Friday, June 11, 2010

My Illustrious Career...Part Fourteen

I turned 28 in 1984, and had been working in the produce
warehouse for more than a year, getting caught up with my
finances quite nicely.

I had my real estate license, and was working out of a local
Century 21 office during the daytime, while still working my
'real' job at night. But this was not going to be easy...

They assigned me a territory...known as my 'farm' that I could
work, and try to get people to put their houses up for sale.

My farm was in the city of Fountain Valley within the borders
of Beach Blvd to the west, Magnolia to the east, Talbert to the
north, and Ellis to the south. It was a really great area, only
a few miles from the ocean, and upper-middle class housing.

It was pavement-pounding...knock on every door in the
neighborhood, try to get someone to answer, and just let them
know you are available in case they had a need to buy or sell
their house.

I began to get a little deflated when I realized that to really
make this a career, you have to accept that you are going to
spend a few years getting people acquainted with
have to become familiar with them, and they have to get
comfortable with you.

So I was working my night job, walking the streets during the
daytime, and doing open houses on Saturdays and Sundays. And
soon I began to get some not so nice letters that I was infringing
on someone else's territory...stepping on the toes of another
real estate agent that had probably been working this farm for
a few years.

Now, nobody legally 'owns' a territory, they had no legal right
to prohibit me from trying to work it, but I had to admit that
I could see why someone would be upset. Not that I would have
handled things this way if the situation were reversed, I
guess I don't have the moral 'guts' to behave this way towards
someone else.

And then, just as I suspected would happen, Smith's Food King
closed their last store, and I no longer had my 'real' job. When
I lucked into finding an opening at another construction company,
I really had no choice but to take it if I intended to continue
eating. And it was to be a day shift job, so in the fall of 1984,
I got a job as a roofer. Obviously, I never did sell a house.

Peace be with you.


  1. Wow that sounds pretty bad. The angry letter though seems bad form on their part. Business is business.

  2. It appears the not so nice letters came because you had turned into a threat so to say, had you stayed with it you would have done well but as you pointed out years of getting established would not have put food on the table when you were ready to eat.

    Roofing is not an easy job but you do what you have to in order to get by.

  3. I have never had good luck with roofers. I think it is a lot harder than it appears. are you sorry you never go to sell a house? As far as stepping on someone's is capitalism and we all have the right to make a living anyway we can. I am sure you were unaware of infringing on the other guy's territory. In any event, I think it sounds like it was not your cup of tea. I feel bad for brokers. It seems like a hard job convincing people to like this house or that one. So I guess we shall learn next time what it is like to be a roofer!

  4. Sounds like a rough job--walking around, trying to convince people to sell their homes.

    Roofing next! I am ready!

  5. Too bad you had to get of RE before the big upswings. I know that area really well. My favorite japanese restaurant is on the corner of Heil and Magnolia. Sorry to change the subject to food, but I'm hungry...

  6. Mister, you picked some tough jobs!

  7. Whoa, so ambitious at such a young age! I'm sorry you lost that "real job" but I'm sure the experience was helpful, good on the resume and for the confidence!

  8. It's absolutely hard trying to convince people to sell their houses. I quite understand that.
    Loved how you called your territory like "my farm".
    Have a great weekend, Joe.
    B :)

  9. You're a better man than me, I coulnd't do that for anything. But yeah, the roofing part, when I first moved to San Diego, I started out as a roofer also and made pretty decent money doing it.

  10. I can't believe a guy sent you an angry letter! Real estate is a lot more territorial than I thought it was!

  11. Roofing! In the California sun?! My husband's Dad owned an aluminum shingle co. in Utah and my husband did a lot of work "on a hot tin roof"!