Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Scraping real estate listing data is a red herring controversy

When analyzing the issues in protecting real estate listing data, many people are looking at it from an outdated angle, as listing data becoming a commodity actually makes Realtors more valuable to consumers.

Published

on

The red herring of protecting listing data

A recent blog post on the Realtor.com lockbox blog starts out with the rather definitive and provocative statement:

“Listing data.
It’s valuable, it’s important, and it’s something that a lot of folks are trying VERY hard to steal and misuse.”

So, I figured it would only be fair to start my editorial with something equally provocative:

“Listing data.
It’s so common online that it’s a commodity of far less value than you’ve been led to believe.”

Before the comments fill up with angry missives, I want to be clear that I don’t condone scraping, I think it’s unprofessional and undignified, and I fully support Realtor.com’s efforts to prevent it. But I also don’t lose any sleep over it, and here’s why I think it’s a red herring.

Realtors used to be valuable because we were the gatekeepers to listing data. We knew what was for sale, how much it cost, and where you could find it. And the only way to get that information was to work with us. Perhaps you saw a name and number on a lawn sign, or a friend suggested their agent, or you just walked into a real estate office and chatted with the available floor agent.

In an era where all of the information we once so closely guarded is now available for anyone online 2/47 without having to talk to a Realtor, it’s easy to feel irrelevant. Our value hasn’t gone away, and I’d say our value has actually increased because of the incredible amount of data now available online. Where is the value in a Realtor?

The modern value of a Realtor

First: Making all of the data make sense
We can make sense of all of that data and put it in a meaningful context in a way that makes it easy for a particular client to understand. For an agent that actively tours in their market and engages daily with buyers, sellers, lenders, appraisers, and other real estate professionals it’s so easy that we sometimes don’t realize how valuable it is to take a huge amount of data and distill it to the relevant, essential and important information. This isn’t meant to sound patronizing to home buyers and sellers. They aren’t babies who need to be gently spoon-fed an easy to digest puree of real estate information. But home buyers and sellers have jobs, lives, families, children, pets, travel plans and hobbies – and they can’t put all of those things on pause to buy or sell a home.

Second: Real Estate will always be about People
It’s about people buying and selling homes. Yes, square footage matters. Yes, location matters. Yes, bedrooms, bathrooms, school-districts and plenty of other data points factor into the decision. Research1 has shown that the greater number of data points involved, the worse our conscious minds are at making the decision. It’s the ability to trust your gut, and have someone that you trust – an expert – to cross-check that feeling by being able to turn and say “I can’t put my finger on it, but I really think I like this home. What do you think?” Moments like that are when real estate is more about the people involved than the home itself. While I might ask Siri where to help me hide a dead body (just for fun and games, I assure you), I can’t envision the day when people are comfortable asking her if they should buy this home or that home. There are too many intangibles for a computer program to ever capture the quirky, bizarre, hard-to-describe but important details in buying a home.

Third: Websites only capture the easy data
Beds, bath, Square Feet, Date of Construction, Schools, etc. Those are the easy fields to capture, display, sort, and generally manipulate. But what about those items that are highly subjective, periodic or otherwise hard to easily classify and assign a value to? What’s light and airy to you may be a cave to me. What about the house next to the high school field used for band practice late into the evenings – but only during certain months of the year? Can you imagine the number of data fields it would take to capture every possible aspect of a home throughout a year? And if you can, see point two above.

Fourth: Negotiating and Navigating Escrow
Ever gone white water rafting without a guide? If you have, and you’re still alive to tell the tale, then you are both insane and lucky. It’s common sense to hire a guide when you are negotiating and navigating wilderness that is unknown to you – particularly when your day job involves sitting in a cubicle and wearing stylish shoes. Plunging into the river called escrow without a Real Estate agent to smartly negotiate and navigate on your behalf is inviting disaster. Real estate is filled with wildly unpredictable animals, well-camouflaged dead-ends, and false mirages – the cost of a simple mistake can be far greater than it originally appears. Just like the wilderness!

