What Do You Tell People You Do?

Pokemon Master's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,458

So.... I'm kind of getting sick of explaining to friends and family that I'm not a realtor. Plus even when I do try to explain the concept of being a real estate investment analyst at a family office, it just kind of flies over everyone's head and they still assume that I'm a realtor. I've tried using real estate private equity (not true), real estate development (also not true), and a wide variety of other made up job titles.

But no matter what, as soon as the word real estate gets mentioned, I start getting questions from friends/family about if they should take out a home equity loan, if I can help them pick out a house, etc. I've even been accused of pretending to be a realtor without a license....

Should I just give up and tell people I work in finance?

Comments (124)

Nov 15, 2016

Haha same thing happens to me, I can relate to this so much.

I either say I'm an investment analyst, work in finance, or specifically say I work for a RE Investment firm.

Nov 15, 2016

Just tell them you're an analyst for a commercial real estate firm or analyst in commercial real estate.

I used to just say real estate, and yeah, people assume certain things. Now I say commercial real estate broker. 9 times out of 10 they say oh and move on (thank goodness).

Also, what people do for a living shapes their thoughts about everything. The average person thinks of bread and potatoes when they see a Safeway anchored shopping center. We see leases, P+L's, management, etc. Most have never even had the thought that a person or firm actually owns that 50 unit apartment building around the corner from them.

    • 1
Nov 15, 2016

Haha yeah same problems. Just be sure to say "commercial" and they will respond with "commercial ohohhh commercial" like they had to really think about it and it takes them 5-10 seconds to realize it's not houses. Usually the line of questioning will stop there. Unless if they also work in CRE and then you'll have to run through all of their deals, recent trades in town and projects under construction (all stuff you've heard 50 times). Eventually you'll find this even more annoying unless they are drunk and accidentally feeding you detailed info that they probably shouldn't be.

Funniest
Nov 15, 2016

Spoke with my Mom tonight and asked her what I do... she said that I "analyze financial real estate."

    • 11
Nov 15, 2016

I'm literally laughing out loud

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Nov 23, 2016

financial real estate is the best kind of real estate

Nov 16, 2016

Realistically, you can tell them anything about you regarding Finance, if you are successful and making a decent living in the field you love or want to work in, you don't have to explain anything to anyone if you don't desire. I would rather work for myself than think about the what to tell people what I do for a living. Honestly, it's none of their business if it gets your bills personal bills paid and you are taking care of your financial living. Do it for yourself and don't do it for anyone else, if they judge for the truth, who cares about their misconceptions?

    • 1
Nov 16, 2016

It's not that I'm really concerned about them judging... it's just kind of annoying that 90% of my relatives think I'm a realtor. Like even my own parents don't have the slightest idea what I do.

    • 4
Nov 16, 2016

just say youre an importer/exporter...or architect...or in latex

    • 14
Best Response
Nov 16, 2016

If you're a developer, point at a skyscraper and say, "I build these."

If you're an investor, point at a skyscraper and say, "I own these."

If you're a broker, point at a skyscraper and say, "I sell these."

Don't underestimate the power of sheer douchebaggery.

    • 32
Nov 16, 2016

This is the right way to do it. You come across more interesting and people actually understand you.

Say you work in real estate private equity and their eyes will glaze over.

Nov 16, 2016

it's funny, but it's just easier. I do retail brokerage(mostly) and own some multifamily stuff on my own, and it's really easy to just say when asked: I'm a commercial real estate broker, I work in malls and shopping centers to place retailers. And if pushed explain that there are many areas of real estate, and no, I can't sell your house. Nor do I want to. I'm too busy making real money.

At the end of the day, most people really don't give a shit and are just trying to figure out how much money you make and fit you into a box. Lawyers in one box, doctors in another, "business people" in another, etc. Fuck you, you don't need to know what I'm worth financially, and my worth as a person is not measured by my bank account. Get a life turd. And people call me an asshole =)

Nov 16, 2016
thexaspect:

At the end of the day, most people really don't give a shit and are just trying to figure out how much money you make and fit you into a box.

This to a tee. I was going to bring up this point as well.

Nov 22, 2016

This might be my favorite comment of all time on this site.

Nov 16, 2016

"So you're out there banging signs in the ground?"

