Early Burnout

MANILA, August 8, 2010 (AFP) – Daybreak is happy hour in a world turned upside down at a trendy bar in the Philippines’ financial district, the clientele young and loud and with a vague California accent. Vodka cruisers and beer fly by the bucketful as good friends Cici, Pau and Jels go off duty along with the rest of the night shift in the nation’s half-million strong business process outsourcing (BPO) workforce.

Even the hors d’oeuvres are edgy — “drunken” shrimp and green mango soaked in pale pilsen — reflecting the punishing lifestyles of the partygoers.

“I used to drink eight bottles of Red Horse at a time and still find my way home,” said 28-year-old Cici, discussing a local brew known for its high alcohol content and often called “The Devil’s Own Juice.”

The group of young women really let their hair down on Saturdays, hitting bars, beaches or shopping malls all day so they can socialise with friends outside the industry and sleep at least for one night like a normal person.

Life in many ways is a blast for the young, single and educated in the outsourcing industry.

Entry-level jobs bring salaries of 300 dollars a month with the promise of triple that after a few