Posts Tagged ‘ maintenance ’

Ramp it UP!

I skipped the New year’s Day post intentionally…it’s so cliche, and I’ve probably broken any resolutions I’d have put down already anyway!

So I began this year actually pretty mopey, for various reasons.  One of them, I’ve writtenImage about before, and I realize now that I am coming into the end of what I call the Winter Doldrums.  Last January (about a year after my Dad passed away), my Mom got the green-light to have both my Dad’s ashes and my grandfather’s ashes interred at Arlington National Cemetary.  21 Guns and everything.  It was sobering and humbling on so many levels.  Equally awesome is the fact that they are next door to each other.  I’ll visit them both this weekend in honor of Dad’s passing, and I’ll get a photo and put it up here, if I can manage one.  I used to think I do my best thinking while I’m in the shower (some of it, I still do), but now I’ve learned that I do some of my best thinking while I’m visiting Dad.  I don’t know what it is.  I come away from his resting place hopeful, motivated, and optimistic about things to come.

I got Gary Keller’s book, “Shift”–effectively Volume II of the Bible series that he’s written for Realtors–from my brother in-law’s new bride (thanks again, Steph!) for Christmas, and it.  Is.  Fantastic.  The information in there is undeniable, and really gets me riled to get after it.  After all, business won’t find me if I don’t get in its way.  Over and over again, I am thankful that I found a place as committed to giving its agents the tools they need to be successful businesspeople…I don’t see too many NYTimes Bestsellers from folks working at ReMax or Long and Foster, and I definitely don’t see as many of them.  Gary Keller is just a dynamo, and he has recruited the right people (looking at you, Matt Sutter) to find the right talent for the organization.  The folks in this office are the people I thrive on being around.

I think my present situation keeps me pretty well-grounded.  For half of the day, I am a student in the real estate industry, learning everything I can about prospecting, marketing, honing my message, finding what works, learning to be bold, brave, and direct with people. Then, I go to work.

I go from being the student to being the instructor…except nothing’s changed.

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Who’s the new guy?

I work at a for-profit aviation maintenance institution, where each night, I give my students every piece of hard-won advice, every tip, trick, mistake I’ve made, and triumph I’ve conquered.  These soon-to-be aircraft mechanics take classes called “Cabin Atmospheres,” “Turbine Engines,” “Fuel and Instruments,” and “Comm/Nav,” where they will be taught all of the ways that airplanes solve difficult problems.  How do airplanes fly themselves?  There’s a system for that.  How do airplanes keep the passengers from freezing when it’s 50 below at 37,000 feet?  There’s a system for that, too.  These things are all in the curriculum, taught from the book, but I’ve found a way to bring my students–my customers–value that many other instructors don’t.  It’s easy, really.

Everyone hates being the new guy.  You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know where the chemicals are kept, where to dump the 40 gallons of fuel you just drained from the plane, where the bathrooms or break room are, who you must report to…it just stinks.  You are being analyzed under a microscope from the moment you walk in, when you’re the new guy.  What I try to instill in my students are knowledge and methods and skills that will make their time as the “F-N-G” (take a guess what that stands for…yep, you’re probably right) as easy as possible.  I make them learn some of the skills they see once at the beginning of school (or sometimes never at all), and not again until they walk onto a hangar deck somewhere.  I do this because they get more inherent value out of that than they do under other instructors.  I work hard to make sure that my students understand that I’ve got nine years of experience, and they can have it all if they’ll just pay attention.  The fear of being the F-N-G has been a wonderful motivator, even to those who don’t much care to pay attention.

I am so looking forward to this year for several reasons:  First, my goal is to really ramp it up when it comes to keeping in touch with the several tribes I have around the country.  (“Tribes” is actually a Seth Godin term, and you are not whole inside until you’ve gotten to know Seth Godin.  Trust me.)  I’ve fallen down on that at times, and if you’re mad at me for it, I’m sorry.  Secondly, this is the year I plan on making my very first six-figure income.  I have the knowledge and a plan, and the courage to implement both this year.  The reason I’m so excited about this isn’t so much money (though, of course, it’ll be nice); it’s that I’ll have the ability to spend more time with those I care most about this year.

And finally, if I’ve taken home six figures this year, it means I’ve done between 10 and 13 transactions, which means what?  Exactly–I won’t be the FNG any longer!

Here’s to an unbelievable 2013.  How are you challenging yourself this year?  Are you the FNG?  What can you do to make that phase last only as long as it needs to?  What are you a student of this year?  What are you teaching yourself, or taking a class to learn?  What do you plan on getting better at?

As always, I appreciate that you took the time to read my post here.  I’ll talk to you all again soon!

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GEESH…It’s December Already!

It’s been a turbulent year for me, to be honest…I went through no less than three jobs as an aircraft mechanic before finding the one I’m actually happiest doing (instructing maintenance), and it was mainly because I became disenfranchised by the industry.  Somewhere along the way (beginning about 5 years ago), I lost the hunger to be around airplanes when my work became mundane, routine, and financially limiting.  Inspections, for example, are what I know pretty well.  There is no better way than by doing an inspection to get to know an airplane inside and out.  It’s also boring as hell (to me) after about the third time around, because nothing changes.  Some people thrive on doing the same thing over and over again, becoming an expert in that task or area…not me.  I get bored too easily.  Goal

The other area of aircraft maintenance is called “line maintenance”–it is an entirely different set of tasks, very time-sensitive work.  The pressure is on when you’ve got a plane full of people staring at you, trying to literally will you to fix the plane so they can leave town–and you don’t even know what the problem really is yet.  This type of work tests your mettle as a mechanic, because it is very much systems-based troubleshooting that you need to be good at.  I enjoy this area of maintenance, though I’m not particularly good at it.  Regardless, the money isn’t there.  When I’ve got 12 people in the lobby waiting on their private jet to be ready to fly–12 peoples’ lives in my hands–and I’m not even making $50K a year to do it, the money-to-responsibility ratio just isn’t there for me.  At that point I am beholden to everyone but God to do things right, or 12 families will be devastated, and I’m not making good money as an eight year mechanic?  Not worth the time, in my opinion.

