When I was asked to contribute a little something for the company blog, I don’t mind saying that I sat there for a while wondering what on earth I was going to write about. After all, with the full span of my career in estate agency totalling just four months so far I thought I might struggle to find the words…
But no, in true ‘me’ style the thoughts that flowed out onto the paper could have filled a book. Don’t worry, I’ve edited it down to a more manageable length!
Hi, I’m Thomas, 23 years of age and I’m from a small village in the West Country just north of Wells – best known for Ebbor Gorge and Wookey Hole – but to me it’s just ‘home’ home, where mum and dad live. A place for long walks with Aasha our golden Labrador, colourful country fetes, hotly contested inter-village football matches and local cider, oh the cider!
In comparison, ‘new’ home in London is very different. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the relaxed pace of village life, but that’s my holiday, my haven. London is full of opportunity, excitement and bustle, and that’s my everyday these days, and I love it. I’m young, so this gear change is great, even if my softening accent still means I can’t yet pass for a true ‘local’.
To be fair, I’m a bit of a living contradiction. I’m a media graduate with a history of live event management, design and video production who loves F1 and skiing holidays, but I’m also known by my friends as ‘grandpa’ because you’re just as likely to find me in my slippers at home or behind a good book and a hot chocolate at a local coffee shop.
In fact, those contradictions came to a head one day a few years ago while I was at university and working part-time as a nightclub manager in Birmingham. It’s a little off topic, but it speaks to my character so I’ll tell it anyway. We got an urgent call from a woman looking for her husband who was on a last night out of freedom before her due date. The only problem was that baby wasn’t interested in schedules and was on its way. She was panicking as her waters had broken and she couldn’t get hold of her hubby to get her to hospital. When he also didn’t respond to our loudspeaker announcements I should have left it there, assuming he’d already left, but that’s just not me, so I personally searched the entire club. After around an hour I found him, slumped over a plant pot at the back of the club. He was in no condition to drive; quite frankly he was in no condition to stand, so a colleague and I helped him to my car, using facial recognition we unlocked his phone to find his address through searching his recent Uber ride history and while I drove him home my colleague kept him awake and got him hydrated to sober him up. When we got there he was lucid enough to make it in under his own steam… just about.
Goodness knows the talking to he’d have got that night, but all seemed to end up ok, because two weeks later we got a huge basket of goodies accompanied by a picture of the gentleman holding his baby daughter.
Why am I telling you this when it has nothing to do with estate agency? Well, that night, the fates had decided that this gentleman would miss the birth of his first child. The club’s policy was to make the announcement and that’s it. But I’d spent enough time behind the bar listening to people’s problems so this particular night I decided I was going to solve one. Many people ‘say’ they go above and beyond, but what I did that night is what I do every day for the landlords and tenants I am now responsible for. Hopefully I’ll never have to find them inebriated in a club and drive them home to their pregnant partners, but I do enjoy finding ways to be there and do more for them.
Some people might have difficulty pinpointing where their work ethic sprang from, but I can say without a shadow of doubt that my parents were my single biggest influence. They not only encouraged me to get my first job at the local village shop when I was fifteen, but at sixteen my father had me working in his construction company, carrying tools and teas to workers across the site and shifting materials at top speed by wheelbarrow. Over the next couple of years I rose to Product Delivery Manager, working directly with councils, hospitals and even some celebrities (though I am sworn to professional secrecy so I couldn’t tell you who), which is where I honed my people skills.
So, when I left uni last year I had a whole bucket full of enthusiasm, a little experience and an irrepressible drive, though no idea of what to do with it.
I started trawling through job adverts, going to interviews at a rate of three to four a week, but nothing felt quite right until I came across GHE. Corny as it may sound, and the West Country voice in my head probably influenced me here, the personable nature of the interview, the relaxed questioning and the one-on-one time they gave me, convinced me that this was the place for me.
Today, I get to meet loads of lovely people, to travel the length and breadth of London to help them find the right property for them and then to look after their happiness throughout their tenancy. It’s early days, but I already know that this is what I want to do, where I should be, and I’m excited to see where the journey takes me.