There's a song that is currently playing on country radio called "Welcome to the Future" by Brad Paisley. The basic premise of the song is just how far the world has come in the last 25-30 years. The clever songwriting mentions various things that, these days, we probably take for granted. If someone had mentioned them back in the 70s or 80s, we would have thought they were crazy.
Brad talks about having to get a ride to the local arcade to play his favourite video game as a kid, to now having that very same game on his cell phone. He talks about a long car trip to Florida when he would have given anything to be able to watch TV. He talks about his grandfather in WWII mailing hundreds of letters home to his grandmother, to now being able to live video chat with soldiers overseas. He mentions going from "burning crosses" to having an African American President. How very far we have come, indeed!
I had one of these moments in the past week. I was finishing up a deal with another agent and I faxed him the final paperwork to complete the transaction. He called me and told me that the fax machine at his office was down and could I please deliver the paperwork to his office directly. GASP!!!! Deliver paperwork myself?? But that would take time and effort! I don't think so....
I ended up scanning and emailing the document to him (whew!) and all was good, but this sparked a discussion with my husband on just how much easier our lives are now, compared to 25 or 30 years ago.
I got my first job when I was 12 years old. I was working in the real estate office where my mother worked, stuffing envelopes for our monthly mailouts, which eventually graduated into the night receptionist job a few months later. It was 1987 and the real estate industry was a very different animal back then. One of my most time consuming jobs was taking the large boxes of "dailies" that came in and filing them into binders in order of price. We didn't have a computerized MLS system, we had boxes of printed listings (dailies) that arrived at our office every morning (except Sunday - some things were still sacred then) and the receptionist had to separate them by district, by home type (condo, detached, semi) and file them in order of price. If an agent was working with a buyer, they had to come into the office (!!!), grab these books, and flip through them to find some suitable homes to show them. The really "with it" agents ordered their own sets of dailies and carried these binders around with them.
Can you IMAGINE how long that took?????? Not to mention how many trees had to die to print out all of those dailies! If I am working with a buyer these days, with about 3 clicks of my mouse, I can generate a list of every possible home in his desired area and price range and email it to the buyer, without having to print a single page.
Back then, we didn't have a fax machine. Paperwork DID have to be delivered by the agent themselves. There were no pagers. We receptionists wrote down messages and waited for the agent to call into the office to get them. (But that could take HOURS you say? Yes! Especially since the agents didn't have cell phones then!!) Had to send a document? You either had to rely on good old Canada Post (they don't call it snail mail for nothing) or spend the big bucks and send a courier, both of which take a whole lot longer than the 5 seconds it takes to send an email.
I could go on and on, all to arrive at the same conclusion. The world as we know it is changing at a lightening fast pace. We have to change with it or be doomed to be left behind in the dust. This is not only true in our business world, but also in our personal lives as well. I'm sure everyone out there has at least one relative that doesn't have email. While the rest of the family is catching up on Facebook - seeing pictures of each others kids, family vacations and new puppies - that one little old auntie without email is relegated to receiving your Christmas card at the end of the year with one family photo in it.
Every year, one of the areas of my business that I focus on is technology. What is the "latest and greatest" and how can I use it to make my job easier and to make myself appear more "connected" to potential customers? Because of the rapidly changing nature of technology, this is an area that you can never be fully on-top-of. Just when you have bought into something, something even better is already making its way to the marketplace. I am fortunate to work for a company that always seems to be the Leader when it comes to technology, as opposed to the Follower. This helps me be as "on-top-of-it" as possible when it comes to being able to provide the absolute best service possible to my clients with all of the latest and greatest in technology.
Just think, without all of the wonders of technology, you wouldn't have been able to take a couple of minutes out of your busy day to read my thoughts. Yes, maybe the world was a simpler place 30 years ago, but imagine just how crazy your day would be if you had to sit down and hand write a letter to a relative, call all of your child's friends and invite them to a birthday party, go to the library to research statistics for that business presentation or help your child type out their book report on the good old fashioned typewriter! Life as we know it today may not be "simple", but we've definitely got it easier than the previous generations.
Hopefully, all this wonderful technology leaves us with more time at the end of the day to enjoy those "simple" things - relaxing and spending time with family and good friends. Because really, that IS the future.