Consumer Collections….The human bull’s eye

I spent too much time as a teenager playing video games when I should have been attempting to figure out what I should do for a career (I still have little more than an idea). I tried to put myself through college, but couldn’t afford to do it while earning $4.25 per hour at a video store working for Ebeneezer Scrooge, and I had never heard of Pell Grants. I did 2 semesters and quit to get a full time job in a factory, the same one that caused my Mom to lose all the cartilage in one of her knees because of being on your feet ALL day, not to mention working with radial arm saws, drill presses, punch presses, etc. I married a woman who lived in another state and had to move to where she lived. For a while, she agreed on living somewhere else where I wanted to live, but I couldn’t find a job that would pay more than $10 per hour and the cost of housing was outrageous. For personal reasons we have chosen to live on one income. When her brother advised me to apply for a job where he worked, I felt the mature thing to do was to try for it. It was a job in consumer collections for a very large mortgage company. I hoped I wouldn’t get it. I did. We moved back to where I have hated living more than anyplace else I’ve ever been. All so I could make a dollar more an hour to start.

I’ve been a 30 day collections rep for about a year now and have hated virtually every minute of it. I was very timid and apologized to every person I called at first. Eventually I got fed up with all the unprovoked hostility and started lashing back. The management expects certain things out of every call-lots of uncomfortable personal finance questions to ask. The very nature of the job is uncomfortable, asking people what they spent their money on instead of their mortgage payment, asking when they get paid, asking for their work phone number, etc. It’s worsened exponentially by the unbelievably vicious, arrogant, vehement, loud, vulgar, racist, blasphemous, uncivil, and just plain savage behavior of some ot the people I talk to every day. It’s like somebody put lips on hell and I have to listen to it. From being lied to when I ask for someone to being verbally abused and insulted in remarkably loud, screaming voices, I have heard it all. I call every person beginning the conversation as politely as if I were talking to my own grandmother and some people respond by making me want to show up at their front door with a shotgun with the barrell sawed-off in one hand and the keys to a bulldozer that is parked behind me in the other, saying “Bring your account current, pay your bills on time from now on like everybody else, and apologize for the way you have talked to me, or get everybody out of the house right now!!!!”.

Despite how pointless and meaningless my job feels to me, I used to think it might be worth it when I was getting $1,000-$2,000 a month in bonuses, if we bonused. The abuse keeps wearing on me, the hours keep getting fiddled with, I keep acting more and more like the people I talk to, and I desparately want a way out. I’d really like to do something involving science and technology. I’d love to be involved in a major breakthrough, or at least feel like I’m contributing to the world somehow. I haven’t got the education of the experience for much more than entry level production and assembly and I haven’t had a work schedule that would allow me to go back to school since I’ve been working where I am. I’m on the lookout for the bottom rung of the ladder I want to climb. Right now I’m stuck on one of those poles that fire fighters slide down when responding to an alarm.

To whom it may concern, never get mixed up in consumer collections.