INDUSTRY HOW TO GO FROM MIN WAGE TO $200K AS A TEMP WORKER

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After all the talk here on StaffingTalk prompted by Dave at AATW about the plight of the low-end temporary worker, we did come to one point of agreement which is that it would be great if people had better opportunities.

But better opportunities don’t just fall out of the sky. You have to make them, and if you are poor and uninformed, you often don’t have the slightest clue on how to move beyond minimum wage. The best you can do is learn from example.

Here’s my example.

When I left my studies in the Soviet Union in 1980, I took a job as a temp for my Dad’s company unpacking pollution samples that field engineers shipped to us from the Love Canal. The shipments would come in to the back door of Carborundum in South Sacramento. I would unpack the case, arrange the samples, and bring them over to the GCMS chemists who analyzed them.

I became good friends with a couple of the chemists, and they started showing me their computer system that calculated parts per million for different toxins. I already had some experience with computer programming through my Dad, but back then we didn’t think of software as either a profession or an industry.

One day the motherboard on one of the GCMS units fried, and I got the job of driving down to a hotel in Palo Alto to pick up a replacement. I forget the mileage rate but it was good money — my hourly pay rate plus comp for food.

I was feeling pretty good about the deal, but the bigger reward was at the hotel where there was a wild cannabis-scented party going on with liquored up Apple and Intel employees, one of whom was to give me the motherboard.

This guy explained something about the motherboard and then went on about how wildly fast his company was growing. I listened to him, but I should have listened harder. I think if he knew I could program computers I would have gotten a job offer on the spot. It was a huge opportunity missed.   Fortunately it wasn’t the last.

After that episode I started watching the classified ads in the San Francisco Sunday paper and one about working on airline software at United Airlines piqued my curiosity. I sent in my resume and called repeatedly which got me an interview at a bar with the project director. A few drinks and backgammon games later, I was offered a job. That job led to a software contracting gig that spawned further into hustling contracts for my friends.

And so yes in the space of less than three years I went from a temp at minimum wage-plus to making more than $200 thousand a year.

And so, yes, in the space of less than three years I went from making minimum wage-plus to making more than $200 thousand a year.

But that’s my story. Not everyone codes and not everyone catches an industry at peak demand for talent like I did. So what about the normal guy with no special skills?

How can they go from minimum wage to $200 thousand?

Reddit has a post raging right now about just that. Here’s a quote from a guy working in the oil fields in Canada:

IVIars2014 3 points  Welding is one of the most in demand trades right now. If you were in Alberta Canada, you would be golden as a welder. Many make upwards of $200000 a year working in the Oilsands. Source: I work in the Oilsands.

I don’t know anything about welding, but I do know my staffing clients that specialize in skilled trades are doing a booming business. The biggest problem they have is finding qualified workers, so much so that they’ve gotten into the business of training them as well.

This minting of skilled trade professionals compensates the staffing company well. I’ve seen spreads as high as $45/$15.

I suppose it will strike the hoi polloi of the political left as unfair that a business can reap such good profits at the hands of a low-paid worker, but the result is that a previously unemployed person – now trained and experienced – is ready to head to oil fields for his $200 thousand.

Consider the transformative effect these staffing companies have on lives!

No, not every new welder will make $200 thousand in Williston, but can we at least compare it to what would happen to that worker if the alternative were extended unemployment payments or unmerited disability payments?

source: http://staffingtalk.com/how-to-go-from-min-wage-to-200k#sthash.eOK4N5mu.dpuf

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