education & the state of the industry
I'm real new at this site and enjoying it. After reading many irrigation and pesticide posts I'm scared and disappointed about the current condition of the green industry and those that serve it.
I know a lot of consumers are not savy about what they need or how to buy what they need but many of these posts indicate the same of many of those in the industry.
I just can't imagine starting a business with so little knowledge of anything. It occurs because many in the industry have no respect for the knowledge and dedication to really be a true green industry professional. It has happened because many those that are knowledgable and professional are complacent about their lifes work or have been too busy fighting off competition to stay alive or prosper. It happened after WWII when the way to get ahead was through higher education for new industries and careers that worked the mind and not the hands.
I've never been to Europe, but I understand that a gardner or groundskeeper is a rather respected or revered person there and homeowners take great pride in their flowers, hedges, trees and neatly manicured turf.
In the U.S. that level of interest by the consumer/homeowner and industry professionals has not penetrated the population to a great degree.
I live in a "money town", near other money towns, east of Philadelphia. It's a *****'s marketplace driven almost by price alone. There are too many good contractors for even that top 10 or 20 percent of consumers that might give a hoot about what they buy.
Why do consumers pay big bucks for a paper hanger, painter, tax preparer or cleaning service? How do they get such good taste in auto's, clothes, home furnishings and such lousy taste in landscaping and then think they know something about it?
The industry has allowed this to happen to themselves. A lot of changes need to be made. We should have been a lot more stuffy and proud of our profession as things began to explode in the 1960's. If there wasn't licensing, there should have been more vocational training and apprenticeships. More 2 and 4 year college degrees would have helped.
As a society, we've minimized the importance of outdoor work and working with ones hands, back and mind. Those jobs, even non green industry have been looked down on as what you do when you can't be technical or a white collar professional.
All work needs to be valued as socially equal. Your asking why, and I'm going to say that if you don't want to do a task or can't do a task for any reason, then the person that is doing that task for you is important. Yes, they're all equally important. The guy that takes away your trash is just as imporatant as the doctor that heals your body. If you think not, what would life be like living in trash 3, 8 or 15 feet deep around your house? The trash man adds necessary quality to your life. The green industry professional adds quality to the lives of millions of americans.
You are important people doing an important job. Do it knowledgably and professionally and then blow your own horn and yell it from the mountain top that you're damn good people and a real fine company to do business with.
It seems any more, that we don't raise a lot of our children across all socio-economic levels to be inquisitive. We don't raise them to reason and think. We preach abstinence on sex and just say no to drugs, don't speed and follow the rules. It might make them moral but it doesn't make them think or stimulate their desire to learn.
Do you know what your friends moms and dads did for a living when you were a kid? If you have kids, do they know what their friends parents do for a living? Do you know, what your kids parents do for a living? And if anyone answers yes to these questions, does anyone know what kind of training or education it took for the position. Does anyone really know what the positions are and what duties and responsibilites are carried out?
This is why the green industry and other similar service industries get no respect and get poor quality entrants as employees and owners into the field. Not enough people from within have said, we're knowledgable and important, here's why.
So job number one when your tow feet hit the floor tomorrow is to strap on a big ol' set of testicles and get right with your world and tell others about it. Then do it everyday.
One way I like to respond when a customer complements us on somthing that they were particularly satisfied with or solved quickly and easily is "thats why we earn the big bucks". Might sound flip to some, but everyone likes to feel they hired the best talent and it makes them feel good that they could afford the best. Also gets them used to paying the big bucks, because if you don't ask for it (assuming your worth it) your not going to get it.
Two examples of this. Many years ago I had a refrigerator repairman come out to "repair the light that wasn't working in the back of the fridge." I had removed the bulb and switch and checked both plus the power but nothing lite in the back. The man came, tightened the bulb "too tight" for my comfort but it worked. He got paid and said I get paid for what I know not what I do.
This year I was servicing a sprinkler system with a malfunctioning spray nozzle on a riser in a shrub bed. All other heads were fine. I unscrewed the nozzle, blew the debris out with my mouth, flushed the riser and put it back on. Worked great and Mr Whitecollar, the customer was ther the whole time. He said " is that all there is too it?" I replied "that's it, it's why I earn the big bucks." He chuckled and went in the house while I finished the job. And yes, he paid and he's still a customer.