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Software support engineer:
'Clients' satisfaction'

graphic
Lou Richards  

December 5, 2000
Web posted at: 5:49 p.m. EST (2249 GMT)

Name

Lou Richards


Position

Support Engineer for QuickBooks. Intuit is a great place to work: terrific people, great management, excellent benefits and an exciting product.


Years in position

Two -- I started in November 1998.


Age

52


  QUICK VOTE
graphic OK, now this is the guy on the other end of the line when you call in for support on a program that's got you baffled. Would you have the patience to do his job?

Not in a million years. The guy must be a saint.
I might, if the program and callers were interesting.
Yeah, I could do this -- I like problem-solving and people.
View Results

Education

I have a baccalaureate from Humboldt State University, a fine liberal arts school situated in bucolic northern California. I graduated in 1990. I started school after I retired as a chief petty officer from the Navy.


How did you get your current job?

I answered a classified ad just before Thanksgiving, 1998. There was a new-hire training class starting the following Monday and I was fortunate enough to get one of the few remaining seats.


How many hours do you work per week?

I'm scheduled for 40 hours and I work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There's lots of opportunity for overtime as well, especially as we get into the busiest part of the year in January and February.


What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

The first thing I do is boot up my computer and launch about half-a-dozen programs. This gets me into call-tracking software, the Internet and my e-mail.

How much work, if any, do you take home? "None. I leave it all at the office. I don't have a long enough cord on my headset."

What time do you have lunch? What do you usually eat?

I usually get to lunch about 11:30. Lunch is very relaxed and usually a fine meal cooked up in the cafeteria by Sutter's Catering.


What time do things get tense around the office? What makes it that way?

Things tend to get a little more tense than usual around the first of the year. Since we support an accounting product, we're at the mercy of tax time. We get lots of questions about payroll taxes and forms, end-of-year transactions and reports. Many people purchase QuickBooks at the end of the year since we've been releasing our new versions at that time and they want to get going for the new year. Thus, we have lots of questions about installation and company start-up. As a result, the number of calls goes up significantly.

   INTUITION
As Lou Richards tells us, QuickBooks is a very popular small-business accounting program. It's produced by Intuit, the same company that produces TurboTax and Quicken. Intuit's corporate offices are in Mountain View, California. The support office that Richards works in is located in Tucson, Arizona. And we met Richards when he used our submission form here at "A Day on the Job." If you'd like your day to be considered for a profile here at CNN.com/career, let us hear from you as Richards did.
 

If you're having a good day at work, what is it that makes it good?

A good day at work is when my phone stays busy, I'm able to find a solution quickly to all the callers' issues and I'm satisfied that I've done the best I can to provide quality support.


How much work, if any, do you take home?

None. I leave it all at the office. I don't have a long enough cord on my headset.


What does your work contribute to society?

I'm not sure about society as a whole, but for the society of business owners who use QuickBooks, I like to think that I -- and my colleagues, as well -- make a significant contribution to our clients' satisfaction in using this product.


Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?

Yes.


If you could have two more careers, what would they be?

A naval officer or a foreign service officer with the diplomatic corps

"Things tend to get a little more tense than usual around the first of the year. Since we support an accounting product, we're at the mercy of tax time. We get lots of questions about payroll taxes and forms, end-of-year transactions and reports. Many people purchase QuickBooks at the end of the year since we've been releasing our new versions at that time and they want to get going for the new year."

What's an unforgivable trait in a colleague?

Not being considerate of the needs of the customer.


What do you do to relieve stress?

Work out in the facility we have here, hike the breathtaking Catalina Mountains with my wonderful wife and watch an occasional movie.


What have you been reading lately?

"The Bear and The Dragon" (Putnam, August) by Tom Clancy.


When you have one of those days on which you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door in the morning and off to work?

The responsibility I have to my family and myself, to the team at work and my customers.

graphic


 

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