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As a Hispanic professional, have you ever considered a career in management? This assistant manager with a car rental company shares how he studied to be a teacher of English for speakers of other languages.

Q: What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?

A: The current position I hold is that of assistant manager in the rental car business. I have been working in this position for three years to date. I began my career as a management trainee and have worked my way to the position of assistant manager through superior sales performance and branch management. The position requires that one have a bachelor’s degree in some field of study although he or she does not have to have experience in the industry of sales. In order to be successful in this position, you must have the trust of your superiors. Each morning I open my branch, disengage the alarm system, and open the branch safe. In the evening, I close the safe, make deposits at the bank, and lock down the branch. Persistence is another quality that helps me in this industry. One needs to be persistent to make sales goals. Punctuality would also be a requirement for opening a branch each morning. Customers depend on the store to be opened at the specified times each day.

Q: What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?

A: I am a Hispanic American that was born within the United States. My nationality has actually helped me within this industry due to being bilingual. Everyone experiences some form of discrimination during their lifetime no matter what gender or race he or she may be. The best response when confronted with others’ biases is to simply apologize for their personal feelings and try not to let if affect your productivity.

Q: How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

A: There are many job duties of an assistant manager in the rental car industry. I am responsible for opening and closing the branch, working all incoming productivity reports, assisting customers, and occasionally washing cars. I am also a salesperson, marketer for our branch, and sometimes a counter clerk as well. Many people believe the car rental industry is nothing but counter service; however, some car rental companies are far more than counter service. During my career at my company, I have learned to run a business from the ground up. I could not gain better hands on experience in academic institutions than what I have received here.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?

A: Everyday when I sign in to my computer, I vow to help as many customers as possible and assist in any way I can. Although I feel I am close to my full potential each day, the time will come when I run my own branch, where I have full responsibility of that branch’s profitability.

Q: If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?

A: Because I have a family of three, this job is very close to my heart. This job allows me to give my family the financial support they need as well as the time to enjoy spending time with my family during my days off.

Q: Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

A: Considering my family background and the fact that I speak both English and Spanish fluently, I am in high demand in my particular part of the country.

Q: How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

A: I went to college to teach English as a second language; however, with the shortage of teaching positions in my area, I searched for any career that seemed promising once I graduated. It was happenstance that I was hired in the industry although I believe that the complete education I have been receiving since I began this job will follow me throughout my entire career. I would not change one thing about my past or current career choices.

Q: What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?

A: Within the business world and sales particularly, competition is name of the game. If you are too late, too lazy, or too uninformed, you will be left behind.

Q: What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

A: During my three year career I have been approached by a number of other companies asking me to send them my resume. My professional demeanor has created many opportunities, and I know that if I were to leave my current position, I would have many options available.

Q: Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?

A: I get up and go to work for my family and the desire to be a productive member of society. In my neighborhood there were far less options for legitimate work. I am particularly proud that I have brought myself out of a hostile community to where my children feel safe doing anything within the community.

Q: What kind of challenges do you handle and what makes you want to just quit?

A: On some days, customers can be very challenging. Many of my customers are often already upset before they walk through my branch doors because they have been in an accident and have lost their car. For these customers, I take extra time to make sure they understand our policies and procedures. I make every attempt to make their experience as pleasant as possible.

Q: How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?

A: There are times when my job is very stressful. During certain times of the year, I may work 70 hours per week. During this time, I do miss the time normally spent with my family, which makes these weeks extra stressful.

Q: What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?

A: An average salary for my area is around forty thousand dollars per year with the potential for about ten thousand dollars in bonus. In my part of the country this is a solid base salary and allows my family and I to live quite comfortably.

Q: How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

A: During your first year, you build up personal days through arriving to work on time and other bonuses but there are no vacation days for the first year. After the first year, employees are allowed one week of paid vacation. The second year employees earn two weeks of vacation. I believe this is ample time to spend with my family on vacations across the US.

Q: What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

A: A four year college degree is required for the management trainee program, which is the entry level position where every employee must start.

Q: What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

A: I often tell my friends who are looking for work about my industry. My company actually rewards its employees for referrals.

Q: If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

A: I write my own ticket everyday that I come to work. Through hard work and perseverance, I will be branch manager in no more than two years and will have my branch as one of the top performers within five years.