This morning came the news that the National Association of REALTORS hired two soon-to-be-former agents to fill the positions of Director of Digital Engagement and Director of Social Business Practice. The first position is old, though in its several years of existence I haven’t quite figured out what great strides were made because of it, and the second position is brand new.
Here I sit, a dues paying NAR member whose wife works so we can have health benefits because NAR still can’t come up with a decent group plan solution for some of us pre-existing condition types, watching my dues being paid out in salary to two positions I can’t define and can’t see the point of when before there only was one.
For the record … this has absolutely nothing to do with the individuals hired. One I don’t know, the other I quite frankly adore and have for ages. What this does have to do with is watching NAR spend my money in rather odd ways. (And I’m not even going to go near the whole REALTOR party fiasco.)
The past few days, as the furor arose over a recent college graduate’s assertion that Social Media managers should be under 25 – a position that makes perfect sense from where she stands, if not from where the rest of us already are – I found myself thinking that rather than pursue a Social Media manager position, maybe she ought to be looking for some real work. (And stay off my lawn, dammit!)
I know a lot of Social Media managers and have for some time. I can’t always get my arms around what they do for a living. Which isn’t a concern of mine at all – unless I happen to be the person footing the bill, as I am in the case of NAR.
Surely, if someone as relatively plugged in as I am can’t tell you within 30 seconds what NAR’s Social Media person did, there are better ways to be spending my dues.
Of course I sound bitter and disappointed. But it’s not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
I continue to sell real estate because I happen to believe in the industry. I happen to believe we play a valuable role in helping buyers and sellers get to where they want to be. And I also happen to believe that the best way to effect change in the industry is to be that so-called agent of change. And that happens down here in the trenches where the real work is done, not in NAR’s theoretically gilded tower in Chicago.
Once upon a time, I attended the first REBarCamp in San Francisco. Among the attendees were some of the brightest lights and most forward thinkers in the online real estate space. And one by one, I’ve watched those lights depart the real real estate world for positions tangential to the industry. Some are now working for companies who pretend to want to partner with us, all the while diverting traffic that otherwise would come to our sights; some now are working from NAR; a couple passed away far too soon and others just fizzled out along the way as the real estate market convulsed wildly over the past four years.
I’m certain every single one of them has taken their new positions believing they are going to make a difference in the industry, that they are going to help us poor schleps “raise the bar” or whatever annoying buzzword happens to be in vogue at the time.
Thus far, the mass contribution to the industry has been zilch. Maybe it will be different this time around. I kinda hope so, especially since I’m paying for it.