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This bilingual customer service representative who works in the logistics industry shares her story in this interview about her career. In it, she explains how speaking both Spanish and English has made her an asset in the workplace, as well as how befriend your boss and not being intimidated by your superiors can help you succeed.

Q: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?

A: I worked in logistics customer service for 4 years. In my last position, I was an internet customer service representative for various magazine publishers. In general, I am efficient, adaptable and versatile.

Q: What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?

A: I am a Hispanic female but that has not affected my opportunities. It's the fact that I am bilingual in this area that has made me stand out. The Hispanic community is just starting to grow and the need for bilingual employees is in demand in this predominant English-speaking state. Though I look Hispanic, I am surprised how many people do not assume that I speak Spanish. So far, I have yet to encounter any discrimination in my career or personal life.

Q: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A: My job requires assisting customers with any product-related questions or issues. Generally, customers need to change an address on their subscription, make a payment, or report missing magazines. There are many misunderstandings both from customers and potential employees. Customers believe we have access to every detail of their information but in logistics, certain information is kept with the client (the actual magazine publisher & their marketing department) and only their subscription information is given to us (the company handling the customer service side). And potential employees, whom never worked in customer service or logistics) believe the job is mindless and they will have a script for everything. That is incorrect. We never know what a customer will request or what attitude they will have when contacting us, so we are provided with the knowledge to execute the transactions requested of us but how we interact with the customer while completing their requests is up to us. As long as we satisfy the customer and meet the minimum standards, we are free to work in the manner that suits us best.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A: I would rate my satisfaction a 7, only because I was a temporary employee for a longer period than I should have been with my performance and experience. There were many changes happening within the company and they never seemed to know whether they could hire another person on a permanent basis. That was fine, I understood that. But I real dissatisfaction came when all temporary employees were used to fill in the gaps in other work areas. For me, that meant getting switched from full time internet customer service (emails and chats) to full time customer calls indefinitely. They did have the right to do so but I interviewed for the internet position and did not volunteer for full-time phone position. It was disappointing. I would have been more accepting had they provided more advanced notice or any incentive, as full-time phone customer service representatives get benefits and prizes, but none of those were presented.

Q: If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A: This job or industry is not my calling. I happen to do it well and I do it to help my family and show my kids that we do have we have to do sometimes. My true calling requires some capital to start my own organization and in this economy, that is just a dream for now. Someday it may happen.

Q: Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

A: No, not really. If anything, it's ordinary. I am a working mother of 2 young children just entering elementary school.

Q: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A: I started in college. As soon as entering college, I got a job at my university's business services office. It had nothing to do with my major but it was simple enough & the hours worked for me. I could work in between classes. Had I known the job market a little better, I would have worked or volunteered in a line of business closer to my major. Upon graduating, no one would hire me as I did not have experience in my field, so I entered the job market with my office experience.

Q: What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this lesson?

A: I guess I would say that no matter how good you are, the company's business priorities don't always work in your favor. I wasn't prepared for that in this job.

Q: What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

A: Most people are intimidated by their boss and their superiors. I was able to shed that fear early on thanks to my first boss. He exposed me to all of his superiors and I found they were all grounded people. I found that to be the case in all my jobs. As long as I did my job well, what were they going to do to me? It works in my favor to come off as competent and confident.

Q: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

A: I had a customer threaten suicide. I don't know why. It was just a magazine subscription invoice.

Q: Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

A: Contributing income to our household and having all our bills paid on time each month keeps me going. Having a family on one median income in this economy is tough. I am happy to do my part so that my family can focus on the important things in life.

Q: What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you want to just quit?

A: I always get taken advantage of without additional compensation. It happens with every position. I decided not to let it happen again, but I feel shut out. They know what I can do but do not offer any opportunities.

Q: How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?

A: It's a little stressful to meet minimum standards on customer calls. When a customer calls in irate, that certainly stresses me out as well. The good thing about the job is that you cannot take it home with you. Once you walk out of the office, it's done, until your next shift.

Q: What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A: The salaries range from $9-$14 per hour. I am satisfied with my pay but do wish for a little more. Who doesn't?

Q: How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

A: I take 2 weeks per year, one week at a time, and all the major holidays. It's average so I have nothing to complain about.

Q: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

A: A high school diploma is needed. Intermediate computer experience, typing at least 35 wpm, and good customer service phone skills.

Q: What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

A: You know what you're capable of doing. The transactions are repetitive but everyday plays out a little different than the next. Can you deal with repetitive work and sometimes angry customers?

Q: If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

A: I would like to head my own department dedicated in changing or developing new procedures for the company.