Written by Katie Killeen
It’s hard to imagine that almost three years ago I started my career at Mid-America. This time, three years ago, I was a typical college senior enjoying my last few months of “freedom.” I still had not found a job, and to be honest, was not set on what I wanted to do. Real Estate had been in my family for a few generations and while I knew I always had an interest in it, I also knew I wanted to stray away from the residential real estate industry that my family was involved in. After talking to more and more people and learning more about the commercial real estate industry, I knew it would be a good fit for me. I have always been a social person and love meeting new people. I wasn’t afraid to work hard, but knew I didn’t want a job where I would be tied down to a desk. I was always open to new experiences and change, which was one of the reasons I left Washington D.C. and ended up in Chicago. Fast forward to June of 2014 and there I was starting at Mid-America. I had no idea what to expect but was excited, and nervous, for this next chapter of my life.
My first year at Mid-America was a little overwhelming –not only was I in a new city, which I had only visited twice before, but the job I took required my knowledge of the ins and outs of the city and its surrounding suburbs. I knew I wouldn’t have been a pro if I had grown up here, however, I would at least have had some sense of awareness and my surroundings. For me, I was starting fresh. I listened to my colleagues talk about markets throughout Chicagoland as if they had lived in each of those markets their entire lives. I listened to my partners pitch new business and answer questions I didn’t even understand. I worked on spreadsheets and map requests and tour books, yet always wondered when I would reach that next step. I attended industry outings where everyone else knew each other and could share endless amounts of information. I was constantly told that “it takes two to three years to really know what you’re doing.” In year one, two to three years sounds like a lifetime away.
Here I am – with the beginning of June marking my three-year anniversary at Mid-America. I find it hard to put into words how much I’ve learned or how exactly I’ve managed to grasp it all. While I know that sitting outside Willie and Jeff’s office, hearing them on conference calls, touring with multiple different clients and driving countless weekends on my own has helped, it feels like it all came naturally. There’s a different vernacular you begin to adapt to. I remember being on a conference call by myself one day; I had no idea what I was going to say or how I was going to say it, but words just started coming out. I hung up the phone, stunned, and wondered if that just happened. That’s when I felt a sudden switch and realized that every bit of information that I had been soaking up since my first day, even the subconscious, finally clicked. I now know facts, demographics and market knowledge for every Chicagoland suburb. I had the pleasure of traveling downstate with Willie five times in a month’s span and can tell you about those markets too. It’s easy and comfortable to pick up the phone now because there’s a good chance I know the person on the other line.
Although there were many frustrating moments, all the hard work has paid off. I know there’s so much more to learn, and with the industry constantly evolving the information will never stop flowing, I finally feel like I am close to the tipping point that everyone has been talking about. My advice to the younger employees who start their careers here is to not get frustrated and keep pushing forward. It’s a different learning curve for everyone, but you get out what you put in. If you work hard, spend your weekends learning the markets and attend as many social events as possible, talking to as many people as possible, it makes the job much easier, a lot more fun, and well worth it in the long run.
Image of Katie Killeen
Katie Killeen | Associate
Mid-America Real Estate Corporation
Tribune Tower | 435 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2009, Chicago, IL 60611
Direct: 630.954.7348 | Fax: 630.954.7304
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.midamericagrp.com