When the 1940’s New Yorker artist and writer James Thurber came up with the idea of “The War Between Men and Women,” he wasn’t thinking of notaries. He was simply thinking of the way things are…sometimes. Well, let’s face it: the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ idea isn’t new. Men and women are complementary…not always complimentary. So it should come as no surprise that notaries–male and female–appear to have slightly different ways of doing the job. The war between men and women continues…right in our own backyard.
http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/12/0812/0803art/welcome1.jpg Here is an original Thurber drawing that shows you Thurber’s idea of the war between men and women. When the man comes home, his wife’s role or tendency to dominate is grossly exaggerated: the whole house has become the woman. She has taken over, and is seen as a bully. As one joke goes (obviously created by a man who felt unfairly treated by women), “If a man is alone in the forest and he says something–and there is no woman to hear it–is he still wrong?” People (borrowers?) often see spouses as adversaries, and sometimes seem to have a dread of the opposite sex. Male borrowers or clients may feel more comfortable hiring a man…and the wife–if she is the one in charge–may want to hire a woman. Are men and women notaries competing for work? Do clients have a preference?
Eighty percent of the male notaries we talk to generally seem to be all about business. They don’t tend to go to signings on dirt roads at night…perhaps because they are not feeling as pressured to take on any and all assignments at the beginning to get paid. They find ways to get the borrowers to read the documents and understand them, but they don’t go overboard. They know how to make people feel comfortable, but they are not inclined to chat or stay longer than they have to. Yet they are great at figuring out and explaining the logistics and numbers so that title companies and borrowers and clients are served. Male notaries have less patience for signings that go on and on, and they run a tight ship. Still, they know a good deal or a bad deal when they see one, and are able to persuade clients when to call a loan officer or attorney. The male notaries don’t always see the value of reviews at first…but when they start getting reviews, they are unstoppable and no woman can compete with them. They get lots of work, lots of praise, and they close. That remaining 20%, though, already seem to have all the good qualities noted above, plus the compassion and patience and good humor of the women who are notaries. It’s a bird, it’s a plane–it’s Super Notary! Ladies, beware!
Of the hundreds of female notaries we’ve talked with, on the other hand, almost all have this amazing sense about people. They listen. They repair situations that are falling apart. Women who are notaries make friends easily. The paradox is they may not always make good choices at first about where to go for work or where to meet clients, and they don’t always stand firm and get people to sign; in a difficult situation, female notaries often leave. But women who are notaries get people to relax, feel good, and spend extra time (“time wasted,” grumbles one ferociously successful male notary) helping borrowers or clients, driving them places, or listening to their problems. For the most part, they are the opposite of the domineering image of a woman Thurber portrays in the cartoon above! People like their style and their compassion, and although female notaries seem to spend more time doing their jobs, the satisfaction, praise, and reviews they get in return keep them going…and going…and going. They, too, are good at numbers and details, and at explaining documents. As one male notary told me today, “Female notaries sometimes have trouble because there are some men [borrowers] who like to intimidate women. Period.” Yet although they know when to leave, the women often prefer to stay and make friends. “If you want a sympathetic notary, hire a woman,” one young male notary told us. “I am a contract closer, not a hair stylist who will embody compassion and discuss your most intimate secrets,” he quips. “Well,” says one successful woman who is a notary with agencies in several states, “they say, If you want it done, ask a man; if you want it done right, ask a woman.”
Which notary should I hire? Compassion is important to me; if both sexes displayed this trait, there would be no war between men and woman…and no war in general. But compassion is not what counts most in the notary business. The female notary who is organized and has mastered the journal and the no-nonsense “time is money” approach does well as a notary, and never fears going into any situation because, besides her can of pepper spray and years of experience and praise, she brings the confidence that she is the equal of any man, and any client. It also helps that this Super Notary (Woman) or Notary Woman is impeccably dressed, always on time, always patient yet never loses control of the situation and the time–and is trained in every kind of document and exception to every rule. She is not masculine in any way, and is, in fact, often so gorgeous or personable that she frequently gets asked out by the single males she does notary work for…and even sometimes by the married ones. However, Super Notary (Man) is also a force to be reckoned with, a mix of upbeat kind remarks, punctuality, courtesy, humor, and an ability to explain and present documents concisely in just the right way, firmly, and in record time. He knows when someone is being cheated, and knows how to steer that borrower to discover it for him-or-herself. Super Notary is strong yet laid back, personable but never unprofessional or suggestive…and everyone feels he really cares and would defend their interests to the death…because he’s “a good guy at heart,” the Christopher Reeve of the notary world. Aw gee.
