i150W: Tumblr

It was September 2010 when I joined Tumblr. This is where I host the first incarnation of The World According To KCOX, then a spin-off to my former blog the Kin Keihan Times. Well, I was sort of amazed by its interface so maybe I decided to create one.

Anyway, Tumblr is a microblogging and social media website, commonly used for multimedia content such as pictures (including GIF files) and videos. It hosts a variety of accounts, from fan fiction to fan art, visual arts to travel photos, personal experiences to informative posts. The possibilities are endless… except maybe for something NSFW.

Of course, there are some problems I encountered using this site, like the proliferation of pornographic content and saving draft posts on a slow internet connection. And editing a post can be a real pain too.

Regardless of what others say, I’ll stick with Tumblr for all I care.

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Not In The Mood For Disruptions [E]

I hate being disrupted for whatever reason at all, especially if it’s upsetting. I find it extremely annoying and it affects my concentration and creativity so much that I tend to put off what I should do for the entire day. If I’m not in the mood to write, then that’s it for the day. That’s one of the reasons why I can’t get everything done within the intended schedule, you see that my mind needs to be at peace in order to produce a quality work and not some shitty stuff that looks like it’s rushed.

As the type of person who needs an extreme amount of concentration in order to produce a fine work of art, it’s important that I shouldn’t be disturbed in any way. You can say that being unnecessarily disrupted while working is one of my biggest pet peeves in life, whether it’s intentional or not.

I’m gonna be straightforward on this one. Because concentration is important in writing various stuff, there are some things every non-writer should know. Do not disturb a writer unnecessarily while at work and do not disrupt the peaceful environment of a writer’s workplace. Keep that in mind, you inconsiderate fools.

Concentration Is A Skill That’s Not Easy To Master

Can you really concentrate on doing stuff in a bad mood? Obviously not. Your mind tends to get preoccupied with anger and anything unrelated to what you’re doing, meaning you’ll have a hard time focusing on your actual work. Losing concentration really sucks big time.

So what happens if you lose concentration? You’ll suffer a minor setback on the things you’re doing and depending on how worse the situation is, it takes a few hours to a few days before everything goes back to normal and you can finally begin work again.

Concentration is a skill that’s not easy to master. There are a lot of distractions that prevent you from accomplishing a certain task, which makes it even more difficult for you to finish everything within a given time. See if you can finish a set of tasks within a time limit on a bad mood, you can only accomplish just a task or two… maybe none at all.

Well, if I decided to go freelance, then I have the right to get ballistic and hit anyone who ruins my concentration while at work.

You’re Upsetting Me

As mentioned earlier, I hate being disrupted for whatever reason at all, especially if it’s upsetting. Can you do your work feeling upset for some reason? Absolutely not.

It really ticks me off when a peaceful environment suitable for writing can be disrupted by an annoying person who keeps yelling stuff angrily at me or to anyone else. It’s not a bad idea to let your mind be affected by the not-so-peaceful environment at home, it’s even worse if you just had an argument or a fight with someone.

Come on, I badly need some peace of mind while doing stuff, like writing stories or articles, creating a work of art, or even studying. I don’t need to hear some bullshit from an inconsiderate angry person, so do me a favor and just shut up.

A  Case Of Procrastination And Some Unexpected Problems

I want everything to go smoothly, so I expect everything to go smoothly. But there are times when problems get in the way of accomplishing a certain task, so what now?

As a blogger, I schedule the posts in advance to force my mind to prioritize only the ones that I need to finish on time. Yeah, I tend to reschedule the posts mainly due to a severe case of procrastination or time constraints, but I really hate it so much that I tend to resort to publishing filler posts (150-word posts) so I don’t have to worry about the rest of the posts being rescheduled as well. Well, filler posts are against my standards, but I do this for the sake of keeping up with my schedule. As of this writing, I’m aiming to finish seven stories (two of them nearing completion) and about six to seven blog posts for this month.

If writing filler posts aren’t bad enough, then what about having to write blog posts from another PC or a smartphone just so you can finish the scheduled posts on time? Case in point: it was November 2017 when the desktop PC’s motherboard gave up after eight years of service so I have to use my sister-in-law’s laptop so I can continue blogging. While I was able to continue work on my upcoming blog posts, I wasn’t able to retrieve the list of possible post titles I can work on later. Good thing, the drafts are saved online via WordPress, but the list of post titles are very important since this is where I’ll select a possible topic for my next blog post. I eventually rescued the list and we finally bought a new desktop PC after more than a week. The downside is that I need to reschedule some of the posts.

