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The Old Engineer and his/her hammer


I never am offended when someone does not hire me as a notary stating or complaining that my fees are too high (when actually they quite reasonable). I am saddened though. I have been a paralegal for over 30 years and have worked in an array of legal fields. My exposures and diversities have given me keen insight to aspects that may not have been afforded to those who have not had the same situational experiences. I guess you could say I have seen things from all sides now (LOL). Having said that though, I believe EVERYone has something to teach us and I am always open to learning new things, ideas, and procedures or ways to accomplish certain tasks. Please feel free to “correct” me if you will, but be prepared to be able to have a conversation about it so that true communication is not lost. As George Bernard Shaw put it: “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.”


Back to point: my sadness does, however, come when I know that my prospective client does not understand the parable of the "Old Engineer and the Hammer." I am always honest when I believe that a request to accomplish a certain task for notarization may be "above my pay-grade" and am fortunate to have attorneys on my contact list that I can honestly say that I have worked with and believe that they know their own “hammer.” I have nooooo problem letting someone know that. Even more-so that they should consult an attorney prior to my even creating or executing/notarizing a document. I recently had one client who was donating her inherited (naked ownership) portion of property from her father to her brother. The mother still had usufruct. Knowing that inherited property is separate property in Louisiana (until commingled), I asked her if her brother had consulted with an attorney as to how that DONATED portion would affect HIS portion of HIS inheritance and the further of it. (Although I cannot legally advise, I CAN educate.)

Before I get too far of topic, please read this well-known business parable; it goes something like this (and I do believe it is called the “Old Engineer and the Hammer”):


"A very large machine in a factory stopped working and was causing the company to lose a great deal of money because it was not producing. The factory owners had consulted with several ‘experts’ but none of them could show the owners how they could solve the problem.


Eventually the owners brought in an old man who had been fixing these kinds of machines for many years. After inspecting the large machine for a minute or two, the old man pulled a hammer out of his tool bag and gently tapped on the side of the machine.


Immediately the machine sprung back into life and was again producing.


A week later the owners of the business received the invoice from the old engineer for $10,000. Outraged at the amount of the invoice, the owners called the old engineer and asked him to send them a complete itemization of this invoice (believing they would be able to argue his fees). The old engineer accommodated the owners and forwarded an itemized invoice as follows:


Tapping with a hammer: $10.00

Knowing where to tap: $9,990.00


The moral of the story is that, while having knowledge OF a hammer is important, knowing how (and where) to "apply" the hammer makes all the difference.”


KNOW YOUR WORTH - Just saying.



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