Career Musings on Labor Day

It’s been a relaxing weekend for me so far…and it feels great!  I did work with some out of town buyers relocating to Kansas City, and took the girls shopping.   Tonight, we are having friends over for dinner, although it’s too hot and muggy to eat outside.  I’d like to visit the pool one last time.  This is the last holiday weekend until..Thanksgiving, at least for most folks who  don’t work for the government.

Feeling a bit lazy Saturday night, I started watching a Chris Rock concert on HBO.  I’m  a  fan of his humor. He’s very smart and sharp when it comes to composing his comedy bits  Like all good comics, he bases his humor on what he sees and feels about everyday life. At one point in the show, he started riffing about the difference between a job and a career.

Chris Rock

He started out by admitting he stupidly dropped out of high school  He got a job in the back of a fast food seafood restaurant, scraping shrimp off plates.  For hours and hours, he scraped, scraped, scraped those plates. And that job was the best he could do with his level of education at the time. He hated it.

Then, Chris started talking about his career.  As a comic, he works a lot, constantly coming up  with new material, searching for inspiration on new bits to develop, working in movies and as a stand-up comic.  Because he loves what he does for a living, he emphasized  this is his career, not only a job.  WIth a career, you are focused, determined, motivated to do better.  A job is just a way to earn a paycheck, and you can’t wait until your shift is over.

Inspired by Chris, I was thinking of my career as a real estate agent on this Labor Day.  In the beginning, it felt like just a job, but  without a regular paycheck.  I had to educate myself on various neighborhoods, contract documents, financing, attend inspections, learn how to market myself and my services. It was tedious, time consuming, and very little income. But I liked what I was doing, so I  worked long hours on my own little ‘start up’ business.  There were days in the beginning when I had nothing I had to do that day for my job, but I worked anyway.  There was so much to learn, and so I forced myself to soak up as much as I could about being a professional, knowledgeable agent–even though it would have been easier to just blow off the day and watch movies on the sofa. Eventually, I turned the job into a career.  When did that happen?   When I really started to enjoy what I was doing, when I felt this was a service I could provide to people and be proud of it. When I started learning from the mistakes, when I realized I was in control of the business.  When I felt a sense of accomplishment and appreciation from my clients.  When I had to work three days straight with one client but enjoyed their company so much, it was a bubbly mixture of work and interesting  conversations.

Now I still work long hours and am constantly trying to improve myself as an agent.  Keeping up with technology, new rules and regulations, recognizing the shifting needs of buyers and consoling sellers who can’t get what they want for their house–these challenges are ever present.   But like Chris, I really like what I do and have developed  my career.  Thankfully, it will never be just a job to me.

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