    • 3
Nov 16, 2016

"I SELL BIG BUILDINGS"

Nov 16, 2016

"I've even been accused of pretending to be a realtor without a license"

LOL. I think this is a problem across the finance spectrum. I started avoiding the question and either say "finance" or "as little as possible" .. with the latter, people generally laugh then move on

Nov 16, 2016

In all honesty, I just tell people I work in real estate. I do get the occasional "oh you sell houses". My response the majority of the time is to keep it very simple, partially because I know majority of the people that ask the question don't really care. For the ones that are truly interested, I will go into more detail. If i find out they work in finance or real estate, I expand on what I do and tailor it to their background to find some even ground.

For people completely outside of real estate but are genuinely interested in what I do, I usually reference the buildings that I have closed on that they may know of (I commonly throw out a known retail building that is in the opening credits of entourage that I underwrote & closed, or another building that was involved in a high profile crime that people are familiar with). It's really easy to have a conversation / relate to people if you can throw out some buildings that are local and give people a tangible example of what you do (obviously harder if you are UW things outside of where you live).

    • 3
Nov 16, 2016

I just tell people I collect garbage

    • 1
Nov 16, 2016

So you're a broker?

    • 1
Nov 16, 2016

Broker. Collecting garbage. Lending. It's all the same.

    • 2
Nov 21, 2016

Stranger: "So, what do you do for a living?"

Me: "I work in corporate development. I assist my company in its M&A process and long-term strategy."

stranger has weird look on his face

Me: "I help my company buy other companies."

Stranger: "So, you're like Mitt Romney? Have you personally fired any people yet?"

I'm honestly thinking of just starting to make something up. Explaining what IB is was annoying enough when I was in IB, but corp dev just SOARS above peoples' heads.

    • 3
Nov 21, 2016

Can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to someone that working at a hedge fund isn't the wolf of wall street. If someone asks what I do I just tell them I'm a hustler. Throwing out some SB's on these comments.

Nov 21, 2016

"Murders and Executions"

Nov 21, 2016

"I help companies buy companies. I check the financials for any skeletons in the closet so my clients don't overpay."

Because most people don't know what a due diligence is and even in finance many people don't get the difference between M&A and TAS.

Nov 21, 2016

When I worked at a bank everyone close to me thought I was a teller.

Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods."

Nov 21, 2016

I gave up with this after being asked multiple times:

'What's a commodity? or What's commodities?'

I don't even know where to start

Nov 21, 2016

I just tell my family I'm an accountant. I work in real estate investment banking.

    • 2
Nov 28, 2016

I went to school for accounting and have my CPA. I haven't used it in years and never did taxes, but by god when April rolls around my grandmother asks me if Im real busy with tax season. I also get asked about random write offs from my extended family so usually I just make stuff up and talk about depreciating food over 3 years and light bulbs over 10. Hopefully they don't try to use any of it.

    • 1
Nov 29, 2016
bl00211:

depreciating food over 3 years

Depreciating frozen pizza. Brilliant.

Nov 30, 2016

This is too funny! LOL

Nov 21, 2016

I tell them that I work in commercial real estate doing acquisitions. This usually leads to multiple questions for further explanation. I feel your pain.

What I would rather say:

Real Estate Private Equity (or) Private Equity
Finance
Capital placement in alternative investments

I feel like these are broad enough to shut them up and place you into that box.

Nov 21, 2016

I normally say I do something different if its just someone asking to make conversation at a party or other random social event full of people who 1) don't understand what I do, and 2) don't really care.

Last time I was asked, I was a marine biologist studying dolphin pods off the coast of California

Nov 21, 2016

I figure out how to make rich people richer.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

Nov 22, 2016

I tell people I work in Investment Banking and for some odd reason most people think I work at Quicken Loans lol. WTF!

    • 2
Nov 23, 2016

This reminds me of a UBS IBD VP who once told me his grandmother thinks he works at a certain package delivery company with a famously brown logo.

"A modest man, with much to be modest about"

    • 3
Nov 23, 2016

Cue joke about how working for the United Parcel Service would be more prestigious

"A modest man, with much to be modest about"

Nov 22, 2016

As a developer I probably have it easier than those of you in working in finance, but I'm still amazed at how difficult it is to explain my job to people.

"We source deals/purchase land, rezone/entitle them, shop for debt/equity, build a team, construct, and then spin off/restructure/hold buildings."