Realtors are more valuable when listing data is a commodity

So if Realtors are more valuable when listing data becomes a commodity, why the concern with scraping?

One: it makes it easy to misrepresent who the listing agent for a property is. If you are going to display my listing on your website (and depending on who you are, I might or might not be okay with that), at a minimum, I want credit as the listing agent. Not because I want to represent both sides of the transaction (double-popping/agent level dual agency) but because I worked hard to get that listing and my reputation online is incredibly valuable to my business.

Two: Accuracy. If I had a dollar for every phone call I got from clients looking on Trulia, Redfin, or Zillow asking about listings that are advertised as available but really aren’t available, I’d have a Benjamin and a few extra Lincolns in my wallet. And these are from some of the big players that work hard at keeping their data up-to-date.

Three: I’d prefer to make money from my hard work, thanks very much. Plenty of sites using scraped or syndicated data have business models that don’t rely at all on selling houses. Trulia, Zillow and even Realtor.com (and these aren’t even the scrapers) are in the advertising business, making money by selling advertisting on their sites regardless of if a particular home sells or not. They aren’t interested in selling homes, they are interested in generating page views and click-throughs. But to generate those page views, they need your listing data. Which they get without ever offering me or my broker a few dollars…

The continuing evolution

Listing data is on the internet, and it’s not going anywhere. How and where it is displayed, how it is protected (or not protected), and who controls it will continue to change and evolve. Realtor.com wants you to know they are obsessed with defeating the scrapers. But like I said, I think it’s a red herring and pretty far down on my list of concerns. What about you?

1 Research about decision making

Matt Fuller brings decades of experience and industry leadership as co-founder of San Francisco real estate brokerage Jackson Fuller Real Estate. Matt is a Past President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors. He currently serves as a Director for the California Association of Realtors. He currently co-hosts the San Francisco real estate podcast Escrow Out Loud. A recognized SF real estate expert, Matt has made numerous media appearances and published in a variety of media outlets. He’s a father, husband, dog-lover, and crazy exercise enthusiast. When he’s not at work you’re likely to find him at the gym or with his family.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    April 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Epic, just epic.

  2. Jeff Brown

    April 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Hey Matt — “Realtors used to be valuable because we were the gatekeepers to listing data. We knew what was for sale, how much it cost, and where you could find it. And the only way to get that information was to work with us.”

    Change that to, “Coke used to be very successful cuz they kept their formula very well guarded. Since they gave it away, they’ve become less than a shadow of what they were.”

    Coke knows that giving away their only possession of any value would be, um, less than intelligent. I understand where you’re coming from, Matt. But this discussion and all that flows from it, is akin to talkin’ about how to get along without all the gold we used to have before publishing our vault’s combination.

    It begins with a false premise: That the public has a right to the only thing we had of value. How’s that been workin’ out for us lately? Nobody wants to address that question, cuz they realize the horse is outa the barn, making the discussion a complete waste of productive time.

    • Matt Fuller, GRI

      April 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Jeff,

      Coke is carbonated water, sugar, and a few other chemicals thrown together. Those are all commodity items. The magic in Coke (if you think there is any) is how they take a few commodity ingredients and turn them into massive profits and brand loyalty.

      I think the same argument applies to successful Realtors. They take a few commodity items – listing information and customer service for example – and spin them into their secret sauce that wins them business and clients.

      The only thing that came close to killing Coke was when Coke got mighty arrogant and insular and decided they knew what would make for a better tasting Coke than the general public.

      • Jeff Brown

        April 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm

        Much appreciated. I understand now.

  3. Russ Bergeron

    April 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    It is not so much about protecting the data itself but protecting the copyright to the data. If you don’t enforce it, the copyright does not exist. The question I would ask is – should any 3rd party be allowed to use copyrighted material (raw materials) to start a for-profit business at the expense of the owner of those raw materials?

