A spirit of friendly good-fellowship is not found in my business. Teamwork is as foreign to Manhattan real estate agents as smoking is to a healthy lifestyle. Sure, for the most part, we—independent contractors get along in this business, but there’s something fake about it. Deep down, there’s a seed—just one, that’s “me against you,” fostering a secret jealously that grows like weeds in our souls, which is far from working with a team. It’s caused by commission—royalties that are bigger than we are.
When I hear my past colleagues speak about my old company (where I was an employee), I’m professionally lovelorn, remembering that camaraderie I once had with a great group of people in Ohio. Over the years, I’ve tried to recapture that comfort of camaraderie: reading, studying corporate cultures, documenting case studies, while attempting to implement all of it into my field of real estate here in NYC. In spite of my hope, and all of my attempts, I’ve finally realized that it just doesn’t work in this business nor does anyone desire my sappy need—for the authenticity of camaraderie. I’ve been frustrated by this, to say the least, and searching for its counterpart.
Moving back to Ohio I knew was not the answer to my frustration. Because I still love New York, I like what I do, I like being an advocate for my customers, and the thought of leaving all of that stirs something forlorn, too, within me. But I’m not enjoying the professional loneliness of being an independent contractor/real estate broker in New York City, that’s for sure. So, I’ve had to find good-fellowship elsewhere, and I’ve found it in the most unlikely form: a book club, located in Hoboken.
Once a month, I meet with the Hoboken Bookworms, a small group of people—from all professions, ages and backgrounds, at an Irish pub called Moran’s. We discuss books, like a team. For the most part the members of this book club are not friends of mine, nor do they really know anything about me. But unknown to them, they have filled that void of camaraderie that’s been lacking for so many years in my professional life.
About Hoboken: Hoboken is a city in New Jersey located in Hudson County. The town, which is just one square-mile, lies just to the west of New York City, offering incredible views of the Big Apple skyline from across the Hudson River. It is a seven minute commute by ferry and a fifteen minute commute by train from Manhattan.