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Why millennials should consider taking blue-collar jobs

(BUSINESS NEWS) As millennials face a tough job market, maybe they should shift their focus.

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apprenticeships

Job hunting

Search your memory for a moment. Can you think of anyone that’s ever told you how easy it is to find a job?

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If you can think of one, then they must know something that many of us don’t. As far as I can tell, the general consensus has always been that it’s no cakewalk.

Still an issue

I’ve been wrong before, of course. But reports indicate that a large percentage of millennials, like myself, seem to agree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs throughout the month of February.

However, even with all that job growth, college educated millennials are still finding it difficult to gain employment.

Caroline Ghosn, founder and CEO of Levo, a professional network dedicated to millennials in the workplace, and a millennial herself, has a suggestion…

Try blue-collar work.

Raised in a right-now society

During an interview with Fox Business, Ghosn attempted to shed some light regarding the millennial employment gap, stating that millennials are “the first generation to never have known what it’s like to not have the Internet.” As such, she explained that millennials are used to things moving very fast, which in turn can create “a little bit of a generational clash” in the workforce.

She added that part of the reason millennials are not searching for blue-collar work is due to how “interesting and futuristic” the media portrays the technology industry.

Though blue-collar work will not be a good fit for every millennial, Ghosn makes a pretty strong argument overall. In many places the jobs are there, but a large number of millennials do not take advantage of them.

Not thinking long-game

Don’t get me wrong, the technology industry is undoubtedly the way of the future. Many of these blue-collar jobs will likely show some sort of decline as technology continues to progress until it culminates into a post-apocalyptic mashup of the Terminator and the Matrix. 

However, many millennials seemingly overlook the potential stepping stones blue-collar work can provide.

Especially if one is not already working (regardless of the industry, it is always more helpful to have some work experience than none at all). Just because you take a job does not mean that you will be forced to remain in that field.

As a millennial myself, I can attest to the fact that many of my peers choose to overlook blue-collar work.

True, some turn their nose to the idea of doing manual labor, often feeling it is beneath them (Note: remember, I said peers- not friends). Some feel that manual labor is a career field with a limited lifespan. With technology evolving so rapidly, who knows how long many of those labor jobs will be around.

I mean, 3-D printers are building houses now.

Some feel it would be pointless to apply, due to a lack of any related experience. The upbringing of many millennials has made them more suited to software tools than power tools.

And for those who are college educated, many stubbornly hold on to the hope that they will find something at least vaguely related to the field that they studied. After all, it can be pretty disheartening to work your butt off through college, absorb a whole bunch of knowledge, learn a myriad of technical skills, graduate, and then never use any of it in the real world.

But sometimes, them’s the breaks.

High in potential

And even more so, who’s to say that you won’t eventually use that knowledge or those skills. The fact of the matter is, you never know who you’re going to meet.

One of your coworkers could be the next Elon Musk.

Wouldn’t it be swell to be able to say “Hey, remember all that construction work we did together?” (Or something along those lines.)
And since we’re already using construction as an example, remember a few lines up when I mentioned that 3-D printers are building houses?

Yeah, well someone had to teach the computer how to build said houses.

Technology is smart, but it doesn’t come out of the cybernetic womb with all the answers.

The journey

Really, the point is that sometimes you have to use a stepping stone to get to where you want to be- a statement that applies to millennials, and members of previous generations as well.

And who knows, you may find that you enjoy working with your hands.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that a lot of those blue-collar jobs have good benefits and pay pretty well. As Ghosn mentioned in her interview, for some of them the average salary expectation is $15,000 higher than the national average.

So, if you’re broke, you know, food for thought.

#BlueCollar

Andrew Clausen is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and when he's not deep diving into technology and business news for you, he is a poet, enjoys rock climbing, monster movies, and spending time with his notoriously naughty cat.

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Business News

Corporate-franchise relationships: How has COVID affected them?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Being a part of a franchise has made sense for a long time for both the corporation and the franchisee, but the long stretch of COVID is adding complications.

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A franchise cup on a wooden table.

Americans love a franchise. We love knowing that every Dunkin Donuts iced coffee will taste the same as it did 3 states away – and every McDonald’s snack wrap will meet our expectations.

Franchises rose in popularity after World War II, and the corporate-franchise relationship since has generally been a happy one – that is, until COVID-19.

What’s their relationship?

Franchises are easier to start than a small business from scratch. You receive a business playbook and brand loyalty from corporate – if the business at large is doing well, chances are your franchise will mirror that. No need for independent advertising!

From the franchises, corporate gets an upfront fee and ongoing royalties. (For a McDonalds franchise, that’s $45k and 4% of monthly gross sales, respectively.)

Basically, it’s win-win. Both parties are happy.

Pandemic strain

The pandemic has shrunk margins across most industries, and the chain hotels, restaurants and services have been hit hard. As a result, corporate is adding more costs for franchisees, such as big cleaning bills and promotional discounts to bring back some revenue during COVID.

However, with corporate still taking the same amount from the franchises every month, these newly instated policies threaten to drive some stores into the ground – and franchisees are fighting back.

“I get that franchising isn’t a democracy,” said a Subway franchisee, who objected to the unprofitable “2-Subs-for-$10” promotion that corporate was pushing for. “But at the same time, it’s not a dictatorship.”

What I see here is corporate greed at work; they need to keep their margins up in a sinking economy, so they’re looking to the pockets of their franchisees to make up for that lost dough.

The pandemic has not been easy on any business (with the exception, of course, of Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla, which is a whole other story). However, that’s the draw of being connected to corporate – you are tied to something bigger than your individual store, and will thus stay afloat as long as they do. It’s a big reason why many opt for starting a franchise as opposed to starting their own, independent small business.

