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Tom Ten Tije: A Week in Life of a Relocation Consultant

“The water was coming from the ceiling. I sat up straight and immediately thought: This is going to be fun!”

A week of a relocation consultant
 I’d like to start off with my Sunday. This week began with a video that I received from a client on Sunday. When pressing ‘play’ at 11 PM (yes, I was in bed), I immediately noticed the sound of pouring water, but this was not a video of Niagara Falls… The water wtoms-first-weekA week in the life of a relocation consultantas coming from a ceiling. I sat up straight and immediately thought: This week is going to be fun!

The next day in our daily morning meeting I discussed the issue with my team. The landlord of the concerning apartment had replied by now, so I knew there was already a plumber coming to the apartment that same morning. While (a little bit im)patiently waiting I was able to start replying to the e-mails I received over the weekend, meet some new clients and start the house-hunt with someone else. By the end of the day, I finally received a call from the landlord. The issue was not fixable at such short notice, he did offer a solution where they can use the bathroom in the downstairs apartment where no one was living at the moment. I discussed if this solution was appropriate in my client’s opinion and it was. Problem solved.

The next day I checked in with my client to see if everything was settled at the apartment. After his confirmation, I started my office day. I had many emails as well as flights that needed to be arranged and of course with that a lot of other things such as all the documents they need to bring on the flight, taxis for after arrival and of course their short stay. Later that day I had to pick up a client at her hotel to go to a house viewing. Then it hit me; my car is a mess! I rushed to the vehicle with a plastic back to clean out all the trash and toys from the backseat. I made it on time though.

Wednesday I woke up to an unpleasant phone call. It was from the owner of the “leaking apartment”. I expected the worst, but it turned out to be even worse. The client who got the keys to shower in the downstairs apartment had some friends over, who was found in bed in that very same apartment downstairs by the pregnant wife of the owner who expected to have a home-office day in the apartment. ‘Damage-control-mode-on’ was all I could think of at that point. I paid an unannounced visit with my colleague to really see what was going on and it was exactly like the landlord described. We had a conversation with the client and explained to him that this was unacceptable. We explained to him that we will try to mediate between the landlord and him because a certain trust was broken at that point. It took quite some calls to come to an agreement, but because of our thoroughness, we did manage to come to certain agreements under which all parties were willing to continue. The point is, how ridiculous it may sound: the owner also was twenty-something at some point, so he was capable of understanding how this situation got out of hand. The fact that this was the case, probably made that the outcome of this matter was the way that it was.

On Thursday we had a very nice team event. Due to COVID-19, it is sometimes quite difficult to remain as close as we are within. Though our management assistant was able to think of an event, a covid-proof food route. Cooking small dishes throughout Haarlem, in small teams. Then after cooking all the delicious dishes we visited each-others kitchens to taste the different dishes. Before I move on to that, I need to rush to Zandvoort to do a key exchange with someone who had a lot of trouble trying to find a nice place. They had a challenging budget and every time we found something and applied for it, they missed out. This made the moment extra special for them. When we finished, I congratulated them but had to rush out because of the event. A team event like this is always nice. At this point, I was just so busy that it really could not have been scheduled at a worse time. On the other hand, this job is never dull, so I am not sure if there is any time that would be convenient. The event was more than I expected. Everything was arranged so well and on top of that: my team won the cooking challenge! 

With a tiny hangover, I started my Friday. Due to the office time I missed the day before, my mailbox was stocked. Going through them, my to-do’s were also stocking up. While working on them my colleague asked me if I could join our mutual client in a property visit at her place. I was aware of her calendar that day, so I accepted, of course. That is a distinctive fact about this team and this company. We work so well together and together we work best. I went home after and got to bed early. Tomorrow we will be welcoming a client from South Africa, whom Zoë and I have been supporting for a while now. It feels so excited to finally meet her in real life. Let’s hope she is just as excited.

In the early morning, I got in my car. Zoë and I will meet at the arrival hall. I noticed the company car in the parking lot and parked right next to her. Then my phone rang. Due to COVID-19, they are not letting people into the airport if they do not – really – have to be there. Zoë let me know that she had a lot of trouble getting in, so I knew I had to find another way, which I did. I went down and snuck under the bar to avoid all security ready to stop me. I knew at which door I could enter the airport and made it to the arrival hall. Our client is leaving her family behind, they could only come a couple of months later. Her flight must have been quite emotional, so Zoë and I are happy to be able to welcome her. When she finally finds her way through the sliding doors she smiled and we cheered. When you have been in a process for this long, friendships will develop and that smile was proof that such a thing happened.