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Opinion Editorials

Top 5 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Hire a Penguin as Your Next Realtor®



Often I am asked why there are not more penguins in the business of real estate – here in North America. Although it may not seem obvious to everyone, there are really good reasons why a potential Buyer or Seller would not hire a penguin as their next Realtor®.

Reason #1:
Penguins do not have the patience to deal with the random phone calls that other Realtors® have to professionally deal with on a daily basis. Penguins have a very short temper and have been known to actually throw phones through windows when non-committed, uneducated callers refuse to listen to logic. However, on the flip side, there ARE the penguins who jump at every call, but then have no time for their actual
clients. Neither scenario is good.

Reason #2:
Penguins believe that the Internet is a fad and refuse to make their presence here. (I know this because I guarantee that NO penguin will log on and actually dispute me. So, if you are a penguin, and you have embraced the internet as a tool in your business, please speak up … I’ll even email you a fish if you leave a comment here.) Do they not believe that over 80% of all home searches start online? Oh well …

Reason #3:
Penguins believe in a strict dress code. Personally, I believe that it is important to dress nicely for your clients, but that definition of “nice” differs from agent to agent and client to client. Penguins refuse to think of real estate as anything but a Black Tie affair. Ugh … please!

Reason #4:
Penguins never return phone calls. Maybe it is their lack of opposable thumbs. Maybe it has something to do with just thinking they are better than everyone. Maybe I could just make up excuses for this irreprehensible behavior all day long…. Regardless of WHY they never return phone calls, the fact is that they do not. This shows a complete lack of professionalism and there really is no excuse.

Reason #5:
Penguins are just way too selfish and self-centered.
I once witnessed a penguin at a local coffee shop making a complete ass out of itself. Who would hire someone like that? Nobody is THAT important…

So, if you were considering hiring a penguin as your next Realtor® please think through all these repercussions.

Anyway, if real estate really is a people-business, I guess penguins have no place in it anyway.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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  1. Melissa Kruse

    November 17, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Way to funny. Thanks for providing some humor on a gray Saturday. Of course I would expect nothing less from Colorado Springs best realtor.

  2. Laurie Manny

    November 17, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    HA, I want some of what you have been nipping on.

  3. ines

    November 17, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Say “no to penguins” – I can see them doing Colorado Springs with the cold weather and all….but we also have plenty in our HOT climate.

  4. Mariana

    November 17, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    I have decided (officially) that although real estate is no laughing matter, it provides some of the greatest humor in my life. And so do penguins.

  5. monika

    November 17, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    I really enjoyed that Mariana…I needed a good laugh today!

  6. Teresa Boardman

    November 17, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Now wait a second . . I thought Realtors were held to a higher standard? . . .

  7. Mariana

    November 18, 2007 at 1:41 am

    You know what Teresa? You ARE right! They ARE held to a higher standard, but I am sure you will agree that not ALL agents (penguins or otherwise) actually reach that standard …

    Monika! Happy Penguin Day! (.. I just made that one up.)

  8. Vicki Moore

    November 18, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Only a creatively strange mind could come up with that one. Completely awesome!

  9. Todd Carpenter

    November 18, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Vicki, I’m sure Mariana’s mind is perfectly normal… at sea level. There’s not much air up here you know.

  10. Laurie Manny

    November 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

  11. Todd Carpenter

    November 18, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I don’t know Laurie, I think this version relates better to the spirit of this post.

  12. ines

    November 18, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Laurie and Todd, you guys are a trip!

  13. Mariana

    November 18, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Vicki – Todd may be onto something there …

    Laurie and Todd – WOW! How did you get all that great footage from the recent NAR convention?!?!?
    …very cool. 😉

  14. Brian Wilson

    November 19, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Does this include the Penguin a la “Batman Returns”?

    Frankly, I think his hard-nosed business tactics and hypnotic umbrella would make him one of the finest Realtors we’ve seen, although his halitosis and butt-ugly face might count against him.

    Brian Wilson,

  15. Mariana

    November 19, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Brian – Maybe he is the rest of the penguins’ managing broker?

  16. Scoot

    November 19, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Hello, my name is Scott, I’m a penguin, I have embraced the internet, I act almost the opposite of how you’ve describe my species, are you bashing my species? please send me the fish!

