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A career dead end

Youth activist Sachidananda Satpathy is anxious about the beguiling call centre job


OVER THE past 15 years, annual employment growth in India has decreased from 2.7 per cent to just 1.1 per cent — a shocking 76 per cent fall. This provokes many Bangaloreans to work in call centres, where life starts by night with a "May I help you?"

Grave consequences

There are grave consequences to joining call centres as a source of quick money. It's enraging to see kids from Bangalore pretending to be from Boston because they work in MNC call centres. Many engineering and professional graduates are getting into call centres to kill time for a year or so before doing their masters.

Young people sit 12 to 14 hours and even in night shifts for $150 a month only to reach a career dead-end. People want quick money, which they get in such places, along with the glamour of the work place. This is absolutely absurd.

Youngsters are losing the technical skills they had developed over the years, and spending sleepless nights in the call centres doing menial tasks of data processing. One has no social life and loses touch with friends. There are instances where employees working in call centres sometimes forget themselves and answer their home phone with an American accent.

A British medical journal The Lancet states that South India has the highest rate of youth suicide in the world. Some 50,000 in the area kill themselves every year.

This becomes more alarming because the total number of suicide cases recorded in the whole of India in 2002 was 1,54,000. Suicide is now claiming more and more youngsters.

This is because of lack of pride in agriculture and a wrong notion that city life is better than life in villages. In developed societies, there is dignity of labour. It does not matter whether you are a doctor, engineer, lawyer, carpenter, or farmer. Even a farmer is made to realise that his contribution is valuable to society.

No self-respect

But in India, we don't respect peons, clerks and washer men. Lower class people are made to think that they are of no use to society. How can one contribute to his society if he has no sense of belonging to it? One would not hesitate to become a farmer or carpenter if one gets the same respect from society and adequate earning from that.

SOUND OFF! is your space. Feel strongly about something? Want to get it off your chest? Just e-mail us at bangaloremetro@thehindu.co.in and, who knows, you might be

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