19 thoughts every night-shift BPO worker has had while commuting

(Flickr/Creative Commons/Dan Shirley)

(Flickr/Creative Commons/Dan Shirley)



1| “Okay, kaya ‘ko ‘to, kailangan kong pumasok. Auto in!”

This is you whenever a freak monsoon squall inundates your neighborhood in a waist-deep primordial soup of dog shit, motor oil and swimming rodents two hours before shift. Most days, you just avoid running late.


2| “That girl is coming on to me waaaay too sweet. Where’s my pepper spray?”

Everyone is a potential criminal; every move by a stranger is highly suspect. You get jumpier commuting at night than drinking a dozen cups of coffee.  


3| In the MRT: “Isa pang tulak sir sasaksakin na kita sa leeg.”

Manila’s slow-moving, cramped, oven-hot trains  are fucking fight clubs on wheels. Enough said. I hope you’re reading this, Joseph Abaya.


4| “Calls pa more.”

Sometimes you regret ever signing up for a call center job. It’s mentally tiring and it’s hard to pacify irate callers. But you gotta do what you gotta do; after all, you have mortgages to pay for.


5| “Hay QA time na naman.”

You’re split about getting off the phones for coaching. A lot of times, it’s fun and you get good reviews. But there are days when you do one mistake too many and just suck so hard on a call or service request that ends up being reviewed.


6| “Baks level up na ako sa League of (insert new fad smartphone game here)!”

You get a wee bit too excited whenever you hit a new game milestone. This might be a symptom of something.


7| “I hope people don’t rip each other’s heads off while I’m gone.”

You wish there was a switch somewhere in your brain that lets you shake off whatever shit’s been going down back at home.


8| “Sweet naman ng anak ko, kaso baka lapain siya ng aso pabalik ng bahay.”

The people you love try to go out of their way to make you feel safe and secure whenever you leave the house, which in turn makes you feel anxious about their own safety.


9| “Kilala pa ba ako ng anak ko sunod na balik ko sa probinsya?”

The night shift is the closest you can get to working abroad without ever leaving the country. You often catch yourself worrying that your child might grow apart from you.


10| “Okay, 30 minutes with the missus. Gotta make this count.”

It’s hard to make pork happen when you only ever meet your partner at home before and after work for just half an hour. There, there Mr. Blue Balls, there’s always your rest days.


(Flickr/Creative Commons/Avital Pinnick)
(Flickr/Creative Commons/Avital Pinnick)


11| “Monthsary na namin ni honey pero hassle #CriticalWallet.”

You make five digits every cutoff and you still end up skipping lunch in the few agonizing days before the next payday what the hell is wrong with you?



You hate the first day of your work week, and one of the hardest things to do in life is to haul yourself back to the office after an amazing weekend.


13| “I feel so tied down by this job.”

The night shift can make you all contemplate-y and weirdly existential. It must be the lack of daytime distractions like open stores and lovebirds lipsynching to random songs on TV. Plus, nothing makes a millennial more antsy than a stable 9-to-5.


14| “I hope my child’s asleep now. Oh shit I left the crayons out on the table.”

It’s hard to be a parent on the night shift. Sometime in the middle of your commute, you suddenly remember one of at least 12 million things that could go wrong with your kid at home, and feel a strong urge to run back to the house to make sure everything is okay.


15| “Patay di na tumatalab yung energy drinks.”

Energy drinks are like antibiotics. You need more potent doses as your body fights your attempts at forcing a body clock change. The result of this dependency: you become an aimless, constantly burping creature who’s always groggy as fuck.


16| “Hi crush, pwede ba kitang maka-AC?”

Is she noticing the five o-clock shadow I worked all week on? I do hope he likes my new hoodie. My arm accidentally brushing hers in the elevator was the best part of my shift. Oh my God, he looked so hot in the smoking lounge I came twice.



You live for the 15th and 30th of the month. Simply hearing the words “Pay has been credited” gives you an instant shot of dopamine. Or adrenaline, if you’re one of those I’ll-beat-y’all-to-the-ATM-motherfuckers types.


18| “Trapik ba?”

Metro Manila traffic is the spawn of Satan. You can never predict it, and happens seemingly for the sole purpose of inconveniencing the shit out of everyone. Your navigation apps become useless as the bus you’re riding in tries to plow into the next lane and ends up causing more intractable gridlock. A lot of times, you’re simply better off walking.


19| “Ano kaya kakainin ko mayang lunch?”

Work might be stressful and your home life could be giving you some grief, but you can always think about what you’ll be eating for lunch. It’s a mental yosi break, and God knows a BPO worker on the night shift needs all the mental yosi breaks she can get.

Toby Roca is a full-time BPO worker and part-time millennial. Tweet him at @tobyroca.

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