Observations, Opinions and Musings from the Woods of Maine
It has been a spectacular Fall season so far here in Maine! The peak colors of the woods and fields remind us of the glory that is Mother Nature.
Yet our wonder is tempered when we let our thoughts turn to such a troubled world. Unless you live in a cave, you know what I’m talking about. But when hasn’t the world been troubled? Perhaps instant news and social media have just heightened our senses and awareness. But I don’t think that explains the reality of what we are seeing on a daily basis. Everything seems to be a mess.
I ponder and worry about the lives my grandchildren will experience. At a time when they could live to be 100 or more, and travel to space, instead I think about their quality of life and how it may actually be of less quality than previous generations enjoyed. Somehow, I remain optimistic that the world will figure it all out. It may take generations or it may take an asteroid hit – but I have faith that good will win over evil and that decent people will prevail.
It is this same faith that has carried many of us through the Great Recession and anemic recovery. I can understand how anyone who has lost their job or seen their industry decimated may not share this faith. Another paper mill in Maine just announced they are shutting down, putting almost 500 people out of work, some who have worked there for decades. The workers come from every county in Maine and will impact the tax base in which the mill was located by a negative 40% or more. I can’t think of another state that has seen such a variety of major industries go belly up. Even fishing is threatened!
Yet, the folks here go on.
They struggle to make ends meet, find new callings in new industries – and still enjoy the simple things like community bean suppers and a warm, cozy fire.
There are two guys working on building a new shed for me right now. They want $17/hr. and nothing more – and they are perfectionists! One of these guys will go home, meet with his wife who waitresses during the day, and go hand pick beans, corn, etc. on his farm until it gets dark. They sell the produce to earn a little extra money.
In the meantime, I work with many consultants and perm candidates who won’t budge when it comes to decreasing their rate or salary demands by a few bucks. That is certainly their prerogative and I understand the expenses and cost of living factors that they face.
What many of these people and others don’t fully realize is that our clients have limited budgets and salary structures almost impossible to modify. They also don’t seem to get that we are not a non-profit agency. We need to earn a profit and have expenses associated with acquiring clients and candidates. We have an infrastructure to support (a building, remote offices, phones, computers, data bases and systems, etc.). We also have salaries to pay and partners who handle our outsourced payroll, network and ERP system.
Soon we will be faced with ACA requirements and have absorbed many costs already associated with HIPAA compliance. Government regulations are smothering the staffing industry. I spend as much time now as an informal para-legal as I do running Professional Services.
We also have clients that may not pay us in a timely manner and there is a cost associated with carrying old Accounts Receivables.
All I ask is that you think about all this the next time one of our recruiters or Account Managers ask you to be flexible. They are not trying to diminish your worth in the marketplace. On the contrary, they are trying to put you to work and make it a win-win-win for you, us and our clients.
Have a safe and enjoyable Fall season and all the holidays just around the corner!
Wayne from Maine
Any opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the opinions of EDI Staffing.
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