"So you're a construction manager?"
"Kinda..."
"An investor?"
"Kinda..."
"A designer?"
"Kinda..."

Nov 22, 2016
DCDigger:

We source deals/purchase land, rezone/entitle them, shop for debt/equity, build a team, construct, and then spin off/restructure/hold buildings."

If this is your answer to what you do to a non real estate / finance guy... what kind of response do you expect to get?

    • 3
Nov 22, 2016

My wife still isn't exactly sure what I do. I've gotten tired of trying to explain to her family so I just let them assume and then agree with whatever they say.

I'm pretty sure one of my in-laws thinks I mow lawns.

    • 1
Nov 22, 2016

Try working in the defense industry.... Blows peoples minds when they find out I am not a fighter pilot, international arms dealer, or ultra super double top secret engineer working on the next nuclear bomb in a hidden underground lab like in Ironman.

...

    • 1
Nov 22, 2016

"Oh you're an investment banker, so what kind of companies do you invest in?" Or they tell me their cousin is also an investment banker, and when I look him up he's a financial adviser, or in valuation, etc.

One of our associate's GF's parents are from China, and don't speak English very well. They think he works at THE bank, as a teller. He hasn't bothered to correct them.

All in all, it's kinda fun to have nobody know what you do for a living. Although my friends and family don't really understand it, a number of them seem to enjoy talking about it, which is amusing. Even, my very liberal Jewish mother who lived on a Kibbutz and hates corporate tax efficiencies enjoys telling people at our congregation that her son is an investment banker, despite having no clue what that is.

Nov 22, 2016

My favorite is when someone tells me they're in "investment banking" and then they have some shitty bank role.

Nov 22, 2016

Hah. Haven't seen that yet. Do you call them on it or let it slide?

If you call them on it, I'm hoping for something akin to Toddykins' grilling in The Boutique from LSO.

Nov 22, 2016

Years ago I was married to a financial planner. She has an econ degree from UCLA and owned her own firm. I was talking to a customer service rep at some credit card company...this rep said "oh, I'm a financial planner too" LOL.

In the same conversation I was asked what I do. At the time, I didn't really know what to say, so I said I finance apartments. The rep laughed at me in a condescending way. She thought I financed people first and last months rent to lease an apartment (or something like that). Then I explained to her that people actually own those apartment buildings and somebody usually finances them.

Financial concepts, careers, etc. to most people are non existent.

    • 2
Nov 22, 2016

i gave up trying to explain, i just say i do imports/exports between colombia & bolivia

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    • 1
Nov 22, 2016

These days I just say I bar tend at a TGI Friday's on the upper east side

(yes this is the plot from Cocktail)

Nov 22, 2016

how many pieces of flair do you wear usually

    • 2
Nov 23, 2016

Kind of in relation to this, how many of you have had a recruiter propose a job that wasn't as described? I had a recruiter call about an IB position but it was more of an analyst for receivables (think factoring). He brought me in for an interview with one of their employees and told me to forget everything that was listed on the job description....so basically he lied about everything to get someone in. Fucktard.

Nov 23, 2016

I'm a stupid college kid with a 3.9 GPA who wants to pursue his dream of looking at screens, typing stuff, and making phone calls all day. It's 100% true.

"A modest man, with much to be modest about"

Nov 23, 2016

I just tell people I buy businesses and try to sell them for more than I paid for them.

Nov 23, 2016

"I buy buildings" - I work in multifamily acquisitions. If they are familiar with the industry they will ask for more info, otherwise they are happy with that answer.

Nov 23, 2016

"I own a bunch of sweatshops in the Phillippines...you should see those kids make those hats..."

Nov 23, 2016

I say I work at Goldman Sachs, pause, and then whisper ever heard of it.

Just kidding I usually say I work as a host at Guy Fieri's restaurant in Times Square as I walk away and move on with my life.

Nov 23, 2016

I just say accounting
my reasoning is pretty straightforward
1) if you say IB, they either resent you or want to be around you because of money
2) I don't want anything to do with either of those types of people
3) I have never seen anything good come from saying you work in IB or S&T unless you're at a networking event or somewhere you have a high probability of meeting others in the industry

Just say finance or accounting.

Nov 24, 2016

When I was an SA for a bank, my mom thought I was a teller and couldn't understand why I would be at work past midnight.

