This week has been another confirmation of how the learning curve with many of the young is slowing. Since the temperatures during the day are above freezing, I see more construction work taking place outside. Being out and about more, I find myself noticing the progress of workers while driving. Not too many years ago, we would find people working nearly non-stop during the daylight hours and taking breaks only for lunch and coffee. More and more I find a larger number of workers at a site and most of them just standing around and talking. It’s no wonder the costs of construction are skyrocketing.
Someone told me today that there is a real shortage of people who are highly skilled in framing, plumbing, electrical and concrete. They said many of the masters of their trades are either retiring, moving out of state, or being replaced by someone younger who is paid substantially less yet is far less skilled. I think we are finding this in just about every profession. Too many times these past years I’ve heard of seasoned workers being squeezed out of their positions to be replaced with lesser paid and under-skilled workers.
Not too many weeks ago, one of my clients needed some technical repairs done. After two attempts by one company to fix the problem, a phone call was placed to a more skilled worker, and it was repaired in a very short time. It can be frustrating as well as costly when we find people who purport to have the skills and later find a bigger problem in the end. Many years ago, I hired two gentlemen to re-side a small house. They claimed they knew what they were doing so I hired them. When they came with the bill, I told them I wanted to inspect the job. When I pulled up and got out of the car, my jaw dropped at what I saw. The siding was installed upside down. When I challenged them about it, they insisted it was properly installed. Well, after my refusal to pay and their refusal to fix the problem, it cost me even more to have it removed and properly installed.
Too many times over the years, I have found myself challenging the quality of work that has been done for clients and customers. I become especially angered when I see the elderly being taken advantage of when they have work done. One of my favorite clients once said to me, “Why is it people don’t make money the old fashioned way by simply earning it?” Unfortunately there is a ring of truth in that statement. Perhaps we all need step back and think about putting true ethics back into practice in the workplace.