I pictured a ragtag tough squad of big men with baseball bats and chewing tobacco when I started my first job as a debt collector. At social gatherings, when asked what I did for a living, I made the sea of bodies part and disappear when I stated, “I’m a bill collector.” As if I could see through any human being with my super-woman x-ray vision and know their credit score. But perception doesn’t always equal reality—it certainly didn’t in my case. I discovered the debt collection industry has many positive aspects, including a few famous alumni. Demi Moore collected debt for a living, and so did Tyler Perry (I know that about him because I worked with him in Atlanta many years ago).
As an agent of resolution, young naive me didn’t understand that people don’t always pay their bills. I learned that some folks avoid, while others forgot or cannot pay at that moment, and there are people who may never pay. Years have passed since my first collection call, regulatory agencies have tightened policies, organizations have changed the way they do business—yet approaching consumers has always remained the same for me. My neighbor, family member, fellow consumer, fellow human being is on the other end of that phone—I will be kind and I will work together with him/her to resolve their situation.
It’s nice to have spent the last eight years of my life working in an organization that shares my values. Thank you, AllianceOne team for your humanity, especially during times of Corona Virus.
Contributed by: Roni Teson