Military vet and ‘adrenaline junkie’ finds good fit at Schwab
When Military Times EDGE recently named Charles Schwab a “Best for Vets” employer, my first thought was: That magazine must have talked to Shane Magnussen.
I met the former Army Ranger and current Schwab employee when I paid my first visit to our “mile-high” Denver-area offices. Shane is a trained client service representative who answers calls to our toll-free phone line. It's just that his path to Schwab was a little different than most.
Shane was raised in Colorado Springs – not far from the U.S. Air Force Academy – and, according to the competitive rock climber, “I've been an adrenaline junkie as far as I can remember.” But as a senior in high school, Shane was uncertain about his future. He began to explore his options.
“The first route I looked at was the Navy because pretty much my entire family going back to almost the Viking era was in the Navy.” Shane also took a look at the Air Force, the Marines, even the Coast Guard – “but I didn't like the water that much.”
“So as far as all the branches were concerned, the Army was the best fit.” By the time the Army recruiting video started to play, Shane was hooked. “I already rappelled out of things,” he said. “Why couldn't I rappel out of a helicopter? Jumping out of planes just seemed normal to me.”
After his Army service, a college degree on the G.I. Bill, and jobs in the automotive and aviation sectors, this military veteran made the move to Schwab as a Customer Service & Support (CS&S) representative. Immediately, Shane saw parallels to his life in the military – and it wasn't just a desire to serve.
“From Day 1 at Schwab, we were given very in-depth training,” said the young man who had completed 14 weeks of Army basic training plus Airborne School and the Ranger Indoctrination Program.
Then there was the matter of a structured schedule. Unlike many other jobs at Schwab, a CS&S representative works a set schedule with established times for breaks. For Shane, “I couldn't imagine anything better than to have structure.”
But perhaps the biggest similarity to the military was the sense of teamwork – working with people you trust and respect, people who have your back and are willing to help. “There's always a big team atmosphere of working cohesively, wherever you go within Schwab,” Shane said. “It felt like a military squad to me.”
As my conversation with Shane began to wind down, I looked at the well-worn leather bomber jacket hanging just below his office nameplate. I realized that wasn't just a fashion statement. The jacket had probably hitched more than one ride on a B-52 airplane.
But I couldn't resist asking Shane one more question: Why would an adrenaline junkie be happy answering phones at Charles Schwab?
“When I take a call, I have no idea what's going to come down the pipeline.” Then he began to tell me about a call he had taken just the week before. “The woman on the other end of the line was pretty much in tears. Her husband had passed away, and he managed all the accounts. She never had to worry about it.”
After the husband's death, his funds had been moved to another firm, and now the estate attorney needed 10 years worth of paperwork for multiple accounts previously held at Schwab. During the phone conversation, Shane determined that the caller had access to a computer, and he walked her through the process of accessing the information – even to closed accounts.
“I helped her find the documents and save all the files to a flash drive, which she could just drop off at the attorney's office. It was that simple. She didn't have to print anything. It didn't cost her anything.” Shane paused, and I could see that “adrenaline junkie” look in his eyes. “It's calls like that – knowing I made a difference, from what they thought was going to be a disaster to making it extremely easy. Those are the calls I like the most.”
- Hear Shane tell his story. Select his multimedia story from the player on the Careers home page, or read his profile in Meet Our People.
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