Like a lot of you, I have tried certain careers that just didn’t work out. As a young boy my dream was to be a cartoonist like Charles Shults or a detective like Dick Tracy. Today, all grown up, I am neither one of those. I have been a mechanic, worked in a dairy, and a truck driver. They were all OK, but I just couldn’t see myself doing any of those long-term. There may be some that disagree, but it wasn’t until I was about 45 when I realized my niche for selling could be used as a real estate agent.
Whatever career we choose, or one that chooses us, I feel it must have two things. First, we must like it, and second, it must be something we are good at. My experience has told me how much money you make doing it is secondary to those two things. Regardless of the pay, if you don’t like a job and aren’t good at it, chances are it won’t last all that long.
In almost 17 years in real estate, I have seen many agents come and go. Most of them were going through what I did, trying to find out just where they fit in. Sales is unlike most careers. No one will tell you when you should be there, take a break, lunch, a day off, or a vacation. You set all those yourself. It’s also 100 percent based on your performance. You can work very hard and long hours and if nothing happens because of it, your check will hover right around $0.00. At other times you may do nothing, and business falls on you like manna from the sky.
About a year and a half ago, Jenny Hilterbran told me there was a new agent that was coming to our office and asked me to meet him. He was sitting in the front office at Jenny’s desk as I walked in. Now, we all know the thing about judging people and how we are not supposed to do that. But we all tend to make judgments on folks the second we meet them. Will we like them? Will they be successful here? Will they work and play well with others? You get the point, I am sure. Mostly because yes, you do that as well.
At the point of meeting the new agent I had no idea what his performance would be, but I liked him immediately. I introduced myself and he looked right at me and said, “Call me Tug, short for Tugboat.” He was that guy you met and liked right out of the box. He made you feel like you were the most important person in the room each time you saw him. For those of you with Netflix, he wore this Peaky Blinders hat every day and he made it look good.
Over the past year and a half we have talked a lot, as much as guys talk, I guess. His desk was right across from mine. Yes, real estate was always a topic we discussed. Tug was like a sponge. He wanted to soak up every bit of information he could. He would always start with, “I’ve got a question.” After that he would ask six to seven more. I used to kid and tell him I would give him five tokens in the morning and each time he asked something he would give me a token back. When the tokens were gone, so were the questions.
Other topics for discussion were guns, current events, and a little politics. But mostly what he loved to talk about was his family. I felt like I knew them all by listening to him. One thing I never heard him say was anything bad about anyone else. Never. Nor did I ever hear anyone say anything bad about him. There just wasn’t any bad in the guy.
On Dec. 4,2021, we lost Tug to COVID-19. When I say we, I mean all that knew him. We lost an agent that was just starting to get into his full stride. All of us at Classic lost a good friend. His wife lost a good, loving husband. His children lost a great Dad. He was a son, uncle, cousin and brother to many, all that will feel the loss of losing him. He will be missed by all that knew him. I am very thankful for the short time I got to spend knowing him.
We all grieve in our own way, I guess, with none being better than the other. Many years ago when my father passed I received a card with a quote on it I will never forget. I have used it many times and it always seems to fit. It was from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
I will be smiling because I got to meet and know Tug.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.