Moving day comes, and
until they’re completely settled in it’s anywhere from a few days to a
few weeks, depending on how busy the new residents are in their jobs and
They come and giddily
introduce themselves to you on the day of closing or shortly thereafter,
are in deliriously high spirits and want you to know that they will be
the best residents you’ve ever known, will work with you and for you and
put in a good word about you when they get on the board. They will work
to make life great in their new building and you’re sure they will be
your best friends for life.
After moving in, all bets
Here’s the catch. Nothing
is ever quite perfect, even with the wonderful, ideal apartment in the
perfect neighborhood in the immaculate building in which I live and run.
For most purchasers, it’s too easy to overlook the small idiosyncrasies
and foibles or the too unfinished state of the home they have just
bought. That is, until the day after move-in and the first mortgage
payment looms. Reality hits them between the eyes and that tension
headache creeps in as they anticipate writing that monthly maintenance
check for the rest of their natural lives.
God forbid you are busy
with the needs of other residents during this crucial time and cannot
address their “emergencies” (anything they want done right now)
immediately (yesterday). You will quickly become the villain, and fodder
for complaints to your manager. This is the time to set aside all but
the direst of emergencies and lavish all the warmth and attention you
and your staff can muster to their needs.
Forget their possible
buyer’s remorse, you can rapidly become sorry your paths have crossed,
and in spades. You get to believing that these people are going to be
impractical jerks, and are going to hound you to your grave, making
unfeasible and unworkable demands on you and your hapless staff ad
nauseum. You fear that your life will become a series of choices where
on the one hand you are either catering to their needs and theirs alone,
thus drawing the ire and disgust of all the other residents, or on the
other, avoiding these nice new residents at all costs. In a year you
will have to leave the building and take a job in New Jersey because you
have had no time for anyone else but them, consequently everyone else
hates you and will never smile at you again – OR tip you in any month
ending in “ber”.
"You don't really
understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round
will wave at his parents every time around -- and why his parents will
always wave back." --William
It’s the nesting
phenomenon at work. It’s only temporary. This too shall pass. No one
ever said being a super is easy, but it’s not impossible either. And
most people, including your new residents, aren’t crazy. They’re just
It is human nature to fear
change, and moving is one of the most life-changing experiences humans
can put themselves through. For producing stress in a person’s life,
it’s right up there with having a baby and starting a new job. I’ve
heard it from more than one person, including from my own mouth, that
moving is the worst of times in life.
Since your new move-ins
are new to the building and to you, they don’t know you - not like the
other residents know you. The long time residents understand that you’re
a rational, caring person, and know that you will respond to their
requests in good time. Emergencies - the real kind - will get taken care
of immediately. The other “emergencies” will get taken care of also, but
will take just a bit longer. But their needs will be met, they have not
made a mistake taking an apartment in this building, the super is not a
raging idiot who cares less than a whit about them and their problems,
and their lives will go on and indeed, will get even better. It will
take some time to realize this, but it does always happen. “This too
shall pass,” as the wise man said.
It will just take some
time. But how much time will be needed? Depending on the personalities
involved, the time it takes you and your staff to accommodate, acquiesce
and meet or exceed their demands will be very short and relatively
painless, or it can become several excruciating months of hell. But if
you can remind yourself during this time that this too will become
routine to them, and therefore no more a matter of panic or complaint,
you will do yourself and your staff a favor. Their life in your building
does at some point become routine at last, and your life also
becomes…well, boring again.
Sure, it’s nice to get
everything as you like it in your apartment, your building, your life.
But when you’re finished, what else is there? What’s next? You have to
set new goals or your life will become stale and boring.
Because let’s face it,
it’s these times that make it all worthwhile. After all, it’s rarely the
goal - the destination - that is the most fun. It’s mostly the trip -
the getting to the destination - that is the most rewarding.