So there I was, brimming with confidence. The fears seemed to have gone away.

After all the celebration and partying over the weekend following the big examination, I was all set for the real work. In fact, I was looking forward to it.

My first job was at a BPO. Like I wrote earlier, I had no idea of the job profile neither at the time of the interview nor when I joined. It was only at the training stage, I got to know what it was actually all about.

The job involved helping UK clients when they called in to claim after their car had an accident and needed repairs or was lost/stolen etc.

After being allotted our respective teams and the initial introduction etc, we were given our workstations. It all looked great. Even though we were employed since the previous three months, we never really felt we were truly working. It was more like being paid for getting trained.

So there we were. Trained and eager to start working. We were assigned to barge calls of some seniors and get some hands-on buddy training. That we did for a week.

Then came the day, when we worked our ways through to our 'own' workstations. The spring in my steps was worth noting. It was like I had it all to conquer the world!

After some important tidbits, our team leader asked to begin taking calls. I put on my headphone solemnly, adjusted the headphone mike and closed my eyes, while waiting to hear the ring. It came in a matter a few seconds.

As I muttered the customary memorized greeting, it was as though my heart was thumping in my mouth. Loudly.

I had just nearly finished, when the speaker at the other end blasted out. I stood up.

The reason?

I had absolutely no idea what the caller was saying. Forget that, I didn't even know if that was a male or female.

I was blank. All I could hear was someone saying something in an incomprehensible language.

Yes, the caller was English.

And I thought I 'knew' English. After all the English movies I had seen, the voice and accent training I had undergone etc etc. English had always been my strong point.

But no. That was not true.

I knew the language. Of course. But I didn't understand the accent. It was all alien to me.

I looked around for help. My team leader came running to me, and signaled to another girl to take my call. By then, the caller was all irritated and blasted off my colleague.

After a lot of empathizing (as they call it in the BPO world), my colleague was able to convince and help the caller. My team leader was anything but impressed. He shrugged it off maturely and told me to carry on and not get hassled by what happened.

It was then I got my next lesson. I thought I knew it all. And may be I did too. But all that was only in theory. Real work needed practice and lots of it. At times, you need to unlearn to learn something new.

I learned this the hard way again. No one told me to try taking a call with somebody alongside to help me. Because we were trained, I thought it was all that was required. However, real work is different from training where situations may be created, but can never be as good as live job hands-on training.


Blogdosts, this is part of the series 'My Corporate Saga'. I will share my experiences, the challenges I faced, the achievements I accomplished, and the falls I suffered in my eight years of life as a working woman. It will highlight the problems a single girl faces in a new city and in a new job among strangers. It will also tell you how I managed to move along. The sweet and happy moments, the sour and frightening ones, all will be part of this series.

You can read Part 1 & Part 2 here.

Sorry for not posting for almost a month now. Writer's block keeps hitting me every now and then :(. Any remedy?
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10 Responses
  1. Jack Says:


    Wait of one month was worth it. It is true that what is theory and what is on ground differs a lot, even with practical aspects taken into account. Hope next one will be soon.

    Take care

  2. Rahul Bhatia Says:

    Enjoyed reading this one too, Neha and could relate to it well. It is true that a 'know it all' does not work especially in real life situations!

  3. Neha Says:

    Thank you Jack Uncle. The next post will come soon :)

  4. Neha Says:

    @ Rahul - Thank you :)

  5. RiĆ  Says:

    Nice writing there...good to read your experience.

  6. Neha Says:

    Thank you Ria :)

  7. Chintan Says:

    I was shivering when I took my first call. I was I guess the most unlucky one to get recovery calls for desktops which meant, format the computer and talk to the person for at least 1-2 hours !! Sigh. Those days. I do not like this accent stuff, even when my calls reach India and guys just fake an absolutely weird accent. I feel so sorry for myself for I lose my temper and them for I know they have no clue how bad it sounds :(

    I was once told on the call,"Can I talk to someone who speaks English?"

    Now after living in London, I can laugh at that statement for an american said it :D English and americans. Ha!

  8. Neha, i am waiting for your next post...Do it asap. ")

  9. Hi Neha, I'm a new reader. Everyone fumbles with their first attempt at anything! I'm glad your team leader was mature enough to recognize that!

    Best of luck and do visit my blog when you have time!

  10. Neha Says:

    @Chintan - That was exactly how I was on my first call too. And the caller asked the same question - Can I talk to someone who speaks English?

    @Live Life as it Comes - Thanks. It will be soon. I promise :)

    @Mom of A and a - Thanks. I'm your follower now :)