Over the course of this blog I will share with you the reasons why I decided to go back to school, how I decided what to be when I “grow up”, the process and challenges that were involved in getting into graduate school and my journey through the hallowed halls of Western Carolina University. I’m hoping maybe my journal will guide or inspire another floundering soul find their own path along the way.
I supposed I should start with a little bit about myself. I’ll be 39 years old at the end of May. I was an under-employed ex-real estate broker. Before the housing market crash I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and was loving my job. Then all the plans I had made came crashing down like the unstable house of cards they were.
Better capitalized competition increased and gas prices decreased, causing my husband to close his scooter sales/service business. Real estate was at a stand still. Over the course of 18 months, we lost our house and were both back in the ever-tightening job market. Thankfully, he finally found a job locally that paid well and made him happy. I was not so lucky.
No one wants to hire an ex-realtor. They don’t believe you’ve really given up the business. Every employer asks if you think you might go back into real estate some day. No matter how enthusiastically you answer that you’re fed up with that unstable way of life, you can see in their eyes that they really don’t believe it. You can argue all day long that any other employee is just a likely to move to a more desirable job once the economy is better, but for some reason you’re not to be trusted. It brings to mind a smidgen of what my Irish forefathers must have experienced when they first arrived in this country: “Irish Need not Apply”.
I think in some way the public blames the crash on the real estate agents themselves. In our industry it is always a struggle not to be perceived on the same level as the “sleezy attorney” or “pushy used car salesman”. I have an honest face and, like the majority of real estate professionals, worked diligently to do my very best to facilitate transactions for my clients that were in THEIR best interest, not ONLY to earn a commission. Okay…that little soap box aside, it was infuriating to be pigeon-holed in with the “bad” ones and swept up in the blame game and finger-pointing that ensued with the economic down-turn.
I was DONE with real estate and determined to move on….Now what?