Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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
13 hottest tech gifts under $100 Some of the hottest products of the year cost well under $100, from gaming consoles and VR headsets to drones. More
14 gifts gamers would actually want Whether you're shopping for a Pokémon GO fan or someone who owns every console ever made, we've got holiday shopping recommendations to suit everyone from beginners to the most discerning gamer. More
14 coolest toys for the holiday season Our list of must-have toys includes a self-hatching interactive pet, a coding toy for toddlers and a high-tech Barbie Dreamhouse. More

Special Offer