Another case in point: It was mid-April this year when another PC-related incident happened. This time, it’s the failing hard drive that’s giving me a problem and I had to take some time off from blogging just so I can back up the files to a portable hard drive. I resumed blogging almost a month later, but I still need to reschedule some of the affected blog posts scheduled for the problematic month of April. I have to write and publish about 10 posts for the month of May, which is twice the intended amount of the scheduled blog posts for that month. I managed to catch up on my schedule, thankfully. I just hope that I wouldn’t encounter something like this again.

Dealing With Unnecessary Disruption And Loss Of Concentration

I don’t actually earn from blogging, but this should serve as my training ground in writing and editing stuff. And since blogging and writing stuff requires a great deal of concentration, then I am not expected to be disturbed while at work.

Of course, there are instances of unnecessary disruptions that often lead to loss of concentration. Like the ones mentioned above, they’re really such a pain for writers and bloggers who are trying their best to shift their attention to their works, only to be affected by distractions and some kind of upsetting bullshit from annoying people.

Okay, so in case something disrupted your hard-earned focus or concentration, the first course of action is to vent out your frustration and anger at someone. Take a deep breath, drink lots of water, and try to move around. If you want, you can even hit someone who’s causing you a great deal of anxiety or curse your enemy through messaging apps online. Try to look at your best friend’s pictures or read your favorite book and try to imagine everything you’ve seen and read, then start writing or doing work. Maybe try to get super pissed off if you’re writing an explicit post like this one. There are lots of ways to deal with this, but it always depends on a person’s attitude or behavior. Some of these may or may not work for everyone. And if all else fails, then cancel the project altogether like you’ve got no other choice.

Postscript

What’s worse than getting stuck in traffic, getting in conflict with the law, getting yourself involved in some nonsense group chat, running into an enemy, or even arguing with your dad? Of course, unnecessary disruptions and loss of concentration.

As annoying as it gets, disruptions are here to ruin your day and your plans for that day. So make sure you know what to do when something like this happens. And yeah, it’s a diabolical advice coming from a somewhat diabolical blogger, Keihancarl. Whatever.

Confessions Of A Weirdo (The 250th Post)

Finally, we’ve reached another milestone for The World According To KCOX. And for that, I’ve prepared a special post that tells more about my weird, eccentric self.


I’m Keihancarl Oikou Xiaucham, and I think you already knew how unusual my name is. Truth is, it’s just my pseudonym, though at times I consider it as my actual name for my alter ego, a really weird one.

Well, if you think that the name/pseudonym is weird enough, then there are some things I need to tell you about. Of course, this is (obviously) all about me and my weird habits.

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I’m unusual. I’m different from the rest. I’m unique. And most of all, I’m pretty much unconventional that others thought I’m too incredibly far-out.

There’s nothing wrong with being weird. While it’s basically just a matter of preference, it sure does reflect my personality in a quirky way. It’s not like I’m trying to creep them out with my quirkiness, it’s just that I wanted to stand out from the rest of the crowd and be myself.

Yes, you’ve already seen me wearing unusual outfits, experimenting with such weird hairstyles, and taking lots of selfies featuring my awkward and weird poses. But these are not the only things I want to share about.

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Being a shy person, I tend to feel awkward most of the time, especially if I happen to run into a friend whom I haven’t seen since high school or some acquaintance from school or work. I don’t know, but it seems like I’m not good at communicating with anyone, even with my family.

I love partying, but I’m pretty much a restless party-goer who tends to frequent the buffet table for some food and heading back to my table or constantly check my smartphone for some notifications or time. Perhaps, I’m also a quiet party-goer, since I’m not actually that kind of loud and I don’t generally engage myself in my friends’ conversations.

Well, I really find it difficult to engage in conversations, but I managed to get through small talks. Still, my friends keep asking me why I’m quiet most of the time. It really sounds awkward when someone asked me that, and I tend to give random responses just to get out of this uncomfortable situation.

My shyness is also evident on social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. I don’t post that much, and if I do (at least on Twitter), it’s mostly random thoughts and plans and all that nonsense. I wish I can do something other than sharing Instagram posts or retweeting anime fan arts and writers’ quotes. Oh well, I really suck at this.

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I may not be the kind of person who’s interested in socializing with people, but I always tend to feel warm and fuzzy whenever I run into some of the amazing people in my life, and one of them is My Awesome Classmate. Obviously, these amazing people are the ones I had crushes on, but there’s nothing romantic about it. Besides, they’re mostly dudes so it’s not something you can call a romantic feeling.

Anyways, I tend to check their Facebook profiles and their pictures, something that I enjoyed doing since the Friendster days, about ten years ago. It’s not necessarily stalking, but I thought I need to look into their pictures just to cheer me up, and maybe inspire me to write something. I was kind of obsessed with their cute (and sleeping) faces and this actually spurred me to do a little bit of vanity by trying to look and feel good in any way possible.

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And speaking of looking good, I always put on some nice and cool-looking outfits whenever I go out. It’s mostly layered outfits since I’m more accustomed to it than just wearing a shirt without anything over it. I prefer pants to shorts and I prefer sneakers to sandals. If I didn’t wear layered outfits, then it’s just not me at all. Oh, and I don’t really care about the climate after all, as long as I get to wear something like that while I still can.

In my wardrobe, I had lots of colored T-shirts, buttoned and collared shirts, jackets and coats, a couple of cardigans, a knitted vest, slacks, and pairs of black and red socks. I also have a few pairs of gloves, mostly fingerless ones, as well as caps and sun visors. However, I usually ended up wearing all-black since I’m more comfortable wearing it, though I add a splash of color to it at times. Of course, I don’t forget to add some accessories to complement my cool-looking outfits.

I may be quite obsessed with fashion, but I generally don’t follow the latest fashion trends. I mean, they’re almost everywhere, and I really don’t need to blend in with the crowd. Besides, I want to stand out so I just follow my own style.

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I do have some daily rituals, like checking various sites before surfing the internet first thing in the afternoon and making sure that all the doors are locked before going out or going to bed (I’m pretty much obsessed with security). Also, there are times when I have to make sure I use the bathroom before brunch and wash my hands and feet before dinner.

I’m comfortable with writing light-themed stories and articles at any time of the day, but I only write dark-themed stories and articles at night and when I’m at the cafe on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I always make sure that someone wouldn’t just walk in and look behind your shoulder what you’re working at, and if they do then I’ll lose my focus and concentration on my work. Actually, I’m more comfortable writing such dark stuff with the lights off, though I’ll end up straining my eyes.

I used to be afraid of the dark, but nowadays it provides a lot of comfort to my lonely soul. When I go to bed, my pillows (a mix of new and old ones) give me company. Of course, in the dark, I always have strange and dark thoughts, whether it’s about my own life or my imaginary characters I created in my head. I sometimes dream about it.

And regarding my strange and dark thoughts, I always have it inside my head, especially if I’m listening to some music. Of course, I wouldn’t want to let others know what I’m having, that’ll be embarrassing.

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I wouldn’t mind being weird at all. Besides, that’s who I really am. Anyway, weird people tend to be more creative than normal people, though their imagination can really creep you out at times.

Well, I may be both eccentric and weird (yeah, they’re both the same, so what), but at least I’m not a creep. I tend to be a little awkward with my actions but this should not be a concern for you and for others. I’m fine that way.


250 posts and still counting… it’s an achievement for me, Keihancarl. All right, it’s time to look forward to TWATKcox’s 6th-anniversary post, the six stories that I’m still working on. I hope I can make it in time. Well, be sure to look forward to it!

Appreciating Coffee

Coffee has been a part of our lives ever since. A cup or two is enough to get through a sleepy morning. At times, we share stories and discuss plans over a cup of coffee, brewed or instant. And when you decided to relax and enjoy the cozy comfort and ambiance of a coffee shop, you’d probably be sipping a hot cup of cappuccino or a tall cup of caramel macchiato frappe.

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The bitterness of the coffee is something I really didn’t like as a kid, especially if it’s all black and without sugar and cream. Of course, it is only meant to be consumed by grown-ups, just like wine and liquor. I somehow managed to have a few cups of it when I was in fifth-grade, but I still kind of hate its bitter taste. Even adding too much sugar on it won’t help either, as it can totally mess up my taste buds. Then again, I do enjoy eating coffee candies back when I was a kid, but that’s just beside the point.

Of course, the coffee drink I had during that time is instant coffee, which is kind of milder than the strong-flavored brewed coffee. As for the latter, I only had it back during my short tenure as a call center agent (in training) five years ago and it was incredibly strong and bitter that I tend to feel jittery at times. I guess it really helped me stay awake during my training. But to be honest, the scent of brewed coffee really makes me feel nauseous at times and it leaves a strong scent on my tumbler, that’s why I opted for tea (I just packed a few tea bags, though) just for a daily dose of caffeine.

