There's a tagline I love "Skilled Labor Isn't Cheap and Cheap Labor Isn't Skilled" No words could ring more true than in today's building/construction world. No pictures today. Just me yapping about the most difficult thing we deal with inside of this company. We deal with difficult back yards, lots of mud, building departments, inspectors, mosquitoes, bees, other things in the air, picky customers......the list could go on and on, but the hardest thing to do is find a good, skilled employee. A week or so ago, I put an ad on this website, and on other venues to find someone. Out of 34 responses, only 2......yes, only 2 told the truth, knew what they were talking about, had tools, had transportation, had verifiable references, and had actually built something other than a doghouse. I got lucky 3 years ago, and that employee is still with us today, so hoped for that result once again. We DID find someone, but the process to get to that person was very dismal. The folks responded as if they were desperate for work. We've got work to keep people busy for 6 days a week right now, and did they want it? No. Not many wanted a normal 5 day work week. When I asked one if he knew what a "square" was, he replied "not a circle" and laughed. Could he/she read a tape measure? Another person replied they would need a refresher if it wasn't strict feet or inches with no fractions of measurements. I'm sorry, but if you don't know how to measure properly or use a building square, then you haven't built anything to tell anyone about. Most everyone that called could handle being a helper, but we don't need just a warm body standing around waiting to carry something, load or unload, or pick up trash. I need someone with some knowledge and skills; and that folks, is very rare these days. An older gentleman called and he knew his stuff...I thought here we go, finally somebody has called me that we could use. But, then he starts giving me his list of can't's and won't's.....he won't climb a ladder anymore, he won't do roofs any longer, he can't be on his knees much, and he can't bend over all day. I understand about being worn down, but what are we supposed to do with that? I can make exceptions, but if you can't give me at least 1 out of 4, then I have to keep looking. If you actually do get them as far as out to a job site, then they're late, have 49 emergencies, too sore, drunk or high, or don't show up at all. We went through 3 of those before we found our last employee. We do not pay cheap wages, even starting pay is above average. I'm not looking for a cheap crowd that will work themselves silly for $10.00 an hour. I'm looking for quality, not quantity. It baffles me how some contractors find enough to run 2 and 3 crews, and not have to be babysitting each day. You have my admiration. Anyway, as I said we did find someone, and he has the basic knowledge, willingness to learn, and be taught the skilled trade of building decks
So, that was my madness and frustration for the past week or so. I will end my employee rant with saying that this situation has made me fully support http://www.skillsusa.org/about/overview/ and the Mike Rowe Works foundation http://profoundlydisconnected.com/ Whether you attend or attended a private school or public school, EVERY middle school and high school should have a Skills USA chapter. There should be a direct pipeline from each and every secondary educational institution that gives students a choice, instead of cornering them into a career choice they may not be happy with.......there's plenty of programs and degrees offered for a suit and tie job, but hardly anything offered in high schools to learn a skilled trade. Most people act like it's beneath them or their children to work in the construction, plumbing,or the electrical trade. I know plenty of older gentleman that have made a good living from these trades, and have been excellent providers for the families. They're a dying breed though, and we are dependent upon the younger people to carry on these skills...and that's a non-existent breed. Something has got to change the mindset of the younger generations. Whom is going to continue to build our homes, office buildings, or shopping areas? I've heard the younger people reply that automation will do it all some day. You don't want me to get started on robots doing construction :)
Have a good day.