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Plans for real estate career simply didn't fly
The poor economy has recently forced Brian Bright back to his former job with Delta Air Lines, but he’s keeping his real estate plans moving forward by continuing to work part-time in the field.

Talk about bad timing.

Brian Bright, 42, of Flowery Branch gave up his steady paycheck at Delta Airlines for the less-certain field of real estate just before the bottom fell out of the nation’s economy.

“I thought I could better my life and better my family’s life” through the career switch, he said, noting that the Delta commute was 51 miles one way.

“So I went into business selling real estate with my brother-in-law. It was pretty good for about a year,” Bright said.

Even in good times, such moves are risky. But Bright felt the risk was worth it “because if the real estate market had not done what it did, my life definitely would have been better,” he said.

The economy had other plans, of course, with housing taking an especially hard hit.

He recalls having some self-doubts at the time.

“I sort of questioned myself a little bit,” Bright said, “but I look back at all the experience I’ve gained from being in real estate and everything I’ve learned about the housing market.”

He stiffened his resolve in the face of a personal crisis.

“I didn’t want to have to commute back and forth to Atlanta, so I was doing whatever I could do here locally ... and it just wasn’t enough,” he said. “I cut grass, cleaned houses, whatever it took, to try to make ends meet.”

Then, in a stroke of good fortune, Bright was able to get his old job back, working in aircraft maintenance at Delta.

“I’m commuting and I’m thankful for a paycheck,” he said, laughing.

Bright’s first stint with Delta lasted from 1998 to December 2006. He received his real estate license in October 2006.

“I didn’t burn any bridges when I left (Delta),” Bright said in an interview last week at the Keller Williams Realty off Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville, where he still works in real estate.

“There’s a lot of guys still there that I worked with, and I picked up right where I left off. ... There were a few things I had forgotten, but I’m sort of back into the swing of it,” he said.

Bright said he feels fortunate to have returned, but “not anybody could do the (job) I stepped back into.”

“I had the background, I had the experience, I know (Delta’s) computer systems, I know the company,” he said. “They just couldn’t hire anyone off the street to do that.”

But Bright doesn’t write off his return to sheer luck.

“I’ve been blessed. The Lord has blessed me with real estate, with being able to go back to Delta,” he said.

When the economy bounces back, he has another hard decision: whether to keep up the one-hour commute.

“That’s been a coin toss,” he said. “(Delta has) been good to me over the years. I’ve really enjoyed real estate. I don’t know ... that’ll have to be a bridge that I cross when I come to it.”