  17. Mariana

    November 19, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Scott, and welcome to my post. I will email you a fish, as promised.
    Am I bashing a whole species? No. Of course not. Just the penguin agents. 😉

  18. Mariana

    November 19, 2007 at 11:39 pm

  19. Scoot

    November 20, 2007 at 12:10 am

    I have to admit, I’m not really a penguin. I may have been guilty of making fun of a species myself. I just wanted the fish.

    I don’t even know what a “penguin Realtor” is, again I just wanted the fish.

    Thank you, that was a good fish!

  20. Mariana

    November 20, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Yeah, I checked out your blog, and I think that you are most definitely NOT a penguin. (I noticed that you have opposable thumbs…)

  21. Scoot

    November 21, 2007 at 8:12 am

    …]Last night I posed as a penguin.[…

  22. Lisa Dunn

    December 5, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I have a nephew who will be very sad to see there is something penguins can’t do. He asked Santa for a pet penguin. Glad it wasn’t a pet realtor 🙂

  23. Mariana

    December 5, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Pet Realtor! Ha!

  24. Pensacola Real Estate News

    December 5, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I watched march of the Penguins the other night. I could clearly see that penguins would not make good realtors, but while watching the movie, somehow that thought never even crossed my mind. Kind of strange that I didn’t think of it. Not to mention they are pretty worthless at protecting their little ones, I can only imagine how bad they are at negotiating for their clients.

  25. Mariana

    December 16, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Karl – You know, March of the Penguins is a perfect PR video for my post …

  26. Ann Cummings

    December 16, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Hey Mariana – this was a hoot! I have to say I don’t get asked often at all why there aren’t more penguins in real estate, but when that first happens, I’m going to ingrain these reasons in my head…..just in case I do get asked that question! 😉


  27. Mariana

    December 17, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Ann! With all the snow you have been getting I am shocked that you haven’t gotten that question more often! 😉

  28. Mariana

    January 29, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Why is it that this post keeps “appearing” on other blogs … Is it magic? Or are there more penguin agents out there than I choose to believe?

  29. Mariana

    March 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    [For as much as I am NOT a Penguin agent, sometimes I DO wish I lived among penguins … sliding around on my belly, eating fish and dodging sharks.]

  30. Sue

    July 10, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Mariana, you certainly have a good and very clever sense of humor. I actually did a “farming” card with penguins once….one penguin was asking the other if he knew of a good realtor and the other penguin had his “arm” pointing (like you’re guy above) and was saying “Yes, Sue went that way”. Thanks for the post!

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Opinion Editorials

Freelance is the Future? I call bull malarky

(EDITORIAL) Some have predicted that due to company needs and employees’ desire for flexibility, and even COVID, freelance is the future of work. But I have reservations.



Freelance desk

Long gone are the days of punching a clock in Corporate America to be in your seat at your desk for an exact period of 8 hours on a day x 5 = 40 hours per week. If you work in an office setting now, usually you are expected to manage your time and finish your projects but companies have adjusted their strict butt in seat polices so that you can come in late after a doctor appointment or even leave a little early for Susie’s soccer tournament.

The truth is, with the advancement of technology and connected devices, many of us can work from anywhere (as long as there’s Wi-Fi or we have our hotspot). So, as long as your work gets done, there’s a little bit of room for “flexibility”.

When a company pitches this as flexibility, it’s really just a way of re-wording that you will work a lot so they will cut you some slack here and there considering most of us work well over our 40 hours a week. We can check email first thing in the morning, forward documents from the plane and even be on conference calls while in a line or in an Uber. You may work late on a Tuesday due to Wednesday deliverables which allows you to take off on Friday at 3pm when usually your projects are in a good place. There are also times where you will work on the weekend.

The opportunity to work anywhere has led to some considering that freelance is the future? I just don’t buy it. And this might be an unpopular opinion. I think that’s like turning the Titanic around. People rely on companies to offer a feeling of stability (or so we think) so that you know there’s a paycheck coming in every other week and you definitely have your fair share of projects (oh yeah, plus healthcare benefits).

If we all moved in to freelancing, we’d have a wide variety of clients, customers, teammates and paychecks that could be difficult to keep up with. We’d be forced to be the CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, CMOs, CFOs, oh, forget it, the entire C-suite of our own careers. It’s really difficult to generate new clients in the future while you’re working on a current project.

However, it’s equally difficult to have a lull so you have to be constantly engaged and pitching business (at the same time you have your current work). You have to be on your A-game at all times and out pitching yourself and your brand. You have to be creating content on all the social channels and be invited to participate in fancy conferences and meetings. This unfortunately is the life of freelance.

