My Rebound: Creating my own career path

Posted at 10:18 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 22:18:44-04

Editor's note: Ace emigrated from Manila, Philippines in 1993 and has made Grand Rapids his home since 1998. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage. So he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival. It is now a community-wide initiative that extends beyond a single event to year-round activities that honor Asian traditions. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. Ace, his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.

It felt good passing the state exam to be a real estate agent. I hugged Redd extra times today, and we drove around the neighborhood looking at houses. There are some great homes around us. But now I have a whole new problem: How do I choose which agency to work for?

In most of all I do in life, nothing about who I am is separate. My wife takes on the work that I take on. My work is also often woven into my community involvement. And how can a dad be a dad and not be a dad when at work?

Maybe the fear of missing out is why I am taking my sweet time, or maybe I am having cold feet figuring out how to jump in and succeed. But I want to decide the next step quickly to help take the pressure off of my wife Jackie, as she is the primary earner right now. Plus, did I mention my passion for supporting the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Foundation?

With my fresh new license, I was ready to start scheduling interviews. Since the first year as a real estate agent will set the tone for my career, I have been picky as I meet with brokers. I want an opportunity for meaningful work that will allow me to have control of my time and combine my love of West Michigan and my Grand Rapids community. On top of it all, I want to find a company that will give me the coaching I need. And still make a living.

SEE MORE: My Rebound: Hatching careers

Many of my interviews are an entry-level barrage of information. It’s difficult to find the right company, but I may have set ridiculous standards. Everyone seems to have a different set of topics to share and plenty of numbers. I don’t seem to get much of a feel for what my day-to-day contact will be like or the personality of the company management. Or I get too much of an idea of the personality of the company management.

Somehow no one has convinced me yet. One interview stumbled along awkwardly and included repeat assurances that the company is invested in their agents. It didn’t really inspire my confidence. I was rushed through another interview that seemed focused on signing me up for their compensation package. Why did I feel like I was being pressured to make a purchase, wasn’t this a job interview?

The other day, I sat down with a manager and a trainer as they worked themselves into a frenzy explaining how valuable my work could be to them. All I heard was how much money they wanted to invest in me. Then our conversation turned to the Asian Street Food Event and all the other cultural events I do. I got a nonchalant, “Of course, we need to celebrate diversity.”


As these non-conversations lead me closer to finding a partner company that thinks more like me, I will keep scheduling them. I have a unique background and library of experience that I want to bring to my clients. No one can fully predict my success, so I look forward to creating my own path.