JustJobs Interviews: Quality Monitor Manager

JustJobs interviews professionals working in a variety of fields. The good folks there have given me permission to post some of their interviews here. So if you’re wondering what it’s like to work in a specific field, you might want to check in here frequently. I’ll be posting interviews as I get them.

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Considered working as a quality monitor manager? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story told anonymously, to get you closer to the truth about this line of work.

What is your job title? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
My current job title is Quality Monitor Manager, and I have spent three years in that specific field.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?
A typical day finds me coming in and meeting with my team of monitors to discuss the plan for the day; who will be getting monitored, how many calls need to be done within the day, what trends we are seeing with the departments we support. From there, I take that information and meet with the management teams of the departments we monitor providing stats on how they’re doing month to date, what they’re doing well, and areas they may want to keep an eye on. I also send reports to our compliance teams to make sure we are keeping our reporting up to date to show we are following all federal regulations and guidelines within the mortgage industry. The remainder of the day is spent pulling monitors my team has done, reviewing them for accuracy and coaching them as needed.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what response worked best?
I am a white male, and in today’s society with the amount of focus most companies have placed on diversity, it could be easy to become jaded, thinking that I am getting passed up for positions I am qualified for in order for my company to fill a quota. That being said, I work for a company that is very fair, and whereas they strive to ensure they field a diverse workforce, they are very driven to make sure they are putting the best person in each position based on performance and ability as opposed to any diversity they may or may not posses.

Do you speak any language other than English? If so, how has it helped you in your job?
I speak about enough Spanish and German to get myself in trouble in both Germany and Mexico, but I wouldn’t consider myself multi- or even bilingual.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?
I am pretty satisfied with my current job. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I’m at a seven. Ultimately, I would like to own my own business brewing craft beer, but for now that is just a hobby. Ultimately what would move me closer to a ten in my current job would be to figure out a way to operate without playing office politics.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
The thing I learned the hard way which still sticks with me was when I started this job as a Quality Manager, I was told everyone was happy to have a Quality team in place, and they were excited to have the accountability. What we quickly learned, oddly enough once team members and supervisors were not getting their bonuses because they were not passing their Quality Audits was that we really were not wanted and we were only brought in because one of the higher-ups wanted the appearance of accountability without actually having to answer to it. It created an “us v. them” environment which was not a lot of fun to work in. As I moved on to another line of business, I made sure to stress the relationship side of things between our team and the lines of business we supported, and in that, was able to build some healthy relationships which have allowed us to flourish and really do some good work to help the teams we support today.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
What I wish I would have learned in school that we weren’t taught was how to survive in highly political environments while maintaining your integrity. In many instances, a lot of the “successful” people in Corporate America have gotten to where they are by stepping on everyone and their mother to get there. The money and power is nice, but I’d prefer to keep my soul.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I started progressing towards management because at the time I was a phone rep, and I hated being tied to a phone eight hours a day. If I could go back and do things differently, I would have gone to college right out of high school to get my degree and worked to land a management job right out of the chute.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
In the first year I was doing this job, I was a new manager, and I was in a meeting with a lot of other seasoned managers providing a report on our overall progress. There was one manager who was clearly unhappy with the results, and kept making side comments. When I asked if there was something in particular she had an issue with, she just unloaded on me in a very unprofessional manner, to the point where her peers were telling her she was out of line. She ended up storming out of the meeting in tears. It was very surreal and easily the strangest thing I’ve had happen to me in this job.

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
One of the best feelings about being a Quality Manager is when I have worked with a team member on their approach, and then see they have that “Ah-ha” moment. Then when we continue monitoring them and we hear them using the techniques we had discussed and they are working for them, that is when this job makes me feel like we have done some good.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?
My biggest issue that bothers me the most is when we get handed a big workload which seems insurmountable at the onset, but we have no choice other than to get it done, and a team member reporting to me, doesn’t get on board but instead complains about the task at hand. Sometimes the workload sucks, but we can either get after it and do our best or complain about it while the volumes remain the same. It just irks me when people’s work ethics aren’t the best.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
The job can be stressful, especially when dealing with government regulations and oversight. There are a lot of hoops to jump through now, but at the end of the day I have a beautiful wife and two beautiful little girls, and really, that’s my life. Regardless of the day I have had at work, when I get home and shut the door, I’m just dad, and that’s cool with me.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
I make a fair range. The midpoint for the job title I have is $63K/year, and right now I am about at 91% of that. It caps out close to $80K so there is definitely some room to grow financially. There are days where I’d say I make the right amount, others where I think I’m definitely underpaid, and still others where I can’t believe they’re paying me as much as they are.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
The biggest reward I have ever experienced was when the guy running the lines of business my team supports took me out for a drink after work just to say thank you for all of the hard work we had been doing. Within two months we took his teams who weren’t passing, and got them to rank the highest of all of the groups within our business. End of the day it cost him $5 with tip, and an hour of his time, but the fact he took the time out of his schedule to thank me meant a lot.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?
I think the most challenging moment I faced was when I left the first group I was doing Quality work for, and took one of my team members from that group with me to start the new group I was heading to. I was offered more money to stay, but the environment was quite hostile and it was impacting both my happiness and health, so I opted to go, leaving the raise behind. Because I took one of my previous team members with me, my previous manager tried to go to my new manager and tank my new spot in the company before it started. Because I know I had done nothing wrong, it all came to light in the end, and my previous manager was the one who ended up looking bad because of it. As good as I felt to be found without fault, I’d still prefer to forget that whole ordeal.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
When I started this position, all I had was my Associates in Science Degree, but I’m pretty sure I could have done just as well without it. I have since obtained my Bachelors in Science and Masters in Business Leadership for future goals, I have, but in reality for this position, the only thing I rely on daily is my ability to look at our lines of business with a common sense approach to what they are trying to do, and the ability to communicate with all levels of team members within those lines of business when working towards our goals.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
Just be real with people. At the end of the day, I’m part of a team, and whereas my job title is managing the quality of work that team puts out, our goals are still the same. Because I place my relationship with the teams we support as a top priority, it allows me to have some of the tougher conversations we have to have from time to time knowing the changes which need to be made will be made.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
Because I have been with the company for thirteen years, I now have six weeks of vacation and I take it all every year. My theory is if they are going to pay me not to be here, I am not going to be here. Family and self have to come first. I work hard, but not at the sacrifice of my family and friends.

Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
If there is one misconception about Quality Management I could clear up it would be we’re not the Gustapo that folks make us out to be. We have a job to do, and that is monitoring the quality of other people’s work. What we do is not personal. It’s just business.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?
I wouldn’t say this job moves my heart too much. It is a good job, and it pays the bills, but if I were to be asked what really moves my heart, it would help helping others outside of work. This job allows me some time off each year to do volunteer work, which I appreciate, but I’d like to do more of it.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
If I could write my own ticket, in five years I would like to own my own craft brewery. Nothing huge, but something to pay the bills, and have some fun. I’d also like to be an author, with a couple of cookbooks under my belt.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
I can’t say my career has been unique or interesting by any stretch, but I would tell people that I’m just a regular guy who works hard for a living every day. That hard work has paid off. I’m not rich, but I have everything I need. In that, I’m happy.

Authored by:
As told to ‘JustJobs.com Academy’ – a collection of true job stories told by workers from all walks of life like this vice president of sales.

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