What would you tell your early property restoration professional self if you could travel back in time? 

  • Are you in a place where you can pause everything for a moment? 
  • Close your eyes and take yourself back to your first interview for a position in property restoration, what do you feel? 
  • If you didn’t grow up in a restoration family, do you remember what it felt like to begin to understand and master the technical and practical skills of our industry? 

I can remember when I first applied, I was desperate to get into anything and was so fortunate to land with a good team and an outstanding mentor, which unlocked a whole new world for me (que the music from Aladdin). I can remember being introduced to “mold remediation” and “water damage mitigation” and thinking, “I don’t know what those are but please give me this job.” I learned that hard work can pay off and by putting a little extra effort in towards making your supervisor's job easier, you could advance. 

If you are having trouble reminiscing or you’d like to hear more of my story, give a listen to No Risk, No Reward. For many contractors in our industry, you hear and see how committed they are to taking care of their clients and the pride they have in their amazing teams. This is part of what makes our discussions on The DYOJO Podcast so fun, hearing the ways people got into the game and the cool ways they’ve learned to master their craft. 

What would your early property restoration professional self think of you and your current perspective? 

  • Have been able to grow your business without compromising your values? 
  • Are you energized or are you feeling burned out? 
  • Are you struggling to connect with the new generations? 

If you have been in the industry for a while, it can be difficult not to find yourself in a place where you are frustrated or even cynical with aspects of our great industry. While I don’t want to rumble down the rainbow filled water cooler banter, reminiscing of, “The good old days, when…” Some of those conversations reveal what brought many of us into this industry, the ability to connect with professionals in the claims paradigm (client, carrier and contractor) and work through the process of restoring a client to their pre-loss conditions. Many of those conversations, on the other hand, reveal some of the questionable practices, that contractors like to gloss over, which have played a role in bringing us to this point. 

How do you combat burnout and keep fighting the good fight? 

Burnout is a reality, as R&R Magazine has done a great job of addressing. I know after working for several years in two organizations who placed a priority on the high volume program work, I felt battered and bruised. One of my greatest partners in TPA-Time, David Smith, shares how we approached the roller coaster of claims in our discussion on leadership approaches. I have discovered that rather than chumming with the good ol’ boys club and those who want to complain about the past, it has been incredibly refreshing to come alongside those who are starting their journey into the wild world of property insurance claims. 

When the Pro’s come around the Joe’s, everyone wins.

Unashamedly, this is a mild plug for the Pro vs. Joe Podcast, which is an audio/visual experience within the umbrella of The DYOJO Podcast. I don’t feel bad about this because it's true: connecting with young professionals who are entering the industry may be the best thing to happen to semi-old guys like me. While Bryan and Brandon are looking at working with adjusters with open hearts (many of you will chime in - soon to be broken), the optimism can be infectious. Whenever I consult with them, I try to temper my pessimism as I think it is important that everyone decides for themselves, but I also have found that those cesspools of negativity are receiving fresh input which is pushing the stagnant water out of my soul. 

What would happen if your early property restoration self wasn’t given a chance(s)

It’s sad in any pursuit, when those who have all of the knowledge and experience hoard it and don’t reach out to the newcomers, whether it’s sports, hobbies or business. I know the retort would be that many of these young people don’t know how to act and don’t respect history, while I can share in those stories I would also say there are many who are eager to learn if you give them a chance and look past your differences (both sides). Give Pro vs. Joe a few minutes of your time, I think those of you who have been in the industry for a while will be encouraged at the quality of the young professionals represented and their willingness to receive good counsel. 

The ongoing process of collaborating for a better future 

Additionally, if you are having trouble reaching the current workforce (dare we say Millennials or Gen Z) you might learn a thing or two. You may also find that this is a good resource to help inspire and set the pathway for professional development for your younger team members. If we are going to make positive long term changes, we need the whole industry working together. As Ed Cross, The Restoration Lawyer, shared on The DYOJO Podcast Episode 3, our combined efforts in creating sustainable solutions for all stakeholders must be pursued, “Aggressively, diplomatically and ethically.” Remember, you do awesome work in this industry and you have some amazing people on your team, share the wealth you have inside you so that property restoration continues to represent what brought you into this mess. 

Additional resources from The DYOJO:

  • Helping your team members understand the history of our industry 
  • Helping managers understand young people in the workforce 
  • Bridging the gap between old and new
  • New book coming soon from Jon Isaacson, Be Intentional: Estimating