“We tore it apart and put together again.” Bruce Springsteen
When I left Cushman & Wakefield in early-2011, I couldn’t get Bruce’s Don’t Look Back out of my head. In fact, the morning my partner, Joe Sarno, and I resigned, I posted a live version on Facebook.
The quote above is from that song. After ten years together at C&W, Joe and I left our comfort zone and rebuilt our business quickly at CBRE. We didn’t look back.
Now, over six years later, I have embarked on a major career pivot and I can’t get a different song out of my head, U2’s Walk On.
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can’t leave behind
It’s time to Walk On.
Recently, I decided to join the Capital Markets Group as co-lead in New Jersey alongside Jeff Dunne. I have always worked closely with capital markets, first at Cushman & Wakefield and more recently, here at CBRE, and have been enamored with that side of the business. An opportunity became available and Jeff and I are excited to partner together to grow the New Jersey practice.
As exciting as that is, it means leaving a 19-year career in leasing; it means leaving a business I have worked hard to build, including many longtime clients; it means leaving my comfort zone again; and, most significantly, it means leaving my partners, including Joe, on a day-to-day basis. Considering that he and I have been partners for 16 years, this is clearly the hard part.
Joe and I have won business together, and we’ve lost business together. We have celebrated a wedding, the birth of my three children, and the high school and college graduations of his three children. He was there for me during my divorce, and we’ve been to our share of funerals together as well. I bought him shirts and hats when the Red Sox won in 2004 (it was painful) and tried not to tease him too much when the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl…twice.
The good news is that I am leaving my team not only on good terms, but with their collective blessing. I am confident that they can thrive without me and all take a step forward in their careers. Matt Wassel, my right (and left) hand for the last four years, gets the chance to shine in a brighter way and the younger Joseph Sarno gets to step up, ready or not, and play a more important role on a team that is clicking on all cylinders.
And so now as I embark on a new career path, with a new partner, it’s time to Walk On.
The song is from the album called All That You Can’t Leave Behind. The good news for me is that I don’t have to leave it all behind. While I am walking away from a lot, what I get to take with me are the relationships that I have built and the knowledge I have accumulated. I can also look back, with pride, at what Joe and I have built together.
However, my focus now is on what lies ahead.
I am excited about what’s next. There’s a lot to learn and there are new challenges to conquer. While it may be scary and a bit unsettling in some ways, all I have to do is remember the song:
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no…be strong.
Walk On! Walk On!