Musings On My Professional Life

Am I Selling My Soul?

So, I am 28, on my second career and I think I am having a premature mid-life crisis. I enjoy my current position and am learning a lot, but I just can’t see myself doing this in 20 years. It pays well, and I have all of the trappings a corporate life, house in the burbs, foreign car, no free-time. It is soulless. Yes we help developers put together developments in impoverished areas and rehab historic structures and even provide low-income housing. But many of these developers are only in it to line there own pockets and these are the “hot” deals. Even worse is the fact that the lenders and syndicators involved are doing it at least 50% (more likely 95% but I can’t bring myself to think that ill of the industry) for the tax credits associated with the developments. I am, in a sense, helping the elite stay elite. Ever wonder why we always have such a need for low-income housing? Could the fact that those creating the housing get a tax break for doing so thus reduce the capacity of the system ease taxes for the working poor? Just a thought.

Life is Good

It is no secret that I have made some unordinary choices in my life. I didn’t finish undergrad, on principle. I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 25 and only did then because I figured that sometime between 25 and 30 it might come in handy. Those a re the big ones…But somehow I managed to progress through the business world at a steady clip. I have been with the same company since 1999. I was hired in Washington, DC as a receptionist, then I was assistant to a federal bankruptcy trustee, then moved to the Charlotte office as an office assistant, quickly followed by audit administrator, brief stint at business development manager, back to audit administrator with 30% of my time spent on marketing, and now after paying my dues on the admin track learning the industry, I have switched to the professional track, assistant lackey level (I kid) in the real estate transaction services group. Not bad for not having finished school.

So now I am learning all about tax credit financial modeling from some of the top people in the country. LIHTC, NMTC, HTC, I am learning it all, and most of it is making sense. While it isn’t the social conscious job I had envisioned in my youth, it does improve the world we live in in it’s small way. We help make low-income housing deals come to fruition, historic rehabs more desirable than razing, commercial development in underserved low-income areas advantageous. Yes developers are getting rich and big business is getting tax breaks on these deals. Personally, I don’t believe they would bother otherwise, but at least they have to contribute to the common good first.