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[Research] Trade bad business practices

Dear readers, I am doing research for an article which I hope to
publish, which will shed some light on the business practices of
some of the the companies who demonstrate a total disregard for
their craftspeople, through any number of oppressive means. Often,
the goldsmiths and jewellers that work for them go to great lengths
to satisfy the greedy owners, only to find themselves exhaused,
bitter, and in poor health due to unsafe working conditions.

I would appreciate any detailed which any of you could
provide, preferrably first-hand experience. I am primarily looking
for North American examples, but all are welcome. Please send
replies off-list, and I will compile them as soon as I can. Do not
send stories as attachments, or they will not be read. Thank you in
advance for the help, and, hopefully, the exposure will affect some
positive changes in our industry.

         Best regards,
         David Keeling

Dear Sir, Will you be including examples of employees who come to
work late, hung over and unprepared for work? Will you be including
examples of employees who steal precious metals or tools? Will you be
including examples of employees who, upon arrival at the shop need
to use the bathroom, finish their nails, o r spend hours discussing
politics or NEED to listen to the radio so they can “concentrate”?
And constantly need to leave “a little early” for some family
related matter, threetimes a week? Perhaps you might include some of
the bench people who do work for us, and easily make almost twice
the money that THIS o wner makes!.

Try to get a grip of reality here…the employee is hired to
produce a profit for the business, not a loss. Everyone is a cog in
the wheel. If the employee is not fulfilling the needs of the
business, the employee goes. If the employer is not fulfilling the
needs of the employee, the employee is free to leave as well…and
certainly should. The employer/em ployee relationship should be
beneficial to both, certainly not antagonistic. It should be a
nurturing environment which urges creativity and further learning
opportunities. I suppose if one were chained to the workbench, the
story might be d ifferent. If a disgruntled employee viewed the
employer as “greedy”, and left to start their OWN business, it
wouldn’t be the first time. And that new entrepreneur would very
quickly learn what it costs to pay wages, salries, insurance, health
benefits , half the Social Security, etc., and from a business
standpoint, the employee is overhead. And whiners don’t make for a
pleasant working environment. My guess is you are an unhappy person
and looking for a scapegoat. My experience is, tha t when I point
my finger, upon closer examination, there are four fingers pointing
back at me.

Wayne Emery

Hi Wayne, I completely agree with your viewpoint. Too many employees
have no idea as far as basic accounting principles. Owners of
companies only get paid if there are profits. No profits , no pay!!!
How many of them would like to write paychecks to everyone in the
company only to find out there isn’t any left for them. I have had the
same experience with employees coming in late, multiple bathroom
brakes, time off, calling in sick all the time, ect… I think
they believe that because you are the owner, you have a pot of gold
out back. The funny part is, I’ve been a goldsmith for 20 years and I
know how long each job should take. People just like to take

Kevin Fertenbaugh
Hasko JewelersDr. E. Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

In regards to this issue, i don’t personally believe the article is
to be a gripe session aka, i think the original intent
was to discuss employers that discriminated, harassed, or otherwise
broke the law; not to demonize employers that have reasonable
expectations of their employees. however, mr. emery, i think you
should repeat to yourself, “employees are people, not tools,” until
it sinks in. i’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences with people you’ve
hired, but it sounds like you’ve reached a level of antagonizm with
your current staff that surely customers must notice: i like to
listen to music when i work - so did leonardo da vinci. as for
someone needing to leave early for “family reasons” that person
deserves more respect for being responsible to their family than you
give them credit for. bottom line, if you don’t treat your employees
like people (not wage slaves) you aren’t going to keep good people.
no-one wants to work hard at a job that is thankless or for an overly
critical boss. if you’re having a hard time financially, take a look
at stores jewelers enjoy working at - like Jewelsmith in Durham, NC.
JMHO, susannah

Maybe this is just my own thing here, but I tend to view my
employees’ few failings as my own. If they aren’t performing
properly than it must be me who isn’t inspiring them to be the best
that they can be. It must be me, as their employer, who isn’t being
clear about how I want to see them perform. It must be me who hasn’t
found the proper rewards (not necessarily monetary!) to make them
want to be the best possible of all employees. Maybe we all ought to
first take a look at ourselves before we accuse others of making our
life miserable.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Daniel, It is the boss who has no clue how to lead that causes much
of the problems of abuse that occur. Employees as well as children
need guidance. Children who grow up without good guidance become
poor employers, as well as poor employees. Teresa

All, To me the easiest thing to do is lay blame for the frustration
of workers and management on the people. That will not allow the
discussion that is needed to expose the roots of the problems. Roots
of many people problems lie in what we accept as being expected.
One common comment I hear from management in jewelry stores is that
a trained professional should be able to size “X” number of rings in
"X" amount of time. Where this became acceptable and by whose
professional standards this number was arrived at is anyone’s guess.
Has this number been professionally tested? Did management test
the employee before firm hiring to ensure they could meet the
standard? Are there any standards?

In my last profession I was in charge of over 50 people. Each and
every job had a job description written. Each employee knew exactly
what was minimally expected standards for their position and their
pay grade within that position. Each employee was quality
controlled on a minimal random sample of their work. Each employee
received mandatory written and signed monthly feedback of their
performance versus the standards of the job. Everyone from the top
person in management to the new person just entering certification
training knew exactly what was expected from them. My question to
jewelry store management is: Does anyone working for you know what
is expected from them? What are your standards? Did you train your
workers? Do you have a training plan?

Gerry Galarneau