I eventually come to love coffee drinks, though it’s mostly limited to bottled iced coffee and frappe as I don’t drink instant coffee that much. While I rarely drink bottled iced coffee due to its sugar content, I always order a tall cup of frappe (mocha, caramel, or cappuccino) whenever I visited the coffee/milk tea shop that I frequented since two or three years ago. Since then, it’s becoming a (weekly) habit.

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Yeah, so I’m into frappe and instant coffee. But how is coffee processed? How is it enjoyed? And what are the benefits and risks of drinking coffee?

Well, coffee is made from coffee beans, which come from coffee plants grown in farms. After the beans were separated from the coffee berries, they were either washed or dried (depending on the place of harvest), roasted, and packaged, and at times ground into powder. The common varieties produced worldwide are Arabica, which has a sweeter and softer taste, and Robusta, which has a stronger, harsher taste.

It can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on your preference. In coffee shops, you can either have a tall cup of frappe (with whipped cream on top, obviously) or a cup of brewed coffee with an artsy, frothy latte. You enjoy your drink while sitting in a comfy chair, reading a book, listening to some good music, or maybe doing a little story writing. Not only you can get a much-needed dose of caffeine for mental alertness, but it can also melt away your stresses and worries too.

Coffee has antioxidants, which helps in fighting diseases and reducing health risks. However, too much of it can be harmful to your health, as it may lead to insomnia or caffeine addiction. It’s best to limit your coffee intake to just 2 to 3 cups a day in order to avoid the harmful effects of too much caffeine in our body. And you should never drink coffee on an empty stomach, or else you’ll suffer an acidic consequence.

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Sure, coffee really helps in combating sleepiness and getting through the day. And it’s a perfect companion to a casual talk or a relaxation at a café.

Oh well, I’m no coffee drinker despite all of this, but I still do enjoy drinking instant coffee and a variety of frappe drinks just the same.

i150W: Manga Books In Second-hand Bookstores

These days, I tend to check second-hand bookstores for some interesting manga books. While there are specialty bookstores that carry a wide selection of manga titles, I really can’t spend a lot of money on some brand new manga books.

Back then, I was able to score a lot of great manga titles (all second-hand manga books) in second-hand bookstores, and they’re mostly in good condition. Nowadays, they’re becoming a rare find in some branches and they’re a little expensive, though not as expensive as brand new ones. Every once in a while, an interesting manga book would pop up and stacked among the not-so-great ones. In some bookshops, they’re placed among the children’s books.

I still collect second-hand manga books, but this time I’ll have a hard time finding some great ones. And while I check out some second-hand manga, I also need to look for some nice bookshelves.

Reacting To Such Unfortunate Situations [E]

Accidents, annoyances, unexpected problems… these are the things that make me feel distressed in any way. How do I react to such unfortunate situations in life? Well, depending on the situation, I would either get extremely pissed or be quite amused at the unpleasant things that happened to me.

The Annoying People In My Life

There are instances when people tend to ruin your wonderful day. Of course, I’ll just shot back at them for being jerks. But this is not always the case, as they always have the tendency to add insult to injury.

For example, some of my ex-classmates from fourth-year high school are kind enough to let me experience hell inside the classroom. Aside from the bullying I’ve experienced from these people back then, they also have the tendency to disrupt your peaceful life by trying to add you to a Facebook chat group and pretending that they really missed me. Can you believe that? These jerks don’t even care on my reaction to this kind of online harassment. I wasn’t able to get back at them during that time, but at least I’ve come up with a brilliant idea of pretending that I don’t know them, as well as completely severing my ties to them by means of cursing them relentlessly and saying such hurtful stuff to them, like wishing for them to die by any means possible. My plan somehow worked, because they actually stopped bothering me right after that.

Just in case I come across that extremely annoying classmate from second-year high school, that annoying queer guy who often did a lot of mean stuff to me, then all I have to do is to push him into the curb and run. Or maybe kick him in the nuts (if he still has any) and leave him squealing in pain. And FYI, this only applies to a certain person whose initials include a J, a V, and a B.

All right, so the moment I come across that annoying person in my life, like a bully (probably an ex-bully) or that life-changing gossiper, then I have ways to deal with it. I just wanted to make sure that these people won’t retaliate… and more importantly, I don’t get in trouble.

Inconveniences

It really sucks to experience such inconveniences in life, such as traffic, slow service, and incompetence. What’s worse than experiencing such inconveniences in life? That would be its undesirable effect on your plans.

