This is a battle of the mind. “personal responsibility”

July 1, 2013

Food Stamps

We all know housing is a huge factor of the cost of living. My line of work puts me in a position of unique perspective. I make my living by providing housing, and I constantly struggle with the cost of doing so. My costs are reflected by the monthly rental charge of my units, and more and more I find myself compensating, with rent increases, for costs that could have been prevented by making a simple phone call, in a timely manner.

For example, I just recently paid $69.53 for plywood, new floor tiles, glue, a box of screws, and a beeswax seal, and $50 for labor, to replace a section of floor in a bathroom, that was damaged because a tenant did not inform me, that there was water coming out on the floor every time they flushed the toilet. It was the beeswax seal. They just go bad sometimes, and it’s a problem that is very easily fixed. A beeswax seal costs $2.79 and only takes about 10 minuets to change out.

Re-sheeting a floor on the other hand, is considerably more expensive, and far more time consuming. Before I hurt my back, this project would have taken me about 5 hours to complete, and that’s only because I have done it so many times, my skills are honed and precise.

I consider myself fortunate, that throughout my adult life, I have made a point of defining my personal, and my business reputation, with courtesy and generosity. The individual I hired to do this specific repair for me, offered to do it for free, but I insisted he accept something for his trouble.

Over the years I’ve contributed my knowledge and skills to benefit family, friends, and acquaintances, on countless occasions, without even a suggestion of compensation.

This lifestyle, which I think it really should be called, has won me the respect of many people I have recently had to rely on, to assist me with tasks I can no longer perform on my own, but I cannot accept the same generosity, even in reciprocation. The fact of the matter is, my back problem is not a temporary situation.

I have been, and I will continue to be, one who is frequently left to carry the cost, when individuals get it into their heads, that they are somehow entitled to expect others to do things for them, for nothing.

In simplest terms, I refuse to allow myself to even walk on the edge of that mentality.

I can’t tell you how many times I have spent significant amounts of money, to correct situations like the one I mentioned, that could have been very easily prevented, if individuals would have exercised even the slightest amount of personal responsibility.

I don’t expect my tenants to do maintenance, or make repairs to my properties, but I always assert to new tenants, before they ever move in, that they need to let me know when things need to be fixed.

It should be a given, that your landlord can’t fix a water leak before it causes major damage, if he or she doesn’t know about it.

Unfortunately, I have long since lost track of how many times I have been told, to my face, that it is my responsibility as the landlord, to ensure everything stays in working order.

It is my responsibility to make repairs, but Montana State Law only allows a landlord to make 1 random inspection in a given month.

It’s unreasonable to expect anybody to have the luxury of time, to maintain continuous awareness of the conditions of a residence, in which they do not reside, and yet, there is a growing number of people in our society, that do expect as much, and even more.

It’s all part of the same underlying mentality, but the real question is, what can we do about it?

As we are dealing with a common way of thinking, there isn’t any 1 approach that’s going to solve the problem. We have to take charge and do what we can, when we can.

I talk to people about what I do. My family, friends, some personal acquaintances, and especially my children, frequently hear about how much it costs me to run my business. Given the opportunity, I don’t hesitate to emphasize the other effects of the underlying source mentality.

Talking to people about what we know is something we can all do, but I think there’s even more we can do.

Obviously I encourage everybody to pay attention to legislation, and to speak their minds to our legislators, but passing laws isn’t the only responsibility, our leaders should bear.

I’ve seen plenty of speeches calling for public support of this bill, or that, but I would like to see more charismatic speakers, stand up and appeal to the sense of individuality, that we all have to one degree or another.

We can pass all the bills we want, but we can’t legislate all of our problems away. Peace and happiness is not something an individual can receive from another, we create it for ourselves by standing up to challenges. Every little thing we do to find a solution to a problem on our own, like making a simple phone call to report a water leak, builds on our sense of satisfaction through self empowerment.

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