Nov 27, 2016

I'm in consulting. I don't even know what I do

    • 9
Nov 28, 2016

If I could give you two SB's, I would.

Nov 29, 2016

Well you know what they say, a consultant is like a virgin who knows 1000 sex positions.

    • 1
Nov 28, 2016

I typically saying real estate investing to normal people, which then leads to people thinking I flip houses so I just end it there.

If I am at a club in NYC and the people are in finance, I usually say GS TMT IB.

Nov 30, 2016

It works for me when I say my company invests in $20M - $100M commercial properties, everything that is not a single-family house.

Nov 30, 2016

I tell them I pimp companies for a living. Which is really what we do.

    • 1
Nov 30, 2016

Basically, you take money and move it from one place to another and take a cut. Add in something about helping companies merge and you're good to go.

Or...just tell them that YOU LOVE EXIT OPPS! HYEEAAAHHH!

Nov 30, 2016

just say you work in finance and leave it at that; unless of course your trying to brag about what you do, to which i have no response because thats really lame

Nov 30, 2016

Just say:
" I got money in the bank, shawty what you drank ?"

Nov 30, 2016

When I tell ppl what I do they usually automatically think I'm some sort of trader...so I say, "You know how traders work with stocks, that are shares of a company? Well part of my work involves helping the company sell those shares in the first place, or buy another company that is selling shares, and etc."

Nov 30, 2016

Picking up golden crumbs...

Nov 30, 2016

back up dancer

Nov 30, 2016

overworked monkey

Nov 30, 2016

This is not hard. Even "mika's" explanation can be too confusing for your typical bar slut. I don't undersatnd why nobody has suggested either of these:

  • "We take companies public"
  • "I work in mergers and acquisitions."

Obviously neither of those is a perfect description, but you have to remember that nobody cares THAT much what your job actually involves and that most people are retards with no attention span.

Nov 30, 2016

"I'm into... Well murders and executions mostly"

Nov 30, 2016

Haha. Well put zala.

Nov 30, 2016

Playing with large amounts of cheddar and eventually using it to butter your bread

Nov 30, 2016

I get the Lizard People to give money to the Bavarian Illuminati. I get to keep 2.25% of the money for myself.

Nov 30, 2016

I offer financial advice to clients whether it be through, M&A helping them merge with/acquire another company, helping them go public or even helping them leverage and raise their debt in order to fund various transactions.

I'm from a similar background to you (non-target to IBD with a household full of sisters who literally have no clue about finance let alone IBD) so this is how I explain it in layman's terms to my family and friends.

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Nov 30, 2016

I am like a real estate broker or lender, but for companies instead of houses.

Nov 30, 2016

I don't like to tell people I work in finance so I just say that I do mathematical modeling

Nov 30, 2016

How comes?

Nov 30, 2016

did you hear about AT&T buying T-Mobile? we help organize deals like that

Nov 30, 2016

shit is easy, you simply say '' make bank and fuck models''

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Nov 30, 2016

You work with clients to help them value their assets and/or the assets of companies they want to buy. You also help them raise capital for expansions or possible acquisitions. Anything more and you are talking to a college student who wants a job.

You know what an engineer does--neither do I. I just know that they build shit or draw crap on paper using a lot of math and geometry. If an engineer started telling me what they did in detail I might understand 25% of it---the same goes with finance and any other profession that requires 4+ years of college.

Nov 30, 2016

If I were a banker I would just say, you know what a realtor does right? They sell a house and get a commission. An ibanker does the same thing; someone wants to sell all or part of a company, and we help them find a buyer and get a commission in return. So we're realtors, but we deal with companies instead of houses.

Honestly though guys, the absolute best thing to be able to tell someone is "I have my own business", regardless of whether it's Paulson & Co., or Plumbing, Inc.

Nov 30, 2016
alexpasch:

If I were a banker I would just say, you know what a realtor does right? They sell a house and get a commission. An ibanker does the same thing; someone wants to sell all or part of a company, and we help them find a buyer and get a commission in return. So we're realtors, but we deal with companies instead of houses

That's the explanation I use almost to the word. Everyone knows what a realtor does, and most people can grasp that for a company fairly easily. Then you can move on and actually talk about something interesting.

Nov 30, 2016

its so complex, its cool...............

Nov 30, 2016

I work in energy so lately I just say. "I keep your homes heated and the lights on...".

