Thankful for My Career
I'm a pretty lucky guy in a lot of ways, and I have a ton to be thankful for. One thing that I'm continuously filled with gratitude about is my career. I've been in the mortgage industry for over a decade (13+ years now!), and for many years it was a struggle. I entered the business at a very tough time - 2006, just before the industry was decimated. I learned and struggled for years. Honestly, from 2006-2012 was one of the toughest periods of my life. I was a recent post-grad, struggling to make it in a field where I knew I could make a difference, and knew I could be one of the industry's best (that was based more on my opinion of what was out there than my own confidence!). But it was a slow crawl, and like many people, I hit bottom before bouncing up.
These days, I still do loans, but life is much different. In 2013 I made the decision to move to CA and pursue a career with a new company, Mason-McDuffie mortgage. That was a defining move for me - I went from an average loan officer to one pressured to running a branch and being a high producer to keep the branch profitable. I learned, hustled, grinded, and worked my way into an opportunity to work with our marketing and technology team in addition to doing loans. From there, I was offered a role training our loan officer team (while still doing loans). And now, I still do loans, but only by referral, and my primary focus is working with our executive team to keep the company growing in the right direction and constantly implementing improvements to our loan process and our team.
While I'm grateful to the company, and grateful for the amazing people I get to work beside and interact with on a daily basis, I'm MOST grateful for the opportunities and flexibility this career path has offered. Case in point: last week I flew to Richmond, VA to train our Virginia team, attend a client appreciation event, and after, had the flexibility to hop on a train up to Pennsylvania to visit my grandparents for a few days. On the train, I analyzed contracts for a new vendor - one of many that allows me to work closely with some of our industry's brightest minds. These relationships have led to some amazing opportunities - guest speaking, podcast collaboration, being featured in publications from the Washington Post to Scotsman Guide to invitations to Advisory Boards.
With all of the additional responsibility, I still can maintain a flexible schedule - I work long hours, and work hard, but I also take long weekends when I want to. I vacation, and without the pressure to be a top producer in volume, I can afford to actually put my phone away for short stints, which I could never do as a loan officer (or at least I didn't feel like I could). In the winter time I often get work done from Lake Tahoe or Colorado. I get to meet people around the country, see new places, and constantly encounter new challenges in a very challenging industry. I have a lot of opportunity, but I have a lot of support, and I'd argue one of the best groups of people in the entire real estate industry around me.
It can be stressful. It's always demanding. But it's also truly amazing. I have freedom and opportunity in my life that many people don't see until retirement. I've worked hard for it, but I've also been fortunate to receive opportunities. I've been lucky to have faith placed in me by some great people. And although I wouldn't describe every day as fun, I would say that I am incredibly grateful.
And oh, did I mention ANOTHER group of people my career has allowed me to encounter? Many of the people RIGHT HERE! I've been blessed to meet many ActiveRain friends in person and talk to even more over the phone. And without my career, I wouldn't be a part of this community. What's not to be grateful for?