Q. I’ve been in property management for 12 years. Most of my experience has been onsite. About 2 years ago I got the opportunity to oversee several sites and recently I was promoted to a regional. I just learned that my company is going through a merger; my portfolio is likely to be absorbed into the region of the other company that has a regional in place with more experience. I’m not sure where this change is going to leave me and I hear that a lot of others in the industry are going through the same kind of downsizing. Maybe it’s time to look outside the industry. What do you think?
A. I have met a number of people that for one reason or another face this kind of career choice. There is no doubt that our industry like many others will look to do more with less during these uncertain times. Though this is a difficult time to stay in the industry and you might question why I will tell you that many don’t realize how much they miss the people, the problem-solving and the pace of their work day until they leave the industry. In my personal experience and others I know we come back to property management. You’ve already invested 12 years so slow down, don’t over react but rather ask some direct questions to people that can give you some straight talk about the changes at our company and what you can expect. Talk to people that you respect and care about you. Listen to your instincts.
Realize that mergers are difficult for everyone involved so listen to the objectives when explained. Ask questions instead of jumping to conclusions and demonstrate that you can be flexible to accomplish these objectives or minimize anticipated consequences. New circumstances often create different opportunities if you’re seen as part of the solution; not the problem.
This is also an opportunity to measure your industry competitiveness. You’ve been with one company for a long time but have you taken advantage of industry education and networks to make yourself ready and available for a different assignment?
One last note: the economy is recovering, property management is changing more than in the past and is likely to grow in importance as more people choose to rent and demographically more renters are on the horizon. Best estimates indicate that there will be a shortage of industry professionals by 2015. So hang in there; the next 5 years look better than the last 5 years.