracted to Aussie companies. If there’s a service relationship with that company, one has to grin and bear the sometimes unfathomable accents and resultant frustration. Not to mention a natural reluctance to dealing with international staff for local matters. But then, what's 'local' in today's world ?
To date I’ve never stopped to consider that in many respects these staffers are just like me, providing a needed service and struggling to make a buck.
Until now, that is, after reading an article on Indian taxi drivers contracted to ferrying those employees to and from work. They work all night carrying staff who fix the world’s banking, computer and accounting glitches,
Arya looked out at all the call-center vehicles speeding past. "At this hour, there are only call-center cabs on the road," she said. "I told you we are a breed apart. The aliens are out in the night."
Then, like her cabbie, she retires at dawn and attempts to sleep throughout the day.
Right now, at 6.03am, it’s a routine which sounds terribly familiar and I must admit to a certain affinity with these people, providing the exact same service in today’s global economy. Therefore, good luck to them, I say.
It’s a neat article and well worth reading, for a rare personal perspective on life for offshore staffers. Me, I’m off to bed.