Why would you ever try to explain to date what you do, just a sure way to make it go nowhere.

Nov 30, 2016

On most first dates, they usually throw out that question or what's your future plans? I just tell them I am the guy they see in movies where they see my butt in naked scenes, just to get a laugh. Then the date usually ask what I really do, so I tell them what I plan on doing at my SA and they get that deer in headlight look, so I switch topics to change the mood.

Nov 30, 2016
starwin:

On most first dates, they usually throw out that question or what's your future plans? I just tell them I am the guy they see in movies where they see my butt in naked scenes, just to get a laugh. Then the date usually ask what I really do, so I tell them what I plan on doing at my SA and they get that deer in headlight look, so I switch topics to change the mood.

Lol that's a canned line from one of the gaming gurus. Do you also tell them you're a disposable lighter repairman? What were the other jokes regarding profession?

Lol I bet the really hot chicks must be getting tired of hearing the same fucking jokes over and over. Thank god I don't use any of that shit anymore lol.

Nov 30, 2016

Just date people in the industry and you will be all set - I hear those banking analysts are HOT, particularly once they put on 10-15lbs during the first year!

Nov 30, 2016

A few people in my extended family still encourage me to "network" with a retail bank teller from their hometown that moved to an outlet in NYC. They might be fucking with me at this point. Then again, when I ask them about the financial crisis, their responses indicate that they actually believe Goldman Sachs was literally embezzling money to fund their salaries and gamble with.

I have tried the realtor explanation, news clippings, etc. and I still don't think they get it. For some reason, the idea of a bank beyond a deposit taking local branch just does not compute. I think if they ever actually understood that the fractional reserve system means their deposits are not in a vault beneath the bank, they might start putting their money in a mattress.

Nov 30, 2016

Hmm, girls in NYC know that bankers are the guys with no time, lots of disposable income, nice car, and a share in the Hamptons - isn't that enough?

Nov 30, 2016

Trading at a bank = Running a casino

Non-guaranteed returns, edge, barriers to entry.... rinse and repeat -> PROFIT

Nov 30, 2016

I'm upfront and honest.

If they're liberal, I tell them I feed most of Africa by giving them food (until it runs out, at least...but I don't mention that part).

If they're republican/conservative/libertarian, I tell them I single handedly develop successful economies out of struggling African nations.

Sure, that's more detail than required, but it's important for people to know what investment bankers do. There's already enough misconception about Wall Street.

Nov 30, 2016
swagon:

I'm upfront and honest.

If they're liberal, I tell them I feed most of Africa by giving them food (until it runs out, at least...but I don't mention that part).

If they're republican/conservative/libertarian, I tell them I single handedly develop successful economies out of struggling African nations.

Sure, that's more detail than required, but it's important for people to know what investment bankers do. There's already enough misconception about Wall Street.

Dont forget that you also help the locals set up small business that let them make jewlery out of spent shell casings.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Nov 30, 2016

When I was an SA way back in the day, I would just tell people that I was an excel slave.

Nov 30, 2016
boutiquebank4Iife:

When I was an SA way back in the day, I would just tell people that I was an excel slave.

wtf? who are you?

Nov 30, 2016

I say "we act as a broker" when one company wants to buy another. Simple if you work in M&A

Nov 30, 2016

I just tell them I am a money changer.

ambition is a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the present.

Nov 30, 2016

I just say 'its fucking boring and has to do with stocks'

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Nov 30, 2016
happypantsmcgee:

I just say 'its fucking boring and has to do with stocks'

What HPM doesnt tell them is his real job is to train monkeys to grope hot blonde girls.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Nov 30, 2016

keep it simple.

just say... you are going into finance

or if more details are needed, just say (for banking)... you will advise people on the selling and/or buying of companies and will help different companies raise money

Nov 30, 2016

subprime car loan seller

Nov 30, 2016

Life insurance salesman

Nov 30, 2016

Tell her you're in murders and executions

Nov 30, 2016

Say you work at the Goldman Sachs.

Nov 30, 2016

Do you really struggle with this?

It is pretty simple, give them a simple answer (a summary, i.e. work at X hedge fund, doing Y). Then if someone is interested they will ask more, if not, then you move on and talk about other (more interesting) things.

Not trying to sound harsh, but this really isn't that difficult.

Nov 30, 2016
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