Guess what? I have nothing to loose as all of you have nothing to loose towards me anyway. So let me tell you why no smart person wants to work for you.
Woodworking is one of the most behind in thinking industries I have ever encountered. Any steps forward made in any other sphere of employment will either a)not be read by our people or b) be criticized heavily by our people.
As if judging the situation changes it. No old man in trades that owns a company will likely take two seconds to second guess himself. He'll get angry at people, machines, the govt, the air around him. ANYTHING before taking a good look at himself. Then He'll come on to this website to find other old angry guys to wra wra wra him and justify the fact that he cannot reach a worker because hey--- all the workers in the world must be Fd not to want to work for him for cheap. Take his mood swings, low pay, and THANK him daily for the God-like graciousness that he has given to people to work in his dusty disorganized WIP stacked hell shop, for the lowest salary in all of trades.
Please, someone, again, post a thread about why o why, no young kids stick to this. You could not keep a smart young kid if your life depended on it.
Most sincerely, KMA, I'm going back to school in two months.
I truly hope you find happiness. Good luck with that.
May I suggest you hire yourself and start your own business? You are unlikely to find the perfect position where the business owner will hire you, turn over the keys, and get out of your way. There is a ton of empty space and decent equipment out there to be had cheap. Just prove all of us idiots and do it, since you already know how screwed up we all are. How do you think many of us old guys got here? Here is an old guy expression: put up or shut up.
I for one am tired of people ranting how everyone else is wrong and he or she is right without any regard for others, and unwillingness to collaborate.
If you are not willing to endure the day to day drudgery of business, maybe the best job for you is to become another talking head in the media. A job where you can get paid to incite others, something you seem pretty good at.
I rarely post on the woodweb. Maybe once or twice a year. Tend to find people critiquing others spelling and grammar then going on unrelated political rants to be pedantic. Just review it from time to time. But I figured I'd respond to your very passionate message.
I've noticed your smart and aggressive. It seems that you want to change and or conquer the world and that's great. The challenge becomes for anyone, man or women, young or old, no matter what industry, how do you do this? If you can see how things should be, then how quickly can change be made and how can an individual employee affect that change?
It seems to me that no matter who you are, in any industry or profession, if you want to make a difference and change the way other people do buisiness you need to be an extremely effective, rational, savvy and effective communicator. You need to be forceful while still being tactful. Your understanding of people's emotions and motivations needs to be second nature. People are resistant and scared of change. People get into a groove that could be good or bad and they want to stay there. If you want to make changes and but can't back it up with patience and a toolbox of interpersonal talents then you will end up frustrated and mad. In turn the people that you are trying to help will become defensive, annoyed and tired of your input.
I believe that the irony of it is that you are not much different then many of the bitter and angry cabinet shop owners. Your both fighting an uphill battle, the cabinet shop owners may not have the skill set to effectively run a business and are frustrated, you see the error in there ways but don't have enough patience, tact or persuasive powers to make changes that are necessary so your frustrated.
So my advice to you is follow the path that life takes you on. Learn and grow as an individual. Understand that change is hard to institute no matter what the circumstance. Realize that the world reacts slowly or not at all. If you want to be effective, gain the skill set to do it and find an environment that fits. In the end take these experiences, learn from them and use them to grow. Don't become bitter and angry like those that you are critical of.
Mel you set yourself up for failure by going in with your attitude that you somehow are the answer of something they are not looking for or wanting to know .
You the basic FNG seem to expect everyone to bow down to you when you have not proven yourself to be anything except a complainer and we all know that tends to permeate throughout a crew and have few positive effects in the long run.
So to us shop owners of 20-30-40 years of working in an atmosphere you described as an disorganized hell shop.
Like pro sports only a small percentage of new shops make it so for the ones of us that have stayed the course we are not likely to take kindly to advice from someone who has not seen what our eyes have seen.
Going back to school is a very wise choice .Good Luck in the future .
As one who was openly "on your side before" let me speak plainly. You've shown your true colors and please don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
You'll find most companies and situations to be the same, for the problem is not the companies who have made it and proven themselves. Those problems that keep following you from job to job, from shop to shop are inherent in you. Life is hard. Work is hard. Nobody appreciates you.
Grow a pair if you want to work in a man's world and deal with it like a men have done for centuries.
Welcome to the real world you spoiled brat that only first world wealth created by a fractional reserve debt fueled soon to go bust and feminism combined could create.
To think I spent several posts and a couple hours of my life defending you before...well lesson learned on my end. Thank you.
Long ago, I quit listening to anyone standing on the fringe, with all of one or two years real experience in a shop, and 20 to 25 years experience on the planet, that roll out some sort of world worthy evaluation on whatever subject they want, not knowing that what they do not know far outweighs anything they might have learned. I no longer suffer fools lightly.
No doubt, some days, I am the cranky shop owner grousing about whatever. The arthritis may be acting up, or that damn knee. But the real difference is that I am there, every day (5 days a week mostly) turning out product. Real product you can see and touch, that has value.
