My Financial Storm – Part 2

As I mentioned on my previous post, I was let go after one month as the assistant branch manager of a cleaning company and it left me in complete shock. I had been laid off twice previously, and I was not ready then and much less at that moment. From 2005 to 2009 I worked for a disease management company and I was making decent money. They relocated me to Miami and I had a company laptop, cell phone, and got reimbursed for my car mileage. I was a Provider Relations Specialist and my duties included visiting doctors offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities to educate the providers on our company’s disease management program. I was also a member of the Miami-Dade Council on Aging where I served for several years, and I received a Certificate of Appreciation for my continued participation in the meetings and events. That was the best job I ever had, unfortunately due to economic downturn of 2008, the company laid off most of the staff in 2009. That was the first time I was ever laid off and it hurt.

After losing this assistant manager job in 2015, I immediately went searching on the internet and I found one at a local auto insurance company making a little bit higher than minimum wage. I was desperately searching since I didn’t want to rely on unemployment compensation. I was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to have another high-paying job. I was basically doing clerical work and greeting customers as they walked in to make their monthly payment. The owner wanted me to get licensed so I could sell policies and then make around $40,000 with commission. At this stage in my life that’s not what I wanted to be doing, so I kept applying for other positions. I always yearned to find another job in the healthcare field, but my job searches always led me back to the call center industry where I’ve had the most experience.

I had several interviews lined up but I was not getting hired. Then I received the call that would change my life and set me on a new career path. It was from a major health insurance company, and I was longing to get back to this industry since it’s where I had the best experience. It was for a senior bilingual representative position in their call center and at this point I wasn’t necessarily looking for supervisor jobs, I just wanted to find a decent job with decent pay.

The first interview was a phone interview with a recruiter who asked me a few questions about my work experience and why I was applying for this role. Since I am bilingual, that was a plus because they were looking for people to fill these positions, and there was a pay differential once I passed a Spanish certification test. I told the interviewer that although I had previously been a supervisor in other companies, I wanted to start from the bottom here so I could educate myself on this industry before I moved on up.

The next interview was in person at the call center. I believe it was God-incidence that the supervisor who interviewed me was a member of a church where a friend of mine was the pastor (I didn’t find this out until months after I was hired). After the interview, he took me on a tour of the call center and then he offered me a decent starting pay which was more than double what I was making at the small insurance agency. I accepted it and went through an intense four-month training program and I felt that I would be working here for a long time.

The biggest shocker was when in my first month out of training I had worked a lot of overtime and I was expecting a huge check. To my surprise when I checked the online paystub it was half of what I had calculated it to be. I immediately called the HR department to ask what was going on. They bluntly explained to me that I had been served with a garnishment and the company suing me found out I was working there so they had to comply with it. My heart started racing at a high speed because I was not expecting this at all. Later I came to find out it was a company where I had purchased my laptop and other electronics, but they had not notified me that this was going to happen. I had stopped paying them when I got laid off several years earlier. It would have also been nice if my new HR department would have sent me an email or a letter to inform me about this.

I then called the collection agency that was handling this garnishment to work out a new payment arrangement since they were taking half of my paycheck. I had to have money to pay both my studio apartment rent, my car payment, and I had to have money left over to pay my other bills. Thankfully they were able to grant me a lower payment arrangement. And thankfully as well, that year the company offered overtime every single month and I took advantage of it and paid off this balance in six months. From that point on I became a minimalist, being frugal with everything I bought. I increased my 401K contribution and made it a point to have money left over from paycheck to paycheck.  And I made over $40,000 that year and I knew I had made the right decision to work here.

This all happened in 2016 and that summer I also enrolled in a Christian Financial Freedom course that would enlighten me more on how God blesses us financially. I will share this story and more on my next post.