The Turnover of Tenacious Talent

One of my favorite quotes is “I can’t give you the formula for success but I can give you the formula for failure-which is: Try to please everyone,” attributed to Herbert Bayard Swope. A recent article in a popular business publication lamented the CEOs that have been dismissed from major corporations recently. Thirteen companies with market capitalizations greater than $40 billion replaced their CEOs in the first five months of 2017. Good lord, the unemployment figures alone must be staggering. The argument is that CEOs who are quite talented are being let go before they have been given sufficient opportunity because of short-term investor pressure. The investors bought the stock, they need the money, and they need it now.


The so-called “activist investors” obtain as little as 5% of the stock and start insisting that they be given a seat on the board. The hedge-funds are apparently the worst. Wonder why we have all the mergers and acquisitions? Wonder why we have plants with thousands of employees shut down and moved overseas? The “activist investors” are exerting a great (and greatly undue) influence on the corporations, and Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management thinks it is all unneeded and unnecessary.


The hedge funds and “activist investors” buy a few shares and think that they can run roughshod over the boards of companies. It is time to the companies to grow a backbone. The hedge funds and “activist investors” are a great motivating force to encourage mergers and acquisitions, sometimes to the great detriment of the firms, not to mention the employees who get dismissed in the process. Many companies who focused on the short term gains because of the “activist investors” are now mere shells of their former glory.


Does it seem to anyone else but me that we (the U.S) have become an instant-gratification society to the point that it is becoming self-destructive? I am quite surprised that anyone goes to college anymore, given that it takes four years or so for the undergrad degree, and the average student takes five years. As much as I try to get those starting college to take classes in the summer and get things over with, none of them pay attention to my advice. I am also amazed that so many organizations are insisting on employees having the qualifications of a master’s degree, when considering all of the time that it takes to earn one, not to mention the expense. Honestly, I am not going back to graduate school without someone else paying or an enforceable contract as to what I get when I graduate.


The article correctly points out that CEOs make astronomical salaries, travel a lot and have long workweeks. Despite their long hours, I doubt that their hourly wage come close to anything like the minimum wage, though. If the CEO of Chipotle worked 80 hours a week, his hourly pay would still be around $6,000 an hour. Nice work if you can get it, even when 70% of the shareholders vote that you shouldn’t be paid that kind of money to run a glorified taco stand, but financial fortune favors the bold (hope you caught the altered quote.)  It’s amazing that “activist investors” can’t keep Chipotle from paying Ells $25 million a year. Steve Ells of Chipotle has been the CEO for at least six years, despite the contamination scandal, and the automatic clocking out of employees staying late to clean up, and the lawsuits. But then, Ells has a degree in art history, one of the most desired degrees that any candidate of the CEO position could have. Or not. The advice of “just get a degree and get your foot in the door” hasn’t been true for at least the past thirty years, at least not for me, nor for many people that I know.  


I found interesting the suggestion that the new age CEOs are not the county club networkers of old, but dedicated, hard-working people. Jeffrey Immelt, who was given more chances than Hillary Clinton, never restored GE’s stock, (and I ought to know, as I own the stock) and yet remained far too long at the helm. If Immelt is any kind of an example, CEOs stay far longer than they should. For example, Mark Fields worked at Ford for 28 years, becoming CEO in 2014. In 2015, Ford had the best earnings in its 113-year history. You would think that would be enough, but not for the “activist investors” but it wasn’t. My favorite was the legendary retailer J.C. Penney who fired CEO Myron Ullman in 2011, only to sheepishly lure him back after two years of losses. Whoever thought that they could do better without Ullman needs to be fired, and all involved need to be summarily dismissed. If they can’t make any better decisions than to fire someone like Ullman and try for fresh blood that cannot equal or exceed Ullman’s performance, they themselves are incapable of making the executive decisions of running the firm. Their time is up, and the consequences they imposed on Ullman need to be exercised upon them instead.


