Blogging from Brookside in Kansas City: October Challenge: It's A Wonderful Life!

October Challenge: It's A Wonderful Life!

This is a great topic for an AR challenge!  I enjoy reading about the other members' lives.  So  here's a dive into mine--the more interesting parts:

The oldest of four kids, we grew up in St Louis MO in a small house with one full bathroom for six people!  It was an old neighborhood, University City, which is a lot like the Kansas City 1920s neighborhood I live in now called Brookside. Kids walked to school, to the small grocery for treats, and  as I got older--we hung out at The Loop (still there!), a string of small retail stores, "head" shops, independent movie theaters and our favorite spot: the Dairy Queen.

My DJ days!


I loved listening to the radio, KSHE FM, through the 1970s.  I went to school and became a music DJ--oh those years were so much fun!  We did listener promotions, went to concerts, I met some cool bands (U2, Elvis Costello, REM, etc) in their early days and ran around with a group of 20 somethings who LOVED music. We made mix tapes and analyzed album covers. Ahh...youth! That's a picture of me in my DJ days--to the left of the girl in plaid shirt.

After several years I decided to do something else, and got into the hospitality business. I worked for a couple of hotels, include Hyatt, and eventually organized conventions for the Kansas City convention bureau.  Those were great times as well--lots of travel, meeting new clients and I loved showing off my city to visitors.

Then..9/11 happened and the layoffs began.  Although I was the only one who came into the office that day to help the convention in town (thousands of people who had to alter travel and hotel plans, especially after airports closed) as my boss refused to come in to work for three days, I was one of the people who got cut.  That left me wondering..what to do next?  I knew one thing: I never wanted anyone to have the power to fire me again. I was done with petty office politics and suck ups. 

By chance, one day I ran into a woman I used to work with at the Hyatt. She had started in real estate a few years earlier and asked if I wanted to join her small team.  I was working part time at a tour company.  After going through the pros (set my own hours, can pick up the kids after school, be my own boss) and cons (commission only, very little money the first few years, work weekends), I decided to give it a try.

You often hear people say "getting laid off ended up being a good thing for me" and it was true in my case.  I loved my convention job but once I got rolling in the real estate career--I loved it even more.  And, the financial rewards are better, working just as many hours as I did before.

And because no one can fire me, and I don't have to deal with age discrimination or unbalanced pay, I plan to keep working. Still enjoy coming to the office every day and meeting new clients of all ages and backgrounds. As I look ahead, the big question is: what will selling real estate be like in five or ten years???




Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR

(Brookside/Armour Hills resident, local business supporter, NPR fan, Habitat ReStore volunteer, thankful for the gift of another day!)


Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/Kansas City Homes

816 510 1262


Comment balloon 5 commentsMary Hutchison, SRES, ABR • October 23 2019 07:00PM


Good afternoon Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR -  you have plenty of support from this group. I do what I like and I don't worry about my age 

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 5 months ago

Being your own boss is a great reason to be in real estate, Mary! I've never gone through layoffs of firings, but it was a big reason for me to enter this profession after almost two decades in the corporate world. 

I remember those days of an entire family sharing one bathroom... that was normal back in the 1940's and 1950's if I recall.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) 5 months ago

Hello Mary - I was already in real estate when 9/11 occurred as it was a Tuesday -  our normal office meeting day and office caravan of new listings.  There was a certain element of camaraderie that day that felt comfortable during a very uncomfortable time.  Your post brought me back to that day and I am sure many who read this will remember in their own way.  Thank you for sharing the experience and how you moved forward.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 5 months ago

Hi Mary - What a fun job as DJ that must have been for you! I also came from a large family of seven with one full bathroom and I don't recall anyone taking up all their time in the bathroom. Families learn to adjust don't they. Unfortunately, when you take a job you never know what you're going to get until you get out there. Being let go or not being in a job that appreciates you is very stressful. 9/11 certaingly was a wake-up call for all of us! I am glad I got to meet you here on ActiveRain because you're a great real estate agent with a lot to offer. I wish you all the best always and forever. 

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 5 months ago

Sounds like we are from the same generation, Mary! Love the story and the picture too. What a fun job to start your working career.

I also know another AR member that was in the hospitality business (Thom Abbott) and I have personally gotten his famous Atlanta tour when visiting there. I'm sure you, having been in that business, are the perfect agent for relocation clients too. I love that!

Thanks for your entry and we'll add this to our November list. I am also tagging the host of last month's challenge, Jeff Dowler, CRS, so he'll know you had a submission too. Great post, Mary!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 4 months ago