After taking a four-month hiatus from work last year, I found myself knee-deep in a wide job search across the Philippines. As I browsed hundreds of job postings across all the major online platforms, I kept noticing one phrase pop up time and time again. “Fast-paced.”
No matter the industry, no matter the company size, no matter its history, nearly every firm in the Philippines liked to describe their working culture as “fast-paced.” As in, “The ideal candidate should have experience working in a fast-paced environment.” With so many companies calling their work environment “fast-paced,” the phrase lost its meaning. It’s not like other companies boast about having a “medium-paced” or “slow-paced” environment.
Given the fact that “fast-paced” was such a fuzzy descriptor, I wondered why so many Filipino companies liked to claim that their company’s work environment was “fast-paced.” Did they believe it would attract the most productive talent from the employment pool? Did they think it would magnetize those who were ready to sacrifice work-life balance? Or those who move quickly across the office, barking orders to this person and that person?
As you're looking for jobs, you're going to see the phrase "fast-paced" come up again and again. Make sure to ask, "What does 'fast-paced' mean in your company culture?"
Applying at Boldr
I didn’t think about this phrase again until I applied for a position with Boldr, an impact-driven outsourcing company based in Manila. Tellingly enough, their job posting did not defer to the cliche of a “fast-paced environment.” Instead, they instead called their work culture a “team environment.” I found out that Boldr was also very new. It was founded earlier that year, and had grown to over 70 people in 7 months, with international clients.
When Boldr offered me a position as a Service Delivery Manager, I had my fair share of doubts. I previously worked for a Japan-based company with global offices in six locations and hundreds of employees. Boldr was none of those things yet. In fact, Boldr was more akin to a social enterprise startup. While it operated in the same field as other business processing outsourcing (BPO) companies, its tagline was “Outsourcing with impact.” Rather than just offering services as cheaply as possible, Boldr wanted to create a real-world impact on not only their clients, but also the team members who serve them and the community they belong to.
The challenge (and opportunity) of building from the ground up was one that I eagerly took on.
I accepted the role, and it was through Boldr that I came to realize why companies like to advertise themselves as fast-paced, even if they don’t precisely know why themselves.
Working at Boldr
Boldr offers three core services: Data Management, Sales Enablement, and the category that I used to manage, Customer Experience. Within Customer Experience, I worked with phone, email, and chat platforms, while keeping an eye out for technological updates to streamline our work.
In this capacity, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and master new platforms like Zendesk and Freshdesk. Still, my ultimate goal for customer experience is much broader: Rather than reactively fixing customer problems, I want to take a holistic approach, addressing issues before they even begin, and at their root.
My growth from handling Customer Experience helped equip me for my current role, Business Implementations Manager. In a nutshell, I specialize in designing custom solutions and implementing them for our new partners.
Since my end goal is so bold (haha), my work life at Boldr changes every day, if not every minute, as I lay the groundwork toward achieving holistic customer service. If no two days are the same at other companies, then no two hours are the same at Boldr. Because of the agility that Boldr demands of its team members, to switch from one task to another with ease, I would say it’s fair to call our work environment “fast-paced.” And what’s more, I now know why companies covet the term so much.
So, what does “fast-paced” really mean?
Companies that truly have fast-paced work environments, like Boldr and other startups, tend to attract a certain type of people. Though they vary in talent and skill set, I’d define them broadly as people who embrace change. These are the people you want to surround yourself with, for if you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you’d want to be with the people who are always learning new things, right?
That’s why I encourage Filipinos to obtain jobs at startups and other nimble organizations which are truly fast-paced, for the only thing that changes faster than the nature of their work is what we all wish to improve: ourselves.