The J.C. Penney/Ullman incident brings up a point that I am not sure that any Human Resource person has ever addressed, at least not in my experience, and I hold reasonable credentials in Human Resources. The idea is this: How can you ever know what kind of an employee you will get if you fire an employee? In other words, if you fire someone because they have not managed to attain your unrealistic goals, how in the world do you know if their replacement will do any better? This applies even more so when the employee you are letting go, as in the Mark Fields case, has over twenty-five years with the company. So much for loyalty, eh?


When twenty-five years and some of the best earnings in its history aren’t enough, I begin to question whether the expectations of the firm, as influenced by the “activist investors” are reasonable. Of course, I am familiar with the tactic of giving the senior employee so much work and such unattainable goals that they cannot make their quota and that is a justification for letting them go. But then, as mentioned, how in the world could you place a bet on someone whose performance within your company is a complete unknown, (the replacement) as opposed to a seasoned veteran who, with all of their experience and organizational knowledge, cannot reach the goals that have been set? If the people who insist on replacing Fields cannot recognize talent, and cannot replace talent, then they have disqualified themselves from making any more decisions.


As I have never read about this in any Human Resource text, I am going to call it the Jackson Resource Replacement Question. When replacing an experienced dedicated employee with someone off the street, you have no idea if that person is capable of doing better than the experienced employee that you are letting go. While I am all for optimism, but “those battered by reality cannot afford the luxury of optimism” (another original quote, so I insist that you identify me as the origin of the quote if you use it.)


Someone who owns 5% of a stock, or even 20% of a stock should not have the kind of control that they are exerting. Here’s some sage advice for the “activist investors:” If you are dissatisfied with the performance of the firm, try buying another stock. I realize that is a simple solution, but I like simplicity, or, as Leonardo DaVinci said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” All of this short-term mentality and insisting that they have a voice in the company needs to be dealt with swiftly and harshly like dealing with the spoiled child who has never faced any consequences; time to pay the piper. The short-term mentality is killing American business, and anyone with any sense is aware of this fact. It is time to realize that the future is more than the next six months.


Bill Caciene Added Jul 15, 2017 - 4:59am
Here’s some sage advice for the “activist investors:” If you are dissatisfied with the performance of the firm, try buying another stock.
So you wouldn’t support investors doing the necessary things to make a company more profitable?  Our economy was built on the concept we should never be satisfied with performance.  There is always room to do better.  If you don’t like performance, perhaps you should sell your stock.  Or at least buy the stock of a company that’s circling the drain.  As a passive investor, you should love the fact that activist investors are rolling up their sleeves and attempting to increase your net worth.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 15, 2017 - 9:48am
Well Bill, the activist investors could be attempting to increase revenues, or they could be insisting that someone like Ullman from J.C. Penney or fired, only to find out he was doing better than anyone else could. Ford might find no one else can make the money that Fields made. According to a study done by Fortune magazine in 2015, activist funds beat the S&P 500 index in only 3 of the last 8 years. They can roll up their sleeves all they want, that doesn't mean they know what they're doing, and their short-term orientation is dangerous. I understand some of them want to help, but some of them want nothing more than some quick money and they could care less about the company, the employees, or anyone else.
Bill Kamps Added Jul 15, 2017 - 10:25am
Jeff, times have become challenging.  Decades ago when GDP was growing every year at 3% or more, it was easy for good companies to grow sales, and then profits.  Now GDP is growing at 1%, but investors remember the  days  when profits were growing at 10% or more, and still like that idea.  We have companies that have P/E ratios of over 20, which implies a 20% earnings growth, this is almost impossible with top line sales not growing.  This leads to things like outsourcing, automation, and lower worker salaries in and effort to squeeze out more profits, which sales growing slowly if at all.
This is what causes the great interest in companies like Amazon and Tesla.  While their profits aren't growing their sales are growing much faster than most, which shows they have unique businesses.  They can grow sales when most are not.
