Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Importance of Being Earnest...and Ready

Her Other Name is Earnest

I was at my friend Carlo's place when they showed her in. She was a coy one, fresh out of community college and a bus from Albay. She was carrying several months of assembly line work in factories under her belt. She wanted to earn more and I was already uncaring of the reason: I'd heard variations of this story so many times I could rattle it off myself in my sleep. The gist of it was that Frances (not her real name) wanted to gain entry into a call center. Any call center.

I was somewhat a call center vet, and Carlo was once a team leader-- couldn't we help?

Yes we could, and yes we did. I'm biased towards women, and I just happen to have a pathological need to be a good samaritan.

Her Other Name isn't Ready

We looked at her sparse resume, concurred that the best way to make it better was to push her education and her willingness and ability to learn on the job. When we finished with it, that pristine single page was full of marker tracks. Put this section up here. Omit this. No need to give them your eye color and the color of your hair.

And then I had to interview her in English, backtrack, and give the same interview in Filipino.

...No, she wasn't ready.

I wound up giving her tips about putting up a brave front, putting her best foot forward and rolling with the crazy questions.

It made me think about my students: university graduates who couldn't get what they needed because of a damned language requirement. I thought of myself, too, and the people I share this work with. Long hours, crazy scheds, neural system meltdowns. Hearts too: broken, bleeding, listing-- lost and chasing pavement in the seemingly eternal night. (okay, cheesy, but it happens).

There must be something more that can be done to improve our collective lot.

No comments: