Juggling full-time work, study, and fatherhood in the age of Covid-19
It’s fair to say that this year has been a challenging one for almost everyone on this big blue marble that we call home. For Hamilton-based property consultant Jason Uden, it’s been a year of hard graft and sleepless nights, juggling fatherhood, full-time study AND a fledgling career at QV.
We caught up with the first-year property consultant and father-of-two to find out how he’s holding up, how he’s enjoying his new role, and what advice he’d offer people who want to break into the property valuation business...
Tell us a bit about yourself… who are you and what do you do?
I’m a graduate valuer in the Hamilton branch. I was a farmer for most of my life, before deciding to do a Bachelor of AgriCommerce, majoring in rural valuation, through Massey. I have a pretty good understanding of farm systems and environmental science, so I hope to be able to use my background to develop into a rural valuer.
How did you wind up at QV?
I was nearly at the end of my second year when a valuer I know from Tauranga suggested that I contact every valuation company in the Waikato asking for a job. So I did.
Almost every valuation company replied, saying they would not employ a graduate but they would like to encourage me to go back and see them once I was registered. But Richard told me to come in to meet him – he said it wasn’t a job interview, but it turns out it was.
What exactly does your job entail?
In my first year here, I’ve been involved with ratings maintenance, valuing subdivisions, building consents and doing objections. I’ve just finished working on the Thames-Coromandel revaluation for which I was responsible for the residential properties in Thames and the Thames coast.
What’s your favourite thing about working for QV?
There are too many things to single out just one thing. I have an eight-year-old and a 14-year-old, so I wouldn’t be able to do this job if QV didn’t allow me some flexibility to start early and finish early so I can look after them in the afternoons.
Our office has a very enjoyable atmosphere – everyone is friendly, everyone works well together and the senior valuers are patient whenever I ask a question. And my GM, Richard Allen, encourages a learning environment and he genuinely cares about the well-being of his team – more so than any employer I have ever had before.
You’re also a full-time student. How has Covid-19 disrupted your study this year?
It certainly hasn’t been easy. Normally I work during the day, and study during the evenings and weekends. But the lockdown meant I had to spend time during the day to home-school my children and work in the evening. Study was pushed behind, but I have pretty much caught up since then.
This year I was full-time so my commitment was eight-and-a-half papers and two practicum reports. Sleep has become a scarce commodity – but I intend to spend plenty of time catching up on that after my exams in November. Then I can focus on studying for my registration.
At QV, we’re big proponents of work-life balance… what do you like to do in your time off?
We have two dogs that we walk every day. I try to support the kids in their sports and activities, but the study has taken away the time to do anything else.
The family have decided that once my study is completed in November, we will learn to surf. And then I will get back to running and get fit again. I love the NFL, so I also try to watch the Patriots as often as possible
Finally, what advice would you offer people looking to get into the biz?
Every time you meet someone it is a potential job interview. So be polite, and if you can keep in touch, as building contacts to expand your network is really important – you just don’t know when someone might be able to help you in the future. Find someone you feel is trustworthy and experienced and ask them to be a mentor for your career.
But most importantly, I think you have to keep developing yourself by taking every opportunity to ask questions, listen and learn. It may mean reading new books, learning te reo, or doing another university paper, or even just ringing the senior rural valuer with questions. That’s what I do.