Career day at the middle school

When I told Fiona I wanted to speak at career day, her response was, “That’s fine, as long as you introduce yourself as Julie Sasso and don’t tell anyone you are my mother.” I agreed, and largely kept my promise, though I did start the presentation by saying I worked at a company my husband and I owned, named McSharry and Associates Realty, so I am pretty sure that most of her classmates figured out I was her mom. I tried hard to keep the presentation innocuous and refrained from the behaviors (singing out loud, dancing, telling jokes) she finds most offensive.

I was looking forward to talking about my job and enjoyed putting together a power point highlighting different aspects of a career in real estate and what one needs to be successful when working for oneself. I even put together a fun “name that house style” quiz for the last couple of minutes, which confirmed that a lot of adolescents spend a lot of time watching HGTV. The number of kids that could tell a Tudor home from a Spanish style was impressive.

After giving my eight minute spiel five different times, I found myself really thinking about the job I have chosen and trying to remember what the seventh grade version of me expected to grow up to be. Real estate was definitely not on my list of possible career paths. But like I told the groups today, most people who end up in real estate don’t start off planning to be Realtors. It’s the type of career that people choose because of the lifestyle. Among the great things about being a realtor, I included helping people achieve a major life goal, getting to work with interesting individuals, having a varied set of job tasks and a flexible schedule, and having an unlimited earning potential. I think the students latched on most to the last point, but that’s honestly the least compelling reason to do this job. I shared the challenges of always having to sell yourself, not having a guaranteed income, and not having control of the real estate market, but I would take those cons over the negative aspects of any of the other jobs I had before this.

If you haven’t talked to a classroom of middle schoolers about your career yet, I highly recommend it. It really made me think about the benefits and challenges of my job and it made me appreciate that I have ended up being exactly where I should be, even if my seventh grade self never would have predicted this outcome.