You may just need to clean your glasses! Today marks the end of a relatively brief but influential period in my life. Since May 2017 I have worked at Keller Williams in a primarily administrative capacity. My first foray into the real estate industry, I worked with an agent as her assistant for the first several months and then, when that partnership ended I was initially welcomed on staff as the assistant to the CEO of 4 offices and then had other duties added to my somewhat fluid position. Now, 7 months later, it’s time to move on.
I have struggled for months, still unsure of what a 37-year-old librarian and administrative and productivity tools junkie with 2 Masters degrees could, would and should do when she grew up. I started what was my side hustle, an administrative services business in 2011 while still working for the library. My BFF encouraged me to do so, and it was one of the few times that I listened. I hoped to ultimately further expand my offerings as I continued to learn more about admin, systems, and productivity tools. It wasn’t until the day that I informed my current boss that I was providing my notice that I had the lightbulb moment.
What I was doing wasn’t what I should be doing. As adults, we have to, well, be an adult. And so we work to make money and sometimes that means accepting less than you’re worth to pay the bills. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed, truly. However, I was burning the candle at both ends. I’d been excited about going back to the “safety” of a W-2 brick and mortar conventional workplace. After leaving a 12-year career in public library administration and making a go at being self-employed, I realized that I was exhausted by the thing that I’d loved. My work and client load were now more than any one person could competently and proficiently do. I consistently worked 12-14 hour days, and my already preferred unhurried work pace slowed further due to sheer exhaustion – and I was barely able to comfortably pay my bills. I couldn’t be my usual overachieving self as my mind and body were being pushed to its limits. In truth, I didn’t know how to not be an employee, and so I ran my business with an employee/employer mindset, dismissing and even ignoring my experience and expertise. I have been an employee for my employer (good) and an employee for my clients (bad). And so, in retrospect, I’d not learned or enforced the clear distinction that my roles were supposed to now be. I was doing what I’d always done and was getting the same results. Yep, insanity at its best.
When I worked with my BFF, I never felt like less than. He made sure that I knew that we complemented each other. His strengths were sometimes my weaknesses and vice versa, and we respected each other’s knowledge and were good at leveraging. We worked as a cohesive unit, not at first, but we ended up there. When that was over, I crawled into my introverted shell and became more subservient, diminutive. I somehow allowed myself and others to dismiss my years as a manager, administrator, teacher, experience. And because I have been working in an “assistant” capacity, I allowed myself to do the things I knew how to do, be a resource to others, share tools and tips, create systems, etc. but I failed to see that I’d evolved, grown into a knowledgeable and diverse adult. I wasn’t assistant material anymore. Sure, I could do that and excel at it, but I don’t want to settle when I know that I’m meant to do more, be more.
I love admins. Administrative and clerical activities were arguably one of my first loves. I distinctly remember frequently playing office as a child (filing, organizing, typing, answering phones) as well as a television news anchor (by reading aloud from newspapers while I pretended to be on tv – sometimes I did so in front of my dad’s camcorder). And here’s the thing, while often underpaid, admins are the worker bees behind the scenes making things happen! They’re often the ones who wield a great deal of influence over how a business is run, systems are developed, and setting the tone for how your brand is presented to the world.
Without giving too much away, and as I still continue to determine exactly how to make my solopreneur offerings an appeal to my intended client-base, I’ll simply say that I’m genuinely excited. My life’s path has prepared me for this. And while I may feel like I’ve failed by resigning from my job, I know that it’s the right thing for me. Keller Williams was a catalyst in my renewed focus building a career worth having, a business worth owning, a life worth living, experiences worth giving and a legacy worth leaving. The past few years of my life have been profound personally and professionally, and I know that the best is yet to come!