COMMENTARY 773.5 & STTA #6: The Master Carpenter and His Crumbling Integrity

Hi, this is Michael Josephson with something to think about.

Joe was a master carpenter who worked for Martin, a very successful builder of fine homes for 40 years. When he told Martin he wanted to retire, Martin thanked him graciously and gave him a $10,000 check for Joe’s years of service. Martin owned a magnificent lot with a spectacular view, and he pleaded with Joe to build his dream house before he retired.

Joe agreed but he was deeply disappointed at the amount of the bonus as he had helped Martin make millions of dollars over the years.

Joe prided himself on his perfectionist’s commitment to quality, but the more he thought about the bonus the more resentful he got and, for the first time in his life, he cut corners, ignored details, and accepted shoddy workmanship from other workers.

When the house was finished, the defects were hidden and Martin praised Joe once more and gave him an envelope with a gracious thank-you note and a folded piece of paper. Joe read the note but still felt bitter until he unfolded the paper and found the deed to the house he had just built.

Joe was heartsick when he realized that every defect he covered up would remind him of his betrayal of values and his compromised integrity.

Our character is the house we live in and it’s built piece by piece by our daily choices.

Dishonesty, disrespect, and irresponsibility are just like shoddy workmanship.

Whenever we ignore our potential for excellence and put in less than our best, we create a future full of creaky floors, leaky roofs, and crumbling foundations.

Live with integrity. Pursue excellence in all you do. You’ll never regret it.

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