A young friend of mine was very excited to be admitted into a labor union recently. Someone I know had taken him under his wing and successfully helped him complete one of the union’s training programs.
The excitement he exuded when he visited my home was warranted. The union he had joined was the International Union of Operating Engineers (IYOE), and, in our area, its members earned an average of $40 per hour or $85,000 per year. It’s not an insufficient salary for a recent graduate.
Not only do operating engineers make good salaries, but they also get great benefits. Three to four years of apprenticeship is an excellent investment for someone willing to work hard, make a good living and retire comfortably. Not enough young people understand the opportunities offered in jobs like this.
What is also true is that my friend’s union membership also made him a Wall Street investor. Few people understand that Wall Street investors are not always wealthy people who own private jets and yachts and vacation in exotic places. Ordinary everyday people with regular jobs like union members who pay dues, employees with 401K and 403B accounts, parents with 529 college savings plans, and many other categories of our workforce are all investors in stocks and bonds.
This means my friend has something in common with the very wealthy families whose personal fortunes are invested in equity markets.
Someone asked me why we should spend time begging corporations to give us a “seat at their tables.” The job of the corporate director is to represent the interest of the investors and stockholders. Once we realize that many of us are, in fact, stockholders in major companies through the various funds to which we contribute, we will recognize that we deserve to sit in the boardroom because it is “our” table, not “their” table.
We are significant contributors to corporate successes through our purchases and consumer activities. When a particular community or demographic makes up the portion of revenue that equals the margin of profit enjoyed by any company, it is incumbent upon such a company to treat that community or demographic as a business partner rather than a helpless victim.
I am delighted that I learned these facts years ago. Now, when I train professionals for board service, I am not just preparing people to beg for favors; I am gearing them up to enter boardrooms that already belong to them.
If you’re interested in learning more, I am holding a free LIVE Masterclass on Saturday, August 14th at 1 pm ET/10 am PT, on How To Become a Corporate Director. SIGN UP HERE.