Are we having fun yet??
It is the beginning of my second year in Manhattan real estate, and I am just starting to hit my stride. My clients are referring other clients; I wrote a book, which is reminding my friends to refer their friends; and I do a lot of writing about real estate here and elsewhere, which in its own quiet way is bringing me brainy Wall Streeters who like the way I think.
And then the credit markets have the indecency to go crrrunch.
Now, I started out working on Wall Street 20 years ago — while I missed the crash of ’87, I caught the mini-crash of ’88, and I remember the fun of standing slack-jawed in front of a computer screen while all the little indicators flashed red and all the little lines started to point down.
It was good for me, in many ways. For one thing, I got kind of used to being yelled at for things that weren’t my fault, developing a thick-skinnedness that has been valuable no matter what job I’m in. I learned also that at certain moments when no one wants to say something, I’m pretty good at ferreting out the collective secret thought and expressing it.
So now, let me say how much fun it is to be working on deals involving Countrywide paper.
Can I get an “Amen”?
Uh-huh. And let me say how much fun it is to be chasing my clients, grown men with nearly million-dollar incomes, who would rather hide from lil’ ol’ me than tell me they’re too freaked out by the markets to make decisions.
To be fair, they can’t admit that to themselves.
And did I mention how super-extra-fun it is to have clients whose jobs are to prop up this whole system, guys who sit in front of a computer all day but end up just as drenched in sweat as if they’d been building bridges?
And how really, really fun it is to have written a real estate book that people are fans of (that’s “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie,” called “beach-read fun” by one reviewer) to find that my reward is to crawl out of bed at 7 so I can do drive-time radio interviews, where my job is to be funny about the prospect of people losing their homes?
Not that many bright spots here. I had high-end clients that I lost to another broker — distracted by other clients and the book, it was my own stupid fault — and now I think maybe they’ll have trouble closing. But that’s not good, that’s just schadenfreude; I liked them and I want them to have a great home, even if it’s not my commission.
Oh, wait, I just thought of something fun: I’m not in my old career.
I had one of those days late last week where I was trying to do a direct mailing and the printer didn’t work, and I spent the whole day trying to wrestle with a $500 machine and got nothing done.
And when it happened, I thought, wow, you got nothing done today. You know, this doesn’t happen very often.
I remember corporate work distinctly enough that I remember that used to happen all the time. I mean, nothing used to happen all the time. I mean, nominally, stuff nominally got done — there were PowerPoints and meetings and deadlines — but there were entire days, lots of them, where the cause of humanity wasn’t really advanced.
Let’s see: I housed two people last month. They came from out-of-town, and I brought them to my city, and I got them homes.
And then I got them gift baskets, but I guess I’m polishing my halo, here.
That’s not even counting the two million people who are reading my housing advice (magazine stuff, mostly; not all of them are here, but I do love you guys best) and dog-earing a page, and being helped by it.
And you know what? You guys do that too. If you do your jobs right, you’re not just putting butts in seats, you’re putting butts on couches and around dinner tables. Those newsletters you send out, and those blogs you write? You’re helping people. What did you get done this month? You’re putting families in homes and getting sellers money in their pockets.
And there is, even during a scary time like this in the market, something super-fun about that.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”