I had another on-the -job injury this week, a real-estate-agent-specific kind of injury. Fortunately this one was more of an embarrassment than it was actual injury. Deep in thought, I turned around and walked straight into a low-hanging light fixture. Wopped myself in the head with a solid brass chandelier. Raised a pretty impressive goose egg on my forehead. It has made me aware of how often I lift my eyebrows when I talk!
Last fall I slid down a set of rain-soaked wooden stairs. I was wearing leather-bottomed Italian pumps in the rain and I was in a hurry on a set of old wooden stairs on the north side of a building. It had rained all day. How many risk factors can be stacked into one scenario? The worst part about sliding down the stairs was landing literally under my client. Getting up out of the mud, extracting myself from the client and acting nonchalant at the same time was a real challenge! But you know what? I am THAT good!
And, no I didn't sell that house to that Buyer. I sold them something else. It was several months before they told me that part of their decision to not buy that house was the fact that I had taken that fall. They decided that the fall was an omen. I didn't argue with them about it.
The fall broke a bone in my left foot that continues to cause problems. Again, it is a niggling problem, not anything that interferes with my daily activities but it is still a small problem. It is more of a periodic awareness than anything else. Two of my toes have old injuries. Those toes are great weather predictors. This new injury just adds another voice to the storm-warning chorus.
So I have been thinking about what it is about my job that makes these opportunities for self-injury possible. The temptation is to suggest that age has something to do with it. I am not as agile as I once was. The typical real estate office has an older population than one finds in other industries. The 2011 NAR membership poll reports that the median age for its membership is 54. 40 isn't too late to be a wonderkind in the real estate industry!
I have decided that the most likely explanation has to do with the actual work of going from house to house to house. I usually wear shoes that are selected for safety and not for style. I typically wear clogs, the same footwear that are the shoes of choice for chefs and hospital personnel. There is a reason those industries wear that type of footwear. They are orthopedic and water proof, shoes that I can comfortably wear over a course of miles. They are durable and safe and you can sprint in them if need demands!
As agents, we not only cover lots of ground, we are always in different environments, unknown to us, places full of quirks and potential pratfalls. In a familiar environment, we know the places where it is best to pay attention. But what is common is for us to walk into lots of places we have never seen, places we will never be in again. We work in an unknown environment on a regular basis.
I am not talking about the topic of KNOWN HAZARDS here. I am talking about situations where a reasonably prudent person can anticipate and avoid the problems. In both cases, I could have avoided injury if I had been fully engaged in paying attention to my environment. I stopped paying attention and I got hurt. In both cases I was thinking about the 16 other things that needed to be thought about while I was doing my job. Occupational hazards, yes. Just another day in the life of a real estate agent, another glamorous day on the job.....