Geoffrey Desiato

Why I walked away from a steady pay-check or “the day I went nuts”

*PLEASE READ. CONTENTS MAY CHANGE YOUR LIFE (it certainly did mine)*

So a while back I decided to make an announcement that would make the utilization of the Pretzel Bun look like the worst idea in the history of burger construction. But before I revisit that, I wanted to give you a glimpse into my life and work experiences so that you have an idea as to why I decided to forego the comfort and peace of mind of a steady, albeit average, paycheck, to start my own business. In other words, I want to take you inside the mind of a crazy person. I mean seriously, what drives someone to that level of insanity? Going from getting paid every two weeks like clockwork to bungee-jumping without a cord? (more on that in a future blog post about fear)

Well, I’ll tell you…and hopefully, you will be able to relate to me and my story when you’ve finished reading…

I have been working full-time ever since I graduated from high-school. I was a good student but I had absolutely no desire to go to college and thankfully, my parents did not make me. My mom understood that it was more important for me to be the kind of man that people would emulate than someone they would want to employ. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life at 17 years old so I figured it would be a complete waste of time and money to pick something out of a catalog and call it my “career path.”

I held a number of odd jobs, but thankfully I’ve always been able to hold my own, and even excel, in whatever industry I was a part of – all without a college degree. Go figure?

After graduating, I was given an opportunity to work on a radio program produced by my home church and before I knew it, I had been bitten by the media bug. I decided that I wanted to go to broadcasting school. So with the help of my girlfriend, now wife, I was able to apply and finance my tuition to Connecticut School of Broadcasting. With certification in hand, I soon realized that I would be facing nearly insurmountable odds when it came to breaking into the industry. Plus, I had just been offered a job working in ministry at my church full-time. Since I was dating the girl of my dreams and wanted to get married, I made the decision to take the job on a conditional basis, all the while still planning on pursuing a career in broadcasting.

Well, things didn’t work out as I had hoped. (Too long of a story for the purposes of this blog.)

Now here I was, no college degree, money and time invested in an industry that is next to impossible to break into and in desperate need of a job. I took the first entry-level position I could get that did not require a college degree at a local bank. I ended up staying in the banking industry for four years while self-funding and producing a radio program with a friend for no pay at all. It was during this time that I was lulled to sleep and ironically lost sight of my dream. I basically lost all direction for my life.

Don’t get me wrong I had made some great life decisions – I’d gotten married to my best friend and love of my life, and now had two great boys to raise, but I was also incredibly unhappy with where my other life choices had gotten me. I had made some major mistakes both privately and professionally, and I felt that those scars would never fade away. I really believed that I would be forced to live in the shadow of my past failures for the rest of my life, while I continued to eek out any living a non-college-graduate could ever hope to eek in this career-driven climate.

As I bounced from the banking industry to the pharmaceutical industry I was constantly being told that I needed to go back to school if I ever wanted to “get ahead.” Meanwhile, I would work my butt off and learn new processes and regulations quicker than anyone else only to watch as recent college graduates were hired at a higher wage and proved themselves to have absolutely no work ethic, having never had a full-time job before this. This led to me being given more and more responsibility and workload to “train” the newbies, even though I was not “qualified” to advance in the department due to my lack of academic credentials (a piece of paper that says I spent 30k and partied for 4 years). This had been something I continued to face in every job I had, and resulted in a deep-seeded bitterness that over-shadowed everything in my life that I was meant to enjoy. To wake up every morning and know before your feet even hit the floor that it doesn’t matter whether you excel, it doesn’t matter whether you demonstrate the qualities necessary to perform your job, you will never advance because what matters in the eyes of Corporate America is whether you had a piece of paper as proof that you continued your adolescence into your adult years on your parent’s, or the government’s, dime. As you can tell some of that bitterness lingers even today…

PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME!

For people who know what they want to do with their lives, and desire a career that can only be achieved by continuing their education, college is a great benefit. My wife wanted to be a teacher from the time that she was 8 years old, so she went to college and got a degree and became a teacher. I am amazed by her commitment and the hard work she did to pursue her dream and make it a reality.