Obviously I do this for money to live on. But in a much larger sense, I do this for me. For my mental health, for my physical health, for my sanity. I know what you don't know - what plenty of others around here know, and others are learning. I know this is the finest way I can spend my time in this life. Making wonderful things out of fine woods, with real joints, good design and such is a higher quality life than I could ever imagine, with depth and purpose and challenge unlike most folks will ever know..
You again don't yet know, and will never know, if I read you right, that real craft does not change thru the years or even the centuries. The iron monger still hammers beside his forge, as he did centuries ago. The potter is throwing mud, unchanged for a very long time. The woodworker eyes a plank and tries to find the best way. As Nakashima said "the soul".
This is what is really going on behind the bent back, the dust and noise, the low wages. A sense of being, presence and quality that makes for a life of purpose, well lived. You just can't see it.
I normally don't respond on these threads but here goes. Young people in general have never sweated there a** off making something that will outlast them on this world. Until someone teaches, guides, bullies them into doing it the first time they don't understand what it is or what it means to do it. Through experience as stated before it then becomes a passion for some, a living for others. But a lot of us really enjoy what we do even though we complain, grouse or just plain bi%^h.
With 25yrs in, I've been through my share of the younger generation, and yes I've been angry......
Angry for having grown men (19-30 yr olds) show up at my office, driven by a grandmother or baby mamma, to inquire-"You don't need any help do you?"- posed more as a statement than question.
To which I reply-"As a matter of fact I don't."
If, in desperation, you agree to hire one of these bozos, then the real drama can begin.
Tardiness, absenteeism, court dates, car troubles, and on and on....
The younger crowd by and large wants to know "What do I get, NOW? and "How can YOU help ME in my self inflicted dileema?"
What are YOU doing to help your employers company?
Ask not what your employer can do for you, ask what you can do for your employer.... everybody moves up
I had to laugh when I saw this. Mel has been absent for awhile and could always stir up the pot- guaranteed at least 20 comments whenever she posted. Now she has had her 2 year (at most) fling in the hellhole of the woodworking trade and has abandoned her mission of turning it into Elysium. A great loss to us all, including her. She had such potential. We will have to rely on older, if not crankier posters for extended discussions on generational conflicts and owner vs employee conflicts. Such is life. Good luck, Mel, and watch out for that door.
I will propose that this Mel is an imposter Mel. Easy to do, if you are the type.
The original Mel had a sense of humor, could see in the mirror somewhat clearly, and did show some understanding and compassion.
This Mel has made the mistake of complaining and sounding like a young version of those she chastises. The fact that an otherwise unique name has been co opted for reasons of what? High response rate, baiting, seeing their words in print or whatever. At any rate, consider this poster's sentence structure and writing style as compared to Previous Mel, and I think you will agree. Not too clever by half.
Whether this is the old Mel or a new one, matters not. The view expressed is wide spread amongst employees of wood shops. Often justifiably. I got into this, like the rest of my life, more or less by accident. I'd rather be at the bench making things than trying to run a business. Yes, the cost of entry is low, many small businesses are run by people of limited education.
I'm not convinced that a college degree is necessary to be a successful business owner. Bill Gates might even agree with me. Just like for an employee, attitude counts for a lot. I've noticed that people with very diverse experiences, education, travel, reading, friends, seem more fulfilled in their lives. So Mel, get off your deceased burrow and get lots of life's experiences. Start a new business, 3D printing is hot now. Kind of like "plastics" in the movie The Graduate.
This thread was cathartic for me. Excellent posts by all. The post by Dave Sochar was poetry.
All about purpose, that is always a cathartic subject.
Will the US woodworking industry die? If Mel is any example then yes, I think that the millennials of Hispanic origin are different as they are willing to work and actually appreciate the sentiments expressed here.
Going back to school often means that someone has picked an area or a profession, to pursue a career in. I sure wish the poster, would share with us what field, what type of business, is ready to for the new and upcoming Mel. I mean an industry where the older and long term business owners are opposite of those in the woodworking industry. Ready for a freshly educated rookie to tell them how to run their operation. Could it be a Doctors office, restaurants maybe, retail stores? I would really like to know, especially from someone who has it all figured out.
This industry does not pay to keep anyone intelligent working in it. There is really not enough money in this industry to keep smart business men.... Getting an education and getting out of this industry is the most intelligent thing you can do... Good luck.
I think one of the traits of youth (of any generation) is a general propensity towards impatience. There are some youth who are no doubt smart, and who perhaps think that the rewards of a particular line of work are not keeping pace with their perceived intelligence and their perceived progress in learning that particular line of work.
The problem lies in the fact that while they may be smart, they are not smarter than everyone else, and a certain level of deference has to be afforded to the person who signs your paycheck. If you are hoping to promote change, perhaps it is better to use a tack hammer than a sledge hammer. Once again, I think impatience, and the perception of oneís hyper-intelligence over that of more experienced workers and management, plays a large role.
This is an age old problem, causing some to abandon a chosen field in search of greener pastures. Regrettably, their attitude goes with them, and so the cycle starts again. If the employee shows promise and value, it might fall to the employer to recognize this situation, and address it in a firm but mentor-like fashion.
