When Allen Wright was a property manager for Wanda Inn condos, managing bookkeeping for over 3,000 doors, he likened the job to a three-ring circus, “It was crazy! When I wasn’t elbow-deep in paperwork, I was catering to clients and maintenance emergencies.”
While procrastinating on hour four of bank reconciliations, Wright stumbled across a BuzzFeed quiz leading down a PT Barnum Internet rabbit hole. “I scored ‘Ringmaster’ and noticed a remarkable overlap in my skillset: ringmasters are confident leaders who see potential in everything. They also wrangle clowns while people move heavy stuff.”
The further he researched, the more parallels he noticed between circus arts and property management. Seven years later, now a graduate of clown college, Wright performs five shows a week as Dr. Al Wright, ringmaster, and owner of “The Maniacal Managing Menagerie,” a traveling circus act cast entirely with former property managers.
Wright wasn’t the only property manager to follow that instinct. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in collaboration with the Northeast Clown Institute, spots a trend of property managers transitioning in large numbers to circuses and sideshows. The research has been published in both The Journal of Applied Science and Circus Arts Magazine.
“No one anticipated how many property managers would leverage their skills into the circus,” says Dr. Melanie Martin, an industrial-organizational psychologist with the study, who also co-authored the “Entrepreneurs Jump into Actual Shark Tank” survey.
Dr. Al Wright shoots down suggestions that property managers are taking an easier path. “Compare the multi-tasking and unpredictable pace of leasing season to life under the big top. I studied Sigfried and Roy and realized my crisis-management skills and finesse with angry tenants might translate to handling big cats.”
Some of the Menagerie’s performers stated practical reasons for the transition. Knife thrower Charles “Chuck the Knife Chucker” Sharpe finds maintenance on his equipment—a wooden board and knives—easier than maintaining unwieldy leasing software.
Sharpe’s “target girl,” Barrie D. Hatchett, mentioned that her experience as a building manager left her perfectly comported to the circus, “Both property management and knife throwing require nerves of steel. So much of my job was trying not to outwardly react—to a tenant’s request or vendor’s invoice—it was second nature not to flinch with axes flying at my face.”
“I was fed up with the demands of property management,” Hugh Raye admits of his shift to funambulist, “I’m usually calm in high-stress situations, and somehow these stakes seem lower. Sure, I’m dangling sixty feet in the air with no net sometimes, but at least I don’t have to levy Homeowner Association assessments anymore.” The unflappability and balance he’d developed from years of HOA politicking translated seamlessly to the highwire.
Leah Tarred juggled into circus life for new challenges, “Rentals require constant attention—just like spinning plates,” she says. “It’s easier to juggle chainsaws than EOM reporting and RUBS billing. I got used to keeping lots of balls in the air as a property manager.”
Professional firebreather Kay Oss admits, “There weren’t a lot of drawbacks.” Before Oss spat high-octane accelerant from her mouth, she managed So and So Senior Sanctuary in Sarasota, Fl. “Due to negligent tenant move-outs, I have more stories about pet alligators in strange places than the guy who actually wrestles alligators,” Oss mused, carefully applying lip-balm. “The heat I’m under now is quaint and predictable in comparison.”
Contortionist Ben Dover notes, “You have to be flexible in both jobs. It was a constant stretch to meet the needs of tenants and clients, so I always had to think outside the box for ways to get everything done,” he said, molding his frame to fit into a literal box. “No one applauded when my job got me bent out of shape before. Now I do it to standing ovations.”
Dr. Al Wright notes another practical benefit for performers, “The hours are better. It’s 90% rehearsals, 10% performing under extreme pressure. Property management was 10% performing under extreme pressure, 90% paperwork.”
Property management accounting is a big task, but before you consider giving it all up for the trapeze, talk to us. Proper makes life easier and less death-defying.
Disclaimer: This is a satirical article; any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental. The only things that are true in this article are as follows: 1) property managers are spending too much time and money on property bookkeeping and accounting, and 2) Proper can save you hours of your time and up to 50% on your property accounting costs. Learn more about our services here.