Monday, June 20, 2016

Why to Work, reprise

   The following citation from a man who heads a company that trains inspectors and who authors material toward this end. He authored a publication that is meant to persuade inspectors to purchase qualification through his organization so that they, and he in the process, can become fabulously wealthy.  

[My text] answers [the question of how to become financially rich as an home inspector.] Remember, the purpose of being in business--any business--is to make money. If you want to make a good living, don't go into business. Instead, get a good job. The only reason to be in business and take on all that it entails is to make a really, really great living and to pile up stacks of money for yourself and your family. N.G., advertisement for STACKS: A Home Inspector's Guide to Increasing Gross Revenue.
   This business ethic is fundamentally and irrevocably opposite to my own ethic as a business man and inspector. Hedonistic, selfish, and just stupid. In one of the earliest posts in this stream, we discussed ethical motivations for behavior. In this scheme, motivations were broken down into four broad options:

1. ethical egoism -- behaving in a way to serves me and mine; 
2. utilitarianism -- behaving in a manner that serves the majority number of people; 
3. deontology -- behaving in a manner that is necessary, proper, or right -- behaving on principle. 
4. altruistic -- behaving in a manner that assists others with little or no regard for self. 

    There certainly are other reasons for being in business other than accruing piles of money for oneself and family, a classic ethical egoistic motivation for working. Among alternatives could simply be to live a quiet and peaceful life, slowly and deliberately doing right in an occupation, treating others with honor, with the expectation (or hope!) that normative financial obligations of life would be met. 


   Imagine a business occupation as a large field of grain. Some business persons work very hard to put a fence around this field, claim it for themselves, and deny or hinder access to others. Others realize that the grain field is not their exclusive domain, that there is ample room for themselves and others, and to work to live rather than living to work. Some do just fine by gleaning the grains left over once the big shot harvesters have come and gone.

   Coming from a theistic conviction -- that a potent, provident, providing, personal God exists -- I am struck by efforts of us humans to ceaselessly advance the self, to inflate the pocketbook, to pat oneself on the back (tooting one's own horn, etc.), and to grab the whole grain field to the exclusion or detriment of others. What a funny contrast life presents in general with the "looking out for #1" attitude that is so prevalent, but especially in this atmosphere of running a business.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Holmes Weighs In

Continuing with the intent of the last post, the sharp-tongued M. Holmes says, "There [is] way too much cooperation -- even dependence -- between home inspectors and real estate agents.  . . . The most common source for a home inspector referral is the real estate agent. . . [however]; even the most honest agents cannot avoid conflict of interest in this particular area. Why not? A real estate agent wants to sell houses. But sometimes an inspector will scare off the buyers if he tells them the whole truth about a house. [This truth] may [thus] not make an agent happy. An inspector wants business. [T]o keep the referrals coming from his prime source - the real estate agent - he might not be as thorough as he should be every time he inspects a house. The net result for the buyer is not having the whole story before signing a purchase offer. 

. . . 

Keep one thing in mind. . . : you are the client. . . The real estate agent is not the client. . . If the inspector you hire has a history of working with a particular agent, you [are] walking into a situation of divided loyalties." You need to be the one to make the decision of which inspector to use. Make sure you ask for a list of at least three inspectors. You do the leg work to decide which inspector you wish to use. M. Holmes, The Holmes Inspection: The Essential Guide for Every Homeowner, Buyer, and Seller (NY: Time Home Entertainment, 2012), 12. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Buck Passing 101

Arrived on a vacant site, early. A good coastal rain this AM. Was promised the key would be present in such and such a place. Voila! The key was not present at such and such a place.

Contacted the realtor vainly several times, inspected what could be inspected, and ended the inspection. The journey was long. Went home, contacted the realtor and said I would come back for a substantive reinspection fee paid by her or this broker's agency. S/he made it clear that I was cheeky in this request, and that it was, after all, s/he who had referred me in the first place. The clear thesis was that if I expected to get further work, I had better tone it down and follow his/her direction. The old ancient appeal to the stick/club/weapon. I have the power to bring you income; you keep quiet and do what I say. Even if I am the one who messed up in the process. My stick/weapon is my ability to bring you money. Submit to your station or prepare to git the beatin' that you so richly deserve!

Living in the back woods of nowhere (e.g., coastal Oregon), my old theory that human pride, self-inflation, egocentrism -- sin -- in all its sick glory permeates every sphere of human existence and dwelling is again confirmed. One cannot get away from puffed human ego even when in the farthest corners of this country's bywaters. Academia is full of this. Big cities and big business also. So too the coastal byways of remote Oregon. The high desert of Price-Helper, Eureka, Kanab -Utah, or anywhere else big or small. 

The realtor explained that it was not his/her fault that the key was not available. Rather it was the seller's realtor who had gaffed and not provided the key. Of course, Realtor. Of course.

Meanwhile, while standing in the rain wondering why simple access was again barred to a property, something my friend D. Ramsthel said decades before came to mind. The six "P"s = Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. We would laugh and laugh back in the day while considering this maxim, and the most basic life situations that evaded this principle.

Credit to the Ramsthelian, the six "P"s are an excellent way to go to this day, in any persons' life, and in any occupation. The six "p"s in action. Why do realtors or their staff not go to properties about to be inspected and make sure access is viable. That possessions are out of the way of access points and components. That the transaction is facilitated to progress or succeed. Actually, some do. Not this realtor, however. Too important. Too busy. No six "p"s to be found here.

Oh realtor from the rarefied heights of Cannon Beach: exactly how difficult is it to get a key, go to a property in the same small town in which you reside, turn a lock, and allow access to a vacant property? Or to just make sure the key is available? With your blame-shifting mouth, not difficult at all. With actions, it really is rocket science.

My actual response to this person: Realtor and agency, contact me no more. Take me off your list. I walk away from you, your intimidation, and shall rather work with persons who take stock in the six "p"s with more than the mouth. And who treat persons as persons and not as subservient commodities - objects - to their own wealth and success. 

[Now, what were we saying about ego? Self-inflated attitude? e.g., the prideful sarcasm that pours forth from my own pen. . .]