I have posed this before, but I will do so again. Would (insert your name) the employer hire (insert your name) the upstart employee? Remembering yourself, in your own selfish, arrogant, know-it-all youth, might promote a higher level of tolerance. Having said that, there are still times when you need to cut your losses against impossible odds. It is always your call, but a little patience may reap great benefits.
I think the real problem is that this is a dying industry. There is no real growth potential because of the many cheap substitutes that clients can choose from.
I've been at this business for 15 years, watched countless shops come and go. I realize the main reason I'm still around is that I'm willing to work rediculously long hours.... Most of the shops that I see that are still around are the same way.
Profit margins are shrinking by the year as
material costs rise and cabinet prices remain fairly fixed...
So, paying an employee a decent wage is very difficult. Therefore keeping good employees is impossible...
If i'm wrong about this, point out the errors in my thinking...
Mel sounds like a disenchanted angry young woman after only a couple of years in this business.
Now that she has lit the fuse by telling everyone to ďKiss Her A#@Ē , I hope she has the character to at least stick around long enough to read all the responses.
This year will mark the start of my 33rd year in this trade. I went to collage got a degree and decided I didnít want to spend my working years behind a desk.
When I started out I was a smart, hardworking guy with a hunger to learn about this business.
I have worked with my share of alcoholics, drug addicts, liars, thieves and social misfits. I have had good and bad bosses and supervisors and I vowed I would be better than the bad ones when I got my turn.
The more I learn, the more I realize what I donít know.
Now that I have a higher position I have access to a lot more information that the average guy on the bench; cost info, sales info, hours info, general info about the job before it hits the shop, etc.
With all of a couple of years in the business, as good as she thinks she is, Mel doesnít know what she doesnít know.
If the shop you are at sucks so bad, why didnít you find another one?
Switching careers probably wonít be a magic bullet for her.
When I speak to my friends and acquaintances in all sorts of businesses, it that same but different all over. When she finishes her schooling and gets a job at Megacorp Inc. she may be in for a rude awakening when shareholder value needs to be enhanced and your supervisorís boss doesnít even know your name. At least her bad, behind the times, old man boss knows her name.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence; it just might be a nice paint job.
Man, what a bunch of grumpy old men! Behind in their thinking and not able to second guess themselves!
Well, judging by the conversation, I'll say She got that wrong.
Agree - You are not wrong about a dying industry, but I would restate it as one that is being cleaved into two segments - the low priced mass produced stuff in lights out factories that nearly are fed tree trunks in one end and wood things come out the other. And highly customized wood objects that may be modern or ancient type manufacture, with low volume and high price as their distinguishing marks. Mass production vs craft, if you will.
Many of us straddle that line every day, and I think it is and will be getting harder as society itself is cleaved somewhere or other, and the middle class declines and fades from view. Now, please, lets not get this off into a long -winded (by 2-3 people) discourse on Fed money policy or the like.
I was a college educated starter employee sweeping the floors in my first real job in a real shop 45 years ago. I read Shakespeare and met Bucky Fuller, but could not fit a tenon properly. The guy in the shop for 40 years that could barely read, with bent back and mangled hands could fit the tenon with eyes closed, but could not explain how. I tried to honor their time, their knowledge. But I was frustrated. Every day.
Fortunately, there was a mentor that knew I had a passion, and nurtured it. Mostly by gently letting me know - "you don't know what you don't know".
I had run into other before and since that had the same message for me (headstrong and a slow learner), so after a while it started to sink in.
But there are some - like Mel? - that will have to bang their head against the wall for quite a while before the light comes on, if ever. The world is full of very bright people that never found their place, since we place such a low value on it in education and society. And then some don't recognize it even if it is handed to them.
Sorry about the ranty nature of my previous posts. I'm about 3/4 of the way through a large kitchen at the moment, and am not at my best.
But I do think this industry is in trouble... Custom cabinet shops that is mainly, making kitchen and bath cabinets. I'm meeting more and more well to do clients who don't care if I make them custom cabinets or install some garbage cabinets that have nice looking doors and drawer fronts. I discuss the difference in quality with them and they say "we don't care"...
I think there is a whole new generation of people who are so used to "garbage" goods that they don't know the difference between that and quality...
They've been surrounded by this cheap crap their whole life... They live in a large house that is mainly cheap mdf and particle board... Sorry if this sounds ranty, just been rubbed in my face a bit by my last few clients... Good luck
Well. Didn't that suck? You folks said no better about millenials. If you can dish it out, you can surely take it a bit.
You all said I was inexperienced. Getting experience gets you this. Some say I became what I hate? This is what it looks like from the outside. The realization that trades people are generally full of shit, and out to bite you.
Hey Mel? You are wrong. How can I tell? Because you didn't read or comprehend the responses that aren't just from bitter old farts condemning you for being a disillusioned bumptious ingenue.
When I said that your KMA exit was a loss all around I wasn't being cute, I meant that the trade needs young people with some fire, and those people need to have enough humility to learn from those with enough experience and dedication to have stuck it out. If the practice of working wood were nothing but ill paid factory work populated with drones and ignorant, bipolar bosses I would have left it long ago. Maybe you didn't find the right situation, maybe there isn't one good enough for you.
When I said "Good luck", I meant it, but don't be surprised if your attitude leads to a similar conclusion in your next incarnation. And watch out for that door.
"They" say patience is a virtue.
I think Mel is a little impatient.
Trades people if anything are not full of "s%#t".
3 inches + 3 inches = 6 inches.
Out of square is not square.
Trades people don't operate like Wall Street derivative creators.
Having a couple of years experience and being pretty good still doesn't equal a top notch trades man / person.
I bet most people posting here, early in their careers have been in the same position as you, Mel. Impatient and working for a cranky boss / owner.
I hope your next job lets you with a couple of years of experience be a superstar, but you will still be, I bet, the new guy no matter what you are doing.
I, for one, am glad I stuck it out and ate the s*&t.
I find a lot of satisfaction in being able to take a half baked idea and a pile of raw material and turn it into something nice and of value.
I hope your new career allows you to say that too.
I will add that we live in a free society and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I know a couple guys who run commercial shops that are absolutely brilliant in all aspects of business, they are very smart and very successful. I also know of people that never went to school but were very successful because they worked long and hard. Others had education and degrees, yet they failed.
Every day in the world in every profession some people succeed and others fail. Some who have failed try again and often the second time they are successful. and vice versa.
Mel has never offended me because I am not overly concerned about what she says. The statement "Woodworking shop owner = lack of education+horrible" is a foolish uneducated blanket comment.
I am pretty sure that with an attitude like that you will find every job or profession you seek will have the same sad results.
Mel, you are correct in that none of us could keep a smart kid. That is why my SCORE counselor has warned me not to hire one. A smart kid would see how this all works and become my competition. I would just give them a free education so they could compete against me.
However, you do not understand why this is a backwards thinking industry. It is a trade that has been around for thousands of years. One does not need to reinvent the wheel in our industry. One only needs to find someone that has done it before. That is why we prefer to look to history for answers and not to other industries.
If you are basing the wood industry on what you read on this site, you do need to go to college. College is where society teach people that did not grasp in grade school, how to learn. This is a wonderful resource for basic woodworking. Kind of like grade school for the woodworker. The cost is free and the information is general. If you are not using WoodWeb as a starting point, you are missing the value. This is were one comes to see the sign posts for the different paths. Once you find a path that looks appealing, you need to research that path. Perhaps they will teach you how to do that in the school you plan to attend.
Information in this industry is not cheap. A magazine is about $25 per copy. A good book is somewhere between $200 and $1200. A class is $800 to $3500. A group event is going to cost thousands of dollars in travel expenses. Of course, if you have time and no money, you can stumble down the path of hard knocks. It matters not what path you choose, you will pay for your education, no matter where you get it.
Yes, starting pay is low as a woodworker. It is also low for a basketball player. The number of people that have a wood shop in their garage is probably comparable to the number of people that have a basketball hoop in the driveway. Just like basketball players, there are very few wood workers that are making money. However, there are some of us that get paid more per hour then attorneys. We may not have the toys of a professional ball player. For a woodworker money is a gauge of how good we are, not the goal. Most of our money is spent trying to make more money per hour.
I am an uneducated woodworker, but I do not know of any other profession where a person living in a car can buy $200 worth of tools and have a net worth of over $3 million in 12 years.
When I was younger, I was told that pilots and engineers were good paying jobs and computer programming was a hobby. Now, pilots and engineers barely make $100k per year and the sky is the limit for computer programmers. I have 30 years to retirement and I am happy I got into woodworking when I did. The more people that grow up believing they are getting things done by pushing a button on an electric device, the fewer people their will be with a basketball hoop in the driveway or a wood shop in the garage. The fewer people in the industry means higher pay.
I look forward to the days when 90% of the wood shops only employ salesman and CNC programmers. My bench skills will be in high demand and the entrance fee to start a shop will be in the millions of dollars. People will say, ďI should have got into woodworking when I was young.Ē
I hope you learn how to learn when you attend your next school.
Being an employee in a cabinet shop sucks cock. Making cabinets for yourself for money is very rewarding. It was a means to an end for me and many others. There were many guys I met along the way that didn't mind being a lifer and were happy/appreciative as an employee.
Mel,Mel, Mel- just confirmed what I thought about you. Impatient, a quitter, arrogant and spoiled. And I was thinking you might be a good one to take over my custom furniture business someday.
The reason I own a business is because I was tired of being a corporate executive and playing the corporate games. Now I sincerely love the people who work for me and all of my customers. We make their lives easier and better. All of our employees have worked here for the last 32 years. Must not be too bad.
I don't think my industry sucks at all. I don't agree that it is going the way of the do-do bird either. It is evolving and takes some adapting to but the money is still available to succeed. Good luck in school and have a great future.
Hahaha Glenn--I was impatient and arrogant 10 years ago. Now I'm impatient and arrogant with a 2 year old and no sleep. Has my tolerance for bullshit dropped? Oh yes it has. Does it mean that everyone here embodies what I am mad at?? 50/50n chance.
PS 6 likes--my format sucked and so did yours, but we are still talking about something real.
I want to start with a Big Hug.
I have enjoyed your "impatience and arrogance". I too was once young and didn't know what I didn't know. When I was younger, if someone told me I couldn't do something, I gained power from their negative comments. Even if they were right.
I still do not know what I do not know, however....
Had I listened to the naysayers in my life I would not have been as happy and successful as I am in these later years of my life.
I march to my own drummer, I value knowledge, I respect hard work.
Many of us in the business are like this.
I believe you have these same values.
I do not doubt that whatever you choose to do in your future, you will be successful.
"Whether this is the old Mel or a new one, matters not. The view expressed is wide spread amongst employees of wood shops."
Ya, well said Larry.
"Please, someone, again, post a thread about why o why, no young kids stick to this. You could not keep a smart young kid if your life depended on it."
Because a lot of small shop owners won't set up system of training that allows a "newby" to gain confidence or pride. They will never open their minds to set up a "Bitchin' Ass Kicking Facility" that allows the employees to brag they work there, that is constantly challenging them or give them something to take ownership in. The owner will never take a stand and say we need to improve daily.
"Yes, the cost of entry is low, many small businesses are run by people of limited education."
The same type that is blame their spouse for lack of intimacy or employees for failure.
Seems like the formula would make more sense, Woodworking shop owner+lack of education= horrible boss.
I spent 30 years of my life in the industry, from entry level helper to do everything shop owner. A couple years ago was the last time I even had a conversation with someone in the woodworking industry. His last words, "this is just a pain in the ass, I'm getting out of the business". And he worked in the Aspen Colorado market. Translated, "there's no money in this".
I worked hard for nearly 20 years, doing a wide variety skills in Architectural woodworking, before I even began to call myself a master craftsman. Mostly, people don't work in this industry to make lots of money, its about pride in craftsmanship. One has to get those priorities in line, or you are in for a lifetime of continuous frustration.
Of the many 1000s of craftsman I've worked side by side with, I bet over 80% of them had no post high school education. Without a solid foundation, your house is not going to be built very tall. Want to be worth more money, learn many things any way you can. So you can use stuff like trigonometry to calculate up parts lists for complex curve and angle counters and walls ect.. When you build things, 80% of the woodworkers out there can't build, then you will be earning in the top 20%.
These days, if it's simple woodworking, then someone in Asia can do it allot cheaper. If it's a one-off complex project, then chances are, not much profit in set up times for just one item. Installation, customers want perfection, real fast, real cheap. The world we live in now. That's what I have seen over the past 35 years.
But I must admit-- given what ever path I may have taken, I have been exposed to a certain type of person. I've forgotten what the world looks like outside of this. To illustrate--I was shocked the last time conservatives were elected in Canada.
I do not know a single conservative voter. Goes to show-- whatever surrounds you will dictate what you believe of the world.
The wood shop in a lot of ways has been a return to old mentalities I am not used to. Like racism being still okay and funny, sexism 30 years back, distrust of modern research, etc.
It's not that crazy. From what I understand, people use to work the same job forever. Now people change careers 5 times in a lifetime. It's easier to get a pay raise by job change than by asking for one at a current job.
We also got education pushed harder. Got used to crammed info. "Preschewed chunks of information" as I call them.
I know for sure that I could spend 20 years at a shop and eventually learn through exposure and osmosis. But I also know that info is faster passed by a teacher.
I don't want to just idly pluck away at a career long company endeavour because quite frankly we don't live in a world where you can afford that much confidence in a company.
So where do we meet in the middle? I know this stuff annoys the bejesus out of most of you. But there has got to be middle ground, no?
Mel I think much of what you have experienced is due to the fact that the custom cabinetry industry is so widely varied. At the top of the game you have huge shops and factories operating in much the same way that you describe and would prefer. Then you have everyone in between, all the way down to the hippy working out of his grandmothers garage. You also have the factor that cabinetry and furniture making is part art, and to place time and monetary constraints on art is difficult to do. I ask you, how many artist do you know who have great business/managerial skills? Even if they are college educated. Most people who want a steady paycheck work for the government, technology, or utilities. While we all strive to be better business men and women Many of us started out at the bottom with no college education and are working slowly and steadily upward.
I know that this is not always the case, but, from what i have seen in this industry is that those who come right out of college to try to run a "text book shop" end up failing or quickly tiring and burning out. I think this is because the are not willing be flexible, or to take the time to develop their product and their system to fit the niche market they are trying to work in, or they have no idea how hard they are going to have to work as cabinetmakers. I know many of my college educated friends do not know how to work as hard as those who have had to work their way up from the bottom. They just want to start out life as an office executive because they think they deserve to since they went to college.
Yes switching careers can get you where you want to go more swiftly. but what will you have truly mastered in this life. If things like that dont matter to you just go be a happy employee in an industry that suits you
There are reasonable shops around that have workers for many years.
