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Opinion Editorials

What Does The Future Hold?

Minnesota Public Radio

Plunging DOW

The Past

What does the future hold? Know one knows for sure even if they sound like they do. Lately I have been thinking about the past. I have been downsized, right sized, merged, reorganized, laid off and fired. I have been employed, unemployed, underemployed, temporarily employed and self employed.

I have had three careers, one in government where I broke through a glass ceiling that was made of cement and became the first . . . trust me you don’t want to know. A second career as a consultant where I again climbed the corporate food chain as I sold my soul to heartless, mindless money grubbing corporations, who paid me very well but reminded me of it every day, as I sat in my corner office with the view of the pond and the chair that was so big no one could tell I was there if I swiveled it to look out the window.

They took care of every little thing for me. Heck I never had to buy lunch or pay for gas, but they also told me what my opinion was, and who I would be having lunch with. My friends called it a heart attack job, I am not sure if it was because of all the fine dining or the stress caused by having a boss that had my cell phone number on her speed dial or maybe it was because of the 40 or 50 people I got to fire one at a time in my role as the company hatchet woman.

The Present

As I face 2009 I am self employed so I don’t have to worry about being laid off which is nice, but there are clear signals that the already contracted real estate market has not yet hit bottom. Am I worried? No I am not worried. The reason I am not worried is because my future is more about me than it is about the economy. I am not saying that I buy into that bull shit about “being positive” and it will all work out, or that I can just work harder. I work plenty hard enough now and it takes more than an attitude to get the job done.

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Our Skills Got us this far

We all have skills and most of us were looking for a job when we found the one we have now. Sales skills, marketing skills, writing skills, communication skills, the ability to run a small business and the list goes on. The skills we improve on or pick up as Realtors are valuable skills and we have been using them for years to earn a living. Those skills did not go away because the stock market plunged. They can be used to improve a business or to start another, or in my case to begin my fourth career.

I am not suggesting that I plan to quit, but I know that I can quit if I want to and that makes the job much easier. Staying on a job or in a career because we feel we have to is rarely a good idea. I did that once and it was a big mistake.

Believe in Yourself

Have faith in yourself. You got this far, you can and will go further still. 2009 is an adventure that none of us have experienced yet. I for one plan to enjoy the journey even though I don’t have a clue where it will take me.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Steve Simon

    October 19, 2008 at 7:28 am

    One thing you wrote about rings very true with me:
    When you wrote:
    I am not suggesting that I plan to quit, but I know that I can quit if I want to and that makes the job much easier. Staying on a job or in a career because we feel we have to is rarely a good idea. I did that once and it was a big mistake.

    I was reminded of personal situations, maybe a half a dozen when you have the “locked in” feeling. It is almost akin to oxygen deprivation. Just knowing that there is “an out” takes half of the sting out of any uncomfortable set of circumstances. In light of this many years ago I started structuring most (if not all) of my moves to include “escape routes”. I rarely moved forward into something unless I had already seen two exits. Having alternatives can make completion of even difficult tasks more likely.
    Just my thought:)

  2. Missy Caulk

    October 19, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Teresa, of course no one really knows where we are headed, not sure we have been in this situation in my life time. For those of us who have chosen this career and love it (most of the time) we will stay on the roller coaster and enjoy the ride, even while screaming as we go up hills, down the hills and around the curves.

  3. Bill Lublin

    October 19, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Teresa – I have the advantage of never having had a “real job” but every time I looked around (in past economic readjustments) this was where I wanted to stay – as those of us who stay through each one of these come out faster and stronger than before – Like the man said “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”

  4. Kevin Sharkey - IBR Broker

    October 19, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Good morning Teresa,
    The only thing we know for sure is that the future will change. How we adapt to the changes is the difference between standing on the ledge ready to jump and re-inventing ourselves (again.)

  5. Ken Brand

    October 19, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Nice take. People are always going to have to buy and sell. People have to move. Sure the pie today is smaller, but there is a pie. Your post reminds me of a quote I often recite, perfect for real estate agents or anyone who is paid for performance. “Your raise is effective as soon as your are.”

    The only question, what will you do differently to be “effective/valuable” in this market. Then get busy.


  6. Rich Jacobson

    October 20, 2008 at 2:15 am

    None of us knows what tomorrow holds. It’s hard not to get caught up in all the doom & gloom of the press, and become discouraged. We’ve got to work harder and smarter. We’ve got to stay focused on consistent marketing efforts that bear the best results. Now is the perfect time to refine your systems. Increase your SOI, and make meaningful touches regularly.

  7. Glenn fm Naples

    October 20, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Teresa – similar experiences and will be fighting to adapt to the changes and stay self-employed.

    Seems like everyone is in agreement that we don’t know where we are headed – but let’s hope we start moving forward without looking back at where we have been.

    Remember – ducks that fly upside down have quack up. 🙂

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