It seems the best notaries I’ve met on 123notary are those who exhibit the traits traditionally associated with both men and women. So how to decide? I have two in mind (you know who you are!) Which notary should I hire?
Which one would be most likely to assist me if anything went wrong? The notary with the best manner…or the best journal? I need to hire a notary. I’ve narrowed it down to two. Given a choice between two notaries I have in mind, one male and one female–I am totally baffled about which to choose. They both answer their phones, are sensible and savvy, have certifications and wonderful reviews, and solid lives that show that they themselves are financially sound and exemplify good decision-making. Which notary should I hire?
The one with the most experience who can also give the clearest and kindest explanation…no matter how long it takes…without pushing me or rushing me or getting angry.
No woman could be quite as fearsome as the woman pictured in the Thurber drawing above (I hope), or any man as dull or spineless as that tiny husband. But any pleasant, upbeat, reasonably competent male or female notary would easily win out over these–well–cartoon characters…because real people are compassionate as well as accurate and on-time, funny as well as serious, strong in some ways and weak in others…and all flawed in their own inimitable ways. Which notary should I hire? If it’s an important loan I really am not sure about, I want nothing less that the best in the business, and that has to be decided on the basis of references and quality and concrete evidence. After all, that’s how notaries get paid.
So tonight, I’m going to flip a coin.
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I get a call from a notary public that it is clear that she is rather upset. She is a new notary public / notary signing agent and she is trying to put forth her best effort. And, it is a challenge to say the least.
She gets her first call and she is so excited. I can remember how that feels. I am sure most of you old timers can as well. 🙂 She takes the assignment and all goes well from start to finish. She returns the documents and a few days later she gets the most dreaded phone call that we all have received at one time or another. The folks that hired her had called to say that she would have to go back to the borrowers house at her expense because she had printed the documents front and back (printer duplexes) and the lender had refused them. It seems that they wanted them printed on single sheets. I’m thinking someone dropped the ball on this one and I suspect I know who. But I need more information.
It was clear she was very upset because she had felt that she hadn’t don’t anything really wrong but was not sure. ONLY one thought came to mind and I asked only one question. Did they give you specific questions to NOT print front and back? Her answer was no. I asked was she positive, she was. So, I told her that although she would inevitably have to go back that this was not her fault and it should NOT be at her expense. I told her that if they hadn’t given her specific instructions NOT to print the documents front and back that that was on them not her. Some of our printers depending on the model (and once set up properly and if they have the duplex function as in this case) are going to print they way they were SENT. I told her to call them back and let them know that she had carefully checked her records and found no evidence that she was not to print this way (single sheets) and if thye had wanted them printed on single sheets they should have sent the PDF in single sheets. And last but not least, if they wanted her to reprint and go back then she would need to be compensated for both trips. (Keep in mind people that were are not mind readers. We are not here to play guessing games. We should be given specific instructions and then we need to follow them to letter.
What I believe happened is that the lender probably sent the documents with instructions how to print and then the information was sent to title and then to a signing service. Somewhere in there somebody dropped the ball. Which is why things get messed up so often. There are way to many people involved in these transactions.
But, in the end it is the notary public that gets blamed. It is unfortunate but true. So so often when they screw up they want the notary public to go back or fix something with no compensation…This is totally unacceptable. They do this because it eats into their profits. But if they got it right in the first place then things would go a whole lot smoother for them and for us.
Now I told our notary public what I felt she should do and so far I haven’t heard back…so I will assume no news is good news. If I hear anything new regarding this incident I will write another blog…. in the mean time please get and READ those instructions and ask questions if not sure. And get EVERYTHING in writing. It will save your you know what! 🙂
Until next time be safe!
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