Sunday, January 8, 2012

They Were Wearing My Shoes

Well they weren’t really wearing my shoes, or even driving my car, but I sure did recognize the attitude and frankly, it was embarrassing.
Let me take a minute to give some background. About 6 months ago I escaped real estate. I know, the first reaction is usually the same to that one; real estate is a hard business, it’s been a tough few years. Totally true and almost irrelevant because I really had been trying to escape real estate almost since the time I started. I just never enjoyed it, so I went to work for a builder, I developed a web site when I should have been selling, I went to work in a non-selling  capacity for another builder, I trained agents in how to be successful, when I should have been selling, and finally after 15 years, I sent my license back to the state.
I didn’t leave real estate for something, but rather to be done with it. This meant that I needed to figure out what I could/ should offer the world and then how to do that best. In the meantime was the realization that I needed to put some money in the bank.  
So in September, I found myself working for SAIC as a monitor following tree crews that were trying to make sure the right of ways were safe in Henrico County Virginia. This meant with hard hat, orange vest a GPS, digital camera, tape measure and clipboard I documented all their work and conferred on whether it was eligible under FEMA guidelines.

I was, for 5 or 6 weeks, 12 to 15 hours a day what I had always called a “watcher” or “watcher, watcher.” If you have ever driven, you know the scene; 1 or 2 men working and 2 -5 people standing around watching them work.

Removing branches hanging over right of ways, some are huge, sometimes required stopping traffic. Now, it doesn’t take long before you stop someone that gets really upset and tries to intimidate their way through or even worse force their way though causing the crew to have to watch out for the safety of the driver as well as themselves.
Looking into some of the faces of these drivers is what made me realize, they were just like me. Until that time, I had always been the one in the car, wondering why they picked this time, why they can’t get off the side of the road and in general why were they in MY way. I was wearing someone else’ shoes and I’ll talk about that tomorrow, but when I looked at the faces of these drivers, pissed off and glaring back, it was like looking into my own face and I didn’t like it.

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