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The Secret Life Of An Account Manager November 12, 2012

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Written by: Peggy Hinshaw, Account Manager, Ann Michaels & Associates

Many times I receive emails from shoppers who express interest in becoming an Account Manager (AM). I imagine they think it would be better than running around pretending to be someone who is interested in something that they are not and getting paid for it. And I imagine that it is. I also imagine that the image they picture in their heads is so very different than the actual reality of being an AM.

True, I work from home and on my own time. I do not have to leave the house, fix my hair or even get out of my pajamas to do my job. I can sit in my comfortable chair, which my daughters now refer to as “Mommy’s work chair” and put my feet up as I enter my viral work world. I can make it to my daughter’s school events that take place during the day and meet a friend for lunch. It is as flexible as it seems that it would be but that flexibility does not come without a price.

When you are an AM, you work from home, which means your home becomes your place of work. While the benefits are great, there are disadvantages that you do not anticipate. For example, you can ALWAYS be working. You check in on your emails at all times of the day. And I estimate that I receive up to 50 emails a day. Each needing a response, which requires a response, which also requires a response – you get the idea!

You also wake up each morning thinking that all will be well, after all it was when you shut things down at 12:00 AM last night. How could it have changed over the last five hours? Did you get that timing? Yes, when you work from home, you tend to work at night and early in the morning. You think you won’t – but it is right there and so you do. I find that I am NEVER off work. I also find that shoppers are late night people, as well. Many emails – urgent ones – are sent to me in the wee hours of the morning. I have discovered that we are a nocturnal breed. We live different lives during the daylight hours. Almost like Superheroes!

So, yes, there will be issues that were not present when you went to bed a mere five hours before. And they will take over the plan for your early morning catch-up and you will once again be behind. Which means you will once again have another late night, because you have once again scheduled a lunch with a friend, AND offered to volunteer in your child’s classroom, because you work from home, after all. Your time is your own!

You think you will not do these things. You think you will stay home and work all day and have a normal work schedule. But that is not the nature of the Mystery Shopping world. It is one that takes place at all hours and the needs are not usually taken care of between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Yes, there are reports that need to be edited and shops that need to be scheduled, but they usually require follow-up with a shopper and that shopper is usually not available until that evening. We are nocturnal and that is just how it is. We are the unknown Superhero’s of corporate America! We are creating better customer service and standards, one shop at a time!

Being an AM is a job I would not trade for anything because I love it. I love the relationships I develop with my shoppers and co-workers – all over email. I love being able to work in my comfy chair with my feet up. I love being able to lunch with friends and volunteer in my daughter’s school. But it does not come without a price. One I am willing to pay. I have traded down-time and sleep for work flexibility and family time. It means less time for me, because when it comes down to it – that is the time I forfeit so that I can make this crazy life work for everyone else. And work it does – on most days. On the other days – I imagine what it would be like to work in an office and be done at 5:00 PM . . .

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