In many cases they are Hispanic workers.
I think the bottom line is willingness, which is a two way street.
When I first started in a union shop the boss would laugh when non english speaking workers would apply. When I first started hiring non english speaking workers it was a real test. But I worked it out.
BTW before someone gets started with the union meme, it is just a meme, the real culprit has been inflation. Some jobs have kept up with inflation much better than others.
Regarding Millennials I'm going to go with the advise given by the speaker in the video, since I have no idea how to make this work. He is obviously very articulate and very gregarious (highly unusual for cabinetmakers).
Paul Akers talks about "who you allow on the bus". Since he appears to have quite a few millennials working for him I would go with that as well. Again this is a two street not just the workers but the employers have to have a good attitude.
I know this duh type stuff, but it is duh type stuff to those who do not have this problem. Which I suspect is not everyone.
Things that I have found to engender this are communication, agreement, an organizational chart that shows who does what, crystal clear policy on how your system works.
The generation that came before us fought in World War Two. Artillery rained down on their heads. They were very grateful to have just made it through alive to come home, raise kids and join a bowling league.
Before that they survived the great depression and dustbowl. Nobody had any work for ten years. They developed a conviction that if they wanted to succeed in life it was up to them.
Todays kids had parents that grew up under black lite posters. We won the war so our kids didn't have to worry about getting an education. They could actually devote four years of resources to beer pong and coed volleyball. They got degrees in things like "Theater Lighting" or "Communications". They graduated from college with a degree in English when four billion people already speak english.
I would call that a pretty big shift in our collective existence.
I think they were different in that they had not taken drugs, things were more stable, WW 2 was a lot different from Vietnam, they had a better work ethic.
I suppose each generation has a different take on work as each is able to use a new technology. The millennials seem to gravitate to computers more. It is only natural that someone would want to use the most productive techniques to do the work.
On the other side of the coin the ever increasing divergence from market forces makes for a more and more subjective work force. This as opposed to an objective work force. The latter being one that values objective metrics the prior doesn't appear to have metrics so has to depend on feed back from the employer. I don't mean this in the pejorative, it is just a fact that technology and public tropes have clouded peoples ability to think critically
BTW this type of work is cathartic, so the more of it you do the better it is for you. The people are another story. But it is worth mentioning that the work itself is good for you and your "soul".
Vietnam was 50 years ago. The world has continued to evolve since. It's gotten considerably richer, freer on an individual level, and the nature of social interaction has been revolutionized by the internet. I think it's a mistake for today's elders to criticize the younger ones who grew up in that different world, through no choice of their own. They're responding to the forces that rule them. It's up to us to make a reasonable effort to accommodate them.
Who is criticizing, yous need to work on your reading comprehension.
Millennial Mel was the one who brought up the previous generations.
I'm the one who linked the video.
Which apparently resonates.
The technology has obviously changed but the culture has also changed.
The speaker in the video indicates how to enter the zeitgeist where millennials reside. Which admittedly may require change on our part, a peeling of layers of preconceived notions that you don't even realize you have.
Times do change, markets change, methods change, industry adapts. The woodworking industry as a whole is evolving. Technology that is new in woodworking is old standard practice in metalworking. Would I do it all over again? Good question. Can't say that I would can't say that I wouldn't. If it was just about making money and putting in 8 hour days then no I would not do it again as other trades pay better. I really can't blame these kids for not getting into or staying with a cabinet shop long enough to learn the trade, they have bills to pay too. Get a sharp kid in the shop and with in 6 months to a year they are gone, they have found something that pays better. In this area warehouse work pays better and has more advancement opportunities, it is a sign of times. Us old-timers can whine all we want but the times are-a-changin and it just might be the end of an era.
Hah Tony F--you kidding-- it's trades!!! Every corner you turn someone is telling someone else how to do their job. Regardless of knowledge or even hierarchy, we are a collection of backseat drivers. It's the local sport.
(Actually really confusing when you are trying to learn--who's actually got the answer and who loves asserting themselves for the heck of it.)
Pat, I am Millenial Mel. 100% correct. It took a bit to stop being insulted and find it a nice and funny.
So now what? How do we all learn to share a shop? No offence but those workers that you like will retire one day, if they already haven't. Despite my being gone, cabinets and millwork will still be made and young women will still be bashing their head in the wall all day, as will their boomer bosses.
I'm still interested in where that middle ground is.
The middle ground has and always will be found through communication. The height of communication is in trade, e.g. I will do this work in trade for this amount of money.
Women are rare in the trades. They by their nature tend to be more interested in raising children and part time work. Which give rise to the myth of unequal pay for women.
The middle ground is also willingness to work. For now that is with Mexican workers.
The economy always changes in new ways. The future will probably have less off shoring as Chinese labor becomes more expensive, it will have more robots, people's taste will change craftsmanship will become less in demand, more modular homes. Most of all demographics will change radically and in the US Hispanics will be the majority.
I have no desire to change and no desire to change diapers. There are plenty of people in their 30's and 40's that know plenty about woodworking and are willing to do a fair days work for a days pay.
