OT Monday 6/4: A tidbit of business advice from a BA of Econ, BS of Business Admin and current student of MS in Management

OT thread from Friday was a little full. I'm sitting here waiting for my "supervisor" to call and tell me where he wants me to meet him, supposedly we meet at 6am...ha!

I wanted to make a post about something entirely unrelated to basketball because I had seen some mention of it in another OT Thread, being successful in a less than prime job market.

I've been fortunate throughout the recession. I've only been laid off once and that was in a position in which I knew I would be laid off at some point even when first accepting the position. In that situation, I only needed a job for a few months before I left for New Zealand to travel for a year and thus the situation was amiable for both parties.

Today, as I sit here waiting for a phone call from yet another poor manager I have no worries. It's my last week with this company. I recently was offered a position with a competitor that equates to a 25% annual raise and about three promotions wrapped in one. My income has trended straight up for the past 5 years and as of next week I'll be making more money than I ever have in my life. Given the current market and that of the past 5 years, how is this possible?

One of the things that truly resonated with me in my Econ studies was that outsourcing, while bad for the individual, is excellent for the corporation. It lowers operating costs tremendously, thus lowering expenses while maintaining the same level of revenue and increasing net profits. The world is less than seconds apart in today's world. I can email a person in China and they will have my message instantly. Truly this is a global economy and that's never going to change and thus outsourcing is here to stay. How have I avoided being laid off when it seems ever more jobs are being shipped overseas? Simple, my job can't be outsourced. This is the key. I have worked nearly my entire adult life as an electrician in some faculty or another. No matter how cheap someone does my job in India its still cheaper to pay me than to fly them over here to do it. Occupations which require your physical presence to perform are the jobs which have the best outlook in America going forward. Construction, Medical (everything from a nurse/dental assistant to doctor), even waiting tables and bartending all have very good outlooks going forward. The internet has destroyed job security in office jobs. If your job can be done from a computer, it can be done from India. Indeed, many economists forecast jobs such as tax accounting, software programming and many levels of consulting to be almost completely outsourced within the next 30 years.

Now, anyone who has ever worked as an Electrician or really any other part of the construction field as an installer/laborer knows that while this job can not be outsourced it isn't exactly what one would call a dream job either. As I said earlier I recently received a much better job in my field by switching companies, I've accomplished the dream many of us have in the construction industry of still working in the industry but I don't have to "strap my tools on" anymore. This came as a surprise to many in the company I left. As many people do when they work for a medium to large sized company (the one I left had around 200 employees) I became lost in the mix and not many people thought of me when considering people who had potential to move up in the industry. However, I knew I had more potential than almost anyone in the company to move up because of one thing: specialization. The first key was doing a job that requires my physical presence, the second is that I am highly specialized.

Anyone who has ever considered or does operate their own business has undoubtedly had the word specialization pounded into their brain. The idea being that most businesses who sell a product that is widely available become dependent on the market price of their product and lmakes it very hard for them to remain competitive. Most markets for widely available products and services have been already been dominated by large corporations with countless more resources. Thus, offering a product/service that is not widely available gives one the opportunity to define the price of their product and leaves them less likely to be overshadowed by a corporate mega giant. The same idea applies to an individual in a work place. The reason I knew I had a chance to rise high in my industry is because of my education. Very very few laborers in the construction industry have college degrees, some even lack a high school diploma (though in my case most electricians are required to have a diploma/ged) so when I graduated with a double major in Business and Econ I set my self apart from 99% of the people working in the field. I had become highly specialized. However, most people in the construction industry who work in the operations department (the one that you don't have to "strap your tools on" for) do have a degree, usually in construction management (CM). I did not have a CM degree yet I beat out many that did because again I was specialized. The experience requirements for the position I was awarded said "some field experience" I had over four years of experience and a Journeyman license. My new employer knew training would be minimal because I already had a strong working knowledge of materials, equipment and the code required to make installations. Thus, I got the job. I also already have an exit strategy for my new position (which is key for anyone looking to move up) by making myself even more specialized in that I am currently getting a master's degree in management which will set me apart from the newly, higher qualified pool of workers I now find myself competing with.

Don't listen to anyone who says that a college degree is a waste of money. A degree is only a waste of money if you choose to let it be. The key when obtaining a degree is to have a clear idea of where you want it to take you and then to have a clear plan on how to get there. Often times this means working for little to no money at all while going to school full time. I have a friend who wanted to do nothing more than brew beer. As a young man he lacked the resources to start his own brewery so he set out to get a job at an already established one. As you can imagine this is a highly competitive job. My friend knew this and thus he set out to become specialized, to have a combination of education and experience that is hard to find. First he got to work studying on his degree in bio-chemistry (essentially brewing beer is all bio-chemistry). Second, he volunteered in summers at O'dells, shoveling spent grain in the hot sun and measuring out pounds of hops over and over again. It was a crap job and it didn't pay, but he gained experience and connections. From there he got a night job while still in school working as a bartender in a tap room for a very small brewery. Now, during the summers he gets to brew with the brewmaster himself and as he prepares to graduate next spring he tells me his prospects of breaking into the market as a brewmaster or assistant brewmaster are extremely high. The reason is because it's very hard for a brewery to find someone with his high level of related education and field experience.

If you plan on getting a degree in a field that has little or nothing to do with your current experience then, by god, get an internship, do some volunteer work in your field or take a less desirable position in the industry to start. No one is going to give you more than 30k a year to do a job you have never even loosely done before. That would just be bad business. I'm starting to get a bit long winded here so I'll wrap this up with a message to the kids.

For those of you still in high school or earlier. First, congrats on making it to the end of what was likely the most boring fan post you've ever read. Second, education is everything, EVERYTHING! There is nothing, nothing you can't do if you're willing to work hard in school for it. Go to college, but wait until you have a clear idea of what you want to do and how you're going to get there and then when it comes time to go to class, get in there and kick butt. I'm not going to lie to you, there is a system to college, a system that can be manipulated and yes, even beat. You can get a degree without learning the material if you're smart enough to manipulate the system. However, THAT is how a degree becomes a waste of money. Oh it'll get you an interview, but if you haven't learned the material than its very unlikely you get the job, or last very long in it. It's like I told my best friend's little brother (just graduated from CSU ROTC, top military student in northern Colorado and on his way this fall to pilot school): there are 4 loopholes to being successful in college 1. Go to class 2. Read the book 3. Do your homework and 4. Study for the test. If you do those 4 things I promise you your education will take you wherever you want to go.

Whewwwwww, so...draft? Heat/Celtics Thunder/Spurs tied 2 apiece?.......PEYTON??!!!!....Rockies won a series!!!

Write respectfully of your SB Nation community and yourself.

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