Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Why mothers rock as Realtors

As a Realtor, there are amazing lessons to learn, amazing people to meet, and flexibility, but balancing work and family life as a mother AND a Realtor is more of a challenge than many see on the surface.

Published

on

Anna Altic as Super Mom.

Becoming a Realtor

I still remember clearly the day in February of 2004 that I affiliated with my Real Estate firm here in Nashville. As I sat filling out paperwork with all the assurance of a woman graced with a plan, my mentor whom I do believe actually possesses “the force” said  to me with an irksome calmness , “you know, there is no easy to make a living” and I curtly retorted  “well THIS has got to be a heck of a lot easier than what I have been doing.“

I had just had my second child and the idea of going back to 50 hour work weeks, endless meetings, client events, and office politicing just seemed something I was unwilling to do anymore.   Yet I wanted and needed to work and Real Estate seemed a fantastic compromise. As I am sure it was with many of you, I realized there was upfront cost but compared to starting your own business in other industries, this seemed doable. I loved purchasing our first home, had even helped a few of my friends find their homes in our neighborhood and I had been in sales for years so how hard could it be?

Most importantly, I was thinking gone will be the days of tense calls in to my boss because my kid caught some obscure daycare virus like fifths disease and would need sequestering for a week. No more awkward moments of showing up late to an 8am meeting because my two year old hid my keys so we could play hot and cold or kept stripping his clothes off because he didn’t like anything I put on him. Since it is generally frowned upon to deliver a naked kid to daycare as is beating your kid in to submission, I was always on the losing side of these battles. Harried and defeated, I would head to work to face my childless judgmental boss tapping her watch while spouting parenting advice and dropping not so subtle hints my job may be in jeopardy.  Good times…

I also figured if I eliminated all the endless corporate meetings and lunch ( I mean who needs an hour to scarf down a hot pocket) and just focus on my work, I  could shave at least 2-3 hours off my day. This would be the quality time I so envied stay at home moms for giving their kids and maybe, I thought, mine are so vexing because they need more of me. And the glorious flexibility; if all the schools shut down 3 hours early because of some forecasted apocalyptic weather event, if a kid forgets their lunch, or pee’s in all three of their changes of clothes, no problem – I’ve got this… 

Here’s How it Really Went Down

To be completely frank, it’s kind of a blur. At one point I found myself crawling in to crawl space with a baby strapped in a bjorn on my chest and I’ve had to sneak out of open houses to nurse babies while my husband stood watch. My favorite is when invariably I am in the car line picking up kids,  an agent or lender calls with some knuckle headed demand which leads to tense discussion while I angrily plead with my eyes at my kids in the back seat to stop screaming at each other.  Once I even hid from my kids in the bushes of my front yard to save a deal in the 11th hour hoping the attorneys didn’t hear them fighting over whose fault it was that the toilet was overflowing. I have even comforted a vomiting toddler while telling a first time home buyer they didn’t get the home they wrote an offer on, all three of us in tears.

Many of you may say sanctimoniously that I need to set boundaries or work hours and or perhaps utilize time blocking to better manage my time and conversations. To you I say, BS!!!! The reality of our industry is that there are time sensitive issues that come up at the most inconvenient times and kids will throw you curve balls just for sport. I can create the most efficient, intelligent and balanced calendar that will accommodate all the kids actives, all my client needs, marketing systems, and at one point I even naively tried blocked time for the “unexpected.”  Invariably, my schedule will fall to pieces the first 30 minutes of Monday morning when one of the kids leaves a sink running and floods our laundry room or forgets they have Greek day and need me to produce a toga replete with gold sash from thin air as well as the hummus and chips he volunteered me for.  Perhaps a sadistic underwriter decides they need written proof from a now deceased homeowner that they relinquish their interest in a home my buyer is trying to purchase an hour from now, while my computer simultaneously crashes, and my neighbor calls to tell me our dog has escaped and is chasing cars in the street. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up…

It may appear that I am a walking disaster but I am hear to say proudly, I believe in my heart mom’s make the best kind of Realtors.  If you are a first time home buyer, we are going work tirelessly to help you make a prudent purchase and get all “mother bear” on anyone who tries to take advantage of you.  If you are single, we are going to try to match you up with an amazing single friend we think you would be perfect for. If you are in the throws of a major life change good or bad, we are there with you worrying and hoping for the best and trying to make things as easy for you as possible. If you are a parent and you dash in 20 minutes late to a showing frantic because you couldn’t get your kids out the door, we aren’t going to say a word. In fact we will watch them for you while you walk through the house. Most importantly, we don’t need a document to tell us that it is our fiduciary duty to put your interest above that of our own because that is just who we are and anything else would feel unnatural.

