Eight years ago I made a massive career change.
I was 46 years old.
When I confided in a friend about my desire to shift careers, she said “Do it before you’re fifty. In your forties people see you as experienced. After your fifties, starting on a new path is more difficult. People see you differently.” I took her advice and started looking for new opportunities.
Drawn to careers in which I could help others in need, I sought out social work type vocations. Things like working as a health proctor or in a women’s crisis center. I even looked into becoming a social worker.
Employers said the weirdest thing when I applied though, “We know what you would have been making in your past profession. You won’t be satisfied with what we pay.”
Stunned, I thanked them and left office after office. How could they possibly know what would satisfy me? I was seeking work with meaning – something that satisfied my soul – not some dollar amount. I wanted to pour myself out to help people; whatever it paid was secondary.
Then I came upon the profession of real estate – a unique way I could help people with an important need and connect with them in a meaningful way. (Little did I know the work would involve a lot of the emotional elements of social work I’d initially sought.) It helped, too, that my main concern wasn’t money because that first year was a rough ride!
Here’s the funny thing you might not believe.
8 years ago, I’d never sent an email.
Or turned on a computer.
I’d never sold a home and had no clue how to market online.
Now, after years of learning and trying to keep at the front of new trends, I have a reputation for being tech savvy. People seek me out to ask me how to use an ipad for business or how to leverage a blog or social media to connect with new clients. Amazing what can happen in 8 short years!
I have to stop right there and encourage you
If there is a step you’re afraid to take or a change you’re afraid to make, I’ll be the first to tell you – it’s possible. Do it! Take a risk! If I can become tech savvy when my starting point was looking for a computer’s on/off switch, I’m telling you – you’re more capable than you think.
Since I’m celebrating the 8 year mark, can I just spend a minute with you sharing my gratitude?
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to meet people from so many different countries and circumstances. This month I sold a home to a couple who moved here from Mexico City. To be on that journey with them – to witness all the excitement and joy of starting their new life in a new country – was an honor.
The newlyweds, empty-nesters, and growing families – many of the people I’ve connected with – have been a blessing to me. It’s hard to express the joy one feels, being invited into the personal, sometimes even intimate experience of selecting a home. I can tell you though, it’s the people and relationships that fill me up and satisfy me and are my driving reason for what I do.
I look at my thick binder full of legal documents, and I’m grateful I know what they’re all for. That first year, boy, I’ll tell you… If anyone had handed me this stack of paper and said, “Here. Know this. All of it. Know what they do, when to use them, and what every legal line means,” I might have run screaming for the hills.
Thankfully, no one did that. I learned in steps and pieces, like we all do, and now I’m so glad I don’t have to wonder anymore, “What the heck is THAT paper for?” Knowledge IS power!
As my business grew and I became super busy, I began to lose my personal life to real estate. Weekends, days off didn’t exist for me in those years. It took over my life and I was starting to feel burned out. My friends and family were getting lost in the chaos. Something needed to change.
I needed help. Really, I needed a day off!
That’s when God directed me to agents Wes and Clare, who helped me immensely, providing trustworthy staff to take my workload one day a week. I began to enjoy the thrill and joy of a regular weekly day off.
More than that, I also learned a lot about leadership from them, and was greatly encouraged. It can be a lonely business and sometimes you need more support than you can muster on your own. Self-motivation is necessary for this line of work, but we’re also created for relationship and we need each other.
For the help of Wes, Clare, Yvette, Eniko, and many others who have contributed to the success of my career and family life, I am deeply grateful.
Returning from Surgery
Oh – and then there was my hip surgery! For several years, hip pain made my work difficult. I clenched my jaw and carried on though, because what else am I going to do? That’s life.
After surgery, as I healed at home, my life became quiet. I wasn’t dashing all around the province all day like I was used to, and I wasn’t talking to fifty or more people every day either. Life became quiet and still.
At first, it drove me nuts. I like to be busy and be with people. Then after a few weeks, the quiet grew on me and I savored the peace and solitude. I started to worry. Was this the new me? Would I be able to enjoy bustle of work when I came back?
Now, recovered from surgery and back in the swing of things (and feeling awesome, by the way!) I’m connecting with people every day again, and I LOVE it. Every time I connect with someone, I get that jolt of joy and love my work all over again.
A lot can happen in the small space of a decade!
I hope you’re encouraged by some of this. You’re not too old, to post-surgery, to unknowledgeable, or too alone to make a change. I was all of those things and then some.
The only thing that might hold you back is if you’re too afraid.
At the risk of sounding cliché, don’t let fear keep you from the good stuff on the other side.
-Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate