Strangers in the Night

Call center workers at their desk at night

One of the Philippines’ main assets is the 1.2 million youngsters who work in call centers: together, they create an industry with a turnaround of over 12 billion U.S. dollars a year and a 25% growth rate. The companies which use call centers are mostly American: due to the time difference, the employees who answer the calls live an upside down life, working at night and sleeping by day.

The offices are microcosms disconnected from reality, where food is consumed at unlikely hours, love relations are forged and broken, babies have been born. Most of the times, the customers calling from the U.S. ignore that they are speaking with Filipinos: the real name is seldom disclosed, the American accent, sometimes shaped by a specific training, is perfect, and employees often receive the most intimate confessions by customers who feel a little too lonely.

Their life is stressful, so much that their career is typically over after a few years. As a sign of gratitude, the city of Manila even celebrated them with a monument. The statues have no face: they only wear a headset.