I am now entering year 9 and it has literally taken me this long to figure out that all I really set myself up to do was try to squeeze 45 hours productivity in to 30 and I set the bar even higher for myself as a mother because of the all this “extra” time I thought I was pulling out of thin air. I wouldn’t trade any of it, even the recent lean years. I have learned so many valuable lessons, met some amazing people, and that glorious flexibility has indeed afforded me opportunities to be involved with my kids in ways it never occurred to me I could be.

Year 10 will come with one humble lesson learned and finally embraced though – there is indeed no easy way to make a living just as there is no easy way to be a mother. Happy Mothers Day !

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Three Super Flexible Jobs for Mothers | Behind Closed Doors

  2. Jenise Gato

    May 31, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I recently started my own (“one man”) brokerage. I have 3 kids and summer is here! As a fellow mommy realtor, what tips can you give me to have a decent balance for family and the business?

    • Lani Rosales

      June 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Jenise, the first thing you have to know is that you’ll NEVER feel like you’re doing enough! You’ll never feel like you’re spending enough time with the kids, and you’ll always feel like if you had just worked four more hours this week you would have had more income next month. SO once you wrap your mind around that, you can breathe.

      Then, just as you would a corporate job, schedule hours and set expectations with your clients. When you first meet with them, remind them that it’s summer and your kids will be ever present, but they’re still your priority, and your work hours are M-S 3-7 and that they have 24 hour email access to you and you typically respond within two hours but they can always call with an emergency. Then stick to your schedule. It helps keep your children AND clients regimented and unless there’s an emergency, no client needs you 24 hours a day. Pace yourself.

      You’ve got this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion Editorials

How to encourage your childrens’ entrepreneurship

(EDITORIAL) To encourage entrepreneurship for our children, we focus on providing them with direct evidence that they can do and be anything they want (excepting the six year old, who currently wants to be a cat).

Published

on

children and entrepreneurship

When I walk in the door most days, the routine’s predictable. Drop my briefcase, check the mail, and by this point I’ve received an invitation to go to my daughters’ store. What’s for sale invariably changes from day-to-day — sometimes it’s a pet store, or a bespoke clothier, or a coffee shop — but I’m always amazed at the level of thinking about multiple aspects of business ownership that they put into their play.

For example, I’m typically offered coupons and combination deals on whatever my purchases might be, which means that we get to have rich conversations about the purpose of such incentives and how they affect both customer perception of their brand and their profit margin.

Now, as they’re both under ten years old, many of these conversations don’t cause their games to stop for an introductory economics lesson, but I want them to keep these discussions in mind as their play expands. The world in which they’re growing up is a very different place from that which their parents did, and the possibilities they can embrace literally did not exist a generation ago.

So, too, the challenges that they’ll face. While the number of career fields and the jobs within them that are fully accessible to women are growing exponentially, the globalization of the economy and the shift towards a gig workforce means that they’ll have to compete against not only the remnants of outdated gender expectations, but also considerably larger numbers of people to do so, and with less stability in their career paths once they arrive.

To encourage the entrepreneurial spirit within our girls we, like many parents, focus on providing them with direct evidence that they can do and be anything they want (excepting the six year old, who currently wants to be a cat).

It’s been well said that what one can see, one can be. A 2012 MIT report found that in Indian villages where women held positions of responsibility and authority in local government, levels of aspiration and access to education rose by 25 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The amount of hours they had to devote to completing domestic chores dropped by nearly 25 percent.

It’s important to us to have our daughters see successful women in all walks of life to let them know that they are limited only in their passions and imagination, and should never settle for anything that they don’t want.

It’s also important for us to show them examples of young entrepreneurship whenever possible as well. In a 2015 analysis of Federal Reserve Bank data, the Wall Street Journal found that the percentage of adults under the age of 30 who had ownership stakes in private companies had fallen 70 per cent over the past 24 years. This illustrates the myth of the swashbuckling 20-something entrepreneur, along with the underlying challenges to business ownership.

By being realists about the challenges as well as idealistic about the possibilities, we want to keep alive the spirit that makes them excited to open a combination fish store and haberdashery in their playroom today, with the anticipation of changing the world through their professional passions tomorrow.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Is “Cuddle a Coworker” ever an acceptable team building exercise?

