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When a change in career could be the new beginning you need

Almost everyone in the workforce can relate to a career rut at some stage. Not feeling motivated, not progressing or just not loving your job like you used to.

Whatever the feeling, it’s generally not a nice feeling. So what do you do about it? Do you talk to your boss or colleagues about your concerns, or share your feelings with your partner? Or maybe it’s time to look at other options?

For Mario Cugliandro, it was a mixture of all the above.

For over 3 years Mario worked within the RTO (Registered Training Organisation) industry in Melbourne. Defined as a volatile environment, Mario experienced many highs during his RTO career but also weathered one too many unforeseen career storms to want to stay any longer.

And with a strong, rewarding background in hospitality and customer service, the time had come for Mario to consider new options and look for new opportunities.

Accidentally strata

Mario was developing an interest in property and his desire to learn more about the industry increased tenfold when he moved into his first apartment complex.

Intrigued with how community living worked, Mario was researching the rules and regulations surrounding strata when he accidentally found himself answering a job advertisement for a strata community manager.

Introducing strata management

The appeal of the job advertisement was in the features.

Interested in property? Enjoy helping others and problem solving? Is customer service a key strength? Are you influential, compassionate, patient with outstanding verbal and written communication skills? Do you enjoy variety when no two days are the same? Oh, and no weekend work required but longer hours required during the week. Ding ding ding!

From hotels, to universities to large apartment complexes

Mario Cugliandro, Regional Manager at Victoria Body Corporate Services

It’s a fact that every day is different and you don’t know what you’re going to get on a day-to-day basis.

Mario applied and was offered the position of Strata Community Manager with Victoria Body Corporate Services (VBCS), one of Melbourne’s largest strata management companies.

“I was new to the industry, new to the company and knew I would have to start at the bottom to work my way up. And that’s ok, I was ready for the challenge and was comfortable that VBCS would provide great opportunities.

“The culture here is fantastic. When I interviewed I was amazed to hear that many staff had been with VBCS for over 20 years, certainly over 10 years. That in itself told me the culture must be good if people are willing to stay.

“As a newbie, the support I received from colleagues was overwhelming. The willingness to impart information and share experiences to help me is like I’d never experienced before. The team spirit is truly alive and kicking at VBCS.”

During Mario’s mentoring period he observed and studied the industry and within three months he was running his own annual general meetings within his allocated portfolio of buildings. Within 24 months Mario was identified as a high, results-driven achiever and was promoted to Regional Manager, with a team of 13 now reporting to him.

The good, the bad and the downright rude

When asked what he enjoys the most about the strata industry, Mario is adamant it is the variety.

“It’s a fact that every day is different and you don’t know what you’re going to get on a day-to-day basis.

“Classic example; from 26 emails sitting in my inbox at 9am to over a hundred by the end of the day. And then there’s the onsite appointments and meetings. There are days when you’re juggling emails, phone calls, preparing for annual general meetings, mentoring staff… it’s different all the time and that’s what I love. The diversity of it all.”

What Mario doesn’t love is the ugly side of some owners and their rudeness. And unfortunately that is something that happens quite regularly.

“I get it. Being frustrated with a situation can be justified but being downright rude is not justifiable. In this role you learn to deal with different situations and aggressors.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that honey gets the bees. Sure, we’re all human. Things may get missed. But it’s how you deal with it to fix it that will resonate with the majority of owners and this is how you earn the respect of your clients. Own it. Fix it.”

New job, think Smarter Communities

Time to climb out of a career rut

It can happen to any of us at any time. The dreaded career rut. If you can’t fix it where you are, then maybe you can change it. And change isn’t a bad thing.

Look at what Mario has achieved in a relatively short period of time. If he hadn’t been searching the internet to learn more about an interest, he may never have found himself in the peak of his now relatively-new career.

“If you are looking for something dynamic that is constantly changing, and you enjoy juggling many projects or situations at any given time, helping people, and keeping busy, then this could be for you.

“It’s certainly not a typical 9-5 job. In fact, I would say 90% of meetings are held outside of business hours so the majority of owners can attend. But it can work in your favour with discipline and smart organisational skills. A supportive company and team will allow for these hours when you schedule your workload.

I found this at VBCS. The knowledge, support, constant training I received, and continue to receive, is phenomenal. I would definitely recommend VBCS as an employer of choice and encourage anyone who is customer service-oriented to consider giving this industry a go,” says Mario.

If you’re considering a career in strata, contact Rebecca Henwood, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Smarter Communities for more details.

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