Back in August, we asked one of our Collection Specialists, Jeffery, to keep tabs on his day-to-day. In fine form, Jeffery delivered an expose that not only captured the “work hard, play harder, banter harder” culture of our Finance team at Smart City. He also showcased just how much of a self-proclaimed diva he is during the National Hockey League playoff season, especially if those games include the Dallas Stars.
Before we kicked off our tale of Collections, we thought we’d introduce you to what that looks like in the apartment locating biz. No need, because Jeffery put it best himself in his work diary.
“A part of Collections that may surprise people is that, yes it can sound like a dirty word, but it’s actually just making professional connections. It’s never fun to ask someone for money, but we try to do it in a way that’s genuine and intentional. A lot of times, you form a bond with the person you speak with, so if another invoice slips to collections, there’s an established relationship there.”
In this Smart City Work Diary, you’ll get acquainted with an essential part of our business many don’t get to see, as told through the lens of the team’s unanimously-decided social butterfly. Expect to be hit with two scoops of pre-workout at the beginning of each day’s entry, a lunchtime opinion piece, and some sort of tie to hockey. If you’re looking for a feel-good work story, Jeffery is your guy and the Smart City Finance team is your crew.
6 am – My alarm goes off and fifteen minutes later the dude with the Corvette started his car in the parking garage, making my actual alarm effectively useless. Thanks, man. I down my pre-workout (2 scoops – don’t judge me), catch my morning dose of NPR, and hit the gym.
9:45 am – The pre-workout is still flowin’! I take a look at the week ahead – work, personal life, hobbies – I do my best to keep myself busy during the week. Mental and physical health are at the forefront of my thoughts now more than ever. Whether it be meditation, working out, or just sitting down with no distractions for a few minutes here and there – anything helps.
A little bit about Mondays – They’re usually the busiest day of the week. Quite a few invoices pass over into Collections from the weekend and with the current pandemic, more properties are slipping into Collections for the first time than ever before. That’s not a knock on them at all – We’re all adapting to unprecedented new normalcies!
12 pm – Had our weekly Finance Zoom meeting – If there is one thing that makes work easier, it’s my team. Essentially, we bridge the gap that connects our apartment locating agents and the properties where we lease clients. The Collections group specifically handles past-due invoices so agents can continue working with clients without being concerned about payment. Making sure these invoices get fulfilled is how we keep our service free to clients, too!
6:15 pm – Took a stellar lunch nap (YouTube ‘Hard Rain Live Video,’ then thank me later) and ended the workday with a few properties that need that extra TLC. Some properties need more than others. Time to sit back, relax, and enjoy Stars Wars A New Hope for at least the 100th time.
8 pm – Social activities have taken a new meaning. Tonight’s virtual activities include a few rounds on NHL 20, followed by a few rounds of Quiplash on Jackbox. (I play with other people, not alone. It’s not that sad of a story). The NHL Playoffs start tomorrow, so that will garner most of my attention throughout the rest of the week.
6 am – Wake up, pre-workout down the hatch; start to feel alive again. You know the drill.
10:30 am – Things are a little slower today. It’s always a guessing game as to how many new invoices find their way to collections. Yesterday was over 10. Today, zero. That will shift as the day goes on!
Inside scoop – Knowing that this work diary won’t debut for a couple of weeks, we’re planning a surprise. Our team leader, Dustin, finished his MBA at the University of Texas- Dallas. The finance team has put together a gift basket of sorts recognizing his achievement! Like I said yesterday, this team is special. We all take stock in each other’s personal successes just as much as our professional ones.
2:15 pm – The day has picked up! Took lunch to finish up some homemade spaghetti. (Yes, I do the dishes during and immediately after I am done. My mother would find me and smack me, otherwise.) I have been working on gathering some like-minded hockey individuals for a Stanley Cup Bracket Tournament, so that’s a highlight of my week!
5:45 pm – The rest of the workday was pretty normal. Some action items included contacting properties with past-due invoices and making sure they have all the referral information they need, and keeping in contact with our agents about settled balances.
7:45 pm – Game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Dallas Stars just wrapped up – I’ll be emotionally unconsolable for the remainder of the evening after that loss.
10 am – Today’s action items mirror much of what I described yesterday, plus a little something extra…Due to the fourth-longest game in NHL History taking place last night, an NHL Playoff game just started! Not bad background noise if you ask me.
1:15 pm – The day has pretty much consisted of maintaining open lines of communication with those properties that need invoice TLC and keeping my free ear turned toward overtime happening in the NHL game. Did I mention at any point that I like to talk “hockey?”
3 pm – Headed to our headquarters in Deep Ellum for a socially distanced movie day and team hangout! We crushed our team goal of reaching out to a certain number of properties in order to settle a certain number of invoice amounts, so we get to celebrate! Don’t worry, we’re wearing our masks.
7:30 pm – “Finance rager at HQ,” aka movies, beers, and snacks. Movie one was the LEGO Batman Movie – instant classic. Now it’s time for The Goonies. Unpopular opinion- The Goonies is a good movie.
Tonight was much needed. I know I have been raving about my team all week, but it’s a cool feeling to be around these people virtually all day and still enjoy their company after all the work we do together.
2 pm – Did you think I’d forget about you? We are winding down this week’s load. Most days are spent contacting properties on past-due invoices and trying to make sure all our invoices are lined up for payment. Today is no different. I did have a great virtual coffee chat with the head of our People’s Department and she confirmed that we’re expanding to Chicago next year! Fun fact about me: Summers and I do not get along. Toss me to the winter.
7:15 pm – Today was not the busiest day, which was much appreciated. Action items got knocked out and I had some time to connect with the Burrito Rangers and Munch Squad. Basically, it’s a dangerously perfect group of like-minded fast food individuals (except In-N-Out fans). With quarantine and working from home still being top of mind, it’s been great to interact with people I would usually see in the office but haven’t had the chance to meet yet. Conner said it best, “Maybe 2020 isn’t all that bad if it brought this group together.”
11:30 pm – It’s late. The Stars are just now getting into the third period (that’s the last one). They are up 4-2. Fingers crossed they stay ahead!
The ‘Burrito Rangers’
It’s Friday. We made it.
It’s been a pretty busy week but luckily today is a little less stressful. I know you are all dying to know – the Stars were victorious last night. 5-4, final score!
A week in the life of a Collections Specialist can tend to get repetitive – wake up, action items, empty task bucket, repeat. Luckily, thanks to this team and this company, it feels like that title is just that – a title. There are really no limitations as to how your day can look. Ironically, when I was asked to do a Smart City Work Diary, I didn’t realize how close it was to my one year mark. It’s been a hell of a ride! It’s flown by, even with working from home, and it’s all thanks to the bad-asses I get to work and interact with on a daily basis.
Curious to meet more Smart City characters?
Meet Courtney, one of Smart City’s recruiters and most candid personalities
Meet Shelby, Smart City Houston’s social media and apartment deal guru, and boy-band fanatic
Meet Ashli, Accounting Generalist, fellow Finance team member, and college basketball aficionado
Meet Amanda, a Smart City apartment locating agent in Houston and company-wide proclaimed firecracker
Check out career opportunities at Smart City here.