I have always enjoyed quotes. It’s interesting to think about what the circumstances must have been when the quote was first made.

Harry S. Truman’s “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” is one that comes to mind. Do you think he was in the midst of developing some culinary delight when he succumbed to the rising temperature?

I bet the quote was never intended to be used in the way it has been over the years. We rarely associate the “heat in the kitchen” with food preparation, but have come to associate it with someone’s inability to handle adverse conditions.

It doesn’t take much imagination to apply some of these quotes in our industry. For example:

The Truman quote could apply to those who falter under less than ideal conditions, such as heat waves, employee issues, licensing issues, or not wanting to deal with customer complaints.

Here is another quote that applies to our industry:

“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” The author, Douglas Adams, was an English humorist & science fiction novelist. You may recognize his work “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

To his point, at the end of the day, do you feel good about the product or service you provide? If you feel that you’ve done a job well, but did so at the expense of your integrity or sincerity, have you really succeeded? If you are keeping score without taking into account the means to an end that you used, and if any process placed your integrity or sincerity in jeopardy, then I say you made one of the most expensive mistakes possible.

In the blink of an eye, you can lose your integrity in the view of the customer or the public at large, and never get it back.

What takes each of us a lifetime to acquire by way of our words (to talk the talk) and our actions (to walk the walk) stays with us and, in many cases, precedes us when it comes to our interaction with customers.


”Character is doing the right thing when nobody is watching.” This quote is attributed to former U.S. congressman J. C. Watts. The entire quote goes on to state, “There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”


There are far too many of us in this industry who just ‘want to get by.’ Many are willing to do the least necessary to ‘get by’ with the hopes of greater profits as a result. For example, some of us are willing to circumvent licensing procedures or insurance requirements, or won’t pull a permit to save a buck.

Those who choose to do things the right way, and who maintain a high level of integrity and sincerity, will be successful long after the quick in-and-out types have gone.

You need to decide whether you want to take the path of least resistance, or kick it up a notch, and separate yourself from others. Remember, it’s much better to “live your life as an exclamation, rather than an explanation.” I couldn’t find anyone to whom I could credit this quote.

John L. Lloyd has been involved with HVAC for the past 30 years in a variety of positions and has presented programs and seminars for groups both in and out of this industry. John can be reached at jlloyd@prudentialhvac.com