By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAMTM / Published December 2017
Dustin is a good example for all of us, whether young or old. As a plumber, he recently did some repairs for a homeowner. He and the homeowner struck up a conversation, and he was asked how he became a plumber. He related a short past, as he’s only 26 years old, revealing he had been employed as a construction worker and assigned to the huge tasks of working on the plumbing and other infrastructure for a large community. It didn’t take him long before he realized that he would grow old quickly doing that kind of work and needed to work with something other than a shovel.
With a great attitude and a good work ethic, he moved up the scale and became a large equipment operator to the chagrin of his older coworkers. For several of the more seasoned guys, he became their supervisor.
Apparently, at a young age Dustin learned how to “ponder.” If you haven’t seen or used the word “ponder” in a while, here is the definition: “Think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.”
Taking into account the toll on his body, working 70 hours a week in the hot sun, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark (which means no social life), and having a truck that needed to be replaced, he needed to look for something else. He realized the skills he had learned on large-scale projects could be applied to smaller projects. Those similar projects fit right in with being a plumber.
Since he is a personable guy, he used his network of friends to gain favor with a local plumbing company and was hired as a plumber’s apprentice. He stayed in that plumber’s apprentice position for about eight months and as a quick study was soon given his own truck and plumbing assignments.
Within two years, he was able to purchase a new truck for his personal use, and he bought a home for his family. Other than his truck and home, Dustin doesn’t have any debt nor a college loan to repay. And he has time to take his daughter hunting and fishing!
Dustin admitted he never graduated from high school, but he thinks that one day maybe he will revisit that decision. He loves hunting and fishing and told stories about a pet chicken. He is a great guy—conversational, cordial, polite, and enjoying his job with no complaints. Right now, he is happy and has a career that suits him. He made a point of saying he had not burnt any bridges as far as former employers and co-workers go. He understands the value of networking. Dustin is an incredibly grateful employee. Don’t you wish you could hire Dustin?
What a terrific example of what can happen to a person who faces reality, looks at his skills, has a vision, ponders, and takes responsibility for his decisions! Dustin has not one molecule of a sense of entitlement. He has three years to go before he becomes a master plumber.
His example should not escape us. Those who move ahead in their careers or switch careers go through similar steps as Dustin. He acknowledged he did not want to stay in his current position, so he became the best he could be in that position and moved from operating a shovel to operating a $300,000 piece of equipment. When that wasn’t satisfying anymore, he realized his skills could be used in another place and that they were applicable, albeit on a smaller scale, to plumbing.
For most community association managers, this is not your first career. It is usually a second or third career. It doesn’t take long to figure out that all the skills you learned and all the knowledge and experiences you have are very likely suited to community association management.
Do you have skills, interest, or experience in general management (office or corporate), real estate, law, construction, general maintenance, facilities maintenance, various types of administration, accounting, strategic planning, project management, budgets, human resource management, banking, lawn and landscaping, pool services, hospitality, customer services, and any other expertise needed to operate a community association? Those who have served in the military have many skills and disciplines that transfer to community association management. Several elementary school teachers have found a comfortable transition to community association management. Every individual can determine how their strengths will support community management.
Anyone who wants to be a manager for a community association needs to remember they probably do have more job-related skills than they thought. They need to jump into the industry, network like crazy to meet all the people they can meet, and develop a vision for the type of community for which they are suited. They may need some assistance to craft a resume in a way that resonates with board members or management companies, but help is available.
If you are thinking about community association management, remember to use the word WIN to help you in your decision.
Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight mixed with attributes such as compassion, self-awareness, logic, ethics, and benevolence.
Innovation is the introduction of something new such as a new idea, a new method, or a new plan.
Now is at the moment, at present, at the present (time/moment), at this moment in time, currently, presently, nowadays, today, these days, in this day and age, in the present climate
By correctly assessing your current situation (its pluses and minuses) and using wisdom (seek wise counsel from trusted others) and applying some innovation (think outside your box), you can have the community association management career that suits you. Other than the cost of your years of experience, the cost is minimal – you’ll have no college debt! Just like Dustin!
Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM
Florida CAM Schools
Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, guides managers, board members, and service providers in handling daily operations of their communities while at the same time dealing with different communication styles, difficult personalities, and conflict. Effective communication and efficient management are her goals. Since 1999, Betsy has educated thousands of managers, directors, and service providers. She is your trainer for life! Betsy is the author of Boardmanship, a columnist in the Florida Community Association Journal, and a member of the Regulatory Council for Community Association Managers. For more information, contact Betsy@FloridaCAMSchools.com, (352) 326-8365, or www.FloridaCAMSchools.com.