this day in history

January 20, 2012

sounds a little dramatic doesn’t it? 

it will be significant in my history i’m sure, but probably not for anyone outside my immediate family.

since telling you about my planned career change in october last year i’ve been quite busy and too knackered to write.  i have an unexpectedly spare afternoon right now.  i’m at home, tally is at day care and percy is seeing the picasso exhibit at the art gallery of nsw with her grandparents.  plus i seem to have buggered the chain saw so i’m not outside hacking the damn macadamia tree into burnable pieces like i thought i would. 

the telling piece in that paragraph is that “i’m at home”, on a friday.  here’s the story why…

while serving out my remaining four weeks at housing nsw after i resigned, i secured myself a job as a sales assistant at a local real estate office.  yippee!  the career change plans were so far working well.  i was going to be working very close to home doing something that i’m sure i would love (helping people realise their ambitions of selling or buying their houses) i would make great links to my local community and i would bring ethics and a caring soul into real estate.  these things i did.  and i did really enjoy it.  real estate is not a brain taxing job.  sure, there are things to remember and legislation to follow, procedures and processes, obligations and requirements; just like most jobs.  it is not difficult, however it is time consuming.  time and raising young children don’t really mix.  we had plans to smooth this out tho- a nanny, paul coming home early on certain days, me staying late on set days, long day care, two cars, activities involving kiddies scheduled outside work hours, grandparents… 

the time consumption was exacerbated by the stated work hours and the actual expected hours being quite different.  my boss and i clashed on this a number of times.  i think we were both at fault in not explaining our expectations to each other clearly.  one of the most important tasks a real estate agent must undertake is prospecting for new business- getting ‘listings’.  now if you’ve been in the game for a long time and you have a large referral list perhaps you can let business come to you (tho eventually all that business will move away, die or forget you) otherwise you need to find people who want to sell their house and commission you to do it for them.  finding these people means knocking on their doors or telephoning them.  it’s called cold-calling.  i actually don’t have a problem, as most people seem to expect one to, with this activity.  in fact i love nattering to people about property, and as property is a hobby for near everyone in sydney, most people i’ve come across are happy to natter back.  perhaps it’s different out here in the ‘burbs as i found nearly everyone either wanted to talk, not just tolerated me giving the sales pitch before they released the hounds, or actually wanted to show me around their house and discuss all the good and bad aspects of the place, the street, the neighbourhood, the local shops, the local schools, you name it.  however (here it comes) in the month or two leading up to christmas not many people are concerned with selling their homes.  unsurprisingly they’ve got other things on their mind.  which is not to say some people don’t, but i think it is fair to say their focus is elsewhere.  which for me, meant securing absolutely no listings and turning in dismal numbers.  as an example… i stayed late one evening and made 70 telephone calls, which trust me, is not a big amount, during what is understood to be the prime time to call 5:30 to 7pm.  of those 70 calls, only 7 people actually answered and none wanted to sell their home at that time.  can i force people to answer the phone?  my percieved poor performance and apparent “lack of enthusiasm” meant that after three weeks i was asked to resign.  i wonder if it’s better to resign or get fired?  so the week before christmas i found myself truly unemployed, and i’ve remained so since.  i have applied for two other sales assistant jobs but have been unsuccessful.

fast forward to yesterday.  i made the momentous decision, with paul’s support and encouragement, to take up my other full time job in a full-time way- parent.  for the next year and maybe more i’ll be a stay at home mum.  given that the salary for a real estate sales assistant is $32k a year we may actually save money!  here’s what we won’t be spending money on:  day care (poor tally is going to be staying home with me; hope he survives), driving to day care, me buying lunch, drinks and snacks while at work, make-up, hosiery, hair cuts and colours, car running costs, mobile telephone bill (the $1k a year phone allowance does not cover it!), nannies, before and after school care for percy and i’m sure some sundry other things i’m not remembering at the moment.  the things that we will gain include percy getting walked to and from school everyday, tally having my mostly undivided attention during the day, my time to do the house things we’d all rather not do at 9pm- i mean ironing and the like! and particularly important my time and soon to be much ramped up expertise in being project manager for the redevelopment of our little slice of suburbia. 

i wrote a list yesterday of my goals for 2012.  it is as follows:

1. toilet train tally, 2. help percy to have great year at kindergarten, 3. learn to cook more dishes, 4. practice yoga everyday, 5. complete renovation of front yard, 6. clear excess vegetation from rear yard, 7. relocate shed, 8. build rear deck, including access ramp, 9. complete plans for house renovation, 10. build new chicken run, 11. create vegetable garden and 12. defy mayan calendar!

it’s a good, achieveable list i think.  there’s more to it than first appears too.  for instance, the deck is no little bit of wood on a level, easy access bit of ground, it’s to be an enormous structure that spans ten metres across the site, steps over probably three levels with a fall of four to five metres and i estimate around 12 metres of depth.  plus, let’s not get into what it will take to defy those head-strong mayans!

had you said to me five years ago i would choose to be a stay-at-home parent, and be looking forward to it, i would have peed myself laughing.  how we change…

mind you, if anyone has or knows of a book shop for sale within reach of my home let me know.  that’s another career path i’d love to grow old into.