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Opinion Editorials

What’s wrong with the real estate industry? Part-timer queens

It isn’t that being a part-timer is a problem, it’s this lady at the UPS store that demonstrates exactly what is wrong with the real estate industry.

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part-timer queens

part-timer queens

The part-timer queen

Six years and two weeks ago, I wrote an editorial on another industry site that is still referenced today, and because I have been asked about it twice this week, I thought I would share it with you here today. It is one of my biggest pet peeves regarding the real estate industry, far above many agents’ inability to return a simple phone call. Enjoy.

The line was short, the wait was long

The line was only two people deep at the UPS Store the other day but it seemed to take forever! I had simply made four copies and wanted nothing more than to slap a dollar on the counter, holler “keep the change, no receipt, thank you” and walk out. Here in Austin, the service isn’t always at the speed of light because people take the time to say hello and ask about family (we’re convinced we’re a small town despite the continuing population boom). I felt validated in my hurry hurry attitude because I was on my way to mass and didn’t want to be late, so COME ON, MOVE IT!

Regardless of my toe tapping, the last woman in front of me didn’t even notice the overly emphasized sighs as she put her chest on the counter. Yes, her chest- her very padded push up bra that was very stressed out to be a part of her wardrobe held her business up to the counter. I think she was trying to impress the 17 year old cashier (who wasn’t impressed with the cougar chick). After several more minutes of waiting, waiting, waiting, she finally cashed out. Hooray, this is it, I’m almost out of here!

But no.

“Hey, if you ever have any odd requests, here’s my card.” The guy asked “so what do you do?” She did the hair flip over the shoulder with her stringy mane of 1980s hair band blonde mess and said, “I’m so glad you asked! I’m a licensed massage therapist and so is my husband! If you are ever stressed out or know anyone who is, I’m great with my hands…” Eww. He didn’t act grossed out, what a gentleman. “Great, I’ll pass this along.” She picked up her purse and I inched forward, knowing I was already late for mass.

“Oh, and my husband is an EMT and I also sell jewelry- perfect for the upcoming holidays!” She offered a little high pitched giggle as she hoisted her over-stressed boulder holder up some more. “Cool. Okay, have a great day.” And then came the kicker that I had clenched my fists waiting for because I just KNEW it was coming…

“Don’t forget- if you know of anyone looking to…” (everyone say it with me now) “buy or sell a house…” (DOH! I KNEW IT!!!) “please have them call me, I’ll buy you lunch if they tell me you sent them.”

I knew it. I just knew it. #eyeroll

Even the teen knew how ludicrous this 10-job chick was. “So you’re a renaissance woman, huh?” He laughed and she thought it was a compliment (but it wasn’t). Another giggle and she actually moved out of my way. I interrupted her attempt to talk more with him by saying, “four black and whites.”

The sad part of this story is that I knew this prowling cougar had a real estate license- I mean why not? She’s got so many other hats, why wouldn’t she wear this one? I realize that many of you have several jobs other than real estate, but when you present yourself in public, please, for the love of God, just present ONE of your many jobs. It is truly an embarrassment to the profession that pink-lace-boulder lady is out pimping houses, rubbing people down, watching her husband sew up gashes while she strings rocks together for Christmas. Pick one, stick with it and quit embarrassing the rest of the people in each of your various professions.

When I hear people list off several jobs they have, I never ever ever take them seriously. My thought is, “oh, so you couldn’t make money doing X so you had to pick up Y, Z, H and M? I’m certainly not in need of half-assed services, thank you.”

Part timing isn’t a sin

A while back, April Groves wrote about diversification and I actually applauded her. Today, she writes about her job description as doing “whatever [she] wants to do” and I applaud her still today. Sounds hypocritical, right?

Wrong – the key is that if you hold several jobs, make sure they are all tied together or you look like a pathetic hack. With a common theme, they are all under the same umbrella which is perfectly acceptable, just make sure you’re not telling yourself they are all under the same umbrella. Selling hand cream, real estate, boats and copiers part time don’t all qualify as sharing an umbrella because they are all “sales,” sorry.

Even in Texas where we all have Southern common courtesy, we will laugh at your hairsprayed ‘do as you leave if you’re the part timer queen.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Hank Miller

    November 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Good job Lani – and an observation that will always be accurate when it comes to this business. There are three reasons this industry remains among the worst – if not the worst – regarded profession. The performance bar is pathetically low, brokers care only that agents pay monthly fees (sales are a bonus) and the public feels compelled to use agents they know as opposed to using the best. Instituting an internship period like the appraisal industry has would cut the “swiss army knife agents” out – and if clients selected agents as they do doctors, lawyers and other major advisers that would help as well. In the meantime though, the pros will be sullied by the “joes”…..

    • Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com

      November 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Hank, that’s probably the best bar possible–an “apprentice” phase for agents of a year or two after they receive their license, in which they have to be supervised by an experienced/managing broker and receive further education.

      • Hank Miller

        November 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

        The best part about an apprenticeship is that it would split off the opportunity agents – you would work for say two years and not really make much. That is an outstanding way to determine who is actually interested in doing this the right way. And what you learn from real world work – under the guidance of a pro – is vastly different than what the books talk about.

  2. Property Turkeysale

    December 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

    it is a great job done Lani…

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

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Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

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UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

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Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

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Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

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Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

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It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

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Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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