I like the old ways of doing business and I like having no turnover. Judging from how many competitors gave up and folded we are just tough enough to starve our way through bad times so we can rebuild the bottom line. It is not depressing at all, it is my choice and I like it.
The Mexicans are taking jobs from the Mel's of the world so she can go into technology or some other field where the people of India can take her job. Funny thing is when the Mexicans protested picking wages some bright old farmer invented new picking machines. The world will always present new challenges to people and the thing you better have is a stomach full of guts.
Now that we mention gender again, I would like to mention that last time we discussed this, all I wanted, in this world, was to believe Pat G that is was a straw man argument. Simply because this would be way easy for me. If all I needed to do was work hard I'd be set.
I will tell you in my best of intentions, in my strongest of desires to believe that it did not exist, it still slaps me in the face every day.
It may not seem like much, but it sounds like "Who brought their girlfriend to work? Careful not to lift too much you might bulk up. You should probably cover up more. Who is with your child all day? Smile! You girls are good at getting away from the lifting. Are you sure you can drive a panel van? Let me get someone to highlight which pieces go where for you. Are you sure you can handle that saw? So your married? What, does your husband make your lunches for you? You're kinda like a man eh? You're doing work for the owner-- got bruises on the top of your head yet? Nice shirt--you showing off your arms or your tits? Are you removing a layer of clothing Mel? I'm afraid to let you use this machine--what if you hurt yourself? You'd have lunches if you stayed home and cooked. How are you getting away having a beer friday? Who's cooking dinner and taking care of the kid?"
I'm sure there is plenty of that, this is the construction industry, would expect anything else?
I'm not speaking anecdotally, nor is this a strawman/woman.
Statistically women work fewer hours than men for the aforementioned reasons. They do not make less money per hour they make less money annually overall because they work fewer hours. Women who do work the same number of hours as men make slightly more. Those are the facts.
"I'm sure there is plenty of that, this is the construction industry, would expect anything else?"
Pat--would you put up with it without a bite back?
Also--underestimation of trades. There are some good brains there. You can do better then that. But fish rots from the head down.
Skills are dying you all say? Give a woman a chance. She'll do what you say and keep the floor clean and the hardware sizes separated. Without asking. Just see beyond the tits. For 2 seconds. In your life.
I have been following this thread with great interest. It seems that when Mel starts a conversation about management, it tends to be interesting.
Mel, the questions that you listed above, were they really said to you?
I have several women work for me and I would never allow that kind of behavior or talk happen. It is discriminatory. Change the female part to one of color and the NAACP would have a field day. If those comments happened, there is a management problem.
I do not care what color or sex or whatever your problem is, I have just a couple of requirements: Can they do the job quickly and correctly, Do they get along with others. That is what determines if the person can stay here.
Are you working in the back woods of Alberta & BC, there are some very successful cool shops in Calgary & Vancouver with hip Millennialís making great cutting edge wood products. I run into them all the time at international trade shows you should look into them.
As a consolation I work for a Lady that owns a company that annuals sales are in eight figures and total sales well into the nines. Our machine shop foremen was a women and ran half dozen CNCís and large contingency of men, foremenís come and go in large factories(2-4 years) but she lasted 12 years before she left.
The hardest workers in our factory(finishing dept) are women with 3-5 kids, they are the most consistent, detailed, and have the best attitudes.
To sum it up, what I have learned from the owner of the company I work for is that because she could not physically do it all she learned to delegate and motivate others and she is constantly innovating. She did not make it big until she was in her mid forties, keep at it and you might be like her. I think you can ignore a lot of what these old farts are saying, the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.
I have been off WW for a while, so I don't know what's been going on with you, but am truly sorry you seem to have gotten the short end of the stick.
I really thought that there were enough people on here that you would have realized such a blanket statement was far from true. And not just "the exception proves the rule".
I have to admit that not only am I a little offended, but believe that several if not many of my employees would be justifiably offended by the statement:
"Please, someone, again, post a thread about why o why, no young kids stick to this. You could not keep a smart young kid if your life depended on it."
Ok, I can't include myself, even though I started at 18 and am still at it 34 years later.
However, I do have 4 employees hired at age 23 or less. The average length of employment for those four is 13 years, with a maximum of 24 years.
If I were to rank all my employees, three of those four would be in the top 5. The other two in the top 5 are in their 60s.
I think you have to realize something Mel. You're not normal. I don't mean that in a negative way, just stating a fact. There is not one of our employees that would like to own/run a business. One did for a few years, one did for about 35 years. Maybe I have the luck of the draw in finding employees who are happy to be lemmings, but just in general I find that most people are happy to have a job where they can go home at the end of the day and forget about work.
I don't see you being that way Mel. I think you won't be happy unless/until you have total control of your life; no one to blame but yourself for anything that goes wrong. As others have said or implied, I'm not sure you will be happy working anywhere else, i.e. not just the woodworking industry.
