Even as their album sales slumped and Breakfast at Tiffany’s became an inevitable song, Tatom was preparing for the next thing. As a self-proclaimed “realist with flaws” he could already see some tensions between the band and the label as well as between individual band members. Instead of doing creative songwriting for a label, Tatom took on a short-term gig at a college friend’s mortgage bank. He had taken business classes with this friend in college who knew Tatom had a purpose for work.
Tatom was fascinated by mortgages. He had been interested in finance since high school and saw the mortgage industry as a way to meet and help ordinary people. He could learn unique situations and find bespoke solutions while being the friendly voice on the other end of the phone line. He also found that many of his skills as a musician would make him successful as a mortgage broker.
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Tatom stated that both musicians and brokers have to be great self-promoters. In both professions, gigs and deals don’t just flow through the door. You have to get out there and earn your reputation. You also need to be consistent. An audience that paid to see you play doesn’t care if you didn’t sleep well and feel a bit tired last night, just as a stressed out homebuyer doesn’t care if you feel a little overwhelmed.
Tatom said careers in music and in the mortgage business teach you how to deal with mayhem. Something unexpected goes wrong almost every day on tour, just like with lending. As a musician, Tatom learned to deal with a problem that he had never seen before, which he now does on a daily basis as a broker.