I dont know that investors have a shorter term horizon than before but the activists do.  Many activist investors are looking for a turnaround story, like JCP.  However, JCP is almost impossible to turnaround.  It has every conceivable headwind against it.  So you hire a new CEO, he wants a lot of money to take the risk, and if in 6-12 months he doesnt do anything you try another guy.  Potential turnarounds are brutal for the employees for sure.
George N Romey Added Jul 15, 2017 - 11:39am
Great article Jeff and great comment Bill.  Remember, Tesla is still not profitable although maybe one day it will.  Amazon makes most of its profit from cloud computing.  Despite its huge footprint as an online retailer that part of the business has never been very profitable.  Bezos and Musk are unique in the fact that they can run their companies without demand for never ending rising profits.
The issue of CEOs is complicated.  On one hand CEOs are expected to obtain unreasonable sales and profits in a short period of time. This leads to CEOs carrying out financial gimmicks and doing very little for the long term health of the enterprise.  The other is the untalented CEO class that goes from company to company usually collecting a very nice severance package every time they leave an enterprise.
Remember that more and more privately held companies are owned by JVs, private equity and other investment vehicles that demand the same kind of short term results as publicly held corporations.
Finally, JC Penny like Sears and even possibly Macy's won't make it in the long run.  Americans are economically stressed and I see no change in the near future.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 15, 2017 - 1:25pm
Thanks Bill and George. The better your company the more other companies imitate you, and this is Amazon and Tesla all over the place. Yes, George, you are exactly correct that Amazon doesn't really make a lot on the internet retailing, but many are so amazed with it that they still think it's the be-all and end-all. The reality is Amazon is not all that profitable, and thanks for making that point as some can't believe that fact.
Tesla and Amazon are already facing companies that are looking to get some of their market share, and that will mean more and more competition.
Both J.C. Penney and Sears missed the online selling opportunities, if not by offering products over the internet, but by not investing as much as they should have in the internet enterprises, as both had loyal followings that would have gladly followed them into the Digital Age, but they didn't treat it as seriously as they should have at the very beginning. Between not taking the internet seriously enough and the loyal customers aging and not buying as much, the older, established retailers are already closing stores and selling off. It's a new world.
George N Romey Added Jul 15, 2017 - 1:36pm
Jeff I also think that Sears and JCP missed the newer generations. Both stared to go downhill in the 1990s when then Generation X was buying "hip and cool stuff" (at least to them) at other new age retailers.  Then the explosion and an even newer generation that did not identify when them.  Neither ever regained their traction and the industry now suffers from slack demand. Macy's and Bloomingdales are both now suffering the safe fate.
Jeff I'm glad you understand about the Amazon "craze."  Several years back I was working for this nutcase CEO that in a meeting wouldn't shut up about how we needed to be so wonderful like Amazon. This is before Amazon's entry into the cloud computing business and at the time Amazon each quarter lost money or barely made a profit. Said CEO said I was lying and didn't know what I was talking about, announcing Amazon was making billions in quarterly profits.  When I offered to bring up the SEC filings she told me to be quite and that I had no clue as to what I spoke about.
Finally, the cloud computing business is quickly becoming over saturated and driven on price points. The profits Amazon is getting from that part of the business will soon start to dwindle.
Dino Manalis Added Jul 15, 2017 - 1:42pm
Online competition will intensify, companies have to expand their online presence and limit their offline establishments.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 15, 2017 - 1:54pm
Thanks George, I though I was the only one who actually knew the numbers that Amazon was not generating, and the criticism I've endured by those who, as in your experience, insist that Amazon was a cash cow from the start, which was far from the truth.
Dino you are exactly correct. We're entering the "stay at home" economy. Why go out for dinner, when Fresh Direct, Blue Apron, and dozens more will bring dinner, cooked or otherwise, right to your door. Why go to the mall, when you can browse online and they'll bring it right to your door. Why go to the office when you can get your work done via computer at home. Why fight the crowds, the weather, and long lines to the bathrooms when you can watch the game on your 48 inch 5k super-high definition TV.
