by Vikki Anderson
As I write my Feng Shui book, I recall a class I had taken at Caldwell College, given by Feng Shui Designs out of California, for the Advanced Feng Shui Practitioner. This was the third such certification course I had taken with Feng Shui Designs because I find them to be outstanding teachers, very ethical and they give their students the tools they need to have a successful Feng Shui Consultation/Teaching practice. So, as usual, thank you Helen and James Jay. (My Feng Shui book entitled, Feng Shui This! A Guide to Health, Wealth and Happiness — which is almost completed — is dedicated to them).
As we were sharing stories of our Feng Shui consultation experiences, one young woman in class told us of her ordeal in Tahiti. She lives in Hawaii and was chosen by a Hawaii resident who was the sister of a group in Tahiti. The reason I bring this particular story to your attention is (for all new consultants) that a practitioner or consultant can go above and beyond what is normally expected of a Feng Shui consultant and this particular woman certainly did. (She asked that I not use her name, but had permission to write his abbreviated version of her story).
Her consult was going to be for a two week period. Her airfare was paid but many of her other expenses were not. She was given a place to stay on the property so was at the mercy of her clients. As time went on, she had learned that it was a much bigger piece of land with more than seven structures or farms, as I recall, on them. At one point, she had to swim in a lagoon about 500 meters to get to the other side. The people with her were clapping their hands loudly and she didn’t know why, but later found out that the water had small sharks in it and the noise “usually” kept them away! Her clothes were carried in an ice chest that one of her helpers brought along. I kept suggesting that she advertise: Feng Shui Consultant Who Is Willing To Swim with Sharks! That in itself was unbelievable and we were all glad there were no accidents or attacks.
As we talked on about this particular consultation, we learned that she had stayed in a room on one of the farms with the family who owned the property. She told us later that her room had rats in it. She ate meals with the family — so again was at their mercy because one never knows what someone is going to serve for meals and if you would like it or not, especially being from Hawaii and then America. We all have our own likes and dislikes and it would be easier if you could be in a hotel where you could order from a menu according to your tastes. The most disturbing thing was that her day started at 6:00 AM when she got up and then left the farm at 7:30 AM and the day ended at 11:00 PM because she was with this family and had to go according to their schedule. (By talking with her, it did seem as if they were taking advantage the whole time she was there, but this is my opinion).
She had to tell the owners of the property to buy 100 pounds of rice which had to be transported by wheel barrow. Rice is fairly cheap; however, the outdoor blessing took a few days and she actually mixed the ingredients for the blessing one bowl at a time! She also personally paid for the countless packages of realgar (a very expensive ingredient in yard or house blessings) and took that fee out of her total consultation fee.
The more we heard about this consultation, the more we had known that our fellow Advanced FS Practitioner had been taken advantage of. Although she did manage a $15,000 fee for the two weeks, after deducting many expenses which were not paid for by the client separately, she figured out that she may have gotten $10,000-11,000 out of the deal after all the supplies she had to purchase. Yes, this sounds like a lot, but for the amount of time she had put into this assignment, plus the never ending additional assignments that followed and was included in same consultation, she had been taken for a ride – or should we say Swim?
Then she informed us that the people kept emailing her with never ending questions when she returned home and wanted this to be considered as part of the original fee for her two weeks’ work. We had to inform her that it was not part of the original fee or agreement and to tell the client she was busy and that they could set up an appointment for an hour at a set fee and she could answer all of their questions then.
The point I am trying to make is that as consultants, we need to be covered too. I have come from a corporate background where I worked for a lawyer twenty out of the thirty years with the same Fortune 50 company. I cannot stress the fact enough that we all need contracts with specific hours, specific tasks that we will accomplish during our consultation at a specific fee. The word here as you may have noticed is SPECIFIC. Have a contract so both of you know what is expected of you and vice versa.
You don’t have to swim with sharks or sleep with rats. You don’t need to sleep in your client’s home eating food that you may not like AND you need your own space to reflect, meditate, or do something on your own time. This is not slave labor, we provide a valuable service for a reasonable work schedule. We can work a regular 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM day or as many consultants prefer, limit your consultation to six hours per day. This is draining enough without going on into the wee hours of the night and/or morning. Long hours are ridiculous especially if this is in a foreign country — wouldn’t it be nice to see the local scenery and meet some of the natives on your own and not be inundated with never ending questions which totally drain your energy and health?
Don’t be taken advantage of if you are a consultant; if you are a client, do not take advantage of your consultant as most will not stand for it and the ones that will – well, we are trying to teach them to be more assertive and build up healthy boundaries that everyone can respect.
All in all, the class was wonderful, but this story was a real eye opener. I will always remember the woman who swam with sharks…
I later wondered if I would ever be that dedicated?
For a private Feng Shui consultation, call Vikki at 570-215-4223 or email her at Starscape50@optonline.net or visit her website at http://www.fengshuimoon.com. Do not reprint all or part of this article without using author’s full name or web site url. Copyright 2008-2010 with upcoming book entitled, “Feng Shui This!”