An overly smug forum moderator asked the not-so-innocent question in front of other non BPO industry participants and students.
great, something that even the Department of Health nor the national government can resolve has been reduced to a very simplistic question as if my industry can provide the answer to this mystery.
"Let's put it this way, call center agents don't change their values overnight. the current situation is just a superficial symptom of a deeper issue of how they were brought up as well as the values taught by the environment that has a bigger influence in their character - the school."
if you ever heard of the expression "drowning in silence" then you know that it was uncomfortable. for the facilitator that is.
i was barely warming up.
"considering that my industry is the single biggest employer in this country today, well, except for the government..." nervous laughter from the crowd - "then statistically, there is a bigger probability that there'd be more instance of HIV or AIDS or for that matter, ANYTHING compared to everyone else except perhaps for the sex industry."
"and let me correct the notion, what you probably meant was that the news indicated that call center employees have a higher risk of HIV or AIDS infection, that is, if you were referring to the article that came out from Freeman."
"the article never indicated how many actually have HIV or AIDS, it focused on sexual activity in all it's variation as well as behaviors and attitude of call center agents who are too young, with too much money and very little foundation taught to them in their own homes and in school."
"in fact, if i remember right, the article mentioned that there is a statistical bias to the study as it never asked the question of sexual activity prior to getting into this industry. i fear that sweeping statements like yours does more damage than actually working to find a solution to this problem. a case in point, though we do have employees with smoking and drinking as vices, majority of them have already learned this skill even before they stepped into our company."
at that point i can hear nervous twitter from the crowd.
"regarding your question as to what the industry is doing to combat this, the reality is that there is already a reaction and definite plan of action that each company needs to implement that focuses on information and values campaign among employees. unfortunately, or should we say fortunately, our non discrimination and equal opportunity policies does not allow us to ask questions of sexual behavior during an interview.
but as any psychologist would tell you, values don't change overnight. in as much as we are responsible for educating and influencing the behavior of our employees, it is very much a function of the family and school as well."
disclaimer - this did not happen though i wished it actually did. a little knowledge is worse than ignorance.