Too many real estate agents remind me of Rudolf Höss. Höss was a person of contrasts: during the day he would manage Auschwitz while off hours he was a family man. People don’t come in more flawed a form than this one, so it’s good to try and learn from the phenomenon.
We all have a sense of morality ingrained in us: we have a sense of what is right and what is wrong; we can instinctively tell when someone is being wronged. Research clearly indicates at the universality of this sense we’re all equipped with through examples with kids that are yet to be exposed to much teaching (in the process proving that morality does not come from religious indoctrination). The puzzle around people like Höss has to do with their ability to suspend this ethical sense in a very selective way; my observations clearly indicate that many real estate agents perform the same suspension of ethics in their course of work. It appears as if in their case it is the lure of cash – plenty of it in one big transaction – that drives this suspension.
We’re all guilty of suspending our ethics from time to time. For example, most of us eat meat, a process that requires us to turn a blind eye to the horror that befell the animals we consume, the vast amounts of water and fossil fuels that were consumed in its raising, the damage to the environment the poor animals have made through their various forms of feces, and the forests that often had to be cleared in order to make space for them (to name but a few issues). The element that allows us to get away from these ethical issues the most is the passive nature with which we consume the meat, yet for the real estate agents the experience is not passive at all. Indeed, they are very active in their application of psychological tricks on both buyer and seller, the people they are meant to serve, their paying customers.
Just like with Höss before them, I don’t understand how these people are able to sleep at night. How can they live with themselves when they so openly and so frequently break the law, toy with people’s emotions, and blatantly cheat and mistreat them in order to make a buck?
In my opinion, one cannot be an ethical person half the time; Höss’ case proves the point quite well. But like it or not, Höss also proves that humans are capable of willingly suspending their sense of ethics. Which is why I was thinking of him – again – as I was telling yet another real estate agent to cut the bullshit yesterday.
The above is obviously a generalization that may apply to some real estate agents but definitely not all of them. There have to be some that still have an operable sense of good and bad about them.
In the next post I’ll take you for a look at the real estate agents our home buying adventures have bumped us into thus far as we further explore that unique real estate agent experience.