    I am starting a subscription based blog. Below is my first article. What do you think?
    ———————————————
    The red herring of protecting listing data

    A recent blog post on the Realtor.com lockbox blog starts out with the rather definitive and provocative statement:

    “Listing data.
    It’s valuable, it’s important, and it’s something that a lot of folks are trying VERY hard to steal and misuse.”
    So, I figured it would only be fair to start my editorial with something equally provocative:

    “Listing data.
    It’s so common online that it’s a commodity of far less value than you’ve been led to believe.”
    Before the comments fill up with angry missives, I want to be clear that I don’t condone scraping, I think it’s unprofessional and undignified, and I fully support Realtor.com’s efforts to prevent it. But I also don’t lose any sleep over it, and here’s why I think it’s a red herring.

    Realtors used to be valuable because we were the gatekeepers to listing data. We knew what was for sale, how much it cost, and where you could find it. And the only way to get that information was to work with us. Perhaps you saw a name and number on a lawn sign, or a friend suggested their agent, or you just walked into a real estate office and chatted with the available floor agent.

    In an era where all of the information we once so closely guarded is now available for anyone online 2/47 without having to talk to a Realtor, it’s easy to feel irrelevant. Our value hasn’t gone away, and I’d say our value has actually increased because of the incredible amount of data now available online. Where is the value in a Realtor?

    The modern value of a Realtor

    First: Making all of the data make sense
    We can make sense of all of that data and put it in a meaningful context in a way that makes it easy for a particular client to understand. For an agent that actively tours in their market and engages daily with buyers, sellers, lenders, appraisers, and other real estate professionals it’s so easy that we sometimes don’t realize how valuable it is to take a huge amount of data and distill it to the relevant, essential and important information. This isn’t meant to sound patronizing to home buyers and sellers. They aren’t babies who need to be gently spoon-fed an easy to digest puree of real estate information. But home buyers and sellers have jobs, lives, families, children, pets, travel plans and hobbies – and they can’t put all of those things on pause to buy or sell a home.

    Second: Real Estate will always be about People
    It’s about people buying and selling homes. Yes, square footage matters. Yes, location matters. Yes, bedrooms, bathrooms, school-districts and plenty of other data points factor into the decision. Research1 has shown that the greater number of data points involved, the worse our conscious minds are at making the decision. It’s the ability to trust your gut, and have someone that you trust – an expert – to cross-check that feeling by being able to turn and say “I can’t put my finger on it, but I really think I like this home. What do you think?” Moments like that are when real estate is more about the people involved than the home itself. While I might ask Siri where to help me hide a dead body (just for fun and games, I assure you), I can’t envision the day when people are comfortable asking her if they should buy this home or that home. There are too many intangibles for a computer program to ever capture the quirky, bizarre, hard-to-describe but important details in buying a home.

    Third: Websites only capture the easy data
    Beds, bath, Square Feet, Date of Construction, Schools, etc. Those are the easy fields to capture, display, sort, and generally manipulate. But what about those items that are highly subjective, periodic or otherwise hard to easily classify and assign a value to? What’s light and airy to you may be a cave to me. What about the house next to the high school field used for band practice late into the evenings – but only during certain months of the year? Can you imagine the number of data fields it would take to capture every possible aspect of a home throughout a year? And if you can, see point two above.

    Fourth: Negotiating and Navigating Escrow
    Ever gone white water rafting without a guide? If you have, and you’re still alive to tell the tale, then you are both insane and lucky. It’s common sense to hire a guide when you are negotiating and navigating wilderness that is unknown to you – particularly when your day job involves sitting in a cubicle and wearing stylish shoes. Plunging into the river called escrow without a Real Estate agent to smartly negotiate and navigate on your behalf is inviting disaster. Real estate is filled with wildly unpredictable animals, well-camouflaged dead-ends, and false mirages – the cost of a simple mistake can be far greater than it originally appears. Just like the wilderness!

    Realtors are more valuable when listing data is a commodity

    So if Realtors are more valuable when listing data becomes a commodity, why the concern with scraping?

