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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.

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…

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“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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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  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,

      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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