Editor's note: We are starting a new series wherein Brighter Life readers can send the team questions and we will be doing our best to answer. Our first edition is an email from Marie, a call center associate.

Earlier this year, Sun Life shared this delightful infographic which revealed that in 2012, the main drivers of the country’s GDP were Overseas Filipino Workers {OFWs} and the Business Process Outsourcing {BPO} industry.

Unlike the standard 8-5 day job, the BPO industry faces many different circumstances called for by the profession. Scientific studies show, according to Daniel Hackam of Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre of London, ON, that going against the circadian rhythm of your body clock endangers your health, “Night shifts were linked with the steepest increase in risk of 41 per cent for coronary events.” In a study conducted amongst 2 million shift workers, which state that night shift ups the risk of a stroke by 41%. More than occupational hazards, working against normal business hours means having to make time for bank appointments, paying bills, doing groceries and government office errands.

Cris*, 29, a trainer for one of the top BPOs in the Philippines shares, “Most of us need to cope up with the sleepiness during 12 AM, when it’s our lunch break. I started to smoke when five years ago, at another call center. By 9 AM, we’re on to our second bucket of beer. My son has to be in school by 7 AM and I don’t finish work till 8 so might as well drink. But it’s okay, it’s a small tradeoff for being able to earn double than I would be if I was out of the call center industry.”

To address Marie and Cris*, the Brighter Life team put together tips to pave the way for brighter finances for our BPO friends:

  1. List down your expenses. Account for all your expenses and your salary. The rule of thumb in preparing for a rainy day is taking away savings every payday before allocating funds carefully for needs such as rent/home payment, groceries, utilities etc. after. A rational percentage of savings is at least 10% of your total take home pay. Say you earn PHP 18,000 net, stash away 1,800 in a separate bank account.

  2. Take care of your health. As it is, night shifts are extra harsh on the body, much more if you subject yourself to chemicals. Refrain, if you can, from smoking and taking in too much alcohol. Snack on fruits when you can and take vitamins daily.

  3. Write down your goals and carefully plan for them. Due to the volume of calls and emails being serviced by BPOs in a day, vacation leaves are often planned months before. If you’re planning to travel, go on vacation or as go to your child’s graduation, advise your line manager months before. When it comes to budgeting, time is your best ally. Planning to go around Asia? Contact your financial advisor on where best to invest your savings to yield enough returns for your Korea trip. Having a baby? Make sure you send her to the best school by getting her an investment plan for her tuition fees, 17 years from now. The best thing about the financial services industry such as Sun Life is that advisors can meet you at your most convenient time, and not necessarily during conventional work hours.

  4. Get active. Like most jobs, sitting in your workstation means a sedentary life. Try squeezing a 5 KM run before your shift, which will also energize you for the work ahead. On weekends, try out new sports such as boxing, soccer or even yoga.

  5. Learn something new. It could be on a weekend, and it could be something as fun like a watercolor class. Or you and your friends can try out a cooking class. One weekend, a trip to the museum might be fun excursion for you. The important thing is to keep learning.

We hope that helps BPO friends!

Tara Cabullo Tara Cabullo

Tara Cabullo

Tara is the lifestyle blogger behind ChroniclesofVanity.com, a founding member of the Brighter Life Team, a BDJ Box Beauty Minister, and a digital marketer for a Telco company.