It occurred to me today that it's been about 3 years since I had a migraine. It also occurred to me that I've been a letting agent for about the same amount of time. The worst migraines I've ever had? Sunday evenings while I worked as a recruitment consultant to the building trade. Enough said.
When I came back from Turkey in 2006 I knew that I liked working in the management and sales of bricks and mortar (and that I liked the ruthless, conniving builders behind them less). I fell into recruiting by accident (read was lured in by the promise of job stability and a good wage) but happily surfaced relatively unscathed in January 2008. From there I went on to enjoy the hapless rigours of the temporary accommodation section of Edinburgh City Council for a long slow 4 months. Over that period I felt myself a goddess of efficiency, a waif, a 'do-er' and a very young thing. Alas, while relatively content to chase old Housing Benefit debts in said department, I was evidently just too gregarious and dedicated for them and they gave my post to someone on a sabbatical from a sabbatical in the depths of the City Chambers (after asking me to write a manual on how to do whatever it was that I actually did during my time there as an agency housing officer).
Each heavily affronted - I declined to write them a training manual in my efficient ways - the Council and I parted ways at midday on a Wednesday afternoon in April. The sun was out and between my bus stop and my front door I happened across my 96 year old Great Grandfather catching some rays in his garden. I stopped and we had a blether. It was an afternoon of peace and tranquility (after a little bit of a rant, I allow) and heralded good things to come. I spent Thursday morning sending off CVs, had an interview that afternoon, a second interview on Friday morning (where I mostly talked about motorbikes???) and started work with a city letting agency on the Monday.
It was a tight knit, busy firm. Something of a trial by fire but I found my niche. The people that work in property are sterling types. They are largely efficient because they have to be: inevitably managing too many properties on too few staff. They are cheerful because a sense of humour is mandatory when your job is to perpetually balance the needs of two separate clients groups with conflicting demands. Finally, they are friendly. I've since changed letting firm since those first forays into lettings and some of the firmest standing friendships I have are with the people I met in the first company. From the second firm there are strong foundations and very many entertaining personalities.
It's important to like the people you work with; it makes your day pass faster; you can share and resolve work issues more easily. Most of us spend more waking hours with our colleagues than we do with our loved-ones. Till that balance is redressed I say go forth and be cheerful at your work. You might brighten up a colleague's day or you just might make a new friend. If you wake up in the morning and all you can think is 'I really don't want to go to work today', then get a new job and trust me, Baz Luhrmann styleee, when I say it does not have to be that way.
Recently I took the plunge and sat some exams that allow me to become a member of ARLA (and so I can get a permanent position eventually with either company 2 or some other place where new friends wait to be found). ARLA may mean nothing to you, but they're the big dogs in my world of work. I got an 87% average across 4 papers and yes, I am just a little bit pleased about it because it confirms everything you read in the papers: letting agents are not perfect by definition.
Not perfect, maybe. Not always the skilled mediators we are expected to be. But we're H.A.P.P.Y. And you?