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Opinion Editorials

What Does The Future Hold?

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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.

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.

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

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  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.

    Thanks,
    Ken

  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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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.

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Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as you customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?

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Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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