There’s this guy at Envoy who works for the corporate office named Jim Hopkins. My Boss James told me I should interview him. He didn’t say why, but I think it’s because Jim is very important and James thought it’d make us look good. Too bad James forgot that I often make us look rather poorly in front of others…
There’s No Basement in the Alamo
An Interview with Envoy Mortgage Regional Vice President, Jim Hopkins
Just the Assistant: First things first, Jim Hopkins. I’ve heard that in addition to being an Envoy Mortgage Big Shot, you are a CrossFit coach. How many pull-ups can you do?
Jim Hopkins: Strict pull-ups? Ten.
JTA (snickering): My husband’s stronger than you. Just sayin’.
JH: But I bet he’s smaller than me, too and has less to lift –
JTA: Stop it right there, buddy! He’s stronger than you. Period. Now let’s move on before you make me mad. How’d you get such a fancy office? What’s this, mahogany?
JH: I was the fourth person they ever hired at this company, so I worked my way up. I first started as a set-up tech. Oh, and that refrigerator is mine I brought from home.
JTA: What’s a set-up tech?
JH: I entered clients’ information into the computer.
JTA (wondering how he’s going to take this): Like, loan applications? Uh, Jim? You realize you were an assistant, right? And apparently they gave it a fancy name, because that’s exactly what I did when I first came here and you’ve seen the name of my blog, right? It’s not called Just the Set-up Tech. Okay, what do you do now for Envoy?
JH: I’m head of several regions. Think of me as a pocket CEO. I bring people into the company. I make branches more successful. I help with strategies, P&L stuff…I’m like an executive sounding board.
[Just The Assistant Note: No clue what P&L stuff means. Come to think of it, I don’t know what an executive sounding board is either.]
JTA: Do you get to fire people?
JH: Nobody “gets” to fire people. But some people have to fire people. Yes, I have to do that sometimes. When my wife was laid off from Enron, it devastated her. I’d never had to be at home with the aftermath of being sent home, so now that I know what that’s like, it’s that much worse, whether they deserve it or not. Outside of reports, it’s the absolute least favorite part of my job.
JTA: Has anyone ever freaked out when you fired them?
JH: Not when I fired them, but we’ve had to have someone escorted out by security, but that was many moons ago.
JTA: How did you get so important here? Why do they keep giving you promotions?
JH: There have been a few unfortunate accidents of people who would have succeeded before me. Just some freak accidents. Life gets much more dangerous if you’re more senior to me.
JTA: Ha! I should try that, too. So I guess you heard that our branch is under that guy named Ty now. I’m kind of intimidated by Ty. Are you intimidated by Ty?
JH: No, I recruited Ty. He’s intense though.
JTA: You’re intense, too.
JH: I used to be very intense as a branch manager. I once bet a loan officer his eyebrow over a deal. This was all before HR – those party poopers! But I’m much nicer than I used to be.
[JTA Note: When I first met Jim Hopkins, I was like, “Who’s that prick?” to my boss James. But lately he really has gotten nicer. It makes me wonder if he almost got hit by the light rail or something and started reevaluating life.]
JTA: What made you become nicer?
JH: You grow up. I just sounded like an idiot. You don’t have to be that guy that freaks everybody out because they’re terrified of him. I used to be in charge of interviews and they’d call it “the smoke down”.
JTA: Oh my gosh…what would you do that was intense in interviews?
JH: Rapid fire questions designed to see if you’d break under pressure.
JTA: That’s horrible! I’m really glad James is my boss and not you. James took me to Houston’s for my interview and drew flowcharts for me on the lunch napkins and hired me on the spot. Speaking of James, you might have heard that I kind of cussed him out a few weeks ago. Have you ever gotten in an argument with someone here at work?
JH: On a regular basis. David, Dana and I used to yell in every meeting. It was cordial, but very open.
[JTA Note: David Zugheri and Dana Gompers are the two founders of this company. If I were Jim, I think I’d stick to using my inside voice with those two.]
JTA: But now you’re nicer, right?
JH: I’m still intense but with different values. It used to be all about the money. I’d outwork anyone else and I wanted to win at all costs. Then I had kids and I realized there’s way more to life and I have a brief, finite time on earth.
JTA: Amen. Now, what if you were the CEO of Envoy? What would you change?
JH: Everybody’s loans would be approved instantaneously. We’d just give out money. As long as you pay it back. Boom.
JTA: Heck yeah! What’s that sign on your wall?
JH: You don’t know what that is? Didn’t you take Texas history?
JTA: Uh, they didn’t offer that in my high school in Atlanta.
JH: It’s from the Battle of Gonzalez. When Santa Ana came and wanted a cannon back. They said, “You want it, come and take it.” It’s the opening phase of the Texas war for independence!
JTA (not registering any of this): You’re so touchy, I swear. Hey, I went on a tour of the Alamo a few months ago. Does this have anything to do with the Alamo?
JH (face dropping into hands in disgust): Are you kidding me?! You need to brush up on your Texas history!
JTA (trying to think of some Georgia history): Oh yeah, well do you know about…uh…
JH: Sherman? Yes. (Jim’s phone rings ). It’s Ty.
JTA (thankful for the distraction as I kind of don’t know who Sherman is): Ooh, ask him if he’s intimidated by me!
JH (answering phone): Hey Ty, I’m here with Just the Assistant and she wants to know if you’re intimidated by her. Oh, and she doesn’t know anything about Texas history.
JTA: Now please hang up because we aren’t finished.
JH (into phone): I’ll have to call you back, Ty.
JTA: Is there anything else you want people to know?
JH: No. I’m kind of dull. Can you make up something for me?
JTA: Of course!
[Jim would like you all to know that you should send me money. Like five dollars apiece should do it.]
After our interview, Jim paraded me around to higher-ups in the company and told them how little I know about Texas history. I may or may not sneak back into the corporate office and place some moldy ham in his fancy office fridge.
But for now, I’m off to brush up on my Georgia history. Happy Wednesday, readers!