If the hat fits, wear it.

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

Whenever I am asked to describe myself, I cringe. It is not an easy task and gets harder all the time. When I look back over time, I see several different people. Who at different periods in time, have all led me here to this point in my life. You might say, over the years I have worn a lot of hats.

One hat I donned right out of high school was a job at the telephone company. I had part-time jobs in high school, but this was my first full-time gig. I worked as a frame technician, wiring in circuits for business customers in downtown Chicago. I was always mechanically inclined, so I learned quickly and soon advanced to higher-pay grade jobs. The same type of hat only a bigger brim.

Illinois Bell Hat

This career must have fit me pretty well because I stuck with it for 32 years. Of course, over the years the technology changed, as did my responsibilities. My time was well spent, and it went by in the blink of an eye.

On my 30th service anniversary, I was awarded a choice of a gold watch or a wall clock symbolizing the time I had spent.  Sorry, no hat. I didn’t wear watches, so I took the clock, which still hangs on my office wall. (Note the engraved plaque at the bottom honoring the milestone).

Bellcore Clock


In 2001 when the dot com bubble burst, technology companies were ejecting employees at an alarming rate. My company offered an early retirement buyout that was too good to pass. We had already planned our move to Arizona, so the timing could not have been better.

I was too young to retire, so I started my own consulting business. I really liked that hat, but consulting hats were out of style in those years. My clients were the very same people who were going through massive downsizing and struggled with laying off hundreds of employees and then hiring a high-priced consultant.


When the attack on 9/11 occurred, the government pulled my secret clearance, further taking away my ability to bid on government contracts. I eventually transitioned myself into a Microsoft Certified Trainer, which brought me some new clients, but the pay was far less than I had become accustomed. The hat had become too small or my head too big. I looked for other options.

Some of the hats I wore didn’t fit very well. I had good skills, so my goal was to continue in a professional capacity. I did not want to pass out shopping carts at a big box store.

1040 NR Hat

For a few years, I worked as a tax preparer and taught classes on the fine art of preparing a proper tax return, which was very interesting work and offered a lot of freedom. I learned a lot about financial services and about people who never failed to surprise me with their lack of financial knowledge.



I finally found a career that not only met my needs for flexibility but offered compensation that matched the value of the time I spent working. Real Estate. It was a bit of a learning curve but with my business background, and keen understanding of technology I soon made the hat fit. While I never wore the Platinum Agent Award hat at my brokerage, that wasn’t my goal. I left that ambition for the younger agents. My goal was to help my clients with the biggest sale or purchase of their lives, making sure their hats fit them properly.

Today I call myself semi-retired if there is such a thing. You are more likely to find me on a tennis court than at an open house. I will be wearing a hat of a different style along with a pair of tennis shorts.

Tennis Hat

I have only one minor regret. I should have started this tennis gig a lot earlier. I might have spent the last twenty years being a tennis pro at a country club. What could be better than getting paid to play a kid’s game?

All I know is that I have a closet full of hats, which is good because the hair on the top of my head, is getting a bit thin and a good hat helps keep the sun off.


Posted by

Blog Signature

© 2022 Joseph Domino All Rights Reserved

Comments (25)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a wonderful way to discuss your career.  I love all the hats, and happy for you having the pleasure of playing tennis.  A

Feb 21, 2022 11:03 AM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Enjoyed following your many hats on the way to real estate,  Thanks for sharing your journey !

Feb 21, 2022 03:29 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Joseph, loved the Hats:) I wore a few hats but never so many as you did:)) I have always stayed with the Baseball Caps:))Endre

Feb 21, 2022 05:11 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Joseph- as you can see... your tie-in with hats is well-liked!!!  And I loved learning how you got where you are and where you are heading. 

Feb 21, 2022 06:28 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a fun read! I was a 30 year "phone" company employee as well and the time really did go quickly! Thank you for sharing.

Feb 22, 2022 05:18 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Joseph - I enjoyed your approach to this month's challenge which took on an almost Seussical sense.  Now, talk about a hat trick.  🙃

Feb 22, 2022 05:22 AM
Gwen Fowler-864-710-4518 SC * Mountain* Lake*Home
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

It's great to have experienced different "hats" in life.  When I think of hats I always think of my grandfather.  He always wore an off white colored Stetson hat.  Sweet memories.

Feb 25, 2022 07:48 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - Hats off to you man! The choices you made were many and they all led you to where you are today. Rightfully so, you chose the good path with pleasure and relaxation any time you wish! I loved your story!!!

Under the hats of many sizes, shapes, colors and titles, such as "Platinum Agent Award hat" wasn't for you or that important. You always were and always will be your own man with a brain who thinks logically and clearer than probably 90% in the business!

Feb 26, 2022 06:52 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Feb 26, 2022 06:26 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Joe. Quite a collection of hats. While the hair on top of my head may be thinning, hats have always easily made my hair a mess. Your choice of hats have lead to success. Enjoy your day.

Feb 27, 2022 04:58 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

You have had a lot of hats and each appropriate for the size f the job.  I am like you and prefer the semi type of work associated with real estate especially after all the corporate years of must be there

Feb 27, 2022 05:27 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Joe - I loved your story and your hat theme.  You touched many similar areas in technology.  I can relate to that in my early years until I switched to business.

Feb 27, 2022 05:52 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 ,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her AH-ha moments for the week, as I missed it. I love the creativity of your post and I learned a lot about you with all the hats you wore.

Feb 27, 2022 06:40 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I like wearing hats too.

Feb 27, 2022 09:10 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - I love your creativity on this challenge. Happy Sunday! 

Feb 27, 2022 09:21 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I sure like this post, Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 - You remind me of a story about my grandson, who was about 9 at the time. Connor did a speech about the hats he wears in life and ended up with 10 on his head at the end of the speech. His parents took a video of it, and it was quite charming. The crowd loved it when all the hats fell off his head as he took a bow. Lol. My thought to you - happy you didn't try to wear all your hats at the same time. 

Feb 27, 2022 09:41 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Joseph, for sharing some of your personal story.

Feb 27, 2022 12:30 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Love to see your journey and all the hats you have worn on the road of life. Enjoy that tennis, it will keep you young and fit.

Feb 28, 2022 09:07 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Joseph:

What a creative post for the February Challenge. You've certainly collected a lot of different hats!


Feb 28, 2022 07:49 PM
Lori Rosenbarker
SigningsByLori - Yuma, AZ
Mobile Loan Signing Agent

What a great post!  As many seem to relate to the hat theory including myself.  I have worn many hats over the years and I've enjoyed the process of getting to know and understand each hat.   Thank you for sharing about your hat roles.  To your success! 

Mar 07, 2022 08:55 AM