PayScale: How did you get started doing this type of work?
My mother worked for the same company for over 30 years and retired from the company. She was always talking about how great the benefits were and most of her co-workers had been with the company for long periods of time - an average of about 10 to 15 years. The work itself is not difficult and being on the Internet for the majority of the day seemed fun to me. I was in a dead-end job not making much money as an accounts payable clerk for a mortgage company when they decided it was too much money to keep our office open. They relocated our CFO to Illinois and the rest of us were laid off. My mother has always kept in touch with her old co-workers from the company and was working as a contractor at the time. Her project was almost over, but they were hiring for a large special project for the company because they had changed to a new system and there was a large amount of data entry they needed done for the switch. I applied and was accepted right away. I started about a week after I left the mortgage company, as I already had an extensive background in data entry. The management gave me special projects within the larger project and we had up to 14 hours a week in overtime. The pay was almost twice what I was making at the mortgage company, when I was hired full-time.
PayScale: What do you love about your job?
I mostly love what I do because it is interesting, but what makes it all worth it are the perks and how much we get spoiled by the company. Once a month, they have lunch catered in for our entire floor, I would say 75 to 100 people, and give out gift certificates and awards to the birthday people for the month and anyone with an anniversary. We also have a "Wii Room" where there are snacks to buy for 50 cents each (honor system) and a Wii with some simple games like bowling. Every once in a while, they will have small competitions to see who wins at one of the games, and they actually give out prizes to the top three winners. We used to have joke breaks, but have since stopped since no one could come up with any new jokes. All of my co-workers, bosses included, are set up on Instant Messaging so we can IM each other with any questions. Its very easy to talk to your co-workers and get information without really disturbing others with talking and constantly getting up to find someone. We also have two monitors to do our jobs because we are on the Internet so much; it really makes a difference in the work that you can accomplish. We are given a company laptop, and most of the employees have an option to work from home if something comes up and they cannot make it into the office. We have a parking pass to park in a garage that has underground access to the building and we are given security badges to enter the building so you know the grounds are secured. Also, we have just emerged from bankruptcy, but they are still giving employee bonuses and merit increases.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
It's challenging because we don't really have a set amount of work flow. Some days it's really busy, but others are very slow. We also have a lot of training and you absolutely have to be flexible with change. It seems almost every other day we get a new e-mail or training on how they are changing our processes or restructuring the departments we work with, or our own. Because its an office job, sitting at the computer for most of the day can be physically demanding. Also, trying to make "a name" for yourself within the company can be a challenge, but if you accomplish it, it's like an extended family because everyone here stays for a long time; company turnaround is very small.
PayScale: What advice would you give to someone interested in Web advertising jobs?
To be outgoing with your co-workers is a must. Sometimes its very easy to get isolated from others when you are concentrating on your work all day and you realize it has been three hours since you've gotten up from your chair and haven’t talked to anyone. Being ready for change within the company as often as we do can also be mentally demanding. People are always taking notes when we have meetings because things change so often. You really have to be on your toes with finding a system to remember all the new changes.
PayScale: Have you experienced any crazy moments during your Internet job?
Working in advertising, we get to see all sorts of things on the Internet. We have also seen or heard our share of complaints from customers, since we deal mostly with solving Internet issues and customers’ advertisements online. Our online directory site has the option to leave reviews for businesses listed with us. We have seen so many reviews that do not pertain to the customers' businesses, including one particular general contracting business where someone had posted their resume as a review. Obviously it was removed quickly as it had this person’s contact information including their social security number, birth date, address, phone numbers, etc. He was looking for work and got a little too creative. Another interesting thing while working here is that you can hear almost everyone's conversations around you, even though you are in a cubicle. I have heard so many stories about vacations gone wrong, stories of people getting sick in car rides, kids getting trouble while at school, blind dates gone wrong, parties over the weekend, baby stories, you name it. I think the cubicle walls give people a false sense of security to call, say, or talk to whomever they want. It definitely makes things interesting at work, and you can always enjoy laughing at others' stories without them directly talking to you. The people I work with make the day more fun, and it feels like we are a large extended family.
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