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Young Indians Ready to Hang Up on Call Center Jobs

Politicians constantly talk about how US jobs have been shipped over seas. But something else travels with the jobs — stress. While 70 percent of outsourced American jobs go to India's call centers, stressed-out Indian youth want to ditch their unhealthy posts for more fulfilling careers.

You may get frustrated when you have to call another country for customer service, but the combination of odd hours and overwork caused one 23-year-old Indian recent college graduate to have a heart attack! As you can imagine, the call center workers are getting ready to trade the higher-paying jobs for less stress and better hours. BBC interviewed workers who explained, "they quit because it was frustrating to continue to answer calls day after day, year after year. No creativity, no use of mind required. Some say their minds have become cabbage."

A recent satirical video from the Onion tracked how "Obama Promises to Stop American's Sh*tty Jobs From Going Overseas." Do you think the quality of lost jobs should be included in a discussion about outsourcing?


Join The Conversation
Blackthorne Blackthorne 8 years
It's not India, but one of my friends was did customer service phone support for a software company and she was flown to Malaysia to train people for a branch they were opening up - not knowing til she got back that she trained her successor, her job was cut. Ouch.
Blackthorne Blackthorne 8 years
I had one of those call center tech jobs before it went overseas. Stressful, yes, but it paid the bills.
janneth janneth 8 years
Well, I actually believe that many unemployed Americans would like to have a job. And because they would be working in America, they would not have to work in the middle of the night. And people would not be screaming at them due to language issues. (In many jobs, you have to deal with onoxious people.)
Call center jobs suck, telemarketing jobs suck as well. Any job where the person you are interacting with can't see you and identify that you are a human being worthy of the same respect that they desire, sucks. I don't blame them for wanting to leave, why get cursed out on a daily basis?
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I worked for my University call center, and it floors me that people don't know how to say, "no thank you and please put me on your do not call list." People are just absolutely awful, and I was just calling alumni from my very nice University! There is no way most people here in America would take these jobs, I don't care what they say.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Nina-THANK YOU! I was going crazy trying to remember where I'd seen a show about India's call centers :)
geebers geebers 8 years
I agree with you spirited- if we didn't expect to pay low prices then companies wouldn't be motivated to outsource jobs. Frankly- as an Indian -I can honestly say I have no idea what half of them are telling me on the phone. I am also an advanced computer user who has probably tried everything herself before calling (including having a brother that is a systems analyst and can fix computers in his sleep). So believe me- if anyone SHOULD understand them- it is me. So I really cannot say anything in their defense except that they deserve better treatment and should quit.
spirited786 spirited786 8 years
It's really not their fault...if the companies didn't outsource in the first place, then customer service would be much better. But, that being said, if we didn't want to get our products at much lower prices, then they wouldn't be outsourcing jobs. Companies save so much money by sending jobs overseas, where workers make a fraction of what their American counterparts would, that they can turn around and lower product prices...and we all want lower product prices! Yes, it's frustrating. But, instead of taking it out on the people on the other end, why not look at the ones here...the roots of the problem...the companies themselves, and our overall mentality? We want things cheap, and fast, but we don't want to sacrifice quality to get those things. It can't work both ways...
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
NYFashionista, your exactly right...Customer Services in general ( by phone/inperson) is one of those jobs that it seems like most people don't want to do anymore, and the people who are currently in customer service aren't very good at it accent or not. I mean I have not purchased items at particular stores because of poor customer service.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 8 years
I understand the frustration- but I don't think this problem just stems from overseas call centers. I recently purchased a brand new itouch- and had an issue with it about 5 months later. After going to the Apple Store and making many long calls to the helpline (btw, they were American)- the answer given to me was " I don't know what's wrong with your itouch. Sorry, we can't help and we can't replace it". Awesome.
Nina_79 Nina_79 8 years
If you want to know how they work i recommend Morgan Spurlocks 30 Days about an American worker who loses his job and then goes and works in India at a call center (his old job) for 30 days.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
I live in California and I actually live in an area where it's one with the most different languages are spoken and went to a really culturally diverse high school so I can understand even the heaviest "accent". Well that's with the exception of the people I reach at the call centers, I can't lie it's really hard for me to understand so I usually just deal with my issues online so I don't get annoyed.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that regardless of where the job is outsourced to - it should really be brought back to the US. especially in a time when there are so many people without jobs, it would make sense to bring it back here so that at least there's a chance that people could get an income. it's also understandable how frustrating things can be for youths overseas, when they are trying to make a future for themselves, yet they find themselves stuck in a rut at the call centers. i guess a job is a job, but i don't think that it's good to stop yourself from reaching for the stars if you want a different profession.
Melo-D Melo-D 8 years
I worked directly with one of the call centers in India before and I have way more respect for them. The hours they put in at a drop of a dime. They lose time with loved ones. It's as if they have no choice but to do the overtime. If you take the time to actually talk and listen, you can understand them and maybe they'll actually understand you. It's not just an inconvenience for us sometimes.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Uhm yeah call center jobs suck a big one that's why after my first encounter with one over ten years ago I vowed never again no matter how poor I was. They don't have to be the stagnant environments that is described in the above article though. Many company's here in the U.S. which have their own call centers here understand that point and have allowed creativity to grow around what may be a mundane job by creating stimulating environments physically and through group activities. Making it seem as less corporate as possible and more like a party. This keeps moral up and makes you want to come to work.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
"are you happy with your long distance ...what are you wearing? I mean, what carrier do you have now?"
austerity austerity 8 years
I don't blame them. I can understand they would want more fulfilling jobs. My cousin used to work for one of them for a while (her fake American name was 'Carol') and she had to work the crappiest hours, starting at midnight to 7 AM or something...and that's while usual daylight life goes on. She used to be stressed out and easily in tears thanks to b**ing clients (they get a lot of crank calls from Americans who are upset because their jobs have been 'stolen') and finally decided she didn't get a master's degree to deal with mean clients full-time, and moved on to better work.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
did you all know that we also outsource our telemarketing/call center stuff to PRISONS? yep. google it. crazy.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
I don't understand it -- Wells Fargo has American call center works -- they have a center based out of Orange county I have a friend that works there. And my bank has American call center locations - Why can't other companies do the same. They must know that it's a problem.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
good for them. seriously. we keep exporting the crappiest jobs we have (quality wise) overseas... i don't blame them for not wanting to do it. they are inspiring me to quit my own job for a more fulfilling career... when the economy isn't collapsing, of course.
em1282 em1282 8 years
...and more good points, sushibananas. (Love that name)
stephley stephley 8 years
Well take heart, a lot of these jobs are now going to Belarus.
em1282 em1282 8 years
Mandy--SO EXCITED! I told myself I wouldn't take down my Konerko avatar yet. We'll see how tonight goes!! Even if they don't win, I'll be happy they made it this far, especially without some of their great players during these last few weeks. Ahem, sorry, back on topic...dream, yeah, I can see what you're saying with being so misunderstood. At that point it's like "OK, do I just hang up and then pray for someone else to pick up?"
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