According to my crack research team, The Go Ogle Corporation, Goats are pretty much the symbol for lust. Baby goats will try to copulate within the first week of their birth. They don't have any of the necessary developments to impregnate a female goat yet, but why should they let that stop them? Because of this trait, goats have also been portrayed as lustful in the myths of many different cultures, such as Pan in the Greek culture, a half human-half goat being, who spent all day in the forest trying to seduce wood nymphs. And let's face it, who wouldn't want that job?
Granted, goats aren't the only animals who behave with wanton lust. In writing this article, I found a great example sitting right behind my chair. This is my dog Fox. That red thing in his paws is his KONG toy, in to which I have slipped two liver snaps. I'm not sure if Fox finds if fun to try to dig them out, but he's now been at this for three hours, and shows no signs of stopping. I would go so far as to say he's lusting after those liver snaps. They consume his mind and he's obsessed with getting them from his KONG to his tummy.
And then we come to humans. Lust, like Envy, is a sin that burns in people. The difference between lust and envy though, is that while envy burns cold (ie. no one left you a piece of birthday cake, but so what, the cake probably wasn't that good anyway), lust burns red hot. People do some pretty stupid things while under the actions of lust because it's an in the moment kind of sin. Envy is cold and calculating, waiting for the right moment. Lust is irrational and demands that you do something RIGHT NOW.
The example of lust that I see the most isn't specific to just our industry. It's in every industry I've ever worked in or observed and I would say it's probably a byproduct of the "middle management age." It's that unquenchable lust for professional power. We can call it drive, or being motivated to advance in our careers, but at the end of the day it just comes down to lust.
When I had just started in the industry, a manager at a sister property to ours had to fire her assistant manager. Being young and not understanding the HR faux pas it was, when I saw her the next time, I asked her what had happened. Her assistant had always seemed very sweet to me and had been very helpful in getting me acquainted with the duties of my new job. She was always willing to lend a hand and appeared to be very on top of everything. I couldn't imagine why anyone would fire someone like that. What that manager told me has always stuck with me, and every time I start to get in that lusty mood for power, I hear her words resonate in my head:
"Heather, you can't cut someone's throat to get their job."
And that's what lust makes us do. We aren't happy with where we are, so instead of focusing on doing our job, and doing it really well, we spend our time dreaming about where we could be if only our supervisor wasn't in the way. We focus on ways to get our supervisor out of the equation. I've seen this manifest itself in several ways, everything thing from a team pulling a full out mutiny, to people setting up others by messing up the books, to people erasing things off the make ready board to make other people look bad when the move in comes and the apartment isn't ready. When someone has a position, or contact, or a relationship that we think we should have we call in to question just HOW they got that relationship and if there's any of that ole' hanky panky going on behind the manager's closed door. Gossip and innuendo kill that person's reputation before they even know what hit them. So, yeah, it's effective, but it makes you a pretty cutthroat and crappy person.
On top of which, I've rarely seen this happen where these kinds of "crap-tics" actually work. I don't care how sneaky you think you are. I don't care how manipulative you think you are. I don't care if you're a full out sociopath who can hide it all really well and put on the face you want people to see. If you pull these stunts, people will find you out, and then you're not only not moving up in the job, but you might very well lose the career you're trying to build. It's a small industry and we all talk to each other. Trust me when I tell you, if you're applying for a job, odds are the person screening resumes knows why you left/got fired from your last one already, or they know someone who knows. You really can't throw mud on someone without getting a little on your suit as well.
And when it comes down to the meat of it, what is it that we're really lusting after here? It's a title, maybe a pay raise, possibly a little respect...but really it's the ability to sit in our new job and start the cycle all over again, not doing the job we're in, but rather spending all our time lusting for the job above us.
Do you want to be promoted? Get a raise? Get acknowledged? I can tell you how you can get that without giving in to dirty tactics and sneaky tricks.
DO. YOUR. JOB.
It's pretty simple. Live in the day and understand that, while it's important to have those goals and ambitions for the future, where you work today is where you work today. As the musical Avenue Q teaches us, "Everything in life is only for now." So embrace your now. Give your now job everything you've got and I can tell you from experience, SOMEONE will take notice. Be consistent in giving it all you've got and a lot more people will take notice. Focus on your team and focus on being a good employee, and when the opportunity to advance comes down the line, your name will be on that list. And this time, you'll actually deserve it, which means you'll enjoy your new position a whole lot more, because you won't be sitting there, day after day, thinking about how to knock out the person in front of you again.
(I'm doing this blog series to promote my new seminar on the 7Deadly Property Management Sins through BTLD Consulting! If you're interested in booking out for the seminar for your team or apartment association, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org)