    One: it makes it easy to misrepresent who the listing agent for a property is. If you are going to display my listing on your website (and depending on who you are, I might or might not be okay with that), at a minimum, I want credit as the listing agent. Not because I want to represent both sides of the transaction (double-popping/agent level dual agency) but because I worked hard to get that listing and my reputation online is incredibly valuable to my business.

    Two: Accuracy. If I had a dollar for every phone call I got from clients looking on Trulia, Redfin, or Zillow asking about listings that are advertised as available but really aren’t available, I’d have a Benjamin and a few extra Lincolns in my wallet. And these are from some of the big players that work hard at keeping their data up-to-date.

    Three: I’d prefer to make money from my hard work, thanks very much. Plenty of sites using scraped or syndicated data have business models that don’t rely at all on selling houses. Trulia, Zillow and even Realtor.com (and these aren’t even the scrapers) are in the advertising business, making money by selling advertisting on their sites regardless of if a particular home sells or not. They aren’t interested in selling homes, they are interested in generating page views and click-throughs. But to generate those page views, they need your listing data. Which they get without ever offering me or my broker a few dollars…

    The continuing evolution

    Listing data is on the internet, and it’s not going anywhere. How and where it is displayed, how it is protected (or not protected), and who controls it will continue to change and evolve. Realtor.com wants you to know they are obsessed with defeating the scrapers. But like I said, I think it’s a red herring and pretty far down on my list of concerns. What about you?

    • Benn Rosales

      April 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Hi Russ! Benn here, so glad to see you – your point is well taken, but I’ll be honest, Matts points are also well taken. As he mentions, protecting copyrights as well as trademarks are important, but what I got out of this was something so much more – a Realtor brilliantly defining how powerful it is to be a Realtor in 2012 regardless of data hijacking, right?

      I’d go a step further however with his assertions of Realtor value proposition – I sort of get the feeling non-Realtors, namely a simple licensee can use R/T/Z or any number of sources to actually provide some semblance of representation in a neighborhood these days. It’s all out there for a well farmed licensee w/o the R the do what Matt so artfully describes as value. This service will in time get better as aggregators get better, and why can’t they use the new tools Zillow provides to disintermediate the associations right on out of the drivers seat. ahhhhhh Zillow CRM? Zillow IDX? etc…

      They don’t and aren’t a broker, they’re defining a new way. Matt’s points only makes this more evident.

      • Benn Rosales

        April 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        If it’s not the agenda, then they’re missing a huge opportunity – not that I support it, I’m just sayin.

    • Matt Fuller, GRI

      April 23, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Russ,

      As I mentioned at the beginning of my article, I’m not condoning scraping. As to your question about “should any 3rd party be allowed to use copyrighted material (raw materials) to start a for-profit business at the expense of the owner of those raw materials?”

      From the agent level perspective I’d say that to a degree, sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com do exactly that. They are all in the business of selling advertising packages – primarily to real estate agents, and while Move.Com might profit from allowing Zillow to use their data, it doesn’t trickle down to an individual agent.

      That said, I also couldn’t tell you the intricacies of who owns the data about my listing once I enter it into the MLS. From a quick google of your name, it sounds like you have a fair amount of experience in this area and I’d love to hear more from your perspective.

      I’d also be really curious to hear your opinion and thoughts on IDX. When I display another agent’s listing on my website and a buyer contacts me, have I profited at the expense of the owner of that listing data (the listing agent)?

      Cheers,
      Matt

    • Matt Fuller, GRI

      April 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Russ,

      Isn’t Google’s entire business model predicated around indexing (scraping, to some degree) other people’s data, selling advertising around it and making a fortune? The value isn’t the data, in google’s case it is helping people find the data. And no, Google doesn’t represent other people’s data as belonging to them, but they’d be out of business without it.

