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  • Where have all the employees gone?

    Posted by Tom on May 18, 2013 at 6:39 am

    More accurately, the good employees.

    Many don’t want to work, and with all the “benefits” today they don’t have to.

    Then there are those who want to work, but can’t. Basic life skills are missing. Following simple instructions, showing up on time, accuracy, organization, reading, writing, adding, subtracting, grooming, cleanliness, talking, listening, honesty, responsibility, etc. When they are brought up to believe that none of those things are important, that’s the result we should expect.

    “But all the tattoos and body piercings sure look great!” said no customer, EVER.

    That leaves an ever decreasing pool of reasonably decent (not perfect) employable people.

    How do we fix it? Since it took a generation or two for the government and the educational system to ruin our culture, it will take a lot of time and lot of effort to improve things in a significant way. We have changed from “Why would anyone homeschool?” to “Why would anyone NOT homeschool?”

    At least, those are my thoughts…what are yours?

    dougfentiman replied 10 years ago 9 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • nctransmission

    May 20, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Tom, I think we would be foolish if we thought we were the first generation to feel this way.  Imagine how hard it was to find good employees after WWII – a buttload of the generation was DEAD or had spent the prioer few years killing people for a living.

    It’s up to us as entrepreneurs to find the potential and help mold it into what we want.  The thankless part is when we’re done, they will take what we taught them, dump us and go find greener pastures, it’s the way of the world.
    As to the net effects of the incentives NOT to work, well, all I know to say to that is that it is our responsibility as Americans to vote the way we feel, and to campaign for the things we believe in.  I was never HANDED anything, but I have had to HAND OUT a lot…
  • Unknown Member

    Deleted User
    May 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm


    As a Dad of teenagers, I have seen first hand how kids today lack the general good character that used to be taken for granted as common knowledge. Why is this? Because that is what is modeled for them by their parents. We cant blame it totally on the Government, although the government has done nothing to stop the decline of the family. It basically started 30+ years ago, when young people were convinced that they couldnt trust adults, and God began to be removed from schools and everywhere but church.  And the breakdown has continued, and basically people today live their lives and are never taught that there is a God that we will stand before when we die. If we are never held accountable for our actions, then it is no big deal if we steal, or lie, or dont show up for work. And you also have parents that are too busy to spend time with their children ,teach them basic manners, and respect for themselves and others. There has been an assault on the family from many angles, and until the family unit is restored, our culture will continue to degrade, and more and more people will look to the government to “fix” our society. But truly what needs to happen is that everyone needs to take responsibility for their themselves, their own family, and  their children, We as a country will need to DO THE HARD THINGS to restore our country to the greatness it was founded on. That starts with Praying to God for mercy, returning to biblical principles, and rebuilding the family. Homeschooling can be part of the solution, but what it really comes down to is this:Husband and wife taking responsibility for their children and taking an active role in teaching their children to be respectful, to work hard, and be grateful for everything they have been blessed with. They must model it for their children in the choices they make for themselves, that they are willing to do the right thing because it is the right thing, and because God says so. I do homeschool my children, but they learn more from what i say, what i do, how i treat my wife, how i treat them, how i run my business, than they do from their school books. It is my responsibility to “walk the walk” for them and others to see. And i can only do that because I have the life changing power of Jesus working in me. I cant do it in my own strength, but with God, all things are possible. 
    That is my opinion of how to fix it……. Great topic, Tom! 
  • Edward

    May 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    My 23 yr old son remarked the other day that the people who work for a living are being overwhelmed by the people who are voting themselves goodies. I pay my people extraordinarily well and I’ve got a core group that has been with me for well over a decade, but the guys on the periphery seem to come and go, constantly searching for something easier. Notice that I said easier, not better. The ones who are afflicted by what I call “beer and bait syndrome” (if they’ve got enough money for beer and bait, they just can’t seem to make it to work). Unfortunately for our Nation, we have political leaders on both sides of the isle who lack the COURAGE to tell the American people the TRUTH and that is that there is no free lunch and you’re going to have to work hard and live frugally in order to get ahead. True patriots, the people who get up and do their best every day for their family and their community, are hungry for leadership and are anxious for someone to step up to the mike and tell the 50-60% of us that don’t want to hear that we’ve got to take some bitter medicine now for the sake of our children and our children’s children.  If that person doesn’t materialize soon and put an end to the river of corrupt money that is eroding the integrity of our existing “leadership”, we’re in for a rough ride.  An observant, even-handed, aggressive press corps would sure be a plus but that went away in 2008.  I miss Tim Russert.

  • mylesj

    May 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    It is hard to find a tech in the Seattle area. Boeing has been hiring 100 a week for a while now as they ramp up production on the Dreamliner. Dealerships that don’t pay well were the first target. Independent shops that don’t pay enough are losing their guys to those same dealers who now realize they need to pay more.

    The current crop of younger workers will do a really good job IF you tell them exactly what to do. I don’t know why this is. I have observed it enough to believe it. You may think that worker is a slacker because they don’t figure out what to do on their own. Guess what? That worker needs an active manager. Between ADD meds for 30% of the kids and helicopter parents for another 30% how can it be otherwise?



    Tom – the first shop I managed existed mainly to train people on those items you mentioned, showing up on time every day, listening, etc. They had a basic understanding of cars but no understanding of what work meant. If they didn’t “get it” in a month it wasn’t going to happen. That was in the mid 1970s. Maybe you are more aware of it now. Maybe it didn’t become a problem until we had a prolonged downturn. At a certain point people who don’t see themselves as being financially successful stop trying. Most shops (not the best run shops) have been in the soup right since 9/11.

    JMazur – your statement “truly what needs to happen is that everyone needs to take responsibility for their themselves, their own family, and  their children” is exactly correct. I can’t agree with your statement that follows about religiosity helping to accomplish this. I live in a fairly godless part of the country. The bible thumpers here are often the worst employees. They directly or indirectly insult customers and co-workers that hold different beliefs, without even realizing it. Just like “beer and bait syndrome” people they have something else that gets top of mind. Neither group is focused on what they can do to make this job more profitable and make this customer happier.


    FNGJWS – I like the beer and bait syndrome. There is an old quote to the effect that  – “you can’t get a Catalan to work all day if he can pay his bills working half a day”. Most of those techs that took the Boeing jobs did it because it was easier. Starting pay for a 40 hour week is $51K with full benefits. That is low pay for a good dealership flat rater.

    The last public official I remember that tried to make a public conversation out of telling hard truths was Jimmy Carter. He got hammered for it. I don’t think any major politico has touched it since. He wanted to talk about how the energy problems were damaging the nation and talked about limiting the use of oil to strengthen the economy. Here is the introduction to that point.”Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns”, the president said.

  • garmando

    May 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm
  • lortech

    May 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Hi everyone. I think that it is not that people dont want to work hard, it is how to earn more, so they can buy that house. I may be wrong but that is where I want to be.

    About 12 years ago I lived in the Seattle to Bellingham part of the Puget sound. I had worked in the automotive field for a number of years. I prided my self in being able to diagnose almost all problems on cars, without a scanner. All I had was a dmm or a vom. The shops were to cheap “except one” in buying a scanner, or other special tools. I had done lots of engine,head,timming belt changes in that time. But could never manage a meager wage. It was frustrating to say the least. The shops never wanted to spend money training me further then what I learned on the job, car repair articles, magazines, Alldata, Mitchel and learning from other mechanics..which to often, I knew more then they did.

    But what really killed my carreer back then “I still do lightly duty repairs and diagnostics today” was the fact that the shop had a bad reputation when I walked into it. The shop manager was a back yard mechanic. He was misdiagnosing and releasing cars as fixed. At one point, he fed a wire strait from the starter to the ignition switch because he could not figure why it had intermittent start problems, only to have the wire insinerate “smoke” when the customer went to start it. Same shop manager got in a argument with me, believing the customer the differential in a jeep was bad and the argument was loud, because I discover the splines on the drive shaft were stripped.

    He kept on misdiagnosing and eventually told me to put the oil pan back on a toyota engine, when I told him, one of the con rod bearings is seized up “I was hanging free air on the beaker bar to prove it to him” He still told me to put everything back on. Eventually the customer drove the car smoked like crazy, he removed the engine, it was sent to a machine shop. The manager lied about what happened to the machine shop, and got fired by the owner.

    If I had the idea all of this was going to happen, I would have never excepted a job at that place. Good shops are shops that find good mechanics who can diagnose and REWARD them, which to often here in Vancouver BC, They do not. The wages here are not high enough to offset the cost of tools unless you work in a rich part of town where customers pay more, to offset the higher mechanics wages.

    Parents also need to do more. I am thankful I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, where we adults, give teenagers responsibilities, in the church, and teach everyone the every day responsibilities of what what a good parent is. The kids and parents who stay, turn out to be outstanding people. I have seen many examples become police officers, Fire Fighters, Cia and FBI agents and every day conservative people with good Character and moral values.

    The United states used to look like this model. The shaming of students who get bad grades by adults and peers. The respect of students with there adults “please stand up and shake my hand as a way of greeting” Dressing appropriately. Spend more time on school, then the internet, the social chat sites and asking for a peer “mom or dad” on some questions on home work, which my parents NEVER helped me. Selfishness plays a really really big role in today’s kids. Its all about the me generations and now about “how can I help you or, how can we as a team, help the customer”

    Anyway, those are my two cents. I have not been able to buy a house on my automotive wages and only rented. Kind of a real shame.

  • opridgett

    May 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    This is a very good Post! I’m in the process of opening a shop in Texas and this is making me a bit gun shy about potential employees.
    All in all Jmazur and Tom both has made very good points about our country and our children.
    I grew up in the mid 60s and 70s when the school could no longer allow us to say prayer openly. It started with a moment of silence. If you have not taught your kids to pray all they will have during that moment is silence and maybe a moment to thinking of some devious act to impose on there classmates. I also remember the first time the school sent home a note stating that we as kids or the school could report our parents to the proper authorities if we were being abused. Now I would never condone child abuse but I think that changed the way a great part of our generation’s view of respect in the home and in public. I witness youth in all walk of our economical and social back ground today. There lack of respect for themselves and other around them are getting worse by the day. I had a healthy enough dose of respect and fear from my parents where peer pressure was never an issue growing up. Because of my respect of my parents all my friend and neighbors treated my parents with the proper respect. Respect, Obedience, loyalty, reliability, responsibility, honesty, hard work are what’s missing in our families and our governmental official today.  Family is where thy will get it first and best.

  • dougfentiman

    May 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    A book suggestion is “It’s Called Work for A Reason!: Your Success Is Your own Damn Fault” by Larry Winget.

    Every new employee should be given a copy and required to read it… Maybe give job candidates a copy and ask them if they still want to “work” for you… be a good way to weed out the dead wood.

    Having been a public school teacher I believe values come mostly from home. and are established very young. Almost impossible for schools to change kids values. And especially when not supported by bone head parents… Sadly many (most?) parents aren’t doing a good job of raising their kids. But society has such a huge influence that it is difficult for even concerned parents to positively influence their children. So difficult for young people to not be affected.

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