Love letter to Geek Squad & Best Buy: My origin story from Geek Squad Agent to Network Engineer

My time at Best Buy while in Geek Squad was a memorable one. It was where I gained and honed my IT skills at the A+ level and my soft skills. The culture alone was captivating paired with great coworkers kept me in the company from 2008-2016.

The Beginning
I joined while going for my undergrad in Computer Information Technology and was working a full-time position at a local Super Target nearby as a Sampling Specialist in the Grocery department. My position was a seasonal role as I joined in November 2008, a few weeks before the dreaded Black Friday. I had originally applied for a position in “PCHO” aka the Computers Department but mid-interview the manager had stopped the interview and said, “You know what, you would be great working for me but I feel like you would do even better in Geek Squad. I’m going to speak to the manager and schedule another interview with the supervisor and manager there!” I proceeded to get interviewed by them both and got the job on the third interview. I was happy as it was a true alignment of my interests and needing/wanting a job.

Agent Pimentel, Reporting For Duty
Every agent was assigned roles before the later implementation of specific titles for said roles. I got cross-trained at each location in the precinct: Counter, Technician, and Administrative after I got out of the probationary period before officially being allowed to wear the uniform. The more I learned the company culture and mastered my role, I slowly but surely decided to move up the ranks. There were some cool things about the culture from the uniform and upholding the values. A simple example is if an agent came to the Precinct with any part of his or her uniform missing or not up to par, the ranking agent, DCI (Deputy of Counter Intelligence) or the Geek Squad Manager could mandate pushups as punishment. Nothing brutal but like 10 reps is enough. Some precincts (including mine) had “The motherboard of shame” which was a damaged motherboard turned into a necklace with the label on it. Yea…it’s a form of hazing but it set the tone to not be out of uniform or obstruct any of the values. Lord knows that mobo of shame was uncomfortable to wear. Besides, let it be harmless and scaled back hazing vs. getting write ups.

I went from Consultation Agent (Counter) to Advanced Repair Agent (Working in the back with the actual repairs) to Covert Fulfillment Agent (Remote Work).

Consultation Agent
“Soft Skills pay the bills!” and this is where it got developed and where I became more of an Ambivert. Client/User-facing as this is where you speak with your clients, diagnose their issues, perform quick fixes, or check-in devices for repair. This ranged from various Windows PCs, Apple computers, and TVs. TV’s had to get shipped out to our repair center if they were small enough to get checked in; the larger ones required an in-home appointment due to their sizes. Much like a queue, our days at the counter were either smooth, dead, or insanely busy like a “Zerg Rush” out of StarCraft, a popular RTS game from Blizzard.

Speaking of soft skills, you learned how to effectively listen and sometimes the art of de-escalation. Geek Squad was still retail as it’s within Best Buy so as an agent, we would still get the many stressors that come with it. Time management is another skill you would learn on the counter; dedicating enough time to properly diagnose your clients’ issues and providing them a solution or recommendation according to their needs and the core issue.

Advanced Repair Agent (ARA) | The good stuff
This is where I learned and really honed my A+ level skills. Here you had to complete trainings before touching the clients’ devices and iPhones when Geek Squad became an approved Apple Repair location. You would then be paired up with the existing ARAs to shadow, learn the procedures, tips on how to be efficient, queue management, end of day reports, as well as assisting as the administrative agents (I forgot the title) with shipping out devices.

My favorite jobs were the computer rebuilds or new builds. While the laptop screen replacements were technically out of scope for in-store repairs, some DCIs approved it as long as the risks and costs were understood and authorized by the client with written approval. Those were another repair I had a love and hate relationship with due to some PC OEMs and how the build their laptops. But the reward of seeing your client’s face glow with happiness with both the quality repair and turnaround time made those worthwhile.

Towards the end of my time as an ARA, we became an authorized Apple Repair location. With that came with official training on how to perform in-house repairs vs. shipping out. The most signficant: iPhone screen replacements. In my opinion, these replacements were a great option vs. our clients being without a phone for too long and having to use a loaner which was a pain in the butt procedure IMO.