      – Matt

  4. Roland Estrada

    April 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I’d like to bring up a possible scraping issue not of MLS data but of Realtor email addresses for spamming purposes. I’ll tell you why I think one or all three associations are at the core of Realtor spam.

    In 2007, I switched email providers from Earthlink to a .mac account. After a couple of months I thought I should update my association info – NAR, CAR and OCAR. Up to the point where I updated my email info with the associations, I had zero spam of any kind. Roughly two days after I updated my email info, I started getting real estate related spam. I was suspicious of course.

    I set up and alias address with Gmail and resubmitted that new email address to the three associations. Sure enough, within a couple of submitting the new email address I started getting real estate spam. All three associations deny selling our email addresses. Either someone on the inside is selling them or they are being scraped. It’s a pretty crappy situation when we can’t trust our associations to keep email info secure.

    • Matt Fuller, GRI

      April 23, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Roland,

      While I have nothing to base it on other than personal experience, I’d say that’s scraping and not your association selling your data. That said, I’ve never actually bothered to ask my association what our privacy policy is with regards to member data.

      But spam still sucks!

  5. Matt Thomson

    April 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I think the biggest element here is that Realtor’s value has changed. That’s okay. The sad thing is few Realtors have changed with it, or understand or are willing to admit their value has changed.
    I’ve made a really nice living the past 4 years, while many former top producing agents in our community have left the business, redefining value.
    A community blog offering tons of information about the community folks are buying into. I have dozens of out of state clients…I do face time chat or send videos of homes to them, so they don’t have to keep flying out here and can see more than just what is online.
    We still have value, we just need to define what it is.

    • Matt Fuller, GRI

      April 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Matt,

      I totally agree with you! Our value has changed, and I’m okay with it.

      I’d be curious to hear how you define your value – unless, of course, that’s your secret recipe for success, in which case you should keep it in the vault 😉

      Cheers,
      Matt

      • Matt Thomson

        April 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        I promote my value as having extensive knowledge about the community.
        I know the real estate market #’s intently. I know the absorption rate and DOM of each price range. I know who the builders are of which homes.
        I have spent time getting to know administrators and personnel in each school, including the private schools. I engage in Chamber activities and attend a weekly Public Affairs forum.
        I know the City planner, the county commissioner, the superintendent of schools, the chief of police and the fire commissioner.
        There’s not many questions about our area that I can’t answer, from the schools and parks to where to get a hair cut and who to call to remodel your house.
        Finding homes is something I do, but something my clients can do just as well on my site or any number of other sites.
        Really truly knowing this community is something my buyers need and my sellers appreciate as I can market their home around the perks of the community as well as the home.

  6. Matt Cohen

    April 24, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Funny how it’s obvious that scraping is a problem for emails (for a commenter) but scraping of listings, which can result in the same harassment of consumers (especially when listing address is mashed up with a telephone directory) is a ‘red herring’.

  7. Frank LL0SA- broker FranklyRealty.com

    April 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Redfin? You sure? You lumped them in with the likes of Trulia and Zillow.

    While I agree that Zillow can have weeks or months old data that causes problems and confusion for the consumer, are you sure Redfin has the same issues? They have a direct IDX feed from the MLS and a kick ass site. Never heard of one complaint about them having outdated info.

    Frank
    broker
    FranklyRealty.com
    FranklyMLS.com

  8. Bryan

    May 14, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    First, I must correct a horribly silly mistake one commenter made: Copyright does NOT have to be defended to be retained. This is a very common belief that betrays total ignorance of intellectual property law. Trademark has to be actively defended, COPYRIGHT DOES NOT. Likewise, copyright does NOT cover information or methods. It covers the SPECIFIC PRESENTATION of the information. A "copyrighted" listing is not the number of beds, baths, square footage, acres, etc. It's not subject to copyright. It's how that information is displayed that falls under copyright. Photos, of course, do fall under copyright, even if they are in digital format.

