Definition of Principle

It has often been said that real estate agents and brokers in NYC are not exactly known for their ethics, morals or values. Let’s face it, we have a really bad reputation here in Manhattan.

Today, I was reading a few real estate sites and the message boards were full of anti-broker comments.  I must say, it is always disheartening to come across those who do not practice a set a values in this business.  On the flip side, I have had the pleasure of working with some really great brokers who always do the right thing — even if it means walking away from dishonest situations.  Over the years I have diligently tried to change that perception of the shady broker–it is actually one of my written goals.

Recently, without going into details or tarnishing the image of the individuals who are involved, I was put in a compromising quandary here in NYC real estate.  Something I could not agree to do.  So, I simply said,  “ I cannot do it because of the principle of it!”

It is nearly seven days after that meeting and nothing has been resolved.  My children, Grace and Sam asked me tonight about the status.  By their questions, I also realized they, like those of last week, do not know what is meant by me when I say, “It’s the principle of it”.

So, I used a very simple analogy to explain it to my children.

I said to them:

“Let’s say you worked really, REALLY hard all quarter long at school and earned an “A” in every subject. During that same quarter you happened to notice that a really popular classmate (whose family gave a lot of money to the school) was cheating.  So you said something to the teacher about the popular kid cheating, and never brought it up again. You actually never thought about the kid who cheated again because you were too busy working for those As!   Even though you are not popular, did not come from a wealthy family, like your classmate, you were really proud of what you accomplished and could not wait to get that report card. 

It is now the last day of the quarter and you are waiting for your teacher to give you your report card, and see your name on the honor roll! But, your teacher kind of made it difficult for you. Your teacher said to you, that in order to get your report card and be on the honor roll, you would have to sign a document that said you never saw or reported that your classmate was cheating…What would you do?”

Sam said: “Mom, that’s just not right!”

Grace said: “Mom, that would be a bribe…”

Sam said: “Mom, that would make me a cheat too by lying…(long pause) I couldn’t do it.”

I smiled and said: “That is what is meant by: It’s the principle of it!”

Grace and Sam replied: “We get it Mom.”

Definition of Principle (n):The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: a decision based on principle rather than expediency.