Advice for Young Brokers from Billy Joel

Two weeks ago, I was walking through the CBRE Saddle Brook office when my colleague, Kevin Dudley, asked me what the topic would be for my next blog post. I didn’t have anything in mind, so I asked him what he wanted to read about.

His response was that, as a young broker (he’s 28) he wanted some advice on how to handle the holidays. Do we take time off? Do we get to spend undistracted time with our families? Do we always put our clients first?

Later that night, I was in Madison Square Garden seeing Billy Joel perform. One of the crowd favorites was the song Vienna. Some of the lyrics are excerpted below:

Slow down you crazy child

You're so ambitious for a juvenile…

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?

You better cool it off before you burn it out

You got so much to do and only

So many hours in a day…

Slow down you're doing fine

You can't be everything you want to be before your time…

You got your passion, you got your pride

But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?...

Slow down you crazy child

Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while

It's alright, you can afford to lose a day or two…

And it struck me. I didn’t have to write a blog post about the holidays. Billy Joel wrote it for me!

I sat down to write this post last week, before Thanksgiving. And then I took Billy’s advice and tabled it until after I had enjoyed the holidays with my family.

The balance between work and life is a delicate one and one with which I continue to struggle. Time management is tricky when you are compensated solely based on commission. We have a lot of freedom in our jobs, and because it lacks structure, some don’t work hard enough and fail, while others can become workaholics.

There was a point in my career where I leaned towards the latter. While I still work hard, which my team and clients can attest to from the emails they receive from me at odd hours, my time with my kids comes first.

My advice is to find the balance that works for you, don’t be satisfied or complacent, and remember that you can afford to lose a day or two here and there.  

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!