Question: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field?
Answer: My official job title is "property manager". I have 2 years experience working as a property manager.
Question: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
Answer: I have an associate's degree in accounting. I was working in that field until my recent separation and divorce. I moved back home with my parents after the divorce until I could get on my feet again. One of the reasons why I took the job as a property manager was because I could have a rent free apartment in the complex I manage as part of my benefits. That really was the reason why I first took this job.
Question: 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?
Answer: I am sort of like the "dorm mom" at a college. I make sure that things are running smoothly in the complex and I also collect rent. Basically, I am the person that people come to when they have a problem. It is not uncommon for me to get calls and knocks on my door at all hours of the day and night. I've gotten somewhat used to it.
Question: What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this hard-learned lesson?
Answer: I have learned a lot in this job. I've learned a lot about people in general. Some of the things I have learned are quite shocking frankly. I have learned that you need to trust your gut instincts sometimes and that desperate people can do desperate things. When I first started here, I had a family that was behind on the rent. I just didn't have a good feeling about things when I knocked on the door to collect the rent. I heard a lot of screaming and yelling. I knocked on the door and the man told me to go away. I got angry and knocked again. He opened the door and put a gun to my head and shoved me into the apartment while his wife went running out the door. He eventually let me go, but it was scary. I found out later that he had a long history of issues and had been in and out of jail. In other words, I probably should not have gone out there alone to collect the rent. I definitely should not have gone out there alone to confront him with the fact that he was behind on the rent! I do things a little bit differently since that day. If I hear screaming and yelling going on behind the door, I go to collect rent from another apartment. I can come back another time when things are calmer.
Question: What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you really want to pull your hair out?
Answer: There are some people that just really aren't happy unless they are complaining. Those are the types of people that make me want to pull my hair out. That and the people who create problems just because they are lonely and want to talk to someone. I have this one lady that creates problems when she gets stressed or lonely. If she's bored, she'll decide that there is something wrong with the TV reception or the heat in her apartment. At least it seems that way.
Question: What's a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?
Answer: I make about $26,500 a year before you factor in benefits. That might not seem like a lot, but I also do not have to pay rent or utilities. Am I happy living within my means? No, not really. I'd love to have a job where I made "6 figures", but this is the reality I have to deal with right now. Besides, even if I made 10 times as much as I make now, I would still have to live within my means. I doubt I would enjoy that either.
Question: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
Answer: The job advertisement that I responded to specified that applicants needed a high school diploma. My boss is thrilled that I have some college, but it isn't necessary.
Question: 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?
Answer: I get up and go to work each day because I need the money! That sounds bad actually. The truth is that I like my job. If I didn't, I wouldn't be working here. I like the fact that I am a "work at home" mom. I like the fact that I do not have to commute to work and I like the fact that I can be there for my kids. I also like the fact that I get a nice looking apartment as part of the perks on my job. Of course, I love working with people. Most of the people in the complex are really nice and they are like my family. I can't imagine living anywhere else! I love what I do!
This is a true story as told to LatPro.com, the worldwide leader in providing online employment resources for Hispanic and bilingual professionals. With 95 of the Fortune 100 companies using its service, LatPro is the largest diversity employment site in the U.S. and the most complete personal career advancement service for Latino and bilingual professionals.