I have a beef to share…and it deals with people and it deals with money…oh, and yeah, ego too.
I am in the mortgage industry. (I also have my custom cake biz, but the financial world exercises the left side of my brain)
In my mortgage life – I deal with people and their debt on a daily basis and have done for some time now. I could never have been a doctor – can’t stand the sight of blood. But I love helping people with their money so let’s just say I’m the Money Dr. During the last refi boom, I couldn’t believe actually how the events began to turn. I NEVER once felt that I had done something unscrupulous…but I had team leads and branch managers coercing me to push my clients – who were already completely overextended into things that I just couldn’t vibe on…I mean seriously…Come on. Just for a buck. Yes, it is amazing to make 5 figure commission checks in envelopes you didn’t even open…but this is people’s livelihood, folks.
After my father passed away, in March 2005…I lost my edge a bit and began to think long and hard about the integrity that had been thrown out the window in the company that I worked for, I turned in my resignation. They all hugged me goodbye and said in quiet whispers…”She’s lost the plot…” Putting their fingers to their heads in a circular motion, crossing their eyes and sticking their tongues out…”How could anyone leave at the height of a boom like this…? She’s crazy”
Well, crazy or not…about a month later…the EXTREMELY LARGE COMPANY that I had worked for, for some time – asked all 8 of their national branches in Houston to shut the doors and gave everyone the boot out the door without warning.
So the cast of characters that were in my surrounding team – Not really a one of them that actually had a financial inkling…the coke head that was moody and couldn’t keep eyes open during the day, the stoner who had just graduated from college, who never really got it anyhow, the Abercrombie & Fitch model – who was might I say DAMN easy on the eyes, but couldn’t use a mortgage calculator and the overworked, ex-bartender who hard sold every client as if it were closing time and he had to make rent, were all left in the dust that never really settled because of lawsuits and negligence cases.
My point is this…it didn’t seem to impact them the way that it impacted me…every one of them seemed so blase about the whole idea…just a job to them.
I grew up in a family that talked about money – parents who shared the responsibility of the bill paying. I remember as a child, when my father was home from business trips – that my mom & dad would sit at the kitchen table with a basket that my mom kept all the mail in and they would actually go through the bills. My father was an investment banker…I mean this is all I ever wanted to be growing up…so that is how we did it!
When I was 9 years old, I spent HOURS UPON HOURS in the board room of Merrill Lynch – watching A Stockbroker’s Guide on Trading Options and the Promo videos of the Bull walking through a china shop and various other precarious scenarios. This was my life…this is what I thought I would do…I knew early on that I would help people financially. When my father began his own Investment Banking Company – JF Financial – I thought how much easier can that be…I won’t have to change the company name when my dad retires…HA!
I know that I am waxing on in nostalgia…but I can also remember a time during my boot camp in the Air Force – I sat boo-hooing on the floor, as I spit shined my combat boots…”I shoulda been on Wall Street…” Total Private Benjamin moment. I did follow in my Dad’s footsteps in some ways…I ended up at a major wirehouse – spent the summer working in the north tower of World Trade Center…living the life and then back to the branch in Houston and became rookie of the year! But alas, again, I felt uncomfortable being told what stocks to sell…what mutual funds to push. All day, every day.
I wanted to sell SBUX & BN & RAYS…the things I liked…look’em up. Not tech stocks and pharmaceuticals…I have to admit I was not Warren Buffett. So I moved into the mortgage industry instead. I figured I could sleep better at night, knowing that I could conduct financial type transactions with people who wanted them and needed them, as opposed to Grandma sitting on 100/k, and putting it all in Pork Belly futures, instead of Bonds…Yeah, go ahead and just go to Vegas, granny…you’d have a better ROI.
Fast forward…so tonight I run into an old colleague – they were wondering why the hell I would EVER want to get back into the mortgage industry at a time like this…the market has gone to hell in a hand basket…And again, the “she’s crazy” look. So I kinda feel like the damned if I am in it during the PINNACLE, the top of the boom and I’m damned if I’m in the worst recession. But what I say, is that perhaps it may seem like a crazy time to everyone else…this is the perfect time for me – all the truly crazy mortgage “advisors” (slash drug addicts slash boozers slash wannabe’s slash get rich quick kids et al) are ALL GONE…the true professionals are still in the business and I can pick up all the broken pieces of where they left my potential clients.
And for that I am thankful that I can be of service…