As an inspector I meet new people daily who hire me to help them make an informed purchase on the home they are buying. Over the years I’ve encountered all types sometimes likable and other times, well just strictly business and nothing else. Because of this I’ve learned to adjust accordingly based on how we interact for that short time but also have come to realize you can set the tone. I find when I introduce myself with a smile it is more often than not returned setting the tone for a friendly experience. After all we are all there for the same purpose and a level of trust is needed. My intention is to look out for their best interest always.
Today I inspected a home for a woman in her 80’s and prior to the inspection received a call from the Realtor who warned me about the buyer but not in a mean way, she just said the buyer knows what she wants and is really to the point, no fuss about it. So I figured it would just be that kind of inspection and not my first rodeo, whatever. Oh I was also told I should address her as Mrs. (inserts last name) and not by first name as she would not like that…whew alright then.
The introduction went as I suspected at first in a very business like manner with handshake, business card and explanation as to what I would be doing. Right away she grilled me on my contract wanting to discuss the details. That’s not a problem really but the way she spoke was evident that she demanded a high level of respect and attention, something that I think is acceptable. We got past that and I went on my way to inspect promising to discuss details at the end but bracing myself and wondering if I would be able to adequately explain my concerns without interrupting or otherwise bringing her scorn. I hadn’t seen that yet but was kind of expecting it.
When I was finished I of course held that promise and approached as I did the first time, confident as always, but this time with a smile and she smiled back with her head tilted to the side as if to say, “what have you to say.” When I talked to her she continued to smile and nodding her head once in a while shushing her family when they interrupted, which I thought was funny, but never interrupting me even once. When I spoke I felt like she was making sure the stage was mine. At the end of my speech she asked a few good questions and so did her family. As we all talked her family joked with her and she back. They all laughed and smiled but still maintained an obvious respect for her as such you could see they held her in very high regard and I suspected her as the matriarch of the family. By the end of our conversation I realized this this person was not mean or unreasonably pretentious but rather kind, likable, confident and experienced in life. Someone who has seen more than most.
The lesson is not new to me but something I have come to realize is that preconceived notions are unfair and often times will cheat you out of an experience. I have and do struggle with this at times but will try to meet everyone with an open mind.
Thinking back to when I was so looking forward to self employment I always pictured it to be a life of ease and harmony, anything but the bank. While I will say I am so much happier now than I was there I am finding myself looking forward to my days off lately, something that I have not experienced really in these four or so years since leaving the bank. Wow I can't believe it's been that long. It seems like just yesterday I would drag myself in and sit in front of the PC for hours surfing the entire internet day after day…whatever that's done now I need to stop comparing things to the bank. Why do I always do that?
So here I am now busy as hell and working day and night basically. The only time I worked more was at the factory (Sweepsters) and it's interesting that I still think about that place too. Actually I have dreams about that place once in a while and find myself working there again with the old crew. In my dreams I am always going back to the factory after a time away but nothing has changed and I am not sad to be there, it's almost like a reunion or a "coming home" where I belong type feeling. In the back of my mind I've always thought I could go back if nothing else worked out as if it was a safety. My departure was quick but not a lateral move at all as I left the place for a desk job but making less. I was only there for around three years but it seemed like much longer. Here I go again reminiscing about times past again.
Now I am REALLY self employed, yup that's right. I've passed that three year mark out on my own relying only on referrals, hard work, determination and a bit of luck I suppose. At first I really leaned on the "luck" part and really could not figure out how the work just keeps coming though I've always felt I did a thorough job and that by doing so I should make it. My philosophy has always been to hold fast to the idea that a thorough inspection with only the client's best interest in mind is what will build your business. Along the way there were times when I had doubts, as things slowed down a bit, but I learned too that's business. Sometimes it does slow down but now instead of going into panic mode I enjoy those times a bit more knowing that business will, has to, resume. These days, and for a long time, I am working a full load even turning work away consistently enough so that I have hired another inspector. That process is going slower than I hoped for but I am patient.
I suppose as with anything you do there comes a time when you get into sort of a rut and take things for granted, I'm good at doing that I know, but I do appreciate where I am in business. I have to think back to the long nights working at the bank wishing I was home or seeing my kids for only a short while before heading out the door to work. Now at least I am home each night although there are times when I wish I was not home but that's part of being a parent I guess.
Hmm boring blog but just some thoughts I wanted to put down here. Oh there's always vacations. I am heading up north at the end of this month and again the end of next month.
I've been neglecting this blog for a long time but today I read something that encouraged me to continue, something about recording your memories to help you remember them..something like that. So the problem is thinking of something to write because life is to be honest kind of boring right now. Day to day is for the most part the same, I get up at around 7ish to help get the kids off to school, get ready for a morning job, do a report before the afternoon job and eat dinner..sleep and just repeat. Of course there are those days when I might not have a job or only one job but I've dropped the ball recently with filling the time being productive. My intention is always to work out, go explore or just do something but often times I just don't. I've taken up a new favorite pass time of taking one or more of the kids to Hidden Dragon restaurant followed by a trip to the food co-op for organics and such. Those things are not a waste of time at all and in fact plan to do it tomorrow.
What I would like to do is start working out more but that seems to always be the case. Reading some of my earliest blogs I see that but still I fail to get in that regular routine. In a few short months I'm going on this 51 mile bike ride but right now I don't think I could so I need to get back at running or something. I would get the bike out and ride but there's snow and well other things like..just things.
I've always felt it's alright to be content with whatever you do in terms of work. While I can't say I've been content throughout most of my working life I have met several people, in the same position as me, that seemed content with their jobs. There have even been times when when I was really unhappy with a job yet some around me seemed to be fine with the position. I think it has more to do with attitude than position.
Growing up my dad sometimes talked about how hard he worked as a child in Mexico to help support the family. He would go to school after working and then work more when he got out. Then there were times when he would have to leave school early in the year to work in the fields to bring in income. His had work was something I always looked up to and hard work has always appealed to me. I mean the thought of digging a trench under the hot sun sounds alright to me. Unfortunately that type of manual labor doesn't pay the bills these days.
Recently I was thinking about my situation and how I am starting to feel content but somewhat uncomfortable with that. In a way I see it as being lazy or unwilling to improve my situation. While I do really enjoy what I do and make decent money I also know business could be better but for some reason the urge to make it grow is all but gone. The thought of being so busy I don't have time for anything other than business makes me uncomfortable, I burned the candle at both ends for too long to get here, but having a day or two without work makes me uncomfortable too. I get antsy when there's noting to do especially when there's nothing lined up. Another thing that's always in the back of my mind is what if business just stops all together and I have no leads or work? In the years I've been doing this I think about that whenever I have an unscheduled day off, three this week. I don't know, coming back recently from a vacation where I didn't make a dime probably adds to this paranoia.
I'm off to inspect a home……