There have been many moments in my four years of post-grad working that I have felt like I was not fairly treated. As a property manager, you deal with a lot of people. And a lot of these people want to challenge authority…especially from a young female. I’ve dealt with tenants who felt that because of their sex and age that I should be cutting them a break or that the rules don’t apply. Or, that for some odd reason, they are the exception to every rule listed in their Lease Agreement (which is a legal document, mind you). I’ve been talked down to and treated unequally. I have also experienced unfair pay. At one point in my previous job, I was given a male assistant manager whose starting pay was significantly higher than what I received when I started only one year earlier. Then my new male supervisor was making double my salary even though he contributed less than five hours a week at our building.
In my current job, I was initially hired as the assistant property manager. But, instead of being treated as an assistant manager, I was treated like the assistant to the General Manager by the GM himself. Here I experienced another case where I was doing the majority of the work and often found myself putting in extra hours (early morning and long nights). Meanwhile, the GM would skip days, stroll in late, and leave early for “business meetings”.
Now, I know a lot of this may sound like I am trying to point the finger at someone or complain. And honestly, yes, part of it is. But what I’ve learned is that I should not be blaming the individuals mentioned in my stories, but rather the culture that has normalized this. It is something that should be talked about instead of swept under the rug or suppressed.
I am proud to say that in the last year I was promoted and have managed a 270 unit apartment building and staff of 6 on my own. I am fortunate enough to work for a female-owned company where almost half of the company is female. The world of real estate is a male-dominated field, but I see before my eyes steps towards change and women taking charge.
I have worked hard and will continue to do so. That means taking on extra tasks, putting in lots of extra hours, and learning as much as I can. It may not all seem fair now, but my hope is that each day and each story gets us closer to being on a level playing field.