Wow, thanks for all the answers, fellow Realtors.
It is amazing to me that many of you chose this profession due to a bad experience with a previous agent. It's fairly ironic, considering that the crux of my question addressed the perception of many consumers that real estate agents are sharks and lazy, greedy 'used car salesmen'.
And then. Here you are saying that you chose to become a licensed Realtor BECAUSE you dealt with an incompetent self-serving agent!
Thank you again for sharing your stories. I hope you won't mind - I can't choose a "Best Answer" since the answers are so personal and unique to each person.
I would love for consumers to chime in on their bad AND good experiences with Realtors.