As I write this, I am watching my two youngest children as they participate in gymnastics. It is a Friday afternoon and most of my peers are sitting in a cubical somewhere. We have had a very busy week, but all has gone smoothly and my assistants are just wrapping up a few loose ends before the weekend. Sometimes I have to step back, shake my head, and say, “Wow, I am very blessed!”
As I lurk the various online appraisal forums, I see a whole lot of discouragement. Rightfully so. We as appraisers have experienced a lot of change over the past few years. Many of us built up a business empire only to have it washed away practically overnight with HVCC and Dodd-Frank. Some of us have restructured and have been able to see a resurgence, but not everyone. “Requirements are up and fees are down. . .” or that is what I hear.
Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder why more appraisers do not jump ship and find another career if it is so bad out there. Now, I am not without compassion. I know it is not as easy as trading in your clipboard for a spatula. Changing jobs is a difficult process and does not happen without much consternation and heartache. However, I tend to think that so many of us are sticking it out because we still have a pretty dern sweet gig!
All work has its challenges. I have a friend who pumps septic tanks for a living (insert ‘crappy job’ jokes here) for heaven’s sake. Appraisers are no different. We deal with ridiculous regulations, difficult assignments, picky underwriters, and collections every day of our lives. I remember walking around an old, dilapidated house in Dingle, ID one early spring day. The snow was beginning to melt, but it was still quite cold outside. As I came around the corner, a large amount of wet snow slid off the metal roof and landed on the back of my neck. Instantly I was soaked from head to toe. Some days I wag my head and ask myself why I am doing this. It is on those days that I must remember that snow down the back of your neck is not the norm.
Most days, I enjoy a beautiful drive through the most gorgeous country God ever created. I enjoy audio books as I travel, pleasant conversations with home owners, and time with my staff and my computer in the afternoon. Most days, I go home between 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM. Sometimes I work a bit after the kids go to bed, but usually on things other than appraisal. My children are young still so I try to be there for them. From gymnastics to piano lessons, dad is able to spend a great deal of time with them. I am able to travel and take days off when I need or want them. I do not have to go to a boss to ask permission for any of these things. Sometimes I deal with employee issues, budgets, and angry customers, but all of that is minimal as well.
In the end, I love my chosen career as an appraiser. Though the news may predict doom and gloom for the future of our industry, I have only optimism. As I look around at the economic conditions, the kind of work my neighbors are doing, and other challenges, I am happy to be where I am. Being an appraiser is one of the best jobs in the world!
Now, go create some value and enjoy the Independence Day Holiday!