Does it seem like more people will do freelance? Yes. There’s lots of opportunity now thanks to the world wide web. But I predict they will do this in addition to their regular jobs. Is it possible that we may move to a gig economy? We are already there. You’ve heard of Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Fiverr and Upwork…It seems like that most people that have 2-3 gigs to make them whole are typically looking for full-time opportunities or would love to find something that can replace the others with more consistent work and not all the hustle. Are Small Businesses on the rise? Absolutely.

It seems that it depends on your desire for either slightly more predictable work and paychecks or if you’re a throw caution to the wind person and live that freelancer life. Also, if your skill sets are the ones employers are looking for on an ad hoc basis. No doubt many people live a freelancer life and love it. But I just don’t see it being the masses – I think it takes a special kind of dedication to rely on freelance and/or starting your own business. Plus, you’re off your parents’ healthcare at age 26. That’s when real the “real job” starts to sound really appealing.

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Opinion Editorials

Ways to socialize safely during quarantine

(EDITORIAL) Months of isolation due to quarantine is causing loneliness for many, but joining virtual social groups from home may help fill the need for interaction.




Quarantining, sheltering in place, staying home. We’re tired of hearing it; we’re tired of doing it. Yet, it’s what we still need to be doing to stay safe for a while longer. All of this can be lonesome. As the days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the alone time is getting to even the most introverted among us.

Solitary confinement is considered one of the most psychologically damaging punishments a human can endure. The New Yorker reported on this in a 1992 study of prisoners in detention camps in the former Yugoslavia, as well as Vietnam veterans who experienced isolation. These studies showed that prisoners who had experienced solitary confinement demonstrated similar brain activity to those who’d suffered a severe head injury, noting that “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.”

We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Your “pandemic brain” is real. That fogginess, the lack of productivity, can be attributed to many things, including anxiety, but being kept apart from other humans is a big part of it too. Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and join others virtually. Be it an app, a class, a Facebook group, a chat room, or a livestream, someone somewhere is out there waiting to connect with you too.

The good news? We are lucky enough to live in an era of near limitless ways to interact socially online. Sure, it is different, but it is something. It’s important. The best thing about this type of social interaction is being able to hone in on your specific interests, though I’d caution you against getting caught in an online echo chamber. Diversity of interests, personality, and opinion make for a richer experience, with opportunities for connecting and expanding your worldview.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to socialize while staying home and staying safe. Communicating with other humans is good for you, physically and mentally.

Interactive Livestreams on Twitch:

Twitch is best known as a streaming service for video game fans, but it offers multiple streams appealing to different interests. This is more than passive watching (although that is an option, too) as Twitch livestream channels also have chat rooms. Twitch is fun for people who like multi-tasking because the chat rooms for popular livestream channels can get busy with chatter.

While people watch the Twitch hosts play a video game, film a live podcast, make music or art, mix cocktails, or dance, they can comment on what they’re watching, make suggestions, ask questions, crack jokes, and get to know each other (by Twitch handle, so it is still as anonymous as you want it to be) in the chat room. The best hosts take time every so often to interact directly with the chat room questions and comments.

Many Twitch channels develop loyal followers who get to know each other, thus forming communities. I have participated in the Alamo Drafthouse Master Pancake movie mocks a few times because they are fun and local to Austin, where I live. Plus, in my non-quarantine life, I would go to Master Pancake shows live sometimes. The chat room feels familiar in a nice way. While watching online is free, you can (and totally should) tip them.

Online trivia in real time:

There are some good options for real-time online trivia, but I’m impressed with the NYC Trivia League’s model. They have trivia games online on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The NYC Trivia League seems to have figured out a good way to run the game live while keeping answers private from the other teams. They run games on Instagram Live with a live video of the host, and participants answer via the question feature. Clever!

Online book club:

First I have to shout out my Austin local independent bookstore, BookPeople, because they are fantastic. They run book clubs throughout the year, along with readings, book signings, and all things book-related. BookPeople hosts several online book clubs during these lockdown days, and most people will find something that appeals to them.

I’m also impressed with this list from Hugo House, a writer’s resource based out of Seattle. This list includes Instagram and Goodread book clubs, book clubs for Black women, rebels, and poetry lovers. The Financial Diet recommends the Reddit book club, if you are comfortable with the Reddit format. Please note that it’s a busy place, but if you like Reddit, you already know this.

