How I Avoid Becoming ActiveRain Blog Fodder

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

BusinesswomanWe’ve all seen the various, unfortunate posts about less-than-stellar behavior, unprofessionalism, and missteps taken by some of our fellow real estate agents.  These posts are never pleasant to read – and they certainly don’t paint the rest of us in a very positive light.  We all strive to be successful, ethical, and well-respected real estate professionals.  And, whether you're a brand new agent or a seasoned veteran, we're all "works in progress" -- always.  Professional growth and development are not options -- they're necessities.  Continuing education classes and industry-specific seminars and workshops are all fantastic ways to teach us new techniques, and to remind EVERYONE of the do’s and don’ts – and ever evolving complexities – of the real estate business.  Personally, I think it might be a lack of the fundamental stuff that too often gets a few of these agents into trouble.  And, in my opinion, the fundamentals can't always be taught in a classroom.  So, here’s a sampling of how I gained valuable knowledge about some basic, business-related skills -- all of which have served me well throughout my real estate career:

  • Babysat for families in the neighborhood (.50/hour)
  • Sold Kool-Aid® from a folding table in front of my house (.02/glass)
  • Walked door-to-door selling Girl Scout™ Cookies (.50/box)
  • Typed documents on a manual typewriter (.25/page + free lunch)
  •  Out at 4:00 am every Sunday to help my brother with his paper route
  •  Waitressed in a local ice cream parlor throughout Junior High School
  •  Retail Clerk at a local department store throughout High School
  •  Earned a PhD from the “School of Hard Knocks”

And, I am not alone -- how fortunate for many of us to learn about work ethics, accountability, discretion, integrity, responsibility, professionalism, and meaningful respect for others, early in life.  All invaluable lessons which have helped me to become a better real estate professional … and a better person too.

Do I make mistakes?  Yes.  Do I make stupid mistakes?  Sometimes.  Yet, when I see some of the posts in question, the main themes swirling around in my head often scream 'common sense', 'professional courtesy', 'cooperation', 'relationship building', 'problem solving', and otherwise fairly simple concepts.  I have discovered that the best lessons in life don't always come from inside the classroom.  In fact, some of my greatest learning experiences happened long before I filled in the tiny, little circles on my Salesperson’s Exam Answer Sheet with a No. 2 pencil.

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carie shapiro

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Diary of a Realtor
life lessons professional etiquette fundamental business skills business manners

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John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Hey Carie -  You rocked this one! Liked and Suggested. Now go have a great day my friend :)

Apr 13, 2012 02:03 AM #1
Elite Home Sales Team
Elite Home Sales Team OC - Corona del Mar, CA
A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team

It is not the stupid mistakes tha create the problems.  It is the planned gray area, or planned deception that creates the real issues.

Apr 13, 2012 02:03 AM #2
Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC
Royal Pro Real Estate Network - Langley, BC

What a wonderful post, Carie - a great reminder to us all that manners never go out of style! You can see where your work ethic and professional approach was founded!  Suggested!

Apr 13, 2012 02:05 AM #3
Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Carie you are so right on.  It starts at a very young age!  Thankfully many of us had such good roll models that helped create our stong sense of professionalism and dedication to doing out best - always.


Featured in BananaTude

Apr 13, 2012 02:32 AM #4
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

Carie... so much of what i learned was from my mom! Manners and common sense say so much about where we came from. Ethics and how we translate all that are who we are as individuals now. Nothing in Realtor School... teaches right and wrong for proper manners.. it just teaches law... not the same

Great post.. I know as profesionals we like to share info and make things better, but I really don't think that some of the conversations about realtors that are negative can help us here on this platform..

Members only does not really mean that... anything you write here can be public in a flash... let's not forget!

Apr 13, 2012 05:13 AM #5
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

John:  Thank you so much for the "Like" and "Suggest" ... hope you enjoyed your day too :)

Elite:  The problems and issues are complicated, for sure.

Karen:  Thank you!  Manners and professionalism never go out of style.  And, thanks for the "Suggest" :)

Anna:  You said it!  I absolutely agree that it very often starts at a young age.  And, thank you so much for the Feature :)

Janis:  I like your mom ... she raised a wonderful daughter :)  I agree ... the negative realtor conversations here don't help us much at all.  Because, as you said, manners and professionalism can't be taught through a blog post or in real estate school!

Apr 13, 2012 09:40 AM #6
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Carie, all I can say  - - - awesome.  I have the same PhD too!  I didn't have a brother to help with the papers, but I also sold calendars, hard candy and whatever other fundraiser we had.


Apr 13, 2012 10:54 AM #7
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Great post Carie.   Girl scout cookies for 50 cents?  I want some.   Thanks for sharing.


Apr 13, 2012 11:13 AM #8
Carla Harbert
Full Time REALTOR in Ohio - Brunswick, OH
RE/MAX Omega, Brunswick Ohio

What a nice post, Carie! Seems many of us started out with "humble" beginnings - and look how far we've come...

Apr 13, 2012 01:16 PM #9
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Carie, What a great way of putting your experience to use. We are the sum of all thoae stories we have lived through.

Wonderful degree...PHD of hard rock.


Apr 13, 2012 02:04 PM #10
Lester Wilkins
Blue Water Home Loans NMLS# 166527 - Port Huron, MI

Great post!  I love the "PhD of hard knocks"  how succinct!  Thanks for sharing!

Apr 14, 2012 12:58 AM #11
P.J. Virgilio Jr., Realtor 408-568-6578 Selling homes in the Greater San Jose area and South through San Martin, Gilroy
Keller Williams Realty Silicon Valley - Gilroy, CA
San Juan Bautista and Hollister as well!

Hi Carie,

Great post and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and bet you can probably make change at a register in your head as well! lol

This post is a picture of my life as a child as well, maybe not those particular jobs but still the basic training.

All the best!

Apr 14, 2012 01:05 AM #12
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Kathy:  I see we're both alumni from the same school :)  And, thanks for the "Suggest" too!

Jim:  I know, right?  I wish they were still .50 cents a box too :)

Carla:  Yes, you're right ... we've sure come a long way, haven't we?

Margaret:  Thanks ... I think you rock too! :)

Lester:  Thanks!  I'm sure that school has many graduates ... I'm just one of them :)

Patrick:  LOL!  How did you know I could make change in my head?  Glad I could provide a tiny flashback of our childhoods :)

Apr 14, 2012 02:08 AM #13
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Have an awesome weekend Carie!

Apr 14, 2012 02:28 AM #14
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Carrie, an excellent post, what's the book that was popular a few years ago, "All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten" ? BTW, I found your post through Karen Hawkins re-post. Suggested.

Apr 14, 2012 04:31 PM #15
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Excellent post Carie.  I'm guilty of this at times, but I 100% hear what you are saying.                                

Apr 14, 2012 11:00 PM #16
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

John:  You too, my wonderful AR Friend :)

Nancy:  Thank you so much for coming over from Karen's re-post.  I remember the book you're talking about, however, I haven't read it.  Sounds like I need to pick up a copy ... I love the title :)

Jared/Amanda:  Thanks!  Just sayin' ... :)

Apr 15, 2012 01:17 AM #17
Nina Rogoff
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Medfield, MA
Sells Real Estate!

As I tell my middle school-aged kids, when I'm reminding them about why they need to listen to Mom and Dad, there are some who use the wrong behaviors as kids and never do anything differently as adults.

Apr 15, 2012 12:30 PM #18
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Nina:  Sounds like you are a great teacher, Nina.  Hope you had a nice holiday with your family :)

Apr 15, 2012 01:07 PM #19
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