(EDITORIAL) In today’s “oh hell no” news, one company’s foray into conflict resolution has us heated. In the #MeToo era, Coworker Cuddling is just plain stupid.

Published

on

cuddle a coworker

Nowadays, it seems that companies are taking a more active role in employee engagement and activity. This often consists of team building exercises.

I’ve heard of offices conducting these exercises in forms of activities like “Minute to Win It” and team outings. Hell, even trust falls. But, I’ve never been as shocked, disturbed, and confused at a team building exercise as I was earlier today.

Why, you ask? Because I just learned that “cuddle a coworker” is apparently a thing.

And, if you’re first response wasn’t “what the…,” you probably won’t like the rest of this story.

My initial assumption was that this had to be a deleted scene from an episode of The Office. When I dug a little deeper, I found out that this was something implemented by Team Tactics.

Apparently this “exercise” is where groups of 4 to 20 people can get into a tent (say it with me, “what the…”) and have the option to cuddle. They also have different positions available in which to cuddle.

This team building exercise lasts for the entire workday (how?) and is based on science which shows that cuddling, specifically skin to skin contact, can encourage the release of Oxytocin and Serotonin. The tent used, referred to as a “relaxation tent,” is designed to reduce stress and encourage team bonding.

Each relaxation tent is based on Moroccan and Indian relaxation practices, which includes incense, oil lamp lighting, large bean bags, and relaxation beds. Sure, they’re in the UK, but the culture isn’t different enough to make much of a difference in this #MeToo era.

Regardless, the team building event begins with employees airing their grievances about negative traits of co-workers, and bringing up issues that they’d like to discuss. This is all designed to clear the air, and eventually will make way for “conflict resolution cuddling.”

Conflict. Resolution. Cuddling.

“Team building is at the centre of our business, and we’re always looking for new ways to help employees across the UK become more connected with their colleagues,” said Tina Benson, managing director at Team Tactics.“We know it’s something completely new and it might not be for everyone, but the science is already there – we’re just putting it to the test!”

I, for one, have never passed Tony in HR and thought, “Man, the way he chews his food is super annoying. But, I bet if we cuddled it out, I could get past his flaws.”

What are your thoughts on this… interesting concept?

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

20 bullsh*t buzzwords that should be banned from tech forever

(OPINION) As the language of tech ebbs and flows, there are linguistic potholes so over-used, so annoying, they make you want to scream. Here’s 20 of the worst offenders.

Published

on

buzzwords

There’s specific lingo in any industry. Buzzwords, if you will. Get a group of friends who work together for beers after clocking out, and chances are you’ll get lost quickly once they start trading war stories – outsiders beware.

But, there’s one community who puts even nurses (marry a nurse, and you’ll learn what prophylaxis means) to shame with insider speak and bullshit buzzwords: the tech community.

Tech folks are like business and marketing people but mutated. There’s so much free-flowing jargon that goes unchecked and evolves a la Origin of The Species within days. The words and phrases become gospel and, before you know it, people are sharing these nonsense phrases that become the industry norm, leaving anyone on the outside scratching their heads, trying to decipher the tech code.

But, as the language of tech ebbs and flows, there are linguistic potholes so over-used, so annoying, they make you want to scream. There are words used so out of context that make you want to turn them into a snarky meme and pass it around the office because you’re a jerk like that. (Well, I’m at least a jerk like that.)

These are some of those words.

The words that need to die a horrible, 24 hour, “what does it all mean” death.

Words that should be locked away in a prison so vile Charles Manson would be like, “Nah, bro. I’m good.”

Please don’t use these words in your marketing, pitch meetings, or just ever. They suck.Click To Tweet

Strap in and lock it down, here we go:

1. Sync
Can’t we just say “everyone knows what’s going on” instead of sync? This is one of those metaphors alluding to tech as melded with the products and culture, serving as interchangeable. We’re people, not iPhones to be plugged into our laptops. We don’t need to sync. We can meet up.

2. Robust
Robust is coffee, a strong tea you imported from India. It’s not a tech software experience. A can of Folgers can claim to be robust, your project tool cannot share this claim.

3. Pain point
Are we still using this one? A pain point is an elbow that’s got an owie, not what a customer thinks sucks.

4. Delight
I’m delighted to eat an excellent meal or get an unexpected call from an old friend. I’m delighted to leave work early to have drinks. I’m not delighted to use enterprise software. Sure, it makes my day easier. Does it offer a view of heaven when I can use self-service? I think not.

5. Disrupt
One of the godzillas of Jargon Mountain. I get that this worked in context a few years ago. But, now? You’re not “the Uber of…” and you’re not “disrupting” anything.

