Tales from the Cube-Farm: “The Collections Curse”

Fotosearch_pgi0082 (1)Our Credit & Collections team needs a good witch doctor.

This group has the highest turnover within the company. As fast as we can get them in, we shove them out. The department was created only 18 months ago and no one from that original team has survived to today. From the current crop, we’re placing bets to see who’ll be tossed out each month.

We started out that first day in October with Lewis, the manager, and Patricia, a collector. Lewis was a strident, solid kind of middle-aged guy. Patricia was loud and talkative, didn’t know how to use the copier nor email. She updated the accounts on paper because she was “uncomfortable using the computer.” (Did I mention we’re primarily a software company?).

Lewis was blessed with neither tact nor diplomacy. He was very old-school and one morning I heard him yelling at Pat: “If you’d just shut up and quit your yap-yap-yapping, you’d understand what I’m saying!!”

The following day, Patricia was dismissed. She lasted 2 months.

In January, we hired a temp, a young man straight out of college, to help out by making some collections calls. He stuck around for as long as it took him to find another job, we reasoned, because one Friday after he left work, he emailed Lewis his resignation. I guess he didn’t like the way Lewis would hover over him all day. I can’t even remember his name. He was in an out in a month.

Lewis wasn’t having a great time either. He was losing his staff members. Then in March, the CFO himself personally hired someone he had previously worked with who had a proven track record in credit and collections: the Hot Latina!

But Lewis didn’t appreciate anyone hiring a member of his staff without checking with him first. Not even the CFO. And believe me, he made his feelings known to everyone. Lewis liked to manage people. He liked giving them daily assignments and have them report back to him in the evening. Like he was dealing with children.

After the Hot Latina started working here, he tried to make things as difficult as possible for her. He didn’t give her access to any of the online tools that she needed to do her job, insisting that she needed to go through him first. Pretty much anything she needed to get done, he wanted to check it first. It was so deliberate and childish, considering that she had several more years experience doing this type of work than he did.

He could have continued with this for a while, except for one thing: she was collecting on old debts and being very efficient at her job, even without his help. She was also much more computer savvy than he was and that eventually became his downfall. People in charge began to notice.

She started showing up his weaknesses when questions were being asked of him that he couldn’t answer, but she could.

And so, unable to take “the pressure” anymore, he resigned in mid-April last year. He claimed the company was hiring people he didn’t like in his department and he wasn’t going to stand for it.

Out he went, after 6 months, leaving the Hot Latina in charge.

So that’s three down after only 6 months. How many more to go? Stay tuned because there’s so much more to tell.

Do you think that department’s cursed or just getting bad hires? The rest of us in Finance have remained there since day one.

Surely they’re cursed! What other reason could there be? Anyone know a counter-curse?



Someone is playing around with our collections team! We need a counter curse.


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