Confessions of former debt collectors

These people share their experiences in the collections industry -- and why they left.

1 of 10
BACKNEXT
Mel Harsh
Mel Harsh
Years as a debt collector: 20
Current job: One more week as a debt collector for an auto finance company
I was absolutely ruthless when I first started out as a debt collector. I had a black heart.

If someone told me they only had $150 to their name this month and needed to feed their entire family of five, I would say, "I don't care, this is your fault and you owe the money. Pay it." I would even use blind threats like, "I know where you work" to intimidate them.

It was survival of the fittest, and I thought being aggressive was the only way to succeed. And then it became an addiction -- being authoritative and abrasive was like a high.

But after a while, I realized that if someone owes one person money, they owe a lot more people money and they really aren't deserving of such harsh treatment. So I changed my style and started being nicer... but I still sue people. It's part of the job.

I have one more week here and I can't wait to get out of this line of work. I'm sick of all the agony I put people through. The money was great, and I've been able to support my two daughters because of how much I bring in. But when they say to me, "Dad, I want to do what you do when I grow up," I just tell them, "No, you really don't."
NEXT: Alexis Moore
Last updated July 15 2010: 6:17 PM ET
More Galleries
My part-time job is a dead end, but it's all I can find CNNMoney profiles 4 of America's 7 million part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs. More
Cool cars from the LA Auto Show There are some of the standout vehicles on display this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. More
American Dream homes: Prices in 10 cities How much does the American Dream home cost? From $2 million in Los Altos, Calif., to $65,000 in Cleveland, here's what you'll pay for a 4-bedroom, 2-bath house, according to Coldwell Banker's annual survey. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.