Normally, I’ll get impatient and/or get pissed of at the possibility of having to wait in line just to pay for a few items on the counter, buy tickets, or pay the bills. The same thing goes for going to work or a place on a heavy traffic, experiencing brownouts, slow or intermittent internet connection, and so on. At times, when I get super pissed off, I had this tendency to rant without even minding the people around me. High expectations made me resort to this.

But what ticks me off the most is the thought of wasting a lot of time dealing with such inconveniences. Just imagine yourself getting stuck in traffic for an hour or two… you could have done a lot of tasks within that time period. Again, high expectations.

Inconveniences are inevitable in most cases, but some can be avoided. If only there’s a way to avoid such inconveniences in life, then there’s a chance you’ll hear fewer rants from a person with high expectations in life… in this case, that would be me.

Unnecessary Comments

I certainly feel like calling out to people who called me fat, pig, and four eyes, among many other insults being thrown at me (like I was relentlessly being bullied by almost anyone, which is kind of unbelievable).

Okay, so there are some people who tend to say such unnecessary, insulting comments on you and/or family and friends. Can’t they just keep it to themselves?

For example, if someone is suffering from an illness or a disease, would you go as far as telling them the harsh truth even though you’re not supposed to? Rather than giving them a reason to fall into depression, why don’t you enlighten them with your positive words instead? You’re no God, so I have the right to say that to your face if your intention is to worsen the patient’s condition through your harsh words. In other words, you’re an inconsiderate, insensitive jerk.

Reacting to such unnecessary comments and statements depend on the situation. If it’s mostly on the negative side, then I’m more likely to get pissed off by your harsh and unkind remarks. Besides, can’t you say anything rather than insults and unnecessary comments?

Unexpected Problems Along The Way

The real misfortune happens in an unexpected manner. Not exactly accidents, but something that can be avoided, such as encountering unscrupulous people, losing money and valuables, and robbery.

I’ll definitely get frustrated if I experience one of these. Yes, I’ve already lost a wallet, I almost lost my smartphone, and I lost my valuable souvenir from Puerto Galera (a black sun visor). I feel grumpy at the thought of losing another thing again. Luckily, I never experienced getting robbed, and that’s something I don’t want to experience ever.

Also, heavy rains and flooding in the area are some of my biggest frustrations whenever I go out. If I accidentally land on a puddle, flood water, or mud, then I’ll get annoyed. And if some careless driver managed to splash flood water at me, then I might throw a huge rock at the vehicle.

Postscript

Well, I react negatively in most situations, but there are times when I feel like laughing it off, like that unexpected encounter with my ex-classmates at a mall and my response to their annoying group chat. To think that I’m capable of doing such a thing despite the bad things that happened, I tried my best not to laugh.

Anyway, what’s the big deal of reacting to such unfortunate situations, when all I can think of is to get mad and pissed off at the things that happened to me? Maybe I can get some inspiration from it, or perhaps it’s just a sign from above that I should change plans? Or maybe teach me a valuable lesson?

Whatever it is, reacting to unfortunate situations is pretty normal and it’s okay for us not to keep our cool in certain situations. But remember that there’s a price for our actions and reactions, so try not to let it bother you and try to move on. Life isn’t really that bad at all.

i150W: Cold Weather

These days, the weather keeps getting colder and soon there’ll be people wearing jackets and scarves outside. And it gets even colder as Christmas is on its way.

In some countries like the US, there’s the winter season where it gets snowy and chilly that you’ll definitely need to wrap yourself up in layers of clothing just to keep warm. In some tropical countries, it’s just the cool air coming from the temperate region, and it tends to get chilly especially at night.

There are ways to counter the cold weather. You can warm yourself up by wearing jackets and scarves, and sipping hot beverages or soups. Always make sure to stay fit and try not to catch a cold while enjoying the outdoors. If possible, you can take hot showers, but make sure that the water is lukewarm.

So enjoy the cold weather and remember to keep warm everyone!

Night Life: A Four-Month Journey On A Night Shift Job

Introduction

I was really excited the moment I got hired as a Customer Service Representative at a call center in Makati, back in September 2013. I researched everything about call center companies and I think I might be able to apply to one of them. Anyway, I was already attending numerous job fairs and so far I haven’t had any luck… until that moment.

Right after getting hired, I immediately celebrated this achievement with a nice meal and a nice stroll in Ayala Center, not knowing that I’m up to a surprise twist as soon as my training starts. I thought, what did I actually get myself into?

October 2013

[10-03/Wednesday] I started training at a call center company in Makati as a Customer Service Representative (CSR). On the first day, I suddenly felt lethargic up to the point of falling asleep while waiting for the orientation. Everything went well on the first day, but I had a hard time falling asleep when I got home the following morning.

