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Are you considering pursuing a career in logistics? This technical advisor sat down with us to share his story in the hopes that it would help other professionals entering the field of logistics.

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 work in the logistics department of a company. My exact title is Logistics Technical Advisor. Right now, I have 3 years of experience with this company, although I was in the military before this and I had experience in logistics.

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: I do a lot of computer work and what I do is pretty precise. Any errors can really have big consequences. At times my job is tedious and then, if something goes wrong, it can be pretty stressful trying to get the situation fixed. Basically, I am responsible for creating the routes that drivers take from picking up the product at our warehouse to delivering the product at our customers.

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: Right now, my job satisfaction is somewhat low. I like my job but the company that I work for isn't really too employee friendly. Right now, with the economy it is difficult to make changes though and I'm just glad to have a job. I'm hoping that things will change in the near future.

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 got started in this career line because of my job in the military. I did many things there, but I also helped with the supply runs. The supplies kept the troops in the field stocked with food and other supplies. When I got out of the military, I was looking for a civilian job where I could use the skills I had learned in the military. This was the job I got. I don't think I'd change even if I could go back and do it differently.

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

A: I learned that sometimes the best made plans can get ruined in an instant. That is why you need to have good problem solving skills and you also need to be able to keep calm in a situation. For example, a truck driver was delivering a hazardous load to this one business. During the trip, his truck broke down and the tank he was carrying began to leak. We had to get people out there to fix the truck as well as people to fix the tank. That meant jumping through a lot of hoops to get that done and keep everyone safe. In addition, I had to also deal with the angry customer who needed his supplies in order to keep his company running. He didn't really care about the problems, he just wanted his delivery!

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

A: I've learned many things so it is hard to actually think about the single most important thing. I guess that probably the most important thing I've learned is that work is all about the people that you work with. The people that you have on your team can really make or break your work experience. I've also learned that if everyone works together, you can accomplish a lot. If you don't or you have someone who is just not a team player, things can get difficult. I've learned too that life happens. Even if you think you have the plan laid out and that you've covered all the angles, something can still go wrong.

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

A: I'd say that my job is pretty stressful. I kinda like stress and the fast pace because I think that it helps me to stay focused. I also am used to people yelling--I was in the military for 20 years! I don't take it too personally. But, for someone that doesn't like stress or problems or people yelling at you, logistics can be very difficult. Some of my co-workers get really upset and have a hard time letting go of stuff that happens at the office when they go home. I try to do the best I can and beyond that, I can't really do too much more. That is my attitude. I leave work at work and home stuff at home.

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

A: There are a lot of challenges at my particular job. Maybe it isn't that way for all logistics positions, but it can be that way where I work. The things that just make me want to quit are when things go wrong that really are out of my control and I'm dealing with angry people and trying to find a way to accomplish my job. For example, we had a situation where a truck broke down and we couldn't get anyone out to help the guy for a few days. He was out in a pretty desolate area of the country and we just didn't have anyone near to him at the time. That meant finding a place for him to stay and making sure he was safe as well as sending a tow truck out to get the truck. It also meant dealing with the customer. To be honest, at that point, delivering the product was really at the bottom of my priority list and I wasn't really sure when I could get it there. All I could say to him was "as soon as possible". Sometimes, people accept things and go with the flow. Other times, people can get really nasty. The truck driver was angry at me, the customer was angry at me, and my boss was getting calls so he was upset too. When things like that happen, I want to quit! However, in a few days it all blew over and the customer apologized to me. Then, the truck driver thanked me for helping him out. So, I guess it all evens out eventually.

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

A: I started out working swing shift and making $40,000 a year. But I was getting a military pension so it was ok. Also, I don't have kids and I just recently got married. For my wife and I, this job is ok and we make enough to meet our basic needs. Of course, everyone would like to make more money than they do. I've learned to be happy with what I have. I suppose that people working in other companies might make more or less. You also might make more money if you have had more experience coming into the job. I get regular reviews and pay raises so that also helps out financially. Some of the guys who need to make more money because they have a family work extra shifts.

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

A: I work swing shift and have four long shifts and then three days off a week. Sometimes, we can get away for a long weekend and other times I need to sleep because my work schedule has been so crazy. I do get a pretty good amount of vacation with my company though. I'm pretty happy with that.

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

A: I think I'd tell a friend who was considering this line of work to come to the office with me for a few days. That way, they can see if they'd really like it or if it would just stress them out. It is kind of a difficult job to describe to someone. It is one of those things that you really need to experience to understand.