TechCareers

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Make Sure Potential Employer Worth Every Bite

Just today, I read that three of my favorite veggies have very little nutritional value. I’ve known for years that iceberg lettuce was a poor choice; yet, heads of lettuce roll out the commerce door every year. But cucumbers and celery?

I’m guessing moms in the ‘50s already had that figured out when they started adding peanut butter to celery sticks. It was a great snack, and even with today’s news, nutritionists do agree celery at least has some fiber value.

So what does this all have to do with technical careers? Technically speaking, absolutely nothing. Job-wise, though, it’s worth a second look.

As you’re hunting for the perfect technical job, whether it be in wind energy, welding or electrical engineering, be sure you look at the company for its nutritional value. Huh?

Is it a company that not only looks good but performs well even in difficult economic times? Thankfully, I came across an example of one such company: Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, Ohio. The company produces arc welding equipment and consumables, plasma and oxy-fuel cutting equipment and robotic welding systems.

John C. Lincoln founded the company in 1895 on a $200 investment to make the electric motors he had designed. It was his brother, James, though, who is credited with the company’s so-called incentive management system, first chronicled back in 1951.

PBS Newshour recently featured the company with an interview between its economics correspondent Paul Solman and the company’s CEO John Stropki.

Solman asked why Lincoln Electric hasn’t laid off anyone for economic reasons since World War II? Solman also talked to some employees as well about how they feel about working for a company that protects their jobs, even in an economic downturn.

Workers, after three years, are guaranteed at least 30 hours per week as long as they meet quality standards, responded Solman. So how do they do it? They don’t pay hourly wages; they pay by output, using the piecework system.

Pressure to perform. You bet. But the rewards are there, too. While one employee talked about how it is the hardest worker who stays with the job, there are other incentives, too. For example, though it is a publicly traded company, Lincoln sets aside, according to the PBS show, a full one-third of its earnings for a bonus pool.

Today, the company is cited in case study after case study, while others wonder how such a business model thrives. Now, let’s think back to your job hunt. While you are anxious to share your skills with an employer, be sure to check them out as thoroughly as the company does you. Signing bonuses may look good, but check out the company’s history of layoffs and how well its reputation is for treating employees well.

Also, take Lincoln’s example of being upfront with employees. On its website, Lincoln spells out what it expects in an employee, ending with its decades-long practice of paying by the job. “Most plant operations positions are paid on a piecework basis. That means pay is directly based on output,” the site declares. “The Piecework System rewards employees for what is done rather than how much time is spent on the job. More productive employees who meet Lincoln’s quality standards will receive greater compensation than those who are less productive.

So while job-hunting may not lend itself nutritionally, be sure the company you choose is healthy.

-Sheila

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