[10-04/Thursday] Despite the lack of sleep, I was able to make it through the second day of training without getting a headache. Of course, there’s a tendency to fall asleep as I’m not used to staying up through the night and the strong smell of coffee in the pantry area makes me feel nauseous. And yes, we actually filled up the application forms after the lunch break (the call center company didn’t ask for my resume back when I applied during the job fair).

[10-05/Friday] Pre-employment medical exam, shortened to PEME, in one of the training rooms. I collapsed during the blood extraction for the blood examination, I had low blood pressure at the time. It took me a while before I can get up and complete the rest of the medical exams.

[10-08/Monday] Off to process my NBI clearance and other documents needed for employment. We were given a day off in order to comply with the requirements, dropping by the HR office to submit the documents, and had a nice early dinner at a Japanese casual dining restaurant in Makati and a nice sip of lemon tea in a milk tea shop at Centris Walk (Quezon City).

[Rest of the third week] Communications training, as well as a crash course in the English language and speech training.

[10-16/Wednesday] I celebrated my 23rd birthday at a fast food chain in Makati Avenue Extension. Of course, it was an informal celebration considering that I never actually told my co-trainees about my birthday, but we still managed to eat out anyway.

[Fourth week] The actual call center training begins. This is where we learn the basics of customer service and we did some role-playing on handling customer concerns and problems.

[Fifth week] And I finally passed the Global Communications Training, so I’m off to Enhanced Class. A day later, I had an interview for an account and before I know it, I’m already headed to Product Specific Training. But first, there’s a two-day Financial Forensics Training (if I recall correctly) and it coincided with the Halloween zombie run in Buendia.

November 2013

[11-04/Monday] PST begins and we introduced ourselves to our new trainer. She then divided our batch into five groups. I come up with the name for our group, and the rest of my group mates agreed. The others had already chosen such unique names for their respective groups as well, and that’s how our first day of PST went.

[Rest of the first week] In this hands-on training on account management, we learned the basics of managing the customer’s accounts. In order to manage the customers’ accounts, I need to ask for the customer’s concern, pull up their accounts, try to figure out the problem as well as check the customer’s records, and either provide solutions (for a problem) or refer to one of the specialists (depending on the problem). Of course, I also need to pull up the Quick Source (Knowledge Database) so that I can provide the right solutions to their concerns and problems.

[11-07/Thursday] There’s a typhoon in the Eastern Visayas area, but Metro Manila is also affected, albeit just strong winds and some rainfall. I even recall myself nearly got blown by the strong wind while heading to a convenience store during break time. Of course, in preparation for this, I bought a new umbrella and a black and gray scarf using my training allowance.

[Second week] I feel like quitting right this instant, but my batchmates/co-trainees convinced me not to give up. I’m still giving it a try to see if I’m really capable of doing non-stop complicated work. Since I tend to forget the parts of the general account information (WAGN) screen, I started to feel anxious. My trainer isn’t really pleased with some of us not remembering the parts of the WAGN screen so we’re trying our best to familiarize ourselves with it.

[11-13/Wednesday] We just had our own lockers, as well as a set of padlock and key, and an Emergency Passport. I had no idea as to what the latter is used for, but I assumed that it is related to the locker that we’re using. Well, my locker is located at the bottom, so I’ll definitely need to bend down just to store my things in there. Oh well, that’s how it is.

[Third week] Just got back from a two-day outing, and we’re about to begin our OJT. Yes, the PST continues, but we also spend a considerable amount of time inside the actual workplace, sitting in with the call center agents and taking notes. Of course, I also heard their frustrations with dealing with rude customers and how they deal with it minus the rudeness. I also get to listen to some calls and I managed to pay attention to how the agents handle the customer’s concerns.

[Fourth week]  Start of Academic Bay or ABAY. My shift starts past midnight and I have to deal with a risk-taking alternative to MRT-3 (there are no train operations from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM) by riding the UV Express from SM Fairview to Buendia and then taking the jeepney to Makati Avenue, where the BPO is located. Okay, so we’re done with sitting in with the call center agents and learning from their experiences, but I don’t think I was able to fully absorb what they shared to us. Looks like it’ll be a challenge for me to do the same once I hit the desk. And yes, we were trained in using the fingerprint scanner and entering the passcode in order to enter the workstation. The passcode consists of my ID number, and an additional digit preceding it. I’m probably getting used to this kind of life, or so I thought.

