Renting vs. Owning

So there’s this thing about things.  Some things you can choose to rent or you can choose to own.  Things like cars, or apartments or houses, or tuxedos.  But usually not so much the toothbrushes or underpants.

Not so much.



Renters typically put what they consider to be “reasonable” effort into maintaining the thing they’re renting.  They keep the car kind of full of gas or at least half or at least close to half, and they don’t grind the gears all that much.  They thoughtfully cover their wine spills with furniture.  They rarely do full splits on the dance floor and even if they did one or two they are quite certain the seams were already ripped like that anyway.

Owners, on the other hand, typically go above and beyond to take care of their stuff.  They park three-quarters of a mile away from the mall to avoid door dings.  They put a sheet over great-grandmother Thedalia’s settee and never let anyone sit on it or even look at it or go in the same room as it because IT’S OLDER THAN YOU AND WORTH MORE.  They reinforce the stitching on all the vest buttons because one looks a little wobbly and if you’re reinforcing one button, you might as well do them all.

“Reasonable effort” looks a lot different based on your level of personal investment.

Renters look at things in broad strokes, are content with the 80% (or 72% or 66.67%) result, and have very clear boundaries of what’s their responsibility and what is clearly someone else’s job.  CLEARLY SOMEONE ELSE’S JOB, he says, watching the drip-drip-drip through the ceiling.  He’s a tenant, not a plumber, after all.

Owners sweat the details.  Even with a 100%, they look for ways to get extra credit or to preemptively shore up potential weaknesses.  Everyone’s job is their job, if there’s something that needs to be done.  And while it’s nice for someone to notice and pat an owner on the back, owners will crawl on their bellies through mud and spiderwebs and the most horrifying of specimens (the camel cricket blech) to retrieve the frisbee from under the house not for thanks or credit but because by golly that frisbee is under their jurisdiction and as long as they are in charge NO FRISBEE GETS LEFT BEHIND.

Reasonable?  Depends on who you’re talking to.

So how about you … are you renting your Work, or are you owning it?


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