Many of you know that I spent the first 30+ years of my working career as an escrow officer. When I first started working, I typed on a manual typewriter. Yikes - I’m old!! Then came the electric typewriter and then – oh my gosh – the correctable electric typewriter. Never has White Out seen such a decline in their business as when the correctable typewriter came along. I was so excited when the programmable typewriter came along, as I could easily recall stored verbiage. Wow! That was exciting!!
Then came the early computers. It was amazing how much faster we could prepare documents. The pace of escrow just got faster.
Fax machines followed closely thereafter. At first, I could not imagine that I would use the fax machine much. How wrong I was! With fax machines came the ability for lenders to fax their loan documents to the escrow officer. The escrow officer no longer had to wait for the documents to be mailed, sent by overnight courier or delivered. The loan documents arrived almost instantaneously. Most title and escrow companies had multiple fax machines and they ran constantly. The pace of escrow got a lot faster.
The pace of the escrow process pretty much stayed at a steady pace until the internet was introduced on the escrow scene. All of a sudden, loan documents were now being e-mailed to the escrow officer. No sooner had the lender pressed the “send” key to send loan documents to the escrow officer, than the buyer or borrower were calling the escrow officer to make an appointment. The pace of escrow just now jumped into warp speed.
I have given you this background so that you can see what strides have been made in business in terms of how much more work can get done in shorter and shorter amounts of time. But, at what cost? I’m not talking about the cost of the computers and the software that drives them, but rather the cost to our bodies.
Like many of you who have been in a service-related industry, and who have attended various seminars about how to manage your workload; how to keep your desk under control; and how to manage stress, etc., one of the first things your instructor tells you is to take regular breaks and definitely don’t skip or work through your lunch time. Sometimes that is much easier said than done.
I take my lunch breaks, if nothing more than to feed myself and to let my brain relax. I can’t tell you how many times I have been absolutely stumped regarding a solution to a problem. All I need to do is get away from my desk and take a short walk outside. All of a sudden, I come back and the solution to the problem quickly comes to mind. Many of my fellow escrow personnel thought that if they stepped away from their desk to take a lunch or a break, they would be moving backwards. While, in some instances, that may be true, but the reality is that if you give your brain a break and fuel your body, you come back refreshed and are able to do a much better job than plodding through and staying at your desk.
Respectfully submitted from an old X-escrow officer.
About Suzanne Tikker
Suzanne Tikker joined Haedrich & Co., Inc. with 33 years of experience as an escrow officer and 2 years as a residential lender. Her background in escrow and lending has proved to be invaluable in overseeing the complex contracts, purchase agreements, leases, and escrow transactions of the office. Suzanne is also a licensed real estate salesperson. This experience, along with her expertise and professionalism make Suzanne a valuable asset to the company and the commercial real estate clientele we serve. Suzanne is also very involved in the North State Escrow Association, as well as the Exchange Club of Redding.