A conversation with Candy Anaya, Manager of Client Support
Candy Anaya is the manager of client support at 501(c) Services. And, like the rest of the world, she’s had to adjust her workday and personal life to meet the demands and quirks of COVID-19.
During an interview with 501c.com, Candy talked about how she supports clients during a global pandemic and how her job is the logical, if unlikely, expression of her professional dreams.
You’ve worked for 501(c) Services for 21 years. How did it all begin?
I had just gotten married and got a job as a trust administrator through a temp agency for 501(c) Services. I’ve been here ever since.
It’s been such a good company to work for. Everybody in the company has been like my family. And helping nonprofits feels very rewarding. I do numbers for a living. But being able to impact the nonprofit community has been a bonus.
Tell me about how COVID has changed your working day.
With COVID, there are a lot more unemployment bills to pay. The influx of claims bills has doubled at least this year. It has been very challenging for our staff and our members.
The CARES Act is providing some relief for our member’s unemployment bills during COVID. But every state has different bills, and some of those bills are pretty cryptic looking. It’s been a challenge to figure out what the states are saying to us and making sure our members get available breaks.
Where’s your office now?
I’m working at home in my living room. My husband has an office in the garage. I have a daughter who is a senior in high school who’s doing her schooling in her bedroom.
Our alarm clocks go off at 5:30 in the morning. My husband gets the coffee brewing while I get ready for breakfast. Then, we all file off to our own working areas.
In the past, I used to have high and low periods during the day. Now, it’s constant pressure.
I’m trying to keep my hours to eight, although it’s usually a little closer to 10-hour days. I could keep answering emails all night.
How are you handling the brave new COVID world?
In the beginning, I always felt tense. When you work in an office, you have the 45-minute drive home to unwind. When you work at home, the unwind period disappears. I have to remind myself to go outside, breathe fresh air. It’s hard to detangle from work when you don’t have a visual change.
Are you looking forward to getting back to the office in San Jose?
Yes. At home, I don’t have people interrupting me as much, but I miss my friends, being able to talk to my staff personally. I do look forward to going back into the office, but we have no clue when that will be.
How has COVID affected clients and their unemployment claims?
Each of our clients has a dedicated account with us that we use to pay their claims bills, and each year we do a calculation based on their unemployment history. We give them a guesstimate of what they need to keep in the reserve, so we can pay unemployment throughout the year without bothering them. If a client runs low, we contact them.
Since COVID, some of our members have had bills of $1 million per quarter. That’s a first. I’ve never seen anything like this.
But I don’t think they’re shocked because they knew they had to lay off a lot of staff, and we reached out to prepare them. They’re stressed, but not surprised.
Having us there to assist them definitely relieves some of that stress.
When you were a kid, did you dream of being an unemployment claims executive?
I thought I’d be an animation artist. Then, after high school, I figured that probably wasn’t going to pay the bills. I thought about teaching. Then, I wanted to be a nurse. I like helping people. But nursing programs are very expensive.
Fortunately, working at 501c, I’m still helping people. Just not in a way I was expecting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is a veteran content producer, e-book creator, and social media writer with two Pulitzer Prize nominations and three National Headliners Awards. Her writing has appeared in Washingtonian Magazine, Redbook, Yahoo!, AOL Real Estate, AOL Daily Finance, USA Today, and US Weekly, as well as major metro dailies.