Got junk? Ex-lawyer in DeWitt talks trash about new career

DeWitt resident Dee Johnson recently made an unusual career change. She traded in her courtroom heels for a set of truck wheels and opened Syracuse's first franchise of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? -- a professional junk removal company.

Although junk removal may not typically be thought of as a woman's job, Johnson prides herself in pioneering grace and professionalism in the industry. She said that when she began her legal career as a lawyer three decades ago, law wasn't necessarily thought of as a woman's profession either. Johnson, who is now 59, spent 32 years working as a corporate lawyer for Bristol Meyers before she decided to change her line of work.

As she was prepping to put her house on the market, she needed junk removal service and called 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Johnson was very impressed by what she called fabulous service, and subsequently became interested in the company and decided to open a branch in Syracuse. Johnson said the franchise is much more than an investment -- it's a seven-days a week "hands on, boots on" job.

"On occasion, when time is pressed, I have actually taken the junk truck to the dump or done an estimate in a skirt and heels. Sometimes it seems like I am living the life of one of Charlie's Angles," Johnson said. "Never be fooled by a woman's capabilities."

Despite the vast differences between her old profession and this new one, Johnson said that years of working as a corporate consultant readied her with the necessary knowledge and skills involved with customer service, which she says is the aspect of the job that she focuses on most.

"I believe that the term "customer service" has just become a phrase," Johnson said. "This is a company that works to having the customer be not just satisfied, but delighted with the service."

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