December 16, 2012

More Work Ahead

I have been absent from my blog lately -- mostly due to the high volume of work I have to do in order to take care of my clients this year. My new job is difficult, but not as stressful as my last. It is odd to consider it to be less stressful when the volume of work, and the demands placed upon you are so much higher than before. Let me explain...

At UOPX, stress was fairly relative. Every enrollment advisor was under the same type of stress -- performance anxiety and unrealistic expectations of daily activity and enrollment numbers. I would equate it to a person who works in commission sales. You know how well you are doing by the numbers you are putting up on the big board. If your numbers are consistently low, then there is a good chance, you are not going to stay in your job. The company needs top producers, top sellers, and in retail and corporate sales, it is all a numbers game.

The stress at UOPX came from not being able to enroll enough students, and the amount of time it took to get the interested students into school. So you might have had a good pipeline of students interested in attending school, but if it was taking you three or four months to get them enrolled, that was not good enough. There was pressure to get them enrolled sooner, and that meant using sales tactics to do so.

The other aspect of stress, besides the numbers, was the fact that as EAs we were required to perform a certain amount of "prospecting" each day, roughly 3 hours. This meant that unless you were engaged in conversation working students into enrolling, you had to be making dials and leaving voicemails. I called, on average, 80 to 100 people each day. I left the same voicemail, or a variation there of, and made sure to make my daily activity numbers each week. My performance was tracked, and if I didn't show that I was cutting it, then I had to be "coached" into having a better conversation.

My new job is very different. Initially, I was stressed because I didn't know what I was doing -- which is pretty normal -- considering the newness of the work. However, I have been in my job now since September (so four months), and I know certain parts of my job well. I would say that I have the job routine, and the job basics down. This is how it was at UOPX as well. It took me about 3-4 months before I felt comfortable with the job requirements. I didn't really hit my stride at UOPX for about 6 months, and then after that, I knew what to say, and how to play the game. I performed, and I was on my way to being a top producer (with 10-15 enrollments each month).

I think CVS Caremark, and the industry as a whole, is a different type of game. The work I do is mostly analysis and research (hence my title as an Analyst). I work in Print Production, thought that is not what they call us anymore (we are Member Communications). The job entails working with clients and making sure that their employee materials are produced correctly and within contractual timelines. I don't actual do the print work, but I do create the document templates that populate the data sent over by the client or other partners. My role as a Print Analyst (my actual title) is to ensure that the client gets his/her materials and gets them when they expected them to arrive.

This work is similar to what I did years ago when I helped my husband with his advertising/marketing business and we ordered print materials and other promotional products for clients. It is more elaborate, and more intensive, given the nature of our clients (many Fortune 1000, 500, and 100 companies). These are big numbers, big clients, and big responsibilities.

The job, though, has been a challenge for me, and has required a lot of extra hours. I am not used to having to work OT without pay (well, not since I worked on my own). I got paid OT at UOPX, but in this job, I work the OT just to keep up with all the details, to make sure every "t" is crossed, so to speak. The OT will not be forever -- it is just part of the end of the year "Welcome Season" -- when companies have open enrollments, and member materials need to print and ship by January 1. This is our busy season, I guess you could say, and like when I was in retail, I had to work extra hours to cover the need of the client.

The stress has been minimal. It is more frustration with our new print vendor, and their system not working the way it should. We were promised seamless transition between the old and the new, but that hasn't been the case. There have already been issues with mismatches, items not printing, and so on. Moreover, a big chunk of my day is spent researching why cards or kits didn't print and ship, and I reply on accurate reporting tools to get down to the root cause. The tools I have been given are not working 100% of the time, so that causes issues as well.

Then of course you have Sales and their escalations of issues. Right now, though, it is like "Yes, I know you are upset, and I will get to you. Please take a ticket and get in line!" They don't like to be told "no" and at this time of the year and with all the problems we are facing, I am saying "no" a lot.

Overall, when I compare the two types of jobs, and the kind of work, I realize that I am in a good fitting position. This kind of work suits me. I may get frustrated, but in truth, I like to solve problems, and I am in a job that is all about problem-solving. Plus, I have never worked with a group of people who are similar to me, and that has been such a nice change. Everyone I work with is analytical. Everyone is an investigator. We all have the same problems, the same issues, and we all help each other out. I like that about my group, and it helps make the frustration manageable.

God has been so good to me, and He has provided a good job that meets my needs, and suits my abilities. This job is a good fit. I may not like the OT, and I may not like that the print vendor has made my job three-times more work than necessary -- but -- I do like the work I do, and I do like the company where I work. Plus, I have benefits coming in two weeks (whoohoo!) and I am looking forward to a pay raise and also potential advancement.

God has been working behind the scenes to help me settle down. I am happy in my home, happy in my work, and happy in my progress spiritually-speaking. As I think about my life today, I can see that things are good for me. I have a good life. I have a good future. I have everything I need to be happy, content, and settled. God is so very good to me.

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