Last week my Vice President of Sales came back from Washington State, where they manufacture, among other things, the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. He had visited one of our customers, a firm that manufactures components for the big superliner. The owner of that firm, swamped with business, expressed his frustration about being able to hire good people in his manufacturing facility. Despite the fact that his average wage is well over $18 per hour with health care coverage and other fringe benefits, he has difficulty hiring people that he can count on.
Another customer of ours in Louisiana has the same problem, unable to hire even unskilled young workers who are willing to show up every day and take their jobs seriously. In our shop a high school graduate can come to work for us. If he is serious about his duties we will put him through technical school or assist him with a four-year degree in engineering. After he graduates we will provide him with a job that will lead to an excellent career with our company. For any ambitious young man or woman, the pay and benefits are good. By the time they have spent a few years with our company, their skills will be real and they will be in tremendous demand. That’s why we need to pay them more and more, to keep their skill sets in our company.
It would be one thing if you had to be a rocket scientist to get a good job, but that’s simply not the case. Manufacturing people all over the country are saying to me, “Give me a person that will show up for work on time every day. If that person has a good attitude and is enthusiastic about learning, I’ll teach him the skills that he needs to literally write his own ticket in our company.”
Some young people are told that there are no opportunities available to them in this country. This is true if you’re lazy, have no ambition, speak some sort of jive talk that doesn’t resemble English and don’t want to learn or sacrifice for a brighter future. But if you are a reasonably intelligent, forward-thinking, and responsible, all you need to do is show up and try; the job will be waiting for you. In fact, I think that developing a promising career is easier for today’s young people than for those of any previous generation. One reason is that companies need good young people more than ever before. The other reason is that today’s young people don’t have much competition among their peers, many of whom idle away their time in wasteful pursuits.
Some advice for young people: Take your job seriously. Don’t think that you know it all; you probably have overestimated your knowledge. Listen to veteran workers; they may be old, but they have learned a lot of “tricks” through the years and you will benefit by learning from their hard-won experience. Be respectful to your boss, but don’t forget to be equally respectful of your co-workers. Don’t burn any bridges; this always comes back to haunt you later in your career. If you’re not challenged, tell you boss that you want more work, or more difficult work. Don’t worry if you’re criticized by those who lack ambition; they are going nowhere; you are going somewhere. Be bold; sometimes it is easier (and smarter) to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Remember that your value in the workplace is only as good as your skills; it is the people who actually know how to do something that go places.
If you don’t believe me when I say that the world is your oyster with a good attitude and a work ethic, e-mail me. I’ve got a job for you! And I’m Serious!