Family Matters: So Happy Together

May 1, 2005

JoAnne Poole, CRS®, e-PRO®, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Glen Burnie, Md., learned years ago the importance of treating family time with the same accountability as business appointments.

Early on, she says, an office manager helped her put her balancing act in perspective: Since you wouldn’t cancel a meeting with a client, you shouldn’t reschedule time with family either. Poole notes, however, that sometimes a bit of compromise is needed to keep family commitments—like the time she asked her husband John to detour to a last-minute client meeting before going to dinner. “You learn how to make your personal life work with your business life,” she says.

“You can’t give everything you have to real estate,” she continues. “I have to give back to my support network, which is my family.” In addition to her husband, she has two grown sons, John Jr., 31, and Mykle, 26.

Making time for her family is made easier because of the freedom and flexibility her career affords her, she says. “John and I never have worked the same shift. John [a retired driver and salesperson for Entemann’s] would go into work early in the morning and be home in the evenings. I could arrange my schedule around [the children’s] school hours and days off,” she says.

The fact that Poole has preserved her personal time is still impressive, though, given the many opportunities for intrusion her busy schedule affords. In addition to managing her real estate business, which totaled about $5 million in sales and 38 transactions in 2004, Poole is the current president of the Maryland Association of REALTORS® Inc.; past president of her local association, the Anne Arundel County Association of REALTORS®; past president of the Maryland Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®; and past regional vice president of WCR.

“Much of what I’ve been able to do on a volunteer basis doesn’t take away from my family,” says Poole, noting most meetings and events occur during the day. “If a commitment does involve evening hours, I always ask John if he wants to go, so we can spend time together.”

Through her work as a mentor in her office and in the Maryland state association’s rookie program, Poole says she encourages other practitioners, particularly younger ones, to develop similar approaches for balancing family time. When they face a conflict between work and family, she says, “I tell them it’s OK to tell customers that it’s your day off.”

NAR is promoting work-life balance through a new “Family Time” program it produced with Million Dollar Roundtable, an insurance industry group. Pricing for the DVD begins at $5.

Chuck Paustian is a former REALTOR® Magazine senior editor.

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