Published Date: March 12, 2012

I thought “Don’t take it personally” was one of my biggest learnings while working at Zillow. Those that know me know I give a shit about everything I do (and looking to find more people who do). At Zillow, I took my job home with me every night — it was not uncommon to see me on email much of the evening and often late into the night. Why? Because I cared. During my 4 1/2 years at the big Z, I handled countless phone calls from home owners and agents who had a “problem” with their Zestimate, their neighbor’s Zestimate, or their clients Zestimate in the case of real estate agents. As a result, especially at first, I found it extremely hard not to carry those Zestimate conversations home with me. But, eventually, I learned to leave those conversations where they belong — at work.

Part of that progression was that I considered the vast majority of those individuals I spoke with irrational. If I truly believed their side of the story, maybe I wouldn’t have even worked at Zillow. But I believe transparency in the housing market is a good thing — and anyone that thinks a Zestimate is the end all, be all for what their home (or any home) is worth is clearly not all there. I mean, who in their right mind would call to complain about their 4 million dollar home being undervalued by $300k? Or who really cares if their neighborhors Zestimate is $40k above theirs? So why burden myself unnecessarily with feeling bad about giving the person on the other end of the line a dose of reality?

That said, Seth Godin writing the following makes me think a bit.

Via Seth Godin

It’s too easy to blame the organization and the system and the bottom line for decisions that a person would never be willing to take responsibility for.

Whenever you can, work with people who take it personally.

Maybe the fact that I had to try really damn hard not to take those “Zestimate” phone calls from irate, irrational home owners and agents personally means I’m in this group of people worth working with.

Maybe instead of rationalizing not taking (some) things personally, I should embrace the fact that I fall in the bucket of people who can’t help but to take everything I do personally.

Or maybe there is a line in the sand somewhere in the middle?