Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
I have a point so bear with me while I give you some background. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge lover of Golden Retrievers and have owned at least one or two for the last 17 years. In 2015 I lost two to cancer, which was heartbreaking .. so much so that my family decided it was best to wait a bit before getting another golden. It has been difficult getting used to not carrying my lint brush everywhere or rushing home for a bathroom break, but my husband and I have held firm that we need time.
Ok, backstory is done. My son’s teacher has him write a few sentences each week in response to the question, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” She sends the responses home and I always enjoy reading what is on my son’s mind. Here are a few: “We’re having pizza tonight”, “My mom got her haircut” and “I’m having a sleepover with [insert friend’s name here].” You get the idea. This week my son wrote, “We’re getting a kitten.” WHAT?!?! You can imagine what went through my mind. Where in the world did he get that idea? Did he dream it up? Did my husband forget to tell me something? Is it true?
So you’re probably wondering what happened. The best we can figure it was either a dream or wishful thinking. Maybe he knew I’d read it and get him one .. who knows. The incident got me thinking about his teacher’s request … to tell her something she didn’t know, and I thought I’d share a few some lesser known industry tips, so you’re not as caught off guard as I was when I learned about the kitten.
As licensed professionals we all know that we need to be, well “professional.” But did you know that acting in an unprofessional manner could actually jeopardize your license? The Ohio Canons of Ethics has a “conduct unbecoming” provision, which if you’re found to have violated could result in a sanction against your license. The Canons of Ethics for the Real Estate Industry are adopted by the Ohio Real Estate Commission and can be enforced as “misconduct” if they are violated. A licensee is the subject to “high standards of conduct in the licensee’s business and personal affairs.” Further a licensee is urged to “maintain and establish high standards of professional conduct and integrity in dealings with the public and other licensees.” Last, licensees are to “avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
I know you’ll agree that the standard is broad and one could argue most everyone at one time or another in a moment of haste has done things they regret. Years ago I worked on a case where the Division charged a license for “conduct unbecoming” for leaving several profanity riddled voicemails for a fellow licensee. Until the case, I would have thought that such might result in an appearance before the Professional Standards Committee of the local board, but the Real Estate Commission? It is not uncommon for the Division to charge a licensee with “conduct unbecoming.” There was a case against an agent that permitted another agent, that was soon to be affiliating with the agent’s brokerage, to set up a showing under the agent’s name. The Division also charged an agent with accessing a showing before formally setting the showing up. In every instance, there was an explanation for why the agent did what they did, but nonetheless it was a professional lapse that resulted in charges.
My recommendation is this. If you’re hot, cool off before sending the email or voicemail and think carefully whether your action may be considered “conduct unbecoming” in the eyes of your peers or the Division. Now you know.