Beyond the Headset: Discovering Personal Growth in the Call Center

Posted by Rosy Barerra on June 07, 2023

When I entered this world, I didn’t scream out of joy, exclaiming, “I am on Earth! I cannot wait to grow  up and get hired in a call center, wearing my headset, and listening to customers complaining!” No, that  was not the grand vision I had for my future. After all, who dreams of working in a call center when they  are born? It seemed more like a practical choice, a means to earn a living while pursuing my university  education. Little did I know that this seemingly temporary job would lead me down the path of self discovery and personal growth. 

To be honest, I never loved calling people and collecting debts. I thought to myself, “I cannot do this for  longer than a year.” Yet, fate had other plans for me, and I ended up working in that role for one and a  half years. However, an unexpected opportunity emerged—a chance to become a dialer supervisor in a  bank. 

With no prior background in technology, all I knew was how to adjust parameters in the dialer software. However, I possessed a wealth of knowledge about translating collection operation requirements into  dialer system configurations, and that’s what landed me the job. It was my first formal experience in a  leadership role, overseeing a small team consisting of a morning analyst and an afternoon analyst. The  only foundation I had in leadership was the theory I had learned in school.

At that point, I never had the luxury of pondering whether this was what I truly wanted or if it brought  me happiness. I simply knew that I had to work to support my studies. Looking back, I can’t even recall  how I managed to convince my boss to give me a part-time job that would accommodate my evening  classes. However, I had clear goals in life, and somehow things fell into place. 

As time passed, I found myself needing to acquire more technical skills. I delved into areas like servers,  Linux, and telephony. Suddenly, just four semesters before completing my International Affairs degree, I  made a drastic career shift and embarked on a journey in Computer Systems Administration. 

I continued to climb the professional ladder in the call center industry and eventually became a  Collections Manager. Throughout this journey, I learned an abundance of skills, ranging from MIS and  database management to leadership and business acumen. With 300 representatives under my wing,  along with 10 team leaders and two supervisors, I can confidently say that I learned more during that  time than in my entire academic experience. 

However, a restructuring in the bank led to my departure, and I found myself starting anew in a Business  Process Outsourcing (BPO) firm. After a year in that position, stress began to consume me, and without a  clear plan, I made the bold decision to quit. 

It was during this uncertain phase that an unexpected conversation on MS Messenger (yes, I am old fashioned) with an engineer-turned-friend from the bank opened up a contracting opportunity for me at  Aspect Software. As a business application consultant specializing in dialer systems, I embarked on a  journey that exposed me to diverse cultures, countries, and invaluable perspectives on call center 

operations. From Canada to Argentina, the UK to the Philippines, I traveled the world, soaking up  knowledge and embracing different ways of doing things. 

After a while, another bank offered me a role to establish their Capacity and Contact Management  department for LATAM and Spain. I spent a year and a half there before succumbing to stress once again.  It was at this point that everything clicked. I realized that I didn’t need to confine myself to the  traditional corporate world to find fulfillment. It was the first time I sat down, had a conversation with  myself, and truly listened to my body, my intuition, and my heart. 

I discovered that I am a people person, someone who thrives on interactions and sharing knowledge.  The happiness I derived from seeing others flourish based on the wisdom I could impart was  immeasurable. People I had worked with, coached, or mentored would reach out on social media to  express how their experiences with me had propelled them toward their desired paths. Simply put, I realized I love helping people succeed. 

This realization, and my career journey, is now why I am with Call Design. It’s been a year since I joined  them, and it has felt like home since Day 1. It’s such a joy to not only work with amazing call center  experts, but to find people that also love helping people succeed. It’s refreshing to hear them put the  goals of the customer above our own and to make sure we are different than any other company our  customers work with. When your passion to help other people matches the passion of your company…  well let’s just say it’s pretty special.

It took nearly 30 years for me to reach this point, and now I am on a personal mission to spread the word  about the importance of finding your true calling and finding people to do it with. It’s so important to do something that makes your heartbeat and waking up every morning with a sense of purpose is  invaluable. Trust me when I say that you can find your calling in a contact center or anywhere else. Your  journey may seem odd, or disconnected, but it can pay off to take the time to have a conversation with  yourself, listen to your intuition, and flow with it. Your mind, spirit, body, and loved ones will be eternally  grateful when you find your calling and your people.

Rosy Barrera