This time period wasn’t always filled with happiness as there were some tough times where we would have to break news to a client. When ransomware became more widespread, the only solution we had was to do full OS restorations. It became my goal to do some research on the side to find how to bypass ransomware at the time. I was able to find a solution via Windows Registry outside of the OS and quickly circulated it to my team which I believe later got circulated company-wide as Corporate published literature on it at some point. Another incident that would make me sad if a client wanted to recover data from a failed drive that was beyond a Level 1 Data Recovery and couldn’t afford the cost (they’re pricey).

All in all, it was a fun, rewarding, and beneficial experience for me. You had a hand in repairing something for your clients and making them happy. It was especially rewarding when fixing something for Spanish-speaking clients and the senior clients. Those two were my weaknesses as I’ve always been the family geek especially to my Puerto Rican grandparents. So seeing them in these clients, I put an extra emphasis on those repairs.

Covert Fulfillment Agent | My first exposure to remote work life before the Pandemic standardized it
After being an ARA for 5-6yrs, I wanted to move up or move out. I began looking for more difficult work and hopefully a pay increase. Being a Geek Squad agent, the eventual goal is to either become a DCI, Geek Squad Manager, or a Double Agent (Geek Squad Agents that commute to clients’ homes). I began searching internally and externally. I ended up landing a new role after several external and internal interviews, Geek Squad Covert Fulfilment Agent! This was basically an ARA but remote work and more . The in-house version of “Johnny Utah”, if you will. You had a virtual queue of clients which was literally hundreds to a thousand-ish or on some slow days, under 100. If there were very slow days where it was just predominantly under 100, teams would get asked if anyone wanted to clock out for the day instead of having our metrics suffer.

Activating Sleeper Agent Status
My time as a Covert Fulfillment Agent was nothing short of a tried and true learning experience. I learned so much and fell in love with the Work From Home life but quickly realized that I was not a good fit for this role with the company’s metrics for the role. I thrived in quality assurance in both the experience of our clients and thoroughness of the work I would go through. My total amount of clients serviced would suffer each week which wasn’t good performance-wise. Nothing against the company but performance metrics in this role wasn’t my forte and slowly took a toll on my mental health as it meant I would have to be let go down the road. In addition, my supervisor had a meeting about goals with each of us and how we could achieve our goals. When he asked me, “Manny, what is your career goal, internally or externally?” I answered, “I want to become a Network Engineer. That’s my goal and dream.” He would follow up on the right steps and we quickly realized my career path meant achieving my CCNA on my own (which I was already working on) and leaving Geek Squad entirely as there were no true networking roles internally. As much as I lived and breathed the culture, it was time to move on.

Moving on was also rocky as some companies were quick to label us Geek Squad alumni as “rogues” or techs that can’t follow corporate policies and do whatever they want to get the fixes completed. Which lead to some not selecting me for their IT Support Roles. This was a critical moment in my life as I began to question my career path for the first time and if I made a mistake choosing IT. Fast forward to November 2016, I got my big break and got a job in Enterprise IT within the Public Sector here in Florida as a Contractor! An environment that had their own in-house Infrastructure Team that I could eventually work my way into and put my future CCNA to good use.

Message to Geek Squad & Best Buy
I’m not sure how the structure is now but thank you Geek Squad and Best Buy for investing in my growth! I’ve met so many memorable people that the majority I am still friends with. I’ve learned so much as a Hispanic man in IT. Witnessing Best Buy evolve with Amazon as a competitor was also a frightening time as an employee, but it also taught me a valuable lesson: If Best Buy can face one of it’s greatest competitors, suffer, evolve, and rise out of the ashes stronger then so can I! My time was a memorable one I will always cherish. I loved my time as a Geek Squad Agent whether I was at my local store or remotely. The soft skills and diagnostic skills I have both gained and honed while my time with you made me the better Network Engineer today!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: