Karen Noelle Llanos – CSR, Executive Assistant and ESL Teacher

karen llanos VAI grew up with my grandparents and since I was a child my grandmother was my primary guardian. She is very strict and enforced adherence to her rules at home. Despite her being strict, she is caring and very protective of us. As I grew up, my eldest brother took the responsibility of taking care of us. We learned good values in life and religious belief from our brother. He was able to share with us what he had learned from our great grandmother. They made me a better person and a strong woman. Those values also helped me especially when dealing with other people. I depended on them until I graduated high school.

By the time I reached college, I stepped up and started doing things on my own. It was an intense time as I needed to cope with city life. What forced me to stand on my own was the thought that no one was going to help me out, because I was away from those I had depended on in the past. I couldn’t trust anybody either. Looking back, it wasn’t really that hard for me to start being independent because I grew up learning things on my own as my siblings were in school and my grandmother was busy with house work. College was my learning curve – taking risks, grabbing at opportunities, and building rapport with other people. It was my stepping-stone to becoming an adult.

After I graduated from college, I looked for work right away to help finance my family. I didn’t have time to think of what I’d like to do. I just thought that was the right thing to do. After few applications to a BPO company, I was hired by one of the best BPO companies in Cebu. We were trained on the basic skills in handling a call and a review on American English grammar. The disadvantage of it was we were kept in the training status until the trainers for the account were available. It took almost 3 months for us to start the product training. Some didn’t continue because we were only receiving an allowance and not a regular pay.

After the long wait, we finally started the product training. It was finished after another 2 months and then the launch of the account began. This was a new account and it was up to how the launch results to determine if the account would be a success. Thankfully, the launch was successful and we worked hard to keep the account afloat. We were the pioneers of the account and a few of us from the first batch were promoted as probationary performance analysts helping the agents with the quality aspect of their behaviour. I started to handle a team, supervising their calls to keep the account’s quality aspect increasing. Handling people is not easy. Approaching them requires you to know their personality and behaviours overall.

Working on a new account imposes a lot of disadvantages. You can experience an unstable workload and even work that is not within your scope. There are times that you’ll be asked to do overtime minus the overtime pay. You’ll encounter issues that you haven’t heard before. Your emotions, energy and skills will be tested to their limit because the account is still under trial and error. The key to its success is for everyone to work together: the company running it, the agents who are the front-liners and the leaders who are looking after the agents and the account.

Being a tenured employee developed my skills and gave me experience that I hadn’t had before. This is one of the advantages of working in a company for a long time. These skills not only helped the company that I was working with, but also my future employers. It also gave me the opportunity to work with colleagues who have different skills and experiences – again providing another learning experience for me.

There might be challenges along the way but it’s worth the risk. Taking risks for the sake of self-improvement is the best way to succeed. I am where I am because I believe that I can do it. I work well with my peers and I’m honest about my work.

For a copy of Karen’s resume please click here.