I’m glad to see individuals fighting back against corporate policies that don’t benefit them. They held up their side of the bargain – let’s see if corporate can continue to hold up theirs.

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Business News

What to do if you think you have been wrongfully terminated

(BUSINESS NEWS) Being fired hurts, but especially if you were wrongfully terminated. Here is what you can do if you need to take action.

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Stressed man staring at computer after being wrongfully terminated.

While there are plenty of ways an employer can legally fire an employee, there’s also a long list of unethical and illegal methods. If you suspect you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job, it’s imperative that you fight back.

Common Signs of Wrongful Termination

Research shows that around 150,000 people are unjustly fired every year in the United States. That’s more than 410 people per day – roughly 17 people per hour. Here are some common signs that you’re a victim:

  • Violation of written rules or promises. The vast majority of employment is known as “at-will” employment. This means you may be fired at any time for any reason (so long as the reason is not illegal). However, if there’s a written statement or contract that implies job security, then you’re probably not an at-will employee. Review all of your employment documents to see what sort of language exists around the topic of termination.
  • Discrimination. It doesn’t matter if you’re an at-will employee or not, employers can never fire someone based on discrimination. It’s illegal – point blank, period. If you suspect you’ve been fired because of your color, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or pregnancy, discrimination could be to blame.
  • Breach of good faith. Employers are known to breach good faith when they do things like mislead employees regarding their chances for promotions; fabricate reasons for firing; transfer or fire an employee to prevent the collection of sales commissions; and other similar situations.

Every situation is different, but these three signs are clear indicators that you have a potential wrongful termination claim. How you proceed will determine what happens next.

How to Respond to a Wrongful Termination

Emotions tend to run high when you’re fired from a job. Whether you loved the job or not, it’s totally normal to run a little hot under the collar upon being wrongfully terminated. But how you handle the first several hours and days will determine a lot about how this situation unfolds. Now is not the time to fly off the handle and say or do something you’ll regret. Instead, take a diplomatic response that includes steps like:

1. Gather Evidence

Wrongful termination cases are usually more complicated than they first appear on the surface. It’s important that you focus on gathering as much evidence as you possibly can. Any information or documentation you collect will increase your chances for a successful outcome. This may include emails, screenshots, written contracts and documentation, voicemails, text messages, and/or statements from coworkers.

On a related note, remember that your former employer will be doing the same thing (if a claim is brought). Be on your best behavior and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Avoid venting to coworkers or firing off short, snappy emails to your former boss. As the saying goes, anything you say or do can and will be used against you.

2. Hire an Attorney

Don’t try to handle your wrongful termination case on your own. Hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in situations like yours. This will give you a much better chance of obtaining a successful outcome.

3. Get Legal Funding

If you’re like most victims of wrongful termination, you find yourself with no immediate source of income. This can make it difficult to pay your bills and stay financially solvent in the short term. An employment lawsuit loan could help bridge the gap.

As Upfit Legal Funding explains, “Wrongful termination lawsuit loans provide the necessary financial assistance they need to reach a settlement. This funding helps cover basic living costs until the plaintiff is able to get assistance from their settlement.”

The best thing about these loans is that you only have to repay them if there’s a successful outcome. In other words, if the claim gets thrown out or denied, you owe nothing.

4. File the Proper Paperwork

Work closely with your attorney to make sure that your complaints and claims are filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies (and that you meet the required deadlines). Depending on the type of claim, there are different groups that oversee the complaint and can help you move in the proper direction.

Adding it All Up

Getting fired is serious business. And while there are plenty of legal reasons for being terminated from a job, it’s worth exploring what’s actually going on behind the scenes. If it’s found that your employer stepped out of line, you’ll be compensated in an appropriate manner. This won’t typically help you get your job back, but it can provide some financial rectification.

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Business News

Everyone should have an interview escape plan

(BUSINESS NEWS) A job interview should be a place to ask about qualifications but sometimes things can go south – here’s how to escape when they do.

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interview from hell

“So, why did you move from Utah to Austin?” the interviewer asked over the phone.

The question felt a little out of place in the job interview, but I gave my standard answer about wanting a fresh scene. I’d just graduated college and was looking to break into the Austin market. But the interviewer wasn’t done.

“But why Austin?” he insisted, “There can’t be that many Mormons here.”

My stomach curled. This was a job interview – I’d expected to discuss my qualifications for the position and express my interest in the company. Instead, I began to answer more and more invasive questions about my personal life and religion. The whole ordeal left me very uncomfortable, but because I was young and desperate, I put up with it. In fact, I even went back for a second interview!

At the time, I thought I had to put up with that sort of treatment. Only recently have I realized that the interview was extremely unprofessional and it wasn’t something I should have felt obligated to endure.

And I’m not the only one with a bad interview story. Slate ran an article sharing others’ terrible experiences, which ranged from having their purse inspected to being trapped in a 45-minute presentation! No doubt, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistreatment by potential employers.

So, why do we put up with it?

Well, sometimes people just don’t know better. Maybe, like I was, they’re young or inexperienced. In these cases, these sorts of situations seem like they could just be the norm. There’s also the obvious power dynamic: you might need a job, but the potential employers probably don’t need you.

While there might be times you have to grit your teeth and bear it, it’s also worth remembering that a bad interview scenario often means bad working conditions later on down the line. After all, if your employers don’t respect you during the interview stage, it’s likely the disrespect will continue when you’re hired.

Once you’ve identified an interview is bad news, though, how do you walk out? Politely. As tempting as it is to make a scene, you probably don’t want to go burning bridges. Instead, excuse yourself by thanking your interviewers, wishing them well, and asserting that you have realized the business wouldn’t be a good fit.

Your time, as well as your comfort, are important! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. It isn’t easy, but if a job interview is crossing the line, you’re well within your rights to leave. Better to cut your losses early.

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