[Fourth week] And the stressful part of transition begins. To be honest, I really want to give up and find another job, but at least I need to experience first what being a call center agent is like before giving my verdict. It was such an extremely stressful experience for me that I couldn’t help but break down after a few unpleasant calls. This stressful experience only gets worse with the customers’ rude response to my solutions to their problems, which is kind of infuriating for me. Despite this, we have to be nice to the customers at all times.

December 2013

[First two weeks] Yeah, life goes on in the workstation. Just keep going and never give up. Still, I tend to feel upset at times due to the stress I experienced with some of the rude customers and I always feel kind of relieved upon stepping out of the building to the morning rush of vehicles and workers in the area. Now that I look at it, I tend to feel weird at times since I have to work at night, just because… Anyway, our PST trainer (and team leader) created a new team and some of us batchmates are in it. And yeah, I think we already got our Christmas package (I opted for a Christmas ham) just weeks before the actual Christmas celebration.

[Third week] Christmas is coming, and the good news is we can choose one of the two holidays (whiich is actually a day off) in order for us call center agents to spend time with the family. I opted for Christmas Day, but then I made a wrong decision as my relatives always gathered around New Year’s Day. I should’ve opted for a New Year’s day off instead. And yes, we had our Christmas Party at the World Trade Center in Pasay, but since I’m on duty that day, I can’t attend. It really sucks, but at least we had our free meal.

[Holiday week] Yes, I really enjoyed spending a day off on Christmas with my mom and little sister, but I really can’t enjoy New Year’s day since I have work on that day. At least, the curtains on our workplace are drawn and the lights are dimmed so we can all see the fireworks display while tending to our customers’ concerns. The following day, I only managed to join my relatives for a New Year’s feast, but I have to go home early so I can catch a few hours of sleep before going to work later that night.

January 2014

[First week] I was really thinking of resigning from my job as a CSR in training, but I hold back. Some of my batchmates had already left, and I’m probably doing the same thing too eventually. My PST trainer announced that our team will be dissolved and we will be transferred to different teams, meaning that I’ll be on a different team with a couple of my batchmates, new teammates, and a new team leader. I was feeling a little intimidated since some of them are unapproachable, but most of them warmed up to us and are welcomed to the team.

[Second week] Having bought my very own smartphone using my earnings as a trainee, I was pretty cheerful for the time being. But of course, I can’t be really that cheerful all the time since I’m still feeling a great deal with stress with some rude customers.

[Third week] I was pretty close to getting terminated, mostly due to tardiness. Also, I already have issues with misunderstandings regarding break time schedules (one of them is actually my fault) and the pre-buffer schedules that require me to log on at least an hour early. Not only that, but I also had a feeling that I’m not doing well in my performance and I can never catch up with the rest. I was starting to get anxious about what will happen to me if I end up getting terminated from my job due to poor performance and tardiness issues. So I decided to ask my team leader for advice regarding my planned resignation from the company. She told me that I might need to render at least a few days of work, though she also said that there’s a possibility of an immediate resignation but that will depend on the Program Director.

[Fourth week] I struggled to write a resignation letter, but I managed to do it anyway. I handed the resignation letter to my team leader, and a few hours later she told me that he (Program Director) already signed it, meaning that I’ll only have a few days before I’m officially done with my job as a CSR (in training).

[01-26/Saturday] My last day at the company. I feel a little bit emotional as I bid farewell to my batchmates and my teammates, and decided to pick up my things in the locker. In the meantime, the headset will have to stay there for the time being as the HR department is not open on weekends. I’ll be back on Monday afternoon to turn over the headset and the lock and key to the HR personnel, as well as processing my resignation from the company and getting my documents back.

Postscript

Almost four months and a lot of experiences in and out of the workplace… it was quite fun. For a while, my life changed as I tend to focus on work rather than my daily routine. And working at night isn’t that bad, it’s just that there are a lot of disadvantages too. The sound of passing vehicles and the sight of city lights at night somehow lighten up my mood, it feels kind of relaxing at times.

I still have mixed feelings about working at a call center. For some reason, I don’t feel like applying to another BPO company again as soon as I resigned from my job, and so far I haven’t had any success in finding another job outside the BPO industry. And for the next few months, I’ve been consistently rejecting offers from other BPO companies, including referrals from my friends.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m really happy with my decision now that I’ve left the stressful life of a call center agent. I’ve already learned a few things in this four-month journey including being courteous to rude customers, finding solutions to the customers’ concerns, and being helpful and cheerful at all times. Yes, I may have learned a few things, but I don’t think I can ever learn how a customer should treat the customer support representatives in the nicest way possible. Whatever.

