Blogs from Sprout Marketing: A Straight PEP Talk from Heather Blume

COVID-19, Industry , Virtual Learning,

Pandemic Rent Week: A Straight Talk Pep Talk from Heather Blume from Behind the Leasing Desk

My friend and colleague, Heather Blume has a way with words. I always joke that she is, in fact, a wordsmith. I loved the message that she shared this week on her blog, and she was kind enough to let me share it with our Sprout Marketing Community.

For whoever needs to hear this:


My heart breaks for site employees this week.

They’re the ones who get to talk to the single mom who lost her job and then her second job, which was just barely making ends meet.

They’re the ones who have to see the defeat and panic and fear on the faces of their residents this week.

They’re the ones who will be called Satan, called a terrible person, called heartless and greedy.

They’re the ones who will be screamed at, threatened with lawsuits, and voodoo spells (I’m just guessing here - I don’t actually know if people verbally threaten you when they do voodoo on you).

I saw a post earlier this week from a nurse talking about how overwhelmed she was and some of the comments she got were along the lines of, “Well you wanted to be a nurse. You signed up for this.” To that, I say, in a word, “Bullshit.” That nurse no more signed up for what she’s dealing with any more than did our on-site personnel.

NO ONE signed up for this. No one. But we are all here just the same. And you know what? There is a lot of emotional baggage in your leasing office this week. It's tough to keep your teammates positive when the world is so messed up right now. I want you to know that it’s okay if you cried in your car over lunch or on your breaks today. I want you to know that it’s normal to feel how you’re feeling right now, whether that’s frustrated, angry, heartbroken, or terrified of what’s to come.

I want you to know I see you-

I see you working through your feelings and trying to hold all of it together.

I see you trying to remain professional.

I see you doing your best in the worst of circumstances.

I SEE YOU. And you are doing awesome.

Don’t take to heart the guilt that you might feel bubbling up. Guilt is for when you’ve done something wrong, and expecting people to pay their rent is not doing something wrong. It’s doing your job.

Maybe your company is offering payment plans. Maybe they aren’t. But you are an essential employee, and I guess being one means that you’re going to have to face the tide of emotions that will roll in with each resident. Keep doing it with kindness, compassion, and empathy.

This situation is not your fault. Don’t let yourself own the guilt from it.

You are going to make it through this week and you’re going to do it by being professional, being kind, being compassionate, and, yes, probably crying in your car a little bit more over your lunch hour because you’re an empathetic person and this is going to wear on you a bit.

The point is you will get through this, and on the other end of this, whatever that may be, you will be a stronger person for it. That might sound trite, but it’s also true. You will know how to have compassion and maintain professionalism at the same time, and if you think that skill set isn’t in high demand then you’re wrong. Everyone needs it, and you’ll have it.

I’m so proud of you today. I’m proud of our front line employees who, even as they struggle, do their jobs. I’m in awe of your dedication and strength. I See You.