But I’m not talking about that kind of path, I’m talking about an entry-level job. A job that, in order to be performed well, should require no higher level of education than a high school diploma. And that is being generous. Because of the subsidizing of the educational system in this country we have been saturated with people who hold degrees, which only serves to dilute the prestige and potency of having that degree in the first place. Which then forces people to continue to pursue education over experience. 

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life at 17 years old. And I bet my money that most people don’t at that age. But in our society we require kids to make a decision and live with the consequences. Sadly, what ends up happening is many people change their major several times as they feel their way through the dark cloud of the unknown, and waste time and money earning a degree that will most likely have nothing to do with the job they end up with.

Ok, Geoff, so what was the announcement you made? I’m getting to that…

Here I was at age 30, having a PRE-midlife-crisis. My wife had stayed home with our kids for 5+ years, which is a much harder job than teaching by the way, but now the kids were ready to start school and she got the itch to go back to her dream job of being a teacher.  At this point I had been praying and praying for some sort of direction for my life and a clear sign of what I was supposed to do as a career. Up to this point I had only moved from job to job trying to earn as much as I could without a degree. I was tired of starting over and, more importantly, I was tired of working harder than most only to be held back by the rest. Little did I know that the answer to prayer was going to be my wife deciding to go back to work full-time, which would in turn allow me to forge a new path.

The trouble was I still had no idea what I wanted to do.

Call it divine intervention

Right around this time I happened to read two books that were life-changing to say the least. They were “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung, and “Wild Goose Chase” by Mark Batterson. These books spoke to me in a profound way and I hope to someday write an article on how each book affected me and led me down this new path. I knew it was time to do something daring, to take a leap of faith.

So back to my big announcement

After much prayer and consideration, I decided to make a career change (I realize that saying that makes it sound like I had a “career” in the first place). I decided it was time for me to leave the shackles of Corporate America behind. Granted, I had no tangible trade-skills (just ask my wife), and am not (*cough*) college-educated, but there were a few skills that I have developed in my time growing up on the mean streets of NE Philadelphia, North Wales, and now Lansdale. I had also gleaned what I could from every career stop along the way.

What are those skills, you ask? Well, let’s start with the obvious:

  • Dedication – I have spent years honing the ability to sculpt impeccable facial-hair, which shows you my dedication to a job well done, as well as my commitment to ensuring proper and pleasing presentation and marketability.
  • Communication – The ability to articulate my thoughts verbally while using graceful, sweeping gestures in order to engage the listener (i.e., talking with my hands).
  • Retention – The ability to immediately recall a limitless fountain of random song lyrics, obscure movie references, and 90s sit-com quotes, and effortlessly work them into my daily conversations on a regular basis.

Seriously, though…

People who know me well know that I (1) walk to the beat of my own drum, (2) speak my mind, and (3) am very dedicated to pursuing my passions. Through the years I had dabbled in and explored music, radio, and theater and I knew that these gifts were given to me for a reason. So I decided to try to find a career that would allow me to use my unique skills and personality to drive my business, while also allowing me to fund my creative pursuits. That ultimately led me to Real Estate. I truly believe that this is merely the start of something amazing, and with the recent announcement of my NEW mission and vision (See http://geoffreydesiato.com/im-sorry/), I know that I can really make a difference in the lives of the people I meet and use my creative and performing gifts to entertain and encourage people.

 

You see, I did not leave a steady paycheck for a bigger, fatter one. Funny enough, I actually left behind a steady paycheck to reclaim my sanity (even though most people probably thought I was nuts). What was most important to me was that I gain my life back. That I wake up in the morning with a reason to smile again. Not because I didn’t have one before, but because there was this dark cloud blocking the good that was already in my life. I left my Corporate job to do something important, to make a difference. A difference I could visibly see, and tangibly experience. I believe that my faith had dwindled to a flicker but God fanned that smoldering wick back into a roaring flame.

Ladies and Gentle-hombres, forget what you thought you knew about the stereo-typical Real Estate Agent. Geoff Desiato is out to astound the world with death-defying feats of Real Estate Machismo. But more importantly, I am determined to help people create and restore homes so that they can have a life that is not scarred by their own failures, but is marked by the realization of their dreams. 

Yeah, my approach and delivery may appear crazy to some…but my answer to them? yeah…crazy like a fox.

 

Thanks for reading and Godspeed, 
Geoff