So my nightlife ends in a bittersweet note, and I’m back to my old self again. I can only help but smile as I recall the remarkable moments that I experienced during training and the stressful times in the workplace, as well as the side trips in malls and other places in the morning, right after the shift. There’s a chance I might never do this again, but who knows?

In short, working the night shift is fun, but absolutely stressful and depressing. I’m so glad I get to experience this kind of life because I’m not gonna do this again. Still, I might reconsider.

#Throwback: The Manga Reading Experience (2011-2012)

Some of my collection of manga books, including recently bought ones.

It all started in 2011, during my final year in college. Back then, I often frequented bookstores for some interesting reads. It could be second-hand bookshops or the bargain bins of some bookstores. Anyway, I just happened to see some manga books on the bargain bin of a bookstore in SM Fairview. I initially checked a few pages of original English-language manga Off*Beat by Jennifer Lee Quick and I immediately got hooked so I bought it. Later on, I also bought two tankobon volumes of The Candidate For Goddess (Yukiru Sugisaki) as well, and that’s how I started reading and collecting manga books.

A Japanese manga is always read right to left, even translated ones. Regarding this, nearly all English-translated manga books have instructions on how to read manga properly, usually on the last page (which is actually the first page of a typical book). I managed to read a manga book without problems, though at times it feels kind of confusing since it’s like reading a mirrored version of a graphic novel. Eventually, I got used to it, though in some cases, I tend to preview books and magazines by reading them from right to left instead of the other way around (the usual left to right format).

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The Candidate For Goddess (volumes 4 and 5) was the first manga I’ve bought, followed by Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei and FLCL. I had to admit, they’re pretty much easier to read than novels since they mostly contained illustrations.

I don’t know if I actually recall seeing second-hand bookshops like Booksale stocking up on manga books prior to buying one, but all I know is that they were a little expensive (mostly around 100 to 160 pesos back in 2011). Anyway, I began checking the shelves of second-hand bookshops, and that’s how I ended up buying several more manga books, including Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei, FLCL, xxxHolic, and Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days, plus a few manhwas (Korean manga) and some Western manga books. All of the manga books I’ve bought are from second-hand bookshops and bargain bins of major bookstores, and I only get to buy what’s available on the shelves or on the bargain bin, at most 5 tankobon volumes per series. I must have spent about a few thousand pesos on these books alone, in a span of 18 months.

I’ve already read most of them, but there are some manga books that I’ve yet to read. Well, back then. I was still into reading young adult fiction novels (juggling up to five books at a time), but at least I always include manga on my reading list. It seems like I’m more fascinated with reading manga than anything else, including the (then) much-awaited Battle Royale (by Koushun Takami), which also had its manga adaptation.

Yeah, I’m really getting on this habit of reading and collecting manga since then, but for a while, I had to stop buying books since I tend to spend a lot of money on it. I could have displayed them all on a shelf above my desktop PC, but the leaky roof and ceiling made me take them off the shelves and right now they are stored in shoe boxes under my bed. In case I got a new job, the first thing I’m gonna do is to buy a bookshelf for my beloved books, especially my collection of manga.

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So how do I ended up checking the shelves of second-hand bookshops (and even major bookstores) for manga? And more importantly, how did I become fascinated with manga in the first place?

For starters, some of the anime shows are adapted from manga, at least some parts of it. The illustration style in the manga is generally the same as anime, no doubt about it. You can actually say that manga is the print equivalent of anime, though not all manga is adapted into anime and vice versa. Anyway, the reason why I started reading manga is that I’m fascinated by its cool-looking illustrations and plot, not to mention that some of my favorite anime shows are adapted from its manga counterpart. For me, it is becoming an obsession.

So even when I grow old, I’ll never give up this habit of reading manga. Like watching anime, this is also one of the things that are really hard to let go. In fact, they already become a part of my life.

i150W: Collecting A Lot Of Stuff

Some people love to collect stuff like books, stuffed toys, CDs, action figures, rare items… and even all sorts of junk.  But if this habit goes out of hand, then it might lead to compulsive hoarding.

So why do we tend to collect things? Aside from the fact that it gives us happiness, it reminds us of the thrill of seeking for a particular item to add to our collection. It is basically more of possessing anything worth collecting, something that we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.

But there are downsides to collecting certain items, especially if this leads to compulsive hoarding. Yes, you may be collecting a lot of stuff, but there are some things that need to let go, like a pile of useless junk.

It’s okay to collect a lot of things, but make sure that you’ll never let this habit go out of hand.