    Second, when I have done housing searches purely for myself, I have resorted to crude scraping. I can then use the data amassed to pare down the selection based on criteria that are derived from the scrape but are too tedious to go through on a listing-by-listing basis (yes, the search tools on the sites are too crude and primitive for me).

    Then, once I've pared that down, what have I done? That is where the Realtor comes in. When it comes time to take a look at specific properties, I find an agent willing to represent me as a buyer. Any Realtor who viciously clings to listing data as if it were life-blood a secret that must be kept to stay in business is nobody I would trust to do business with in the 21st century. They provide ZERO added value by being listing gatekeepers. However, there is still a lot of added value a good Realtor can provide a prospective buyer without being a listing gatekeeper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and crush your professional goals.

Published

on

work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Why soft skills are even more essential in online era

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Since many of us aren’t seeing our co-workers in person these days, our soft skills are even more important in the online working space.

Published

on

Skype video chat with person writing in notebook. Soft skills are critical online.

When did we start thinking of “soft” as bad? I mean, we’ve got soft serve (excellent), softball (good exercise), fabric soft-ener (another industry I’m enjoying killing as a millennial). And we’ve got soft skills.

Or at least… I hope we do.

The shift to non-optional remote working has been difficult for a lot of us, especially for everyone who forgets to press mute before making sure the kids behave. But it’ll take more than being hot-mic savvy to make it through the foreseeable future. Brush up on these soft skills while we’re waiting on a vaccine, and it’ll make the coming months (years?) much easier.

1. Tone mastery

Do you know the difference between “Hey, Brenda, can we have a 1:1 at 12:30pm to go over the laser-equipped yoga pants presentation details?” and “Brenda, we need to talk…”?

If not, you might not have a great grasp on how to say with your typey-words what you can no longer say with your facial expressions. You don’t need to throw an emoji or exclamation point into every sentence to get your points across, but you do have the power to keep your coworkers’ heart rates in a safe range by explaining what exactly you need from them in your initial messages.

Use that power wisely.

2. Checking in

There’s no water cooler talk if there’s no water cooler, right?

Making and maintaining connections is more important now than ever, natural introversion be damned. You wanna be a star, don’tcha? Keep up relationships with public shoutouts, inquiries, and reaction images, and you’ll keep up morale while maintaining and boosting your potential for growth in the company.

Even if you’re not a small-talk kind of person, just a drop in for updates, meeting minutes, or sharing a relevant article via appropriate chatrooms and DMs can help hone your soft skills.

“Karen, this MLM article reminded me of your anti-Scentsy tangent you forgot we could all hear, maybe send this to your pushy ex-friend.”

“Hey, Ravindra, how’s the new laptop working out? All good? No ‘Kill all Humans’ protocols like the last one?”

Simple blips like this can add up like couch change. If you’re an admin, make a general chats section, and work in enough time in meetings to allow everyone to have a bit of a chat before getting down to business.

3. Make yourself available

This was important before the pandemic, honestly, but it bears repeating now, especially for everyone in a leadership position. If you’re not making time for check-ins, constantly cancelling meetings, or just generally enjoying being gone when people need you…figure out a way to not. Delegate what you can, bring on a VA, shorten that vacation, whatever you have to do. Everyone’s struggling, and being captain means your crew is looking to you. Don’t let the general air of desperation lull you into thinking a metaphorical keelhauling is out of the question—that extra power still comes with extra responsibility.

Keep yourself from double-bookings, cancellations, and absences as much as possible, and things will continue to improve internally… Even if they don’t in the outside world.

Aesop had a fable about an oak tree and a little river reed. When a storm came, the hardened oak tree fell and died, while the flexible reed bent with the wind and lived. We’re in the storm now, and everyone’s doing their best not to break. Keep yourself rooted friends, but the moral here is to soften up.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Before you quit your job, ask yourself these 5 questions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Frustrated at work? Here are 5 ideas utilizing design thinking and exploration tactics to assess if you really are ready to quit your job.

Published

on

Man reclining on beanbag with laptop, thoughtful. Considering tactics before you quit your job.

We have all been there. We are in a job that just doesn’t feel right for us. Maybe we strongly dislike our manager or even our day to day work responsibilities. We find it easy to blame everyone else for everything we dislike. We question life and ask “Is this what life is all about? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something I am more passionate about?” But, we probably like the regular paycheck… Thus, we stay there and possibly become more miserable by the day. Some of us may even start to feel physical symptoms of headaches, stomach aches, and possibly depression. We also may go to the internet like this person seeking answers and hoping someone else can tell us what to do:

“I feel conflicted but I want to quit my job. What should I do?

I was thinking of quitting my job because I dislike what I do, and I feel I am underpaid.

However last week my colleague tendered her resignation too. Needless to say, if I leave too, my whole department will fall into a larger mess and that causes some feelings of conflict within me.

Should my colleague quitting affect when I want to leave too? How do I go about quitting now?”

We can definitely empathize with this – it’s really uncomfortable, sometimes sad, and hard to be in a position where we feel we are underpaid and we aren’t happy.

So, how can you navigate a situation like this? How do you figure out if you should just quit your job? How can you be an adult about this?

Here are some exploratory questions, ideas, and some design thinking activities to help you answer this question for yourself.

  • Before you up and quit, assuming you don’t yet have your next opportunity lined up, have you considered asking for a raise – or better yet, figure out how you add value to the organization? Would your supervisor be willing to move you in to a new role or offer additional compensation?
  • If you don’t have a job lined up, do you have the recommended AT LEAST six months of living expenses in your savings account? Some would recommend that you have even more during a global pandemic where unemployment is at an all-time high – it may take longer to find a new position.
  • Do you have a safety net of family or friends that are willing and able to help you with your bills if you don’t have your regular paycheck? Would you be willing to put that burden on them so you can quit your job?
  • Why aren’t you job searching if you are unhappy? Is it because the task seems daunting and the idea of interviewing right now makes you want to puke?
  • What would your ideal job be and what would it take for you to go for it?

Many people claim they don’t like their job but they don’t know what to do next or even worse, don’t know what they WANT to do. To offer a little bit of tough love here: Well, then, that’s your job to figure it out. You can go on Reddit all you want, but no one else can tell you what is right for you.

Here are some ways to explore what may be an exciting career move for you or help you identify some areas that you need to learn more about in order to figure out where work will align with your skills, interests, and passions.

  1. Consider ordering the Design Your Life Workbook that provides writing prompts to help you figure out what it is that you are looking for in a job/career. You may also like the book Designing Your Work Life which is about “How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work”.
  2. Utilize design thinking to answer some of your questions. Make a diamond shape and in each of the four corners, write out the “Who” you want to be working with, “What” you’d like to be doing, “Where” you’d like to be, and “Why” you want to be there or doing that kind of work.
  3. Conduct informational interviews with people doing work that you think you might be interested in. Usually these conversations give you lots of interesting insights and either a green light to pursue something or validation that maybe that role isn’t right for you either.
  4. Get your resume updated. Sometimes just dusting off your resume, updating it, and making it ready gives you a feeling of relief that if you did really want to pursue a new job, you are almost ready. Consider updating your LinkedIn profile as well.
  5. Explore what you can do differently. A lot of what we can be frustrated about can be related to things out of our control. Consider exploring ways to work better with your team or how to grow to become invaluable. Tune in to Lindsey Pollak’s podcast, The Work Remix, where she gives great ideas on how to navigate working in current times where there are five generations in the workplace. There may be ways you need to adjust your communication style or tune in to emotional intelligence on how to better work with your supervisor or employees. Again, focus on what is within your control.

You may decide that you need to quit your job to be able to focus your energy on finding a better fit for you. But at the same time, be realistic. Most of us have to work to live. Everyone has bills, so you may continue working while you sort out some of the other factors to help you find a more exciting prospect. Either way, wishing you all the best on this journey, and the time and patience to allow you to figure it out.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!