Tuesday

Community Cover Ups - What Some Don't Want You to Know

Have you ever worked for an establishment that was less than honest?  If so, then you know you were most likely left with a choice either tell the truth, tell part of the truth, leave the truth out, or walk away.  For some of us, we looked for the opportune time and left different groups, settings, and people because they just didn't meet our personal standards.  They were either dishonest with the way they did things or deceptive when explaining them so at times they may have even left you scratching your head.  Of course, there were some shades of gray with these deceitful people that most likely moved some of you to leave your fields behind altogether, but for the sake of time, I will get on with the topic of this blog entry entitled, Community Cover Ups : What Some Don't Want You to Know.  In the property management industry there are those who are in the know about everything that is going on at the top.  From the personal interests of the building owner to what the secretary likes for lunch.  These same people also know what not to say or do to peeve the owner, investors and others.  Therefore, they will make sure employees do what is asked, no questions asked.

Now the cover up comes in to play usually when someone on the outside starts looking in at the inner workings of the company.  The resident who comes with a complaint is going to start asking questions.  He or she wants to know why something has been overlooked in his or her apartment, town home or rented house.  Now those who are out in the field, low level apartment management, only know what is being told to them by corporate management, those who run the business and all its employees.  So if corporate instructs community managers not to hold off on getting this thing or that thing fixed, then that's what they are going to do.  If those who work at the top are having some money troubles, they aren't going to let everyone privy on what is happening anyway.  Of course, there are those who manage to find out things; however, they know that if they do too much talking their jobs will be at risk, so they whisper amongst each other and talk in code with residents as if some day someone is not going to open up their mouths and say, "But she said...He told me that..."

The ones who have no clue what is really going on in the "big house" are those who have no direct access to those at the top unless owners just so happen to visit their properties.  So when the maintenance guy finds out that a resident has an ongoing issue in his dwelling, it is quite natural for him to act surprise and say, "I was unaware.  Was there a work order placed with the office?  Did anyone come out?"

Behind the scenes there is a lot happening and it isn't always pleasant.  Managers must meet budgets.  Owners must pay people.  And of course, residents must be happy.  But if there are some money problems at the top, personality differences, and other shady dealings then all those things will eventually come trickling down into the community at large.  Once happy residents are now unhappy.  Maintenance and housekeeping workers start thinking about working elsewhere.  Leasing consultants don't work as hard as they use to and managers they are left holding everyone's bags.  Meanwhile all the resident wants to know is, "When is someone going to come out here and fix my stuff!  I waited two weeks already!  If someone doesn't come out here fast, I think I will be contacting my lawyer!"  Does management want that?  Of course not.  However, there are those owners who are as tough as nails.  It doesn't matter what a resident threatens to do.  He or she will hold out for as long as he or she can until the resident decides he or she will move.  Now that might cost the tenant since he or she signed the contract, but contracts can be broken if owners and management are in agreement. then again maybe not--it all depends on how long and how loud the disgruntled resident screams.

So what about those cover ups, you might ask.  Why bother with them in the first place?  Why don't everyone just do their jobs?  In a perfect world, that would happen, but we don't live in any perfect world.  Look at our society far too many people are more concerned about money rather than relationship building.  It's just easier for some to pass the buck.  "That's not my job...I don't care...Why should I do anything that's not my prospect?" These are just a few of many, many statements staff say to one another.  The cover ups tend to come into play when someone along the chain of command screws up.  From paperwork to promises, a staff member opened up his or her mouth too soon about: assisting a resident, saying a job was complete before it was even started, knowing how to do something when the worker really doesn't have a clue, committing to a relationship with a staff member or a resident and now there is World War III affecting one's job performance, and more.  Management then has to make wrongs right by smiling and reaching some sort of compromise with the resident while frowning at his or her irresponsible employee.  This compromise might cost a little or a lot of money, both of which no manager wants to have come out of his or her budget if he or she can help it.  But let's just say that a cover-up does cost a lot of money to fix, now corporate is involved.  "Why are we spending XYZ for this?  What did your maintenance guy do?  What the#$%^&?" a boss doesn't want his lunch coming back up behind some on-the-job foolishness.

Other cover ups include things like, literally painting over something that should have been fixed prior to move in or taping duct tape to fix something that should have never been fixed with tape!   I have actually witnessed some things like this.  I was also the unhappy resident ready to blow up on someone too!  Old water stains covered up with a little paint by owners who don't want to repair a roof because it cost more than they can afford to pay.  I guess they assumed that it would never rain and reveal their tacky job?  Although I saw this situation developing prior to move-in, I couldn't get the one who signed the lease to recognize the problem beforehand.  Then there are those cover ups when it comes to things like electrical problems.  I was a victim in this situation too.  Apparently the crackling behind the wall and a blown out outlet had been overlooked, at least, so they say.  Then there are things like insect problems which I had been promised that the issue had been taken care of only to be welcomed by a few too many critters.

Leasing units with un-supportive management is one of the worse situations to be in when working in the apartment management industry.  You experience unnecessary stress from both sides.  The corporate office wants to see numbers, yet they don't recognize their part they play in permitting the numbers to sink by not meeting the demands of the residents.  Meanwhile, the lower level managers attempt to keep the faith by telling their people, "Oh my boss will take care of it.  This is a good company to work for.  We take care of our people."  Cover up statements to go along with covered up problems!  Like with all things, the truth will reveal itself sooner or later and when it does, you better not be the one caught in a lie.  It is better to leave a company and all the benefits that come with it rather than compromise your integrity.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Know Your Enemy:  The Christian's Critic.

Wednesday

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media