5 Reasons I’m Glad to Be an AE

As we all know, most of us stumbled into this business from some other career. I know, I know, a few of us actually planned to make association management a career (yes, I’m looking at you, Scott Brunner), but that’s pretty rare. I don’t know about you, but stumbling into AE world has been one of the best things that ever happened to me. Here are five reasons why I love what I do for a living:

1. It’s never boring
This job requires me to be a “generalized specialist.” I have to know at least a little about a lot of things, and a lot about some other things. And the mix is always changing. New issues pop up all the time that I have to understand and explain to others—whether it’s to the staff, the members, or policy makers. And even the day-to-day stuff can become challenging. For example, working with the RAMCO implementation team has forced me to learn a lot more about database management systems than I ever dreamed I’d need to know. And I understand that for those of you who have little or no staff, the challenge of keeping up with everything can be daunting, but think of the alternative: doing the same thing, every day, for your entire career.

2. It’s a partnership
For most of us, our organizations aren’t like corporations with an omnipotent CEO who calls all the shots. We work in partnership with our volunteer leadership. When that partnership between -REALTORS® and their professional staff is clicking, the experience and results can be magical. I enjoy that collaboration, and it’s even more fun because the cast of characters on the volunteer side is always changing. It’s especially rewarding to watch new leaders emerge and shine, and let seasoned leaders surprise you with their ability to react to the unexpected challenges that invariably arise.

3. We do good things
Most people need to feel that what they do matters; that they live their life well and contribute to something bigger than themselves; that they’ll leave a -legacy. Working for the REALTOR® organization helps satisfy that need. We make a positive difference in our communities. I think about the families who wouldn’t have a roof over their heads if it weren’t for well-trained, ethical REALTORS®. We help make that happen. We help build communities with better transportation, access to water, great parks, and a better quality of life.

4. We make good friends
The REALTOR® AE community is extraordinary. I’ve never been around such a talented group so willing to share. I’ve been really lucky . . . I’ve made friends around the country. But even before I got involved at a national level, I was meeting new friends in my state, both through the REALTOR® organization and through our state society of AEs.

5. It’s fun
I don’t underestimate this factor. There are two types of “fun” at work: the “happy” kind—the fun you get from laughing with colleagues, or doing a bang-up job on a presentation; the other kind of fun is doing a job that’s worth doing, and doing it well. Experiencing professional satisfaction and recognition from your partners and colleagues—that’s meaningful fun, and a huge reason I love my career.

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