265: BEST OF – My Story Part 1

Real Estate Survival Guide
Real Estate Survival Guide
265: BEST OF - My Story Part 1


Today’s episode begins a series that is a retelling of my story before I share what’s new for 2023. The series consists of the eight seasons I went through as I transitioned from my old W2 life into real estate—from not having a deal for the first nine or ten months to now having a very successful real estate business, podcast, membership, and more coming this year.

Today’s episode will specifically be about losing my last W-2 job, February 19, 2023, the worst day of my life that turned out to be one of the greatest. I had quite a few W-2 jobs that never worked out for one reason or another—sometimes I lost my job through my own fault, sometimes I just moved on to something else. I always felt a little nervous at my W-2 jobs like when you go through a bad breakup, and you constantly feel jaded and always feel like you’re in trouble. There are horror stories I have tried to block out of mind, one of which was during my time at Chick-Fil-A, where I was on track to be a Chick-Fil-A operator and be part of the leadership development program with corporate Chick-fil-A. I remember the conversation I had with the operator of the store, who was about to send me to learn and train at another store out of state with another operator. I asked about my performance and was assured I was doing great—and then was fired the next day. No complaints, never written up, no warning. After that, I had some success in Pittsburgh for a while, but after meeting Valerie, I wanted to move to work near her. This led to my last Chick-Fil-A job in Redding, which ended when I had a clash with the general manager, who was the operator’s brother-in-law. I have nothing against Chick-Fil-A—I have lots of friends that work for Chick-fil-A and did really well there. I still love Chick-fil-A as a company, what they stand for, and still support them. I just realized it wasn’t for me after losing that last job.

It was at this point that I went into banking. I had some success with it and got a promotion four months into my first job as one of the top employees. I enjoyed banking, and after about a year and a half, I applied for their management training program where there were a thousand candidates for eight available spots. I got the position and was very thankful. I knew I was good at sales and relationships, and through the training I decided I wanted to be a relationship manager or a mortgage loan officer—someone who meets clients and builds relationships that expand on the banking relationship. If this sounds familiar, it’s exactly what I do as a Relator. I was never written up or reprimanded during the three years I spent in banking. I continued to say that I wanted to do something with sales outside of a branch—a mortgage loan officer, relationship manager, etc. During the program, you spend your time meeting with all the different higher-ups, learning and training through 12–14 rotations over 15 months—you really have to adapt because you’re changing jobs every few weeks. Toward the end of the program, I remember them telling me they were sending me back to be an assistant branch manager or branch manager after the training.

This was the moment that turned me against W-2 jobs for life. What was the use point of a program that was going to send me right back to where I had been? Yes, I developed skills, I learned so much, and met so many amazing people, many of whom are still friends of mine. It just boils down to the fact that they teach you skills but put you where they need people. I told them I wasn’t going there, that it’s not where my gifts are. I was good at sales, and I wanted to control my own schedule as we thought about starting a family. Their reply was that we’d figure it out. I went back to my rotation, but the rotation manager wasn’t communicating with me, and I told my wife I was about to get fired.

She said that was impossible because I had never been disciplined or reprimanded.

I just had this weird feeling and sure enough they brought me in one day and said that I wasn’t learning fast enough and since I didn’t take their recommendation to go back to the branch, they were going to terminate me. That was February 26, 2019, the day I thought was the worst day of my life. I went through a downward spiral for a few months until I gave Vincent Pugliese a call. I still remember the words he said: “John, this is the best thing that ever happened to you. Now go and build what you actually want to be doing. Now.”

At the time, I thought it was photography because I had been doing that on the side, but I later realized that I didn’t want to do that—sales and relationships were where I wanted to be. I learned that being a W-2 employee didn’t work for me—I was not great at having a boss. Now I look back on February 26, 2019, as one of the most amazing days of my life because it led me to this. I love what I get to build. I love doing this podcasting. I love being my own boss and the flexibility that comes with it. Sometimes that can be hard, I get to do the work I love every single day, and I am very blessed. So, that’s part one of my story. On the next episode we’ll talk about the lull and what happened after I lost my job.


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Podcast is edited by Kenny Carfagno.

Show notes and blog posts are created by Jennifer Harshman and RealtorEmails. John Schuchman is a licensed REALTOR® in Lancaster, PA, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty and a part of the Andrew Welk Group. The opinions shared on this show represent the opinions & values of John Schuchman and do not necessarily represent the opinions & values of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty. The opinions & ideas shared in this podcast do not guarantee or promise any results of success to the listener.

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