The new expanding jobs are the people driving the trucks to deliver the stuff to peoples' homes, and those will be gone as the drones take over. Plumbers, electricians, painters, and handymen will have work until the robots take those jobs too.
George N Romey Added Jul 15, 2017 - 1:58pm
Jeff also social media is keeping people at home.  People stay home and connect via technology and in some ways that is not good.  While robots will eventually place of the trade at this point hourly wages are being driven down by cheap immigrants, former white collar professionals that are now earning a living in the trades and the destruction of union jobs.  Some specialized trade jobs like underwater welding still command a very high hourly rate.  
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 15, 2017 - 2:37pm
Yes, George, and the construction jobs, especially high ironworkers.
Leroy Added Jul 15, 2017 - 9:02pm
In defense of Bezos on being criticized for not making profits, he once said he could make a profit anytime he wanted and then proved his point.  He has grown the business.  George and Jeff, I know you disagree, but Bezos is a remarkable CEO and Amazon is a remarkable company.  Bezos for president!
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 15, 2017 - 10:26pm
Well, Leroy, Bezos is a different animal. Given how he deals with most people, including his employees, I would say that Bezos would tell "activist investors" to take a hike. Remember this is the CEO who talls all managers they have to fire the 10% of their staff that performs below the rest, i.e. if you're the lowest in your department, you get fired on your evaluation. I don't think Bezos could be bullied like the rest of these spineless corporations. As always Leroy, thanks.
Leroy Added Jul 15, 2017 - 10:38pm
My company uses forced ranking.  Someone has to suck no matter how well everyone performs.  They might not get fired, but a couple of years in a row at the bottom will result in termination.  Everyone hates it.  At best, it is unproductive.
I do have confidence he could turn this country around, IFF he could implement his policies.  We would sell US goods so inexpensively that no other country could compete.  Hey.  China did it.  It improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 15, 2017 - 10:56pm
Deng Xiaoping was the driving force behind the expansion of China, when he set out to meet with Nixon. China was quite poor and didn't have much of an economy more than making little things like plates and firecrackers. Deng's philosophy was "we don't care what color the cat is as long as he catches mice." The logistics of the population had hit a dangerous point where they were going to begin real misery and starving. The U.S. came in, and showed them what capitalism can do, although China is still "officially" communist or socialist, whatever they are calling it this week. As I explained in one of my essays on China, Maoism was an interpretation of communism that fit only one country, and that was China. The same goes for the present Chinese capitalism, it fits only China. Thanks Leroy.
Saint George Added Jul 16, 2017 - 1:16am
Good lord you are a buffoon.
It takes one to know one.
Saint George Added Jul 16, 2017 - 1:47am
I don't know who Corey is. But I know a congenital buffoon when I read one. And you're definitely one.
By the way, did your parents have any children that lived?
Saint George Added Jul 16, 2017 - 2:39am
That practice would never work with you. You're a buffoon through and through; even deleting your posts wouldn't help to improve your image.
Saint George Added Jul 16, 2017 - 3:51am
Promoting conspiracy theories again, eh, John G?
It's probably just a recurrence of your chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Nothing to worry about once you increase your meds.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 16, 2017 - 9:32am
When John G has something to say that resembles the presence of a brain I will allow his posts to remain on the thread. I have deleted his infantile comments because they contain nothing of intellectual content that would further the discussion, and my posts are not a billboard for his inane, insulting and vulgar comments.
George N Romey Added Jul 16, 2017 - 11:30am
Jeff and Leroy also remember that China now is carrying out initiatives to build up more advanced production and create a prosperous middle class, hence the Belt and Silk Road programs. Xi Jinping is no dummy.  He realizes that eventually Chinese workers are going to start to demand more and there will be social unrest. Government just can't keep workers building infrastructure that will go unused.  Xi Jinping has offered the US to participate in these ventures.  This is what globalism should really look like, countries mutually advancing themselves.  What we have now is simply labor arbitrage. 
As far as John G. Apparently he believes all the other writers on WB including me to be of far less intellectual prowess.  So I have asked him why doesn't he find a site in which the contributors are more suited to his intellect.  Notice he never answers-typical Internet troll. Ignore his moronic, poorly written rants.  
Jeff Michka Added Jul 16, 2017 - 12:21pm
Jeff Jackson notes: Yes, George, and the construction jobs, especially high ironworkers.- Journeymen iron workers, even glaziers, plumbers and electricians are quickly "greying out," younger folks not wanting the hard work, apprentice and "labor/trades social stigma." Yet, even for apprentices, high pay, but no office chair to sit in.  A little tougher when your "office" is an open floor in a building, or repelling down the side of a 30 story building.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 16, 2017 - 1:06pm
George, I remember reading somewhere that several global near - monopolies, including Cargill, Bechtel and Koch are private limited liability companies rather than corporations whose shares are publicly traded on the stock exchanges. Those firms have always been private, but there has been a trend to go that way in recent years.
It is seen as a way of avoiding regulatory scrutiny, but I can see it would neutralise the threat of "activist investors" too. And of course, for a private company, concealing a "Luxembourg Structure" is much easier.
George N Romey Added Jul 16, 2017 - 1:20pm
Ian starting in the 1990s but really rolling after the bust was private equity, taking public companies private using massive leverage.  These were often mature companies with a clean balance sheet including no or zero debt and hefty cash.  These companies often buckled under the weight of the debt and slashing staff while the private equity shops had very little equity risk but made millions in "management fees."
The trend died down around 2007 but was back in full swing by 2010. Generally private equity would bring in new management but they soon realize they are up against a losing game.  There isn't enough costs to be slashed to make up for the millions in interest payments on debt that can never be repaid.   
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 16, 2017 - 3:08pm
Good example of that George was Basic Energy Services, which acquired Grey Wolf and other smaller firms, and then could not afford the payments from all the leverage. The stock plummeted, but the CEO and all of those who designed the disaster kept their jobs. Weird, huh, run it into the ground lose all kinds of money and keep your job. Yes, Ian, Cargill, BMW, Koch and others are private, so there is no requirement of revealing anything, nor are there any investors to bother them or their CEO. There was a company called Doubleclick that went private with a buyout some time ago, I know because I was one of the ones who didn't want to sell. The private owners then sold Doubleclick for billions to Google. Investors are, many times, quite stupid. I missed the stock profit from Google (broker talked me out of it) and I knew Doublclick had it going on, and poof, they sell for a meager profit and then the buyers of Doubleclick make the fortune of a lifetime selling it to Google.
JeffM-I sub at a school that specializes in skilled trades. I could make a small fortune if I could figure out where these kids can make $60,000 apprentice positions by charging only a 10% finders fee. I have a friend who went into operating engineer contracting, and it took almost 4 years before he made much money, and now there is work, but most of it is pretty far from home.
The skilled trades do not pay very well at first, and, again, if I could make $60k as an apprentice, I would ditch my teaching gig in a heartbeat. Maybe in New York city, or in Connecticut, or someplace on the East Coast apprentices make $60k, but that money isn't in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, or any state south of the Mason-Dixon. This is another falsehood that the media wants us to believe, that there are $60k jobs going unpaid. The work is hard and dirty, as well as inconsistent, i.e. you might go weeks without making anything. The beginning pay is low, and has not increased in decades. I hear of firms that claim all kinds of benefits that they say raises the wages, buy I have yet to see any of that myself. All I see are workers that come home dirty and exhausted without all of the money that everyone seems to think that they are making.
Yes, plumbers, electricians and other skilled trades make good money, but that is after a considerable amount of training, where they make only slightly more than minimum wage. One last point on this: I hear every day of HR people claiming there are no qualified candidates, and yet I never hear of any training programs within the companies to create qualified candidates. Given the pace of the both hardware and software, anyone with a degree they earned over 20 years ago might as well have never studied the subject. If all you want are people with very very specific skills, then you're unlikely to find them. I'm looking for a double-jointed supermodel with an I.Q. of at least 135, a diploma from an Ivy League college and a net worth of over $15 million. What do you think my chances are?
George N Romey Added Jul 16, 2017 - 3:21pm
Jeff companies no longer want to train.  We hear now that the average person will work for 15 different employers over their work life cycle, which means switching jobs about every 2-3 years. We are told this is the new future but it just makes the entire economy unstable.  Not to mention it will force periods of unemployment.
I'm not saying we need to go back to lifetime employment but companies need to back up their actions with their talk of wanting loyal employees.  If they are willing to take 6-12 months to train viable candidates they create longer tenure
As someone that has been in the job market recently I've seen from small to big companies this mentality from hiring managers that they want a candidate that is ready to take off with no mentoring from day one.  Yet time after time that same person is putting in their notice one year later or often less.  
As I said yes a few of the trades pay very well but those jobs are very limited and require specialized training beyond trade school.
Also, they often involve global travel and does every father want to spend weeks away from their families.  I can tell you from my experience most men road warriors end up with dysfunctional family dynamics.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 16, 2017 - 5:43pm
I agree 100% George. But I am wondering how the high turnover has been created. Most of the companies that I left had no other place for me to go upward, or they were hiring upper management from outside the company, which, when they do that, still want you to be loyal even when they offer little or no room for advancement. I trained a lot of employees, and it took about a month to get them up to speed and about 3 months to where they could handle some of the more complex situations. Turnover? Three things: Money, Boss (good bosses keep employees) and Career Opportunities, at least those are my big three. 
Jeff Michka Added Jul 16, 2017 - 7:23pm
Jeff Jackson complains: Yes, plumbers, electricians and other skilled trades make good money, but that is after a considerable amount of training, where they make only slightly more than minimum wage. -I dunno, at least out this way it's around $15 Per hour.  Will be more as $15 an hour minimum is phased it.  And it is possible for a journeyman in trades to make $60K A YEAR.-YOU ALSO SAY: but those jobs are very limited and require specialized training beyond trade school.-aGAIN, GUESS IT MAY DEPEND WHERE YOU ARE.  This area is a crane farm and there's not quite enough skilled trades to go around. Again, those apprentuce jobs do have futures, so I disagree, and those jobs should be a draw.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 16, 2017 - 7:25pm
Jeff notes: Also, they often involve global travel and does every father want to spend weeks away from their families.  I can tell you from my experience most men road warriors end up with dysfunctional family dynamics.- Sure, but experienced people have a world to work in whether Seattle or the being another Geo Romey...
Jeff Michka Added Jul 16, 2017 - 7:27pm
his is another falsehood that the media wants us to believe, that there are $60k jobs going unpaid. The work is hard and dirty, as well-Halls can't get enough people, and I know deep state is near your heart, but there's truth to that claim.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 16, 2017 - 9:19pm
Jeff I did say that there are regional differences. There aren't any apprentice jobs paying $60k where I live because if there were my friends and I would be signing up for them. Maybe there are $60k jobs in NYC or Easy coast but none in Ohio, Indiana, or south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 17, 2017 - 2:27am
Some great points!
Why are so many people hell-bent on making bad decisions? It seems like force of habit and over-idealistic expectations are doing a number on common sense.
Saint George Added Jul 17, 2017 - 3:06pm
I have been looking at the monetary system and banking for much, much longer than you and I've gone past where your understanding is at.
Alas, to "look at" something for a long time — staring at a brick wall, for example — in no way leads to understanding. You understand nothing. You're a shill for the hyper-inflationist crowd.
Nothing new to see here.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:09pm
Geo Romey whines: While robots will eventually place of the trade at this point hourly wages are being driven down by cheap immigrants,-I'll presume ol Geo means "in place" of trades, and also comment on Jeff J's: I have a friend who went into operating engineer contracting, and it took almost 4 years before he made much money, conversely in my last "inside" job went from trades in field to the firm's engineering department, and did well financially.  Unlike Romey, I didn't sit around and cry about the job market, and how unfair it was to people over 50, but took my skills and did something with them I'd probably not have done otherwise.  I had a class A license and used it in company logistics.  Someone has to deliver curtain walls in sequence to job sites.  Again, there is a real stigma Millennials have about physical labor whereby if you aren't "selling a unicorn" and making millions, you're a loser.  Think you may sell the folks at that trade school short, Jeff, but from a "young perspective," maybe not.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:12pm
AND TO Geo's whine about robotics, they've got robots that install curtain wall systems, but takes a highly skilled and well paid operator to run one. Hmmm.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:15pm
John G notices: But I do answer, George. It's you ignoring me. Remember?-Geo will claim he doesn't answer trolls like he's defined you and I.  But then, as you've noted, Geo is an intellectual fraud.  Even Autumn has commented on Geo's failures to answer anyone that doesn't pat him on the back, or totally agree with him, or "feel sorry" for him.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 19, 2017 - 12:24am
Jeff, familiar with the term "the exception proves the rule?" I changed careers five years ago, and am still without any long-term offers, while people with far less education get offers much more frequently. I sub at a trade school and I have nothing bad to say about them, especially for young people who aren't into books and such. Trades are a good option, and we need people with skills in those areas.
My point was that, at least where I am located, the beginning pay is quite low, and decent money takes a long time. Some people, even my beloved Wall Street Journal, are kidding themselves if they think trades start out at $60k for apprentices. Not in my area, not even close. The other downside is that the trades top out quickly. I know people who make the same money after 20 years of experience. I have a lot of experience in logistics, but I left the field when too many people that I worked with considered suicide an option. I recently wrote an essay on the ethical dilemmas that people in the industry face on a regular basis, and I will not in this thread discuss the finer points of the decisions made and why. Just understand that money is everything, and ethics and safety are secondary to getting the job done.
John G will actually have to say something worthwhile instead of calling names. When he has something to say, I will retain his quotes.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 19, 2017 - 7:12pm
Jeff Jackson notes: Just understand that money is everything, and ethics and safety are secondary to getting the job done.-Not sure if this a regional deal, but one of my duties via engineering dept. was creating a site specific safety manuals and notated safety procedures for each job.  Safety reigned supreme at both factory and on job sites.  I don't know what ethical dilemmas you refer to, or were aware of them save taking responsibility for work, duties and mission you perform.  That seemed straight forward, and the company senior management always backed you up, particularly in making safety calls. Everyone was dedicated to everyone going home at night.  High rise job sites are "accidents waiting to happen."
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 22, 2017 - 11:05am
Jeff I am happy that your firm wanted everyone top go home at night. Some places where I worked, they wanted the job done, and if you had to stay all night to get it done, that was fine with them. Any health problems you developed by working all of the hours and taking all of the stress were simply weaknesses that you had, and they didn't want any "weak people." I watched them break people by demanding more and more until the person had nothing else to give, and then, of course, they had to let them go.
The people I worked with (at least some of them) wanted what they wanted, and they expected it no matter what sacrifice was to be made, as long as it didn't cost any money.
Jeff Michka Added Jul 23, 2017 - 3:37pm
Jeff Jackson relates: The people I worked with (at least some of them) wanted what they wanted, and they expected it no matter what sacrifice was to be made.-Sorry your local didn't stand up.  And I wasn't referring to "going home at night" as related to work hours, it refers to not killing someone or yourself on the job.  I had to pull many hours of overtime, since that's when "extra" crane time was available.  Sounds like your contract neg people weren't very sharp.