The Bulgarian capital Sofia is the most important outsourcing location in Europe. That is because salaries are chronically low. Even cheaper locations in the Far East, such as India, are not able to offer services in all languages required for European or e.g. South American customers.
Dimitar (name changed) was only 19 years old, when he started his career at one of Bulgaria's largest employers, the Sofia division of a global IT company. About a decade later, this gifted, young gentleman became a high-ranking manager. He is now responsible for several departments with hundreds of employees. As a customer support agent, Dimitar proved to be technically very knowledgeable. As a teamleader and supervisor, he demonstrated excellent inter-personal and organisational skills. All of this has led to a stunning career, which is far from over. Within a few years, Dimitar might be one of the highest-ranking managers in his company.
So, what is the problem then? In Dimitar's case, there is absolutely none. He is hopefully the future. Under his direct watch, nobody will be bullied by superiors or become the victim of similar nuisances. But the general issue is that Dimitar is an exception in a world of incompetence, ignorance and annoyance.
At the same facility, a support agent got very ill. Since his girlfriend had just left him with all the funds he possessed, some colleagues thought it would be a good idea to start a collection for him, because he needed expensive medical devices. The person who had come up with the idea of that collection, which had been approved by a kind HR lady, was approached by the ill colleague's team leader. He suggested, the guy who wanted to help "should pay for the medical stuff out of his own pocket" and "stop creating a mess". Threats were vocalised. In the end, the collection did not happen.
Training sessions on rather complex software programs lasted 20 minutes. Those who were supposed to provide support on those programs, were basically unable to do so on their own. When they asked questions, they were bullied. As a result of those practices, this call center recently lost entire language teams to a competitor, while the management was wondering why.
Dealing with bullying supervisors and not being intimidated by their crap might not be easy for many 20-year-olds, who just left their universities. Those who accept their daily portion of bullying, might keep their jobs, but they will feel bad every morning, while approaching their workplace. Those who show the slightest opposition to the meanness, will be bullied even more, until they go.
The reason for the kind of treatment might partially be found in the past. People who were bullied at their workplace in Socialist Bulgaria, might think of it as a normal approach and pass it on to their employees decades later. That way, they become role models to younger supervisors, who will behave that way as well. But the issue is also caused by incompetence, arrogance and meanness. In a Facebook group called "Foreigners in Sofia & Friends", many members (mostly Bulgarians) agreed with most of the content of this blog. Others suggested, the author should "stop whining", and "return to his home country". One lady wrote, educated people would not mention issues, but rather look for another job. But ignoring the problems mentioned here is actually part of the problem.
So, where does the unacceptable treatment of decent people in Bulgarian call centers come from? I don't have the slightest clue, apart from some possible reasons mentioned above. But I'm glad I got out of this shit.