(Outsourced life chronicles)
I took the MRT today. On the way to Boni Ave., I saw Rey. He’s an old friend and a former officemate in the old company where we both slaved off for hours as abstractors.
We were happy to bump into each other. It’s been a long time. He said he’s back in the abstracting/indexing industry, but now as an indexer.
Abstracting. It was a funny kind of job, a menial technical job summarizing journal and magazine articles, something you never thought possible in these parts. After all, we don’t really live in a high-tech automated society. And our publishing industry is a pitiful sight.
Rey used to branch out as an independent salesman for motor-car oils. Last time I heard from him, he said he was doing fine. The company he worked for lent him a car. So I was surprised to find him looking for another job.
I’ve learned that eventually he gave up on his beloved oils. Eventually he went solo flight after establishing his own set of contacts, but business was bad, or so he said. So he took this job as an abstractor-indexer in this new KPO firm on Quezon Ave.
Quezon Ave! I said, visibly appalled. From Parañaque, that would be like commuting to and from the home province. Hell.
But he claimed the pay was good. The benefits too.
Okay. Next thing you know, I was an applicant. Then a probee. I traveled everyday to and from the entire length of Parañaque to Quezon Ave.
The job was more like SEO (search engine optimization) writing. You read through an article very fast and write an abstract as short as you can, typically a four-liner, containing selected key info.
It proved to be a crazy new job to me. Doable, yes, but it went against my training of writing straight summaries, i.e. abstracts that fully reflect in equal amounts the different sections of a given article. Here, the abstract was skewed in favor of some bias, as per client specs. Needless to say, I had a hard time, totally stressed out at the end of the day.
The company was a kind of startup – I could live with that – but the whole office setting was not that good. For one, there was no canteen, just a caterer handing out lunch in styro. There was no drinking fountain. There was no time to read the papers.
The real misfortune is that I was assigned in a project where the incentive scheme wasn’t good enough. (Incentives differ per project.)
I took it as a sign. I came in April, I quit in July.
I had a heavy feeling, though because I just met the kindest, most wonderful, most socially conscientious people I’ve ever met in the workplace.
(To be continued)
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Posted by R.O. at 11:31 AM