You Hate My Job: I work at the DMV


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    The Department of Motor Vehicles building in Pasadena, Calif.

    - Bridget Bodnar / Marketplace

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    A familiar sight at many DMV offices: a long line.

    - Bridget Bodnar / Marketplace

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    Lizzie O'Leary looking at DMV applications inside the building.

    - Bridget Bodnar / Marketplace

“They come in and they’re already mad,” says Cynthia Lara, a manager at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles office in Pasadena. She’s says working the window at the DMV is “a good job” but they put up with a lot of abuse.

For people like Lara, doing their job well doesn’t exactly make them friends. And that’s especially true when there’s a long line, like at the DMV, involved. Lara is the latest worker we're profiling in our series, “You Hate My Job.” 

Even though the Department of Motor Vehicles could be seen as a net-positive for states in budget trouble, because it collects a lot of money on behalf of other government agencies, “the DMV is the lowest paid state agency that is out there," according to Lara.

She's worked at the DMV for 15 years and says that when it comes to dealing with difficult customers, her strategy is to listen to their complaints and to try to explain calmly how to fix the problem.

Mostly, they want someone to listen. She and her co-workers try to keep the line moving quickly to keep tensions down.  

About the author

Lizzie O'Leary is the new host of Marketplace Weekend.

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