Today was the first day for Annie - a new employee. With the start of the school year everyone who worked for me went back to school. Sarah, in her third year of University now works only one day each week. Hailey is down to three days each week. Becky is gone to animation school. And Peter who was only with us for two weeks between terms is now back in university. My daughter Rebecca helps out when she can, but she is very busy these days.
I knew it was coming and I was OK with it. But I had to find new help. I didn't take out an ad in the paper or post a job listing online.
I hear many complain that good people are hard to find. That may be true if you are looking in the usual places. But I have a different tack. I let them come to me. We often get people come up the drive looking for work. Only a few make the cut.
When I interview new prospective hires I am looking for people with dreams. I'm looking for people who are working hard to realize these dreams. These people are motivated and willing to work without fail. I explain our goals for they are simple. My job is to help them realize their dream. Their task is to help me with mine. Hiring these people means I will lose them as they move on down the road. That's perfectly OK in my mind for I love it when people achieve their goals. This is what life should be about.
My hiring methods are pretty relaxed. A resume is nice but not required. Experience is also an asset but not necessary. Often I will turn away those who know lots for it doesn't allow much room for training. I want things done my way. Mostly I am looking for a work ethic and the right attitude. They have to be willing to learn and eager to try new things. I love my work and want to have fun on the job site and as little stress as I can manage. Having the right people helps a lot. I believe those who work for me should also have just as much fun as I.
Saturday I saw a truck drive up to the firehall across the street. A young lady got out and was in a discussion with the older person with her. I found out later it was her dad. He was obviously in a hurry. She was adamant that she needed to look around. I lost track of them as I went about my business on the other side of the street.
A few minutes later I saw the young lady again, approaching my shop. She had her camera out and asked permission to take some pictures. I had no problem with that. She was awestruck with our work. It turned out she was relatively new to the area, an artist, had some training and was one of the most enthusiastic people I have met. I identified with her immediately. She loved what she saw, but wanted to know how it was made. She touched everything she saw, trying to figure out how it was fashioned and with what material. She was curious. I decided to give her a quick tour of the shop. As she entered the workspace I could tell she was in her version of heaven. She took it all in instantly... the tools, the samples, the building, the projects in various stages of completion. This was her world.
Annie's next comment was expected. It's one I have heard many times before. She said, "I have to work for you. I'll do any job you ask if you teach me how to create this magic."
I explained the job was largely one of hard labor. Hard, dirty, dusty work. Starting pay was low compared to many jobs. The tasks she would be required to do were not glamorous. She understood, We talked a little more about specifics and she was instantly hired.
This morning Annie was waiting when I arrived at the jobsite. She was eager to kick things in gear. I quickly discovered she knew how to handle tools and was able to learn new things in an istant. I framed one side of the fireplace while she matched my moved on the other. There were no straight lines, nothing was level, everything was built by eye. To get it right is far more difficult than most would imagine. Annie was quick as well. Together we accomplished a lot and achieved more than my lofty goals of the day.
Tomorrow we'll see if we can do it again.