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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The BPO Overkill

Washington Post has a feature on the lifestyle and culture at Indian BPO's. I don’t know how much of this is true and how much of this is exaggeration. There is so much written about Indian call centres and BPO’s that one gets a feeling that a lot of this information could be half-truths that have been included just to add spice and flavour to the articles. The political opposition seems to have subsided and it’s time the media frenzy dies its own death.

Call centers have brought new wealth to India, but they are also fostering a cultural backlash, as the country's young, hip BPO workers run up against the traditions of the older generations.

The Indian twenty-somethings laboring in these call centers not only work together -- they also drink together, dance together, date one another and, most important, understand one another. Their jobs compel them to cultivate American pronunciations and keep up with U.S. pop culture. They have their own hybrid vocabulary. ("No probs, yaar" means "no problem, my friend.") And they have boundless expectations about where their new careers can take them.

But not everyone rejoices at these new employment opportunities. Citing low pay and dead-end jobs, India's most popular news portal declared recently that call centers have "cons more than pros." A television talk show probed whether such centers are no more than "swanky sweatshops." And in a best-selling novel, "One Night @ The Call Center," two BPO workers quit to open their own company, saying they were sick of working all night for Americans in jobs with no potential.

"In charge of scheduling agents, Pundir said she can't allow her employees to skip work for every religious or family function, as is customary in some Indian companies. Instead, call-center workers take U.S. holidays including Labor Day and Thanksgiving -- but because the rest of India works on those days, they end up hanging out with friends from other call centers.

On Sunday nights, typically a day off, BPO workers flood Gurgaon's half-dozen or so malls and wander the stores, sometimes waving to each other from passing escalators. They sit in coffee shops such as Cafe Coffee Day and Barista, crowding around bistro tables or onto leather couches. A recent issue of Cafe Coffee Day's newsletter, "Cafe Beat," provided fodder for their conversations: movies, dating, gadgets and gaming. Last month's cover story was on "live-in relationships."

While their parents might have dated or consumed alcohol, younger Indians say they can do so overtly now. In some cases, they also earn more than their parents, allowing for purchases -- jeans, cologne, nightclub admissions -- that would be pricey even by American standards.


  • While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

    By Anonymous Monty, at 6:21 PM  

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