I work for a huge brokerage. We have branch offices up the wazoo. Until recently, my little 8×10 room at the back with the stunning parking lot vista sat in what was the Central office. In our office complex, however, were those Commercial folks, across the breezeway, waaaaay over there.
And we didn’t mix. Commercial doesn’t come to Central parties, and as far as I know, Commercial doesn’t throw parties.
And those Commercial people, I tell ya. Talk about those with stars on thars. You pass them in front of the escrow office, they don’t even smile, not even a little wave.
Until last weekend, when the Commercial office closed and all those Commercial agents had to find a new home among us unwashed residential resale masses over in the Central office.
Suspicious eyeballing abounds.
Nervously, they say hi. We nod, an attempt to be gracious, each with a tight grip on our staplers behind our backs, lest these strangers lay claim to our stuff.
We each learn new vocabulary. The residential agents learn “CoStar” and “cap rate.”
The Commercial people learn “multiple counter offer” and how to deal with “what do you mean, my guy took the light switch covers and now your clients are canceling?”
There are skirmishes – quickly put down – regarding custody of the conference room.
But slowly, we learn about each other. How they deal so well with the facts only, hard business, investor client. How we deal well with Ma and Pa selling the family home in financial hardship.
Our skill sets don’t always overlap, but our residence does, so we’re adjusting. They learn that their hard-line tactics don’t always work with Ma and Pa. We learn not to talk about our feelings so much. They learn that the liquid coffee creamer is only brought out for special occasions, and we pick up some of their business-like approach to the business.
Eventually, we’ll find a way to co-exist, and although our businesses will always be vastly different, we can still smile and compare notes and share insights over the fax machine – and eventually, maybe some day – we’ll show them where we hide the liquor.
Or my name isn’t Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate.