The other day, I was in the lift, leaving for work. My teenaged neighbor asked me a very innocent question, but it offended me: “So where is your office? You work for a call centre right?” Now I believe, I was dressed formally and appropriately, I was leaving for work at an appropriate hour, and I carried a bagpack bigger than me which pretty much announces that I have a laptop in it (please note my intention isn’t to announce it… just that it’s convenient to carry the bagpack). So obviously, my middle-class, educated (read MBA) sensibilities were offended. After all, I didn’t slog for so many years and I didn’t spend so much money on “higher education” to be mistaken as a ‘lowly’ call centre employee, right?
Wrong! I went into a hurried explanation about how I work for a big consulting company, that I am an MBA, that I am from Symbi… things that made no difference to her, and she looked at me like a typical teenager does, especially when it comes to parents/teachers/relatives/ ‘wellwishers’ (trust me, I know that look… I kind of mastered it) which said it all: “Whatever! Sorry I brought it up. Leave me alone.”
But the journey down the elevator was extremely enlightening, as I realized that I was being the insecure one, that it really didn’t matter what she thought, that at the end of the day all professions are similar really: you have clients to serve, you have calls to attend, you have complaints to take care of! So whether you are a call girl, or you work in a call centre, or you are in a KPO or in an IT offshore unit, the basic essentials of the job remain the same! And as long as you are earning your own living, and you respect yourself for doing so, it’s really alright. And of course, I took it as a compliment that she took me to be too young to really be a post graduate and hold a ‘serious’ job (I know I am kidding myself, but still…). So yes, the downward journey doesn’t always bring about your downfall, but your ego definitely does!