Faces of the Industry: Aaron Wood

Top Industry Pro Survives FATCO Downsizing: A First-Hand Account

Aaron Wood, a former long-term employee at First American Title (FATCO), lost his job when FATCO decided to eliminate his job and the entire office.  We caught up with Aaron recently and asked him to share the story of how an exemplary employee could wake-up one day and find jobs had been sent to another country!

Q.      What was your job at FATCO?

I was the Account Executive for the San Bernardino and Highland Territory.

Q.        Describe what happened to the jobs in your office?

Due to the slow down in the housing market and the movement of the workload to other offices and overseas the office staff was significantly downsized and outsourced with most of the jobs sent to places like India.

Q.      How much notice did FATCO give you?

None. I received a phone call to come into the office for a meeting. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was when I pulled in and saw the head of HR’s car in the parking lot that I knew something was up. She was only there to let people go.

Q.      Did FATCO give you any job placement assistance?

I was given the website for the Employment Development Department (EDD).

Q.      When did you find out the entire office jobs were being outsourced to India?

We knew First American was using Indian employees for many years. It was first sold to us as a way to make our job easier.

First, a lot of the title people left, then customer service. In my opinion, our turn around times slowed. Instead of doing your profile in real time, as customer service talked to you on the phone, it went to someone keying it into the system, with the information then being sent to India, research done there, then emailed back. It not only took the personal touch out of everything, but customers (agents and brokers) definitely noticed the delays.

Q.      How did that make you feel?

From a business standpoint, I understand that time is money. Employees are expensive. At some point, when do you lose your integrity and what you stand for? That line seems to have become blurred for many companies.

Q.      How many jobs do you think were sent overseas?

I would not even know where to start counting. Besides FATCO, I had someone in my office interviewing for a job last week who came from Fidelity. She lost her job due to outsourcing as well.

Q.      You managed to stay in the industry, but many people haven’t.  To what do you attribute your success?

I enjoyed the industry and wanted to stay with it. I started at the bottom – assisting a successful agent – to find out what they are doing to survive. I then applied that to my own business and worked my way up from there. I am now with Keller Williams Redlands Market Center in Highland, CA as a Team Leader helping others do the same and I could not be happier.

Q.      How different is your job now?

The contacts I made have helped me out more than anything. In the end it is all about being able to proudly talk about yourself and what you stand for. Instead of selling why to use me for title or other services, now it is why you should use me and my agents as your knowledgeable and accessible Realtor.

Q.    Is there anything else you would you like our readers to know?

I always remember the line, “Opportunity doesn’t knock; it honks the horn as it drives by”. If you are not ready and watching for it you won’t even know it was there.

My past clients have been my biggest supporters. Everyone I talk to is an opportunity somehow. I keep one heck of a client database to make sure I do not miss a thing, and I always keep an ear open for what is happening. That way I can position my agents and my office to seize the opportunity, and be able to shift with the market.