You built a parking app, Pat. You didn’t change the world.

If you dethrone Facebook, you’ve disrupted the world. ‘Til then, keep your pants on. Your algorithm for the best pizza place in town ain’t changing the block, let alone the face of communication.

6. Game changer & Change agent
Does anyone buy into this one? Was the game changed? This goes in the bin with “Disrupt.”

7. Bleeding Edge
Some jerk in some office decided “the cutting edge” wasn’t enough. It wasn’t hyper progressive enough, so they labeled their work the “bleeding edge”.

If this phrase were any more douchey, it would have a neck beard and a fedora and argue the tenants of socialism on IRC with strangers while sipping Mountain Dew.

8. Dog food
Who came up with this? When did a beta test get labeled as “dog food” I’m still lost on how this one became the industry standard. “We’re eating our own dog food.” This doesn’t even make a lick of sense, people. Just say we’re testing something. It’s a lot easier.

9. Alignment
What happened to just saying you agree? I thought alignment was for tires, not for working. I’ll give you parallel, but alignment? Not buying it.

10. Pivot
Pivot is just a fancy, non-finger point-y way of saying change. And typically, that change is reacting to something not going the company’s way. “Pivoting” means reacting to bad news or undesired outcome and making everyone involved feel smarter about the process.

11. Revolutionary
Unless you’ve built software that cures cancer, does something better than Elon Musk, or gets you laid faster than Tinder, you’re not revolutionary. You’re an element of evolution in a steadily progressing world.

12. Internet of Things
I still don’t even know what the hell this means. Really. It’s one of those phrases people use and pretend to know but really don’t.

13. Bandwidth
I thought bandwidth was Internet stuff, not how busy you are at work. Can’t we say, “if you’re not too busy,” instead of, “if you have the bandwidth,”..?? These are people, not routers.

14. Low-hanging fruit
You mean the easy work? “Easy win” even applies here. But the whole gardening metaphor is tired. It’s ok to say, “Do the easy work first” in a meeting. Hiding behind a metaphorical phrase doesn’t make the work any less important.

15. Deliverables
Do we need to break everything down into words to make the process more complicated? Aren’t deliverables, just work? It’s an adjective to describe what work you’re completing… so… it’s just work. Throw in a “key, ” and you’re jargon-y as all get out.

16. Circle Back
Translation: I don’t want to continue talking about this right now, so I’m going to schedule more pointless meetings to discuss this thing I don’t understand and don’t want to talk about in a few days. Likely, scheduled on your lunch break.

17. Action item
What happened to the good ole’ “to do List”? Instead, we’ve got “action item”. You come out of a meeting with a sore ass. The boss pounds on your for the stuff you need to do. You’re up to your ears in homework, yet, it’s not work you need to do – it’s “action items, to be delivered upon.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?

18. Take it offline
If there was ever painful corporate-speak, this one is a granddaddy. Instead of burning minutes in a meeting, someone will announce, “let’s take it offline.” Always happens. What about, “let’s talk about this face to face,” or “I’ll swing by your desk”, or “let’s figure this out.”

We appreciate you not annoying the rest of us with your A+B problem, but we’re not all living in the matrix. Or, at least we think we’re not.

19. Buy-in
Committing to something – a culture, an idea, a feeling. We’re equating life to a poker game and expecting everyone to get the idea, too. So lame.

20. Rockstar – Ninja – Wizard – whatever descriptive verb
This one. Holy horse crap. Can we PLEASE STOP with trying to slap a descriptive label on good work? I get it. You want to exclaim your person is a badass, and they’ve got chops. But this labeling of people in fantastical ways just sucks. When did the craft of a ninja, or the fantastical abilities of a wizard relate to code? And the rockstar thing?

Dudes, you’re not Keith Richards, you wear a startup hoodie and complain when you’re not getting free lunch at work.

Also, these names suck because they imply some male-dominance-cum-brogrammer mentality. They’re shadowy ciphers that are such machismo, it’ll barf up a steak. When a woman gets labeled a “ninja” it’s in an entirely different context, and that’s not cool. Writers have to get creative and use terms like “acrobat” or “juggler” to give off a sentiment of equal playing field, and it’s obnoxious. Just stop with these lame titles.

And there you have it. 20 bullshit buzzwords that should be banned forever and ever. Comment away, and add the jargon you loathe in the comments section. If it goes well, maybe they’ll ask me to write a part two, and we’ll make even more people mad.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Parnters

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories