Who is She? In the words of my 9th grade english teacher, “If you don’t go to college you’ll be flipping burgers for the rest of your life.” I guess she wasn’t a double major because she missed the mark on some basic math. Can you make 6 figures in a trade Mary? With the right attitude and some overtime, yes you can. A friend at work had put together $80,000 in savings before they turned 30 working in this trade… Can you also enjoy premium health insurance benefits, paid vacation, 401k match? Sure can. It’s true, you can flip burgers straight out of highschool, but you might not be able to buy that new truck you’ve been searching for. Many people understand how difficult it is to live on minimum wage in this country, but how many take a step forward to learn what skills or types of mentors that may help in moving you up to the next level of earning potential? Can you make the change? Say yes, then let your character lead the way. Our Company At Phoenix we provide pathways for fiber optic cables, prep for cable installation, repair damaged cable, restore service after a network interruption, place manholes in the street, set utility poles when they break due to storm or vehicle accidents, and perform state of the art testing/troubleshooting on existing fiber links. A lot of our employees enjoy the work because it is hands-on, the scenery constantly changes, and sometimes prevailing wage jobs boost your paycheck. You get a sense of pride putting together infrastructure that will literally be used for everything from bank transactions to streaming your social media content. Our office here in Worcester County has employed many entry level people that developed their character in the field over the years. Some made the choice to move toward other positions as opportunity developed in front of them. There are a few that were hired by large publicly traded network providers as project managers, others made their way over to area public utility companies and a few have made their way up the ranks in house. We have project managers, safety officers, schedulers, and sales personnel who have all previously worked in the field. You Should Apply If you don’t have any formal experience, here is a list of the most basic skills needed to apply here at Phoenix: High sense of spatial awareness; your surroundings. High level of hand eye coordination; manual dexterity. Familiar with basic computer skills like sending/receiving emails. Able to work in all weather conditions, day, night and weekends. Ask Yourself Even if you are not the career changing type, what are your needs? We ask this same question of our customers during planning phases in fiber optic construction. Is it a benefit? Is it purely dollars? You’ve decided you’re not the office type because sitting at a desk gets old at 10AM. You’ve decided the local machine shop is just a bit too small, there isn’t much opportunity for growth, and there are no benefits. Everyone has a unique need and it’s important to think about where the next five years can take you. What pathway could lead me to my next big opportunity? Give Back Last year I spoke to a group of 80 high school students at Worcester Tech. Most of them were involved in IT specific learning programs. They asked me, what do you have to do with IT? On the outside, it would appear that I simply work in a construction environment which is true, but many times I work with IT. I work in the same space as IT. We provide turn-key fiber optic solutions for massive institutions often landing us in the heart of the information center, the data center. What a great opportunity. Meeting new people every day is part of your job. Imagine how convenient it is to be placing new fiber optic cable at the largest bio research facility in Boston. You then follow through and reach out to the building manager on LinkedIn to introduce yourself. It may seem like a job that isn’t quite what you wanted to do but could it provide you with networking opportunities closer to the next level? Every job allows you to build character. It is your choice to develop that character and bring the value to the doorstep of your next opportunity with a bow on it. Move Forward 63% of workers who have lost jobs because of the outbreak have changed their industry. My bathroom at home needs remodeling. While doing research online I ended up watching a few videos on some quick DIY projects. One of the people doing the remodel in the video stated that he was not a contractor, and had no experience before attempting many of the projects on his family home. He said, I can pay a contractor but why not learn as I go? This has always been the mentality that we look for when we interview here at Phoenix. Will this person be the next leader on our developing fiber optic cable crew? The possibilities are endless with the right attitude. This is especially true in a trade. “The average age of an electrician is 56…” says Matthew Gorski, Director of PeopleReady, Northeast. This means that half of all electricians could retire in the next 10 years. “We are receiving more orders for experienced tradespeople than we can fill.” When you think about these types of massive needs across the country, imagine being one of the people that makes the choice to influence and mentor the next group of individuals that will carry the torch. It’s a crisis, imagine the impact you could have as an industry mentor. Time and Money Looking back at my start in this industry my job was to assemble fiber optic cable in a warehouse. I made $6.50 an hour. The year was 1999. Fifteen years later I left the field making about $90k annually with overtime, and possessing no special certificates or degrees. At that time the company still looked at formal training programs outside of safety as a financial burden. 5 years later, we are wholly committed to training and mentoring. How can we be better, earlier? How can we engage new employees in a way that helps them see their value in the future of the trade? Today a new hire makes $18/hour with no experience and gets an increase at 90 days based on proficiency with skill sets. You tell me, if you start in a trade today during a labor shortage at $18/hour, where do you think wages will be in 15 years? How would a great mentor be compensated given they are taking the responsibility of a labor shortage head on? Does that sound like flipping burgers to you? Me neither.