Career Makeover: Diane Herman

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Diane Herman has experience in several fields. As a real estate investor, she owns six three- and four-bedroom condominiums in New Jersey, and she assumes the role of rental property manager for these units. Her education is in economics, and she is close to becoming a certified public accountant, lacking only some auditing work. She works part-time as an accountant for a metal plating company and is also a Realtor.

Career goals

Diane’s multiple jobs overwhelm her, as she feels she is constantly working. Her goal is to combine her accounting experience with her love of real estate and property management. She would prefer a more traditional 9-to-5 job with benefits in a large company, but she does not want to be tied to a desk.

Diane Herman

Profile: Diane Herman has experience in several fields, works part-time as an accountant and is also a Realtor.
The problem: Diane has found it difficult to pin down exactly what she would like to do.
The plan: Diane doesn’t want to be tied down at a desk, so she has decided to grow her business in new ways.


Diane has searched for a job when she has the time but has found it difficult to pin down exactly what she would like to do.

As a result, she’s had a hard time preparing a resume in advance without knowing which of her three jobs to address or what experiences to highlight.

The plan

Diane’s passion is the vacation rentals. She was wise to recognize this passion and begin taking steps to bring it to life.

While accounting was her college major and she is close to receiving her CPA license pending some audit work, completing this is more of a check off her list than getting her closer to her revenue goals and doing what she wants to do.

Prepared by Pam Venne, a management style coach, licensed professional counselor, career transition consultant and principal at the The Venne Group.

Next: The plan, step one.

Her accounting knowledge appears to be helping her gain the maximum amount of income from the properties. In addition, she is acutely aware of the financial impact of the decisions she makes.

Step 1: Focus on rental properties

Since rental properties are her passion, Diane should focus on buying more rental properties or find other properties she can manage.

Her work selling real estate is a residual of the contacts she makes with rental property management, so she is spending no extra effort in marketing her services to prospective clients, which is good.

While it’s possible to find a job in a large organization that combines all three skill sets — finance, vacation rentals and real estate — it would probably take her away from the positive customer feedback that fuels her passion.

Career help in 3 steps
  1. Focus on rental properties.
  2. Keep the accounting job.
  3. Consider consulting.

Tip: Outline your goals on this career assessment work sheet.

She should continue to buy or manage rental properties so she can grow this revenue stream. She should see the extra hours that it requires upfront as an investment in her own business.

Step 2: Keep the accounting job

In the meantime, Diane should continue working at the accounting job while building her business because it provides a steady and predictable income stream and benefits, including health benefits.

Because keeping books for a small company takes only eight hours a week, it allows her to be flexible with her time.

Step 3: Consider consulting

Time management is the area Diane should focus on, especially when working more than one job. When we are doing what we love and we are “givers,” we tend to share our knowledge to help others.

Diane often finds herself instructing others about how to be successful in the property management business. While helping others is a good thing to do, she was spending too much time giving away services for which she could charge.

Going forward, she should meet with a person for 45 minutes to an hour to determine his or her needs and whether she can help that person. If after that time period they require further instruction, Diane can then provide a proposal for how she can help that person reach goals in property management, along with her fee schedule.

If all needs were met in that first appointment, then there would be no need for a proposal, and Diane could focus her energy on her own business opportunities. But if more help were needed, she should be compensated for her time. This process minimizes her spending too much of her time helping others be successful while ignoring her own business needs.

While this would create a fourth job, it is a revenue stream that should not be ignored because she would at least get paid for some of the time she spends helping others. It’s good to be charitable, but that charity needs to have boundaries.

Postscript: After speaking to me, Diane found that there were no immediately obvious options for regular full-time employment with a large company. However, I did help her see how she could make more money from her main interest — property management. Diane has since taken on four condos to manage for others.

Pam Venne

Prepared by Pam Venne, a management style coach, licensed professional counselor, career transition consultant and principal at the The Venne Group.