Kind of an aside, but it applies I think. All businesses are fundamentally the same. I have had interactions with many different consultants, advisers, seminars, workshops, etc. At first, I always think "but you don't understand MY business", and always have to concede that my business really is not unique. So if you think that becoming a writer, grip, fireperson or line cook is going to be any different, I believe you will be disappointed. You are slated to be a business owner. It won't be easy, because you will have to learn the really hard way, i.e. your own experience - you won't be able to work for someone long enough to learn what you really need to. OTOH, that's not all bad, since the lessons you learn the hard way are the ones you learn best.
Truly, best wishes, though I'm not really sure you need them.
I'll be honest with you folks it's been just grinding at me.That outrageously angry post I started with was quite frankly an explosion of "wtf are trades decades behind norms on discrimination?" (and yes something set me off pretty hardcore)
Of course you never should answer anger with more anger.
It's been a very interesting month. I've decided to tackle the sexist issue head on, culturally with staff, in meeting form with management. The initial first weeks of this effort were quite difficult -- quite frankly talking about gender to 50+ tradesmen is a little unnerving.
But I'm starting to see results. The "talk" has disappeared. I'm feeling less like an alien. The other much younger women are happy and thankful.
I'm no doubt a little nuts, but for some reason I do well with a push of rage. I didn't want to spend 5 years slowly and quietly "proving" women aren't complete idiots. I want the topic on the table and I wanted dealt with head on.
Now that the motions are showing really good results I'm less scared to discuss it. I'm feeling pretty proud of my bunch of dudes coming through and taking a bit of time to think and welcoming some change.
Now that I no longer have a "stupid girl": standing, I finally get to make some millwork. And load some trucks. And haul some steel. And not get spoken to like a child. They're happy with the unleashed Mel, and I'm happy unleashed.
I am glad that you had the "testicular fortitude" to confront the situation head-on. When I worked for others, this was my approach with management.
I was consequently labeled "a bull in a china shop", "having a bad attitude", "a real f/n a-hole", and other names that showcased the imagination of those who otherwise had little imagination for anything else.
My take was that if something upset me enough that it could not be resolved at the foreman level, and I felt the need to confront management, then at that point I did not care if they blew me off, fixed the problem, or fired me. I was ready to go.
I started in this trade in the very early 70's, and I have seen a lot of misogyny and xenophobia with respect to fellow employees. You can approach those responsible about their behavior tactfully, but alas, tact is for people who can take a hint.
If the management does nothing about the situation, and possibly even agrees with it, or is responsible for it, then it is time to move on.
A cautionary tale about learning the trade; it would be in your best interest to further research anything that you have been told or shown as "the best way" to do something.
Over the years I have been the recipient of much misinformation, causing me to experiment and find other solutions on my own.
Sometimes you are instructed properly, but I think it is best to "trust but verify", to quote a famous politician who would not recognize his political party today, much less be its candidate.
Good luck, Mel, and I hope it all works out for you.
"Tact is for people that take a hint... " Totally.
Funny-- I did escalate the situation. And I'm extremely happy I did. I asked one of the owners to mediate the discussion with the plant director. I'm very happy I did. I think he might have eaten me alive, one-on-one.
Not that the guy is bad. I chocked back a chuckle when he stated "When I heard about this I wondered if I was sexist. I asked my wife. She said no. I like all sorts of people!! Women, gays, transexuals. Different people are great." And proceeded to tell me I'm imagining discrimination. Till I stated examples.
And I get it. He's trying to be the nicest guy he can within the framework of his own eyes and experience. It falls short, but I recognize that the guy wants to. ("I'm not racist I have black friends", for those who don't get the nuance)
You know what's crazy? I actually just couldn't believe that this stuff still existed. So despite hearing things daily that were way out of left field, I still just assumed I should just do better, get thicker skin.
I actually talked to a few former employers---I was starting to wonder if I was a bad worker. How do you get from running marketing tours across the country to being the preferred floor sweeper at half the salary? My first reflex was to think I failed. Till I saw other people's work up close and knew something was up for sure.
Maybe why I posted a lot here. Words on a page instead of a face and a format. I wish I could do that in person.
A note on the early days in trades... I'm still friends with the finisher from my first woodworking job. She has 30+ years experience and told me about how trades were in the early days.... She used to have to fight off bodily grabs and "surprise" humps daily.
So I guess we're slowly moving in the right direction.
One thing that gives me hope is that after putting things on the table, I no longer have to fight. Coworkers tell other coworkers they are being ignorant when they are being ignorant.
Why cant you just be happy that you have a job ? Why cant you just go to the job you have and simply do what you are asked to do ? If you are not happy with your job, then why don't you just quit ? If you are not happy with what you are asked to do then why don't you just quit ? Why don't you just keep your nose to the grindstone and perform the tasks you are assigned ? Why don't you just buy your own Cabinet Shop and do what you want to do and do everything the way you want to do it ?
Haha Pat, no chance of that happening. Love men too much :)
The main offender has turned a sweet page. It's nice to see that someone over 60 can do something like this. I can't neglect the fact that this fellow has spend more time working without women then I've been alive. I have a lot of respect for anyone that can change an old opinion in the face of new information.
Rob, in case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a big huge PIA. I'm for sure not for every one.
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