Cooking class or virtual tasting:

This is doubly satisfying because you can follow these chefs in real time, and you end up with a meal. There are a couple on Instagram Live, such as The Culinistas or Chef Massimo Bottura.

You can also participate in virtual tastings for wine, whiskey, or chocolate, though you will have to buy the product to participate in the classes (usually held over Zoom or Facebook Live). If you are in Austin, Dallas, or Houston, I recommend BeenThere Locals. The cost of the course includes the wine, spirits, or cooking kit in most cases, and all of the money goes to the business and expert hosting the class.

Look for your favorite wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate makers, and chefs that are local to you to find a similar experience. Most either prepare the class kit for pickup or delivery within a local area.

Quarantine chat:

To interact with another quarantined person seeking social interaction, there’s Quarantine Chat. Quarantine chat is one of the ways to connect through the Dialup app, available on iOS and Android devices. Sign up to make and receive calls when you want to speak with someone. The Dialup app pairs you randomly with another person for a phone conversation, at a scheduled time, either with anyone or with someone with shared interests.

Quarantine chat takes it a step further with calls at random times. When your quarantine chat caller calls, you will not see their number (or they yours), only the “Quarantine Chat” caller ID. If you are unable to pick up when they call, they will be connected with someone else, so there is no pressure to answer. It’s nice to hear someone else’s voice, merely to talk about what you’ve been cooking or what hilarious thing your pet is doing.

Play Uno:

Uno Freak lets people set up games and play Uno online with friends or strangers. Players do not need to register or download anything to play. Uno Freak is web-based.

Talk to mental health professionals:

If your state of loneliness starts sliding toward depression, call someone you can speak to right away to talk over your concerns. When in doubt, call a trained professional! Here are a few resources:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET, 800-950-NAMI (6264) or
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to this text line 24/7 for someone to text with who will also be able to refer you to other resources: U.S. and Canada: 74174, U.K. 85258, Ireland: 50808.
  • Psych Central has put together this comprehensive list of crisis intervention specialists and ways to contact them immediately.

There are many ways to connect even though we are physically apart. These are just a few real time ways to interact with others online. If you want something a little more flesh and blood, take a walk around the block or even sit in a chair in front of where you live.

Wave at people from afar, and remember that we have lots of brilliant doctors and scientists working on a way out of this. Hang in there, buddy. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for all of us.

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Opinion Editorials

Working remotely: Will we ever go back? (Probably not)

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Now that the pandemic has opened the door on working remotely, there’s no way we’ll put the genie back in the bottle. But, here’s some ways you can adapt.



Woman working remotely on her couch with a laptop on her lap.

When it comes to working remotely, will the toothpaste ever go back in the tube?

Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale…” By 2030, Zuckerberg anticipates that over half of Facebook’s workforce will be remote. Many other companies are jumping on the work from home bandwagon. Working remotely has helped many businesses manage the pandemic crisis, but it’s unsure what form remote working will take over the next 10 years.

We know that employees are responding positively to WFH, as reported in this article – Employers: Lacking remote work options may cause you to lose employees. As offices transition to a post-COVID normal, here are some things to consider about your office and remote work.

What does your business gain from allowing workers to WFH?
The future of remote work depends on a conscious application of WFH. It’s not just as easy as moving employees out of the office to home. You have to set up a system to manage workers, wherever they are working. The companies with good WFH cultures have set up rules and metrics to know whether it’s working for their business. You’ll need to have technology and resources that let your teams work remotely.

Can your business achieve its goals through remote work?
The pandemic may have proved the WFH model, but is this model sustainable? There are dozens of benefits to remote work. You can hire a more diverse workforce. You may save money on office space. Employees respond well to remote work. You reduce your carbon emissions.

But that can’t be your only measure of whether remote work fits into your vision for your organization. You should be looking at how employees will work remotely, but you need to consider why employees work remotely.

The work paradigm is shifting – how will you adapt?
The work environment has shifted over the past century. Remote work is here to stay, but how it fits into your company should be based on more than what employees want. You will have to work closely with managers and HR to build the WFH infrastructure that grows with your organization to support your teams.

We don’t know exactly how remote work will change over the next decade, but we do know that the workplace is being reinvented. Don’t just jump in because everyone is doing it. Make an investment in developing your WFH plan.

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