"I count my blessings in life. I have a job I do love. I have a roof over my head, food on my table and love in my life. What more could I want? Some people in our world are not that fortunate."
“Good Morning, CBRE. How can I help you?” a phrase heard often at the front desk of CBRE Ireland in Connaught House. You can’t miss the infectious smile of Patricia, or more specifically, she makes sure that everyone who walks into our office or calls up, gets her full attention and professionalism.
You can never tell if Patricia, or Trish as she is lovingly called by colleagues and clients– has had a bad day. Her professionalism is impressive, albeit having gone through the gamut of times, from witnessing the peak of the economy to the time when the economy crashed.
We speak to her to find out what keeps her smiling through the tough times and lessons learnt over a career spanning over 20 years in the same company – a feat not many people can claim these days in the working world full of millennials.
We sit down for a coffee, with milk one sugar as she reminisces her journey. “It’s been 20 years in total. I know I was only a child when I began working here!”, she laughs with a glint in her eye. “If not for my dad, I wouldn’t have started working here! I was working in a firm based in Sandyford at the time and spent most of my time commuting prior to the Luas. My Dad saw the ad placed by Gunne’s at the time and suggested I go for it. How lucky was I that he saw it. Never did he know that nudge led to today, 20 years later!”
When asked what motivates her to do what she does, she says that the “ambassadorial” role that the job entails is very fulfilling. No matter if the person is the boss, the cleaner, the delivery man or the person in for a job interview – the same level of respect and dignity is given to all, and clearly reciprocated. Through her career she has won the “People’s Choice” and “RISE Values” awards numerous times – proof that she is well valued in the company.
Trish credits her parents for who she is today, calling them her first mentors. “They are now in their mid-eighties but still have a zest for life. They like to know what is happening in the world and are interested in life. They are still quite active in the community too always with an eye on being a support to whomever may need it at that time”, she explains, “having our grandparents be part of our growing up years as well taught us about having good work ethics and to never give up in anything!”
When asked if she had a particular memory from the early days of working here, “Auction Day!” she piped up. “There was always a buzz about the place and an air of anticipation. Maureen Gunne (the mother of the then MD) was working the front desk on auction day helping out in any way she could. She would be welcoming people and toasting champagne with the successful bidder. We really had a fun time but still got the work done. We worked hard and it was full on but we banded together and helped each other out.” She paused and continued “the sense of family never left the company and that’s why it’s a great place to work.”
Having seen the numerous company name and logo changes, the question of the biggest change that she’s experienced through them all came up in conversation. She paused and said “I have seen the highs and the lows in this industry. It really is a barometer to the economic situation in Ireland. I remember the crash of 2007/2008 being some of the toughest years to date. Many people were made redundant due to the situation and sitting there behind the desk seeing them leave was the hardest – we have become a family, not just mere colleagues”, she pauses, “pay cuts were made, times were tough but the proof of the pudding is that the company is still here due to those decisions made. We had the right people at the helm at the right time and still do.”
When asked what would she share with someone who is just starting out in the workplace – “Kindness and respect.”, she says. “They cost nothing and achieve much more than being aggressive or arrogant in my world. Old school I know.”
A nugget of wisdom for the road: Count your blessings.
Trish puts it simply “I count my blessings in life. I have a job I do love. I have a roof over my head, food on my table and love in my life. What more could I want? Some people in our world are not that fortunate. That’s how I stay happy and content.”