To Orchidians on the thread of pay systems; I’m going to shut up
after this, promise!
My final word on this (I’ll bite my toungue if need be) for the
sake of expediency in moving on to fresh issues.
Gellers system, like most systems of compensation, is dependant
on the honesty and fairness of the employer. (Just as the glue
issue is dependant on the mysterious “internal sense of
integrity” of the jeweler).
I thought that, in our business, productivity was dependant on
the honesty and fairness of the employee. I forget about the
diversity of workplace situations in our trade. I thought
people who needed to be “motivated” or watched were working in
production situations. Factories. We were skilled trade, even
And when we were allowed to keep our pride, we put that same
pride into the job, into your reputation.
In my time, I’ve seen million dollar deals done on a hand-shake.
I work partly on commission. I don’t even expect an accounting
on it. And my boss knows I don’t meet his customers after work.
I never use drugs (don’t even drink or smoke, no it’s not a
moral thing, it’s a healthy survival thing). But I would walk
out in disgust if someone expected a drug test. I expect people
to know me better. I guess I’m a dinosaur. Here’s my final
critique of the commission system. 2 points:
1.) Why, if this system provides more money for the employee,
would any employer be interested in it? Simply because there’s
"incentive" involved? Why not just set the base wage at
"OK-to-substandard" and use commissions as a way of making more
for more work? I suspect it takes some of the risk out of
hiring people. Wasn’t that always the employer’s risk? Are we
trading in the risk of hiring unproductive workers (references
should tell that) for the risk of hiring dishonest or addicted
ones? If you check their references thoroughly, shouldn’t you
find out if they are good workers? Is the idea of making sure
they work hard enough keeping you from looking at the workplace
situation? Are they being constantly interrupted? Are they
near “chatty” co-workers? Is the lighting and ventilation
causing fatigue? Are they properly equiped?
2.) In my opinion, we are risking good faith bargaining here,
not to mention encouraging that “line worker mentality” American
labor is so famous for. Are the benifits, holidays, etc.,
going to leave the table one day and go to a “cafeteria” plan
that’s also based on commission. How do your heavy hitters feel
about having to take time out of their money making to train
people? Or do the newbies just languish in the backwaters of
Before I’d elect this system I’d take a good, hard look at
businesses that have used this system for a long time and see
what they’ve become. Is that where you want to be? Hasn’t auto
repair become mostly a subcontractor/commission based system?
You’ve also got to think about how your customer is going to
percieve your business. Example; stores without jewelers have
always sent out work. Didn’t mean you didn’t get good work, but
customers didn’t like the idea. They felt we were making the
decision for them.
Finally, and I mean finally! I have looked deeply into my own
issue here, and here’s what I find. I DO have an ax to grind,
based on my experience of being a dedicated employee for people
who’s own self interest got in the way of thier being fair and
honest. It’s a long story, and no, I’m not completely innocent.
But I have never gotten used to people not coming through with
their end of a bargain. I just don’t know if this system holds
the employer to enough responsibility. I’m not questioning
anyone here using this system, just the one’s who will
inevitably miss-use it. But I still believe that we need to
fight like hell to maintain our ethics, wherever that may be. .
. in the home, the schools, and the workplace. I think that, as
hard as trust is, if you don’t painfully exercise it, one day
it’s gone. If I didn’t believe this, I would be doing something
else now, after what I’ve been through. Don’t lump your
employees into the “Them” catagory and start trying to figure
out how to outsmart them. Even good people fall pray to using
bad habits. Use whatever system works, but remember, you reap
what you sow. I’m not blind to the other side of this argument,
I’m just a leary of the “enthusiasm”. Shouldn’t somebody be?
Thanks for your patience, everyone. . .
David L. Huffman, Samurai Jeweler (Hiy-yAH!)