“What Me Manage?”


After a year of working boring jobs, I decided to use the always available fallback plan for a female English major in 1970, go back to school for my teaching degree. I was admitted to a Master’s in Education program which began that summer. Even though my house was only $90 a month, it was too expensive on my small stipend. I accepted an offer to manage a 24 unit apartment house which had been newly opened a few blocks from my house. Then I could live there for “free.”

All I can say in my defense is that I was 23. Not to insult anyone who is 23, but I was really pretty clueless about managing a 24 unit apartment house and only thought about the free rent. This was a HUD subsidized building, new construction with income limits that were fairly easy to meet. I filled the place quickly, only requiring pay stubs to ensure eligibility. No background checks, no instant internet access to past history, no nothing! Many single mothers with small children were in most of the units, since it was designed for families.

I was horrible about hounding people for the rent. I was useless about routine maintenance. I disliked being bothered at all times of the day and night. In short, I was a terrible manager. The final straw for me, however, came when a tenant pushed another tenant through a window. The cops didn’t come when I called. The taxi I called to take the woman to the hospital refused to take her because she was bleeding. When the taxi driver called the cops, they came. I suddenly realized that I was not safe. Somehow this had  never occurred to me!

I moved out. I had lasted six months.


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