Worst Jobs & Why I Quit A Great Job

We must not be defined by what we do, but we must be what and who we are, then only happen to do what we do!” ― C. JoyBell C.

I recently read an article on some other social media outlets what the worst jobs people have ever had.  When I began asking friends and family what their horrible previous jobs have been, the responses were overwhelming and I could not resist sharing them with you.  I truly love assisting clients with their real estate needs and am passionate about what I do, so being a realtor has never been something that I woke up regretting my choice of career or thought of as a “job”.  However, some of the stories that were personally shared with me show that many people have not felt this way once or twice in their lifetime.

THE “ADULT PAPER ROUTE”.  Needing some extra “college cash” while attending university in a large city in the United States, a client of mine signed up for an adult paper route delivering the morning paper to 325 households.  The training began with a “job shadow” that consisted of having a disgruntled 70 year old chain-smoking lady whose vocabulary was filled with more swear words than you might find in a rap song by Little Wayne.  The nicotine had coated her fingers so badly until they literally turned the newspapers yellow, and she lit one cigarette with another (a talent one might argue).  The other challenge was that the paper route was in a neighbouring city that the young man was not very familiar with (think of living in Burnaby and delivering papers in Surrey).  The chain-smoking grandma picked up my client at 4 am in the morning, and proceeded to shout instructions about homes that had vicious dogs, homes that needed the paper left in a specific place, and homes that even Google maps might still not know exist!  The 2 hours flew by, and that was the end of the training.

The client woke up at 2am the next day, filled with excitement about having some extra money.  He picked up the newspapers and prepared for the  deliveries by carefully putting a rubber band around the plastic bag that contained a 5 pound newspaper and began trying to recall the sage advice from his mentor.  Keeping in mind that this job was before Garmin, GPS, or any app to assist with directions.  The poor guy valiantly drove past homes that all seemed to look foreign and did not match up with addresses given.  As the sun began to rise, it was clear that not only was he lost, but only 40 of the papers hadn’t even made their way to the correct home.  He was also pulled over by the local police (who were kind enough to keep the red lights flashing to notify the other cars that a deviant criminal had been captured), as neighbors had seen a “beater car” in the neighborhood driving aimlessly for several hours.  4 long hours later, the poor kid returned home (after having to ask for directions at the 7-11) completely dejected and inconsolable.  The bright side is that this young man set a record that may not have been broken even today.  There was a total of 215 complaints called into the newspaper about the non-delivery or incorrect placement of a newspaper that day for the route – which was the highest number of complaints ever made!  Needless to say, this job lasted only 1 day and the young college student vowed to do well in school so that he never had to try his hand at newspaper deliveries again!

KITCHEN DESIGN & THE PROBLEM WITH GRAPH PAPER.  One of my clients submitted this personal story about their worst job.  Funny enough, these terrible jobs seem to last only a day or two!  My client was actually approached by a kitchen design company as the owner felt that they had a great personality and hard work ethic.  Well…how could this job end up being the worst ever?  Simple.  The first day on the job, the young lady was given the task of drawing a kitchen (just draw it “freehand” was the only advice), and then she was given a perfect sheet of graph paper.  She was told that appliances had to form a triangle, but other than that, was left to her own creativity.  The young lady took on the challenge and worked tirelessly throughout the day and throughout the night.  Satisfied with her drawing, she proudly submitted her design to the owner (using colored pencils to give the perfect shade of “oak cabinetry” that she was going for).  The owner stared at the page without saying a word.  Time literally stood still.  The owner cleared his throat and announced that the graph paper was to provide dimensions as each small box represented a specific measurement.  She had colored in the entire kitchen drawing, with silver pen to represent the gleaming wall oven and even an eating nook with plates on it!  Needless to say, that was her last day on that job.

I recall having a great paying job as a service manager for a car dealership.  The money facilitated the purchase of nice clothes and car.  However, every day that I would show up for work, my heart would sink as I knew that this was not my passion.  I would spend time assisting new recruits to learn the background of the developing customer relationships and a solid aftercare program, which were the only parts of my job I truly enjoyed.  I remember thinking that there were so many other employees who would love to have my job, and I questioned what I was really doing with my life.  One day, I decided to meet with the general manager in his large office with comfortable over-sized chairs and share with him that I was quitting my job.  I explained that I wanted to become a realtor as I would truly love to buy homes, fix them up, and then sell them to others to enjoy and making some money in the process.  I had literally devoured every single business and real estate book there was by this time, and my passion just continued to grow.  Leaving a steady income, pension plan and opportunity for further promotions seemed to be a small price to pay to become a self-employed real estate professional.  I know what you are thinking – why the heck would I just give up everything I had worked so hard for to become a realtor?  The reason was that I saw young men and women who were passionate about what they were doing at the car dealership, and felt as though I was living a lie.

Fast forward 35+ years, and here I am…still a realtor and truly enjoying what I do each and every day.  Are there days when things don’t go well?  Absolutely!  However, the worst day in real estate is still better than the best day that I had while being a manager at a car dealership.  Could I have failed?  Absolutely!  However, even in the early days as a realtor when I would lose a listing to a more senior realtor, I would tell myself that one day I would be THAT senior realtor who had been in the business long enough to reference several decades of real estate trends that they had experienced.  Even today, I feel energized about how the real estate industry is continuing to evolve.  I am excited that real estate is much more transparent and the internet has allowed buyers and sellers access to information that was withheld by real estate boards in the past.  I am excited to see the diversity of real estate professionals in the business and the technology that continues to evolve to help clients.

Take risks.  Follow your passion in life – whatever it may be. Just make sure to thank your newspaper delivery person and the person who helped design your kitchen!

Brian & Myles McCullough


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