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In response to the above Facebook comment, service technician Ryan Barnