Friday, October 15, 2010

Geneology More Than Your Wife Discovering Herself

Let's talk skilled craftsmen. Not just mechanics or Millwrights, but the ones that are truly hard to find. I think every blue collar industry has one or two of these type of jobs. Take Sawfiling, in the sawmilling industry it is a specialty unto itself. It is not millwright or electrician, it is a mix between machinist and voodoo (it is, indeed, often referred to as black joke). It is a craft that is so specific in it's skill set that very few people choose to do it and, as a result, the few people that choose Sawfiling as a profession, are good at it, and show a spark of leadership ability become well compensated very quickly.

Normally, the answer to a lot of problems in finding leaders for this type of niche craft is to grow your own from within. If that fails you find yourself having to decide if your geneology has gone wrong. I am not talking names, ethnicity, or what royal family members you may or may not have been related to in the past thousand years. I am talking about a line of training that puts niche craftspeople into a school of thought, philosophy, or overall attitude.

Specialized craftspeople operate in tight circles. Rumors fly quickly through these groups and almost everyone knows everyone, at least by reputation. If you are looking for a change in philosophy, technique, or ability pay attention to where your current craft philosophy is coming from. You can often trace who was trained by who until you get to some common denominators, that can show you the true differences. Of course, individual ability still comes into play.

I am truly curious if anyone has come into contact with searches of these kind. It has been one of the most interesting searches I have ever done, because of it's complexity and difficulty. Any niche crafts I need to be aware of?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do You Know Who You Are?

I am going to brag a little in this post. The struggle will be to not get annoyingly egotistical. But, I believe that my experience will give people something to learn from.

The economy sucks, there are no job opportunities, especially in manufacturing...Dear God I hope you don't want a job in Manufacturing.


I am a Manufacturing HR guy with only two years of industry experience. I recently started testing the waters to see if there were other opportunities out there. I stuck with large manufacturers of various products and started submitting resumes via the SHRM website. At one point I was in the middle of 4 different searches only six months after submitting my first resume. I was picky, I told companies I wasn't interested after learning more about the job/organization. I declined offers. I did not take a job until I felt it was the absolutely perfect opportunity for me. No compromising, no regrets. I know there is more to it than that, and there was a lot of hard work along the way, but my main point is that there is plenty of opportunity oout there.

How? I know who I am and what I want to do with my life and can articulate it clearly and concisely to hiring managers. I do plenty of hiring and the amount of wishy washy answers I get to the simple question of "What do you want to do with your life?" is insane. Par for the course would be: "I hope to be successful in [insert position you are hiring for here] for x amount of time and hopefully have an opportunity to move up in your organization." Ok, that gets you through the question without follow ups, but I am going to forget you the moment you walk out the door. Here is my answer to that question:

"I love HR (I actually do). My long term goal is to become an expert in manufacturing/industrial human resources issues. For me, that means that I would like to spend some time as an HR Director and move into a VP level as quickly as possible (important to note that those are not the positions I am an applicant for). I work hard because I love what I do. I do HR for fun. Long days don't matter to me because I have found my calling in life and it is good.


If you don't like me because I won't be wasting space in your office for 5 to 10 years adding little if any true value to your organization then I will not be the right person for your job. If you can't keep me challenged I will move OK enough crowing, I will get back to the issues.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When It's Time to Move On

I am starting a new adventure. For the last two years I have been learning manufacturing HR from the school of hard knocks at a Lumber Mill in Dillard Oregon. The experiences and development I have recieved from the many great people I have worked with are too many to count. The reasoning for my leaving is relatively simple:

1. I have an inherent love for the HR functional area and wish to specialize in this area (Currently I cover safety and environmental compliance which for development purposes has been good, however is becoming more and more of a distraction to where I want to be).

2. I looked at my goals for the upcoming year and realized that I wasn't invested in any of them (Namely all safety and environmental goals and no HR goals)

3. The culture of my organization is based on "putting in your time". This permeates everything from compensation and benefits to how you are treated on a personal level. I have worked hard over the last couple of years to become an expert on this organizations HR processes and feel that those skills really are not valued because of my short tenure.

4. About a year ago I started getting a sneaky suspicion that I could get paid more to do less work. Now, if you are a 12 hour a day guy you can't just become an 8 hour guy, but my wife and I have made the decision that she would stay home with our two small children and focus on my career. If I am going to be missing that much time with my family there is a compensation number that needs to be reached for me to be comfortable.

Having said all that I really do like my current organization. If I was the type of guy who wanted to wait around for my shot and "put my time in" this would certainly be the place to do it. Good people both in the managerial and hourly ranks. However, I also chose this company because I felt that I could make an immediate impact that would better my organization. Lately, due to economic conditions and managerial changes I have felt less and less like I have the ability to impact my organization for the good. I probably could have kept the plates spinning for another couple of years, but in the end, I want to be fully engaged in what I am doing. I am proud of the achievements and projects that I have worked on here, but it is time to move on.

A note to people in the same boat, you would be amazed what opportunities are out there at this time. I was in the fortunate position of being pursued by three different organizations. I believe the key to this is that I truly love my chosen profession of HR. Good people always have choices. I chose to move on.

I also hope to be restarting blogging regularly. stay tuned.