It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies on my journey into real estate. As well meaning as my parents were, a lack of personal experience and knowledge prevented them from informing me that college was a place where you go to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. As the first person in my family to actually attend college, this lack of insight led me to simply pursue a degree… any degree, to be exact.
Consequently, I found myself plunged into the path of political science. Whether it was a lack of available jobs, or a misdirected passion, I unsurprisingly found myself unable to find a job. As a result, I somehow stumbled upon an opening at the State Health Department. My job description included HIV counseling and testing, but I guess I wasn’t fully prepared for what that meant!
On my very first day, my supervisor handed me a notebook and told me to go into the exam room to tell a man that he had contracted gonorrhea. We would then have to come up with a list of his sexual partners within the past few weeks, track them down, and inform them that they should come into the State Health Department to get tested for a sexually transmitted disease. “Unprepared” doesn’t even begin to describe it...!
For the next year, I drove around in my 1983 red Nissan Sentra, getting to know all of the major drug dealers and prostitutes living primarily in the Northeast quadrant of Rochester. Eventually, I knew all of them by name and they all knew me! In fact, so many of these people knew who I was, that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to do my job. When I would pull up to a particular neighborhood, it was commonplace for people to scatter in avoidance of the "V.D. man". In case you were wondering, V.D. stands for venereal disease, and I was, in fact, the V.D. man….
I still have a vivid memory of driving Patty Cake, a local prostitute, to the Health Department for a treatment in the backseat of my car. On this particular trip, I heard some motion in my backseat and turned around to find Ms. Cake and one of her friends lighting up a crack pipe… Yup, you read that right!
As you can imagine, throughout this year I often found myself scratching my head, wondering how I ended up in this position. It certainly wasn’t going to fulfill the dreams that I had when I was growing up. So what could I do to make something of myself? As I started to look around at the successful people in my life that I knew tangentially, I gathered some common denominators. The people that were driving fancy jaguars and attending lavish events were all selling real estate.
After that realization, it was that simple. I immediately got my real estate license and wanted to see whether or not I could make something of myself. Glad to report that I just concluded my 25th year selling real estate, and have never looked back!