By Bonnie Bueno, 2015
When I’m asked what I do for a living, the answer is always the same, Market Research. Naturally the next question is usually something like, ‘What kind of research?’ to which I reply, ‘political, mostly.’ Most find this very intriguing so of course they want to know more about it. The following is just a brief summary of how I describe where I work.
This job isn’t for everyone. If you can’t handle sleeping in and going in to work at around 1pm at the earliest, (usually) then this wouldn’t be a good fit. Also, you must be OK with flexible part-time hours. The dress code is ‘casual attire’, and it is strictly enforced. If you like being micro managed, CERC would not be a good fit as its employees are responsible for punching in and out and managing their own breaks. The job can be extremely stressful if you struggle with a ‘no quota’ policy. To add to this high pressure position, they sometimes have contests where you have to guess how much candy is in a basket or similar. The winner is usually stuck with a whole bunch of free candy and or a gift card, Padre Tickets or whatever. Talk about having to bring work home!
Getting hired is just as grueling as the work environment. But as I’m required to keep this under 250 words, I’ll wrap up with one last statement.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
By David Poirier. 2015
I am an older worker who kept encountering age-discrimination, despite an excellent work history and some very marketable skills, until I applied at CERC. The first interview was warm, friendly and encouraging. Management was clearly interested in what I had to offer and the entire team welcomed me onboard with smiles and good wishes. I quickly found out that good work was not just appreciated, but rewarded with raises and occasional bonuses. The CEO himself made it a point to thank me and become acquainted.
While the work itself can be challenging, the call center managers and supervisors are always there with answers to questions and helpful suggestions. They make sure the workplace is as relaxed and stress-free as possible. CERC also appreciates and encourages employee input on how the job can be made easier. Then there’s the great Christmas party and annual company picnic!
For me personally, however, their exceptional flexibility in scheduling is the best part of the job. Because I do have some age-related health issues, I can’t always accept all the hours offered and I’ve had to take an occasional leave of absence, but CERC has been wonderful about adjusting my schedule to fit my needs. I know from discussing this with other employees that CERC is equally flexible when it comes to class schedules, family needs, and another job. Other places lock you into a rigid schedule, but CERC’s flexibility allows you to offer them your best work at a time best for you.
By David Poirer, 2013
For me, there have been three main reasons for working at CERC; Friendliness, Flexibility and respect. I’ve done similar work in the past, and CERC has been the best employer I’ve encountered in this business.
From the initial interview on, I felt that the management staff wanted me to feel welcomed and comfortable. The training period was as stress-free as the situation can be with supervisors providing clear instructions and very supportive feedback about the work being done. From the CEO on down to management, the staff always greets you with a welcoming smile. Also there have been some very pleasant surprises, like the occasional bonus!
With this is respect. Even though the workplace is very relaxed and friendly, there is always an atmosphere of professionalism and pride in a job well done. Supervisors do an exceptional job of letting interviewers know that their hard work is appreciated. There is never any feeling of being just another name and number on the payroll.
Flexibility has been the most attractive part of the job for me. On account of some health issues, I haven’t always been able to accept all the work offered to me, but management has been very understanding of my situation. Other employees have said that they are equally flexible about family commitment, class schedules and second jobs.
The word “Family” is often over-used these days to describe workplace atmosphere, but it really applies to CERC, and I’m proud to be part of the CERC family.
By Roberto Arroyo, 2013
I really enjoy working at CERC for a number of reasons. First, I really enjoy the flexible schedule and how it fits into my busy lifestyle. I can work as much or as little as I choose. Another plus is the fact that each day is different and I get to talk to all kinds of people from all over the country about a variety of topics and issues.
The management and coaching staff are always very supportive and they ensure that I have the proper tools and training to effectively do my job. Any feedback I receive is always constructive, however I would say the best part about working at CERC is that they provide incentives and rewards for doing a good job. During my tenure at CERC, I have received several raises and a pay differential for bilingual projects.
I have received two company shirts, tickets to the Padres and in February, I received a fifty dollar bonus plus lunch at the Crest Café in Hillcrest. It is these things that inspire me to work hard and do a good job. I feel the company really cares about the success of its employees by providing a positive working environment and recognition and incentives for a job well done. CERC is truly a GREAT place to work.
By Gerald Cirrincione, 2010
Working at Competitive Edge Research & Communication, I’ve learned many things, but most of all I’ve learned about integrity. Competitive Edge President, John Nienstedt has forged a team and company culture that’s single-mindedly devoted to integrity in all its aspects. As a team member, I’m challenged constantly to be accurate and clear in all my work. The Floor Support personnel continually monitor my work as I interview respondents on the telephone. They give me immediate feedback in real time, teaching me better ways to communicate accurately and clearly.
I’ve learned that integrity means not allowing any of my own unconscious biases and assumptions to inadvertently creep into my work. Integrity means recording what the respondent actually SAYS, not what I myself might just IMAGINE they INTENDED to say. Integrity means reading every interview question completely and all the answer choices in a neutral way, repeating the question when necessary to get a respondent to explicitly select one of the answer choices. Integrity means probing effectively and impartially to get a respondent to reply fully to an open-end question and then to type their response word for word.
Competitive Edge Research & Communication is a great name, but another company name might be INTEGRITY IN RESEARCH & COMMUNICATION, because working here I’ve constantly learned more and more about integrity, and I look forward to learning even more.
PLUS, I’ve learned the way cool Competitive Edge cheer!
By Thomas Stone, 2010
There are many reasons. Some do it out of sheer boredom; some out of compassion, willing to help a stranger keep ajob; some to learn about issues. Some do it to vent. Others, I suppose, out of loneliness. Their life has a void and my call has helped to fill it. Winston Churchill once said, “The only difference between loneliness and solitude is that, with one, it is your choice to be alone.” Too often I’ve heard the heartrending voice of the elderly close a call with, “Thanks, it’s good to talk with someone.”
I’ve learned strangers will share intimate, detailed stories about things close to their heart, and that I make them comfortable enough to share them. These stories have brought laughter, insight, and on rare occasions, heartfelt tears.
As I conduct my polls, calling throughout the country, what working here has essentially taught me is that despite hatred, bigotry and a litany of other misplaced human emotions, people are generally good. I suppose that is the most valuable data I will take with me from my tenure here at Competitive Edge.
By LaDonna Etheridge, 2008
I started working for this company in November of 2007, and it has changed my life. It gave me a sense of purpose again. Everyone was so nice, helpful and structured; something I really needed at that time.
This job gave me more than a paycheck, it gave me a way to support myself; it showed me how to be a part of a team. Competitive Edge also lets me go outside of California and touch the lives of other people. I get their viewpoints and make a change in their lives; I help them change and shape our world into a better place. This job has also shown me that a lot of people really do care about this world like I do. I hope this never changes.
I love the drawings for the Padres tickets and “The shirt off John’s back”. The anticipation while waiting to see if my name is drawn is great. All the extra ways of getting bonuses are fun and exciting so I try to do more so that I get a green slip put into the bucket for the extra chances at winning the draw. I also like working towards the Top Interviewer of the month, bringing in referrals to earn an extra $20, the birthday celebrations, and the paid lunches.
This company is great and I cannot wait until I get to go to a Padre’s game with John. Thanks for all you have given me.
By Alicia Flores, 2008
I have been employed here at Competitive Edge a little over five years, non-stop. I came to this job through another employee. I came in was hired on the spot!
The first project I worked on was for a large well-known firm. Never in my life did I think I would read information about the product I used to consume. When I saw the commercials on television, I was proud to say that I was a part of that experience.
As the years went by, I began to pay more attention to politics. Before, I used to make decisions based on what I heard from other people. Now, I listen to the pros and cons; I do my own research and then I make an educated decision. Also, with this job I find out what’s going on in other cities across the states.
Aside from the projects, I’ve gotten a chance to work with a great team – the Staff, the Project Manager and the Floor Support. Let’s not forget all of the wonderful and fun events I’ve been to, like the Christmas Party, Movie Night, and Dinner Out with a Staff member, and the Company Picnic.
How can I not love working in this environment where everyone knows your name? Working for Competitive Edge feels like a second home and that make me feel good! I look forward to many more years.