The last half of this year has been wonderful (though slow) and filled with experiences I haven’t had before.  I earned my real estate license, managed to find my first clients (or rather, they found me), and I’m working my tail off to make sure they are well taken care of, in addition to working full-time as an instructor.  I honestly don’t even know where the last few months have gone.  I’m pretty introspective by nature, but the last time I really took stock of my life, it was July!

I can’t wait to see where this next year takes me.  I will make the switch to doing real estate full time as soon as I can–the more I talk about it casually with friends at parties, the easier it comes to me.  A full-time real estate agent works hard, but literally gets paid to talk to people–something I’ve been doing naturally (and for free) since I was a kid.

I hope that your holidays are happy and bountiful.  My family is Italian, and I’m genuinely grateful every year that I get to make it to Christmas dinner.  Only if you’ve been there can you appreciate the food–the homemade pasta and meatballs, the pizzelles and cannoli…oh man, it’s really a great way to culminate a whole year’s worth of working hard and taking care of business.  I hope you get to have endless amounts of your family’s Soul Food, and I hope that everyone who comes in from out of town is safe and sound doing so.

As we roll down the calendar to the New Year (provided we make it past December 21st), I hope that things in your life are going how you planned them to be.  Mine are right now, but not without some significant time and effort on my part.  In order to break out of the norm and steer your life toward wealth, health, more friends, less drama, convenience, or fulfillment…it really does take work.  Not, “Well, I hope this happens” kind of work, but real, hard, “This is what I need to do to start getting there” work.  If you’re already there, God bless you.

I hope this post finds you all well, and there will be more to come.  In the event that I miss you, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year 🙂

 

The Great Unknown…Returning To School and Career Change At 30.

The time has come to stage my coup.

I’ve been accepted into The American University’s Kogod School of Business, and I can’t wait to get that ball rolling in the fall.  Further, the time has come for me to transition out of aviation (for now) and into a subject that I began focusing on and learning about over five years ago now:  Real Estate.

Business and Real Estate–two things I have no formal experience or education with yet.  I’m leaving the comfort of showing up to work every day at 8am (or 7, or 5, or 6pm), punching the time clock, working on tangible, mechanical things and seeing tangible results…the truth is that I have no idea what will happen in the next couple of months.

It’s both exciting and terrifying.

But you know what?  Nothing will happen if I don’t do it myself, right?  I’m ambitious–sometimes too much so, according to some–and I’ve been waiting for five years to be able to act on this.  I only put it off that long so my wife could properly finish her graduate degree in Arizona, and we lived on my salary alone before we moved out here to Virginia.

Frankly, I’m nervous about how we will survive here while I’m in school.  Our bills aren’t exorbitant, but our cost of living here is.  A nice place in a relatively safe area has been running us nearly $1700 per month in rent, and that isn’t unreasonable out here.  We have basic cable, two sensible, reliable vehicles, and some credit card debt to deal with, but otherwise, we aren’t spendthrift.  We had smartphones (which I got us for cheap during a free upgrade period with our provider), but we downgraded them to save $60 a month on the (required) data plans.  We’ve held off on buying an iPad, despite how handy we would both find one to be–and how much we salivate every time another iteration of it comes out.  We’re getting rid of cable, because it makes more sense to rely on Netflix or Hulu than to pay out the nose for three hundred channels of “WasteYourTimeHere.”  We’re trying to find a cheaper place to move, but we don’t want to dig up $3400 to break our lease early–and that’s if we could even find something.  The occupancy rates at apartments are so high out here that we didn’t even bother looking at several of them because we simply couldn’t find parking near the leasing office.  It’s a great time to own an apartment building.

We’re downsizing as many of our expenses as possible to keep our bills within my wife’s salary alone, in anticipation of my starting school, and the income lag from starting in real estate.  I’ll pick up a job to get through it if I have to, but I’d prefer to have the ability to focus my energy on schoolwork, internships, and networking opportunities if I can.

And then there’s the real estate.

I plan on being a licensed Realtor by September, when school starts.  I figure it will pay off because I’m pretty decent at networking, I talk to everybody, and being in classes with hundreds of students every day gives me the chance to build a friendly rapport with a captive audience.  This will let me capitalize the most out of my time there, because look at this:  The average price of a home in Muncie, IN is something like $185K.  The average price of a property here in the DC area is nearing $400K.  Some of the contacts I have figured out that it would take literally three times as many homes sold in Indiana as it would to make the same money here.  DC will treat me well, if I can wiggle my way into it, and figure out what makes it tick.   As it stands right now, though, almost no one knows me, and I have but a few people in my address book here in the area.  That, of course, is up to me to change, and I intend to; it’s just that everything takes time.

I’m excited about my prospects, though.  I’ve been doing my homework on these choices for years now, and I’m confident they are the right way for me to go.  In five years, I expect to have achieved my goals.  I am standing on the precipice of a turning point in my life.  I know I’ll do it–I know I need to–but it doesn’t stop me from being consumed with trepidation of the unknown, and frustrated by the constant juggling I’ll have to do until I cross the finish line.  I guess that just means I’m human.

Enough about me–what’s new in your life?  What’s the next Great Unknown project you are tackling?  Has it gone according to plan for you?  Did you anticipate the issues you ran into, or were you blind sided by some of them?

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