After a Break, a New Door Opens in Real Estate

Susan LoGuidice returned from a sabbatical in Europe with not one, but two interviews lined up.


To hear Susan LoGiudice tell it, getting laid off from her real-estate management job last December was a chance to have a moment of freedom.

“I looked at it like I had been paroled,” the UpLadder member said. “I had been working for six years straight, and I needed a break. So I mentioned to a friend who lives in Europe that I wanted to get away, and he told me he was going to Monte Carlo and could use some company, so I booked my flight and took off in early January.”

In addition to travel plans, she made some other plans as well. She was several credits shy of getting her master’s degree in strategic real-estate management at New York University. So she signed up for the spring semester. “I figured if it was difficult to find a job, I’d finish grad school instead,” LoGiudice said. “Either way, the result would be good.” And while she was not ready to go back to work right away — savings and severance gave her a couple of months’ cushion — she did post her resume on Ladders and left one with a recruiter as well.

So she took off for Europe feeling she would be able to relax and not think about work. And, just as she was enjoying her free time, LoGiudice received an e-mail from a recruiter when she was in Monte Carlo. While she was happy to have the contact, she followed up to say she would set up an interview once she returned. She said she didn’t feel she needed to head back to New York right away to pursue a job lead.

“I needed to detox from the stress of the months leading up to the layoff,” she said. “Watching a company go through layoffs is emotionally and physically taxing.”

So she continued her vacation. And, upon her return, there were not one but two job interviews waiting for her. “I got a call from the recruiter through Ladders just as I returned from Monte Carlo,” she said. Both jobs were appealing enough that she went on the first round of interviews for both real-estate opportunities.

Still uncertain as to whether anything would pan out, she started classes at NYU and decided to pursue another adventure: working as an extra on TV shows. “I had never acted before, she said. “I always wanted to be an extra on a TV show, so I signed up at a casting agency. I got called to work on TV shows, like Law & Order, Kings, Cupid, and Nurse Jackie, while I went on interviews for two different jobs.”

It helped to have the distractions of school and TV work, she said. “The interview process was lengthier and required more effort than in the past,” she said. “The market was more competitive. I went on five interviews over two months. They even had me do some work to show them what I could do. And then, after all the interviews, it took about a month before one of the companies called to offer me the job.”

She never doubted, however, that she wanted to stay in the real-estate business. “My expertise and interest was in real estate. I was confident in my ability to do the job,” she said. And while she concedes it’s a tough market right now, she states that, “it is cyclical.”

She is now working as director of leasing for Vantage Properties of New York. Founded in 2005, Vantage describes itself as “one of New York’s leading investors in residential and retail properties. Today, our portfolio consists of hundreds of apartment and retail properties in some of the City’s oldest and most established neighborhoods.”

It’s a job that is similar to her previous position but for a different market from the luxury market she used to work in. “It’s the same job, but a different type of product.”

As for the challenges in her field, she said, “The market is tough when you have unrealistic expectations in a down market.
“Sellers and landlords need to get over the fact that it’s not 2006 or 2007 anymore, and renters need to make a move,” LoGiudice said, “but they keep hoping they can get an even better price. Everybody is waiting. But people will always need a place to live. This isn’t the first recession we’ve been through.”

So now, her schedule packed with work and graduate school, LoGiudice’s only regret is she didn’t get a lucky break working as an extra. She says she’s glad she took the time from work when she had the opportunity.

“I think I was able to do it in part because I am naïve and optimistic,” LoGiudice said, laughing. But she is serious about the importance of giving yourself a break. “At the end of the day, panicking wasn’t going to help me get a job any quicker. I looked at the layoff as an opportunity to regroup, relax, evaluate my options, and do things I wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to do.

“If you are laid off, you should definitely post your resume, maximize your use of recruiters and tell everyone you meet that you are looking for a job. You do have to put yourself out there. But look at it as an opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because you were stuck at work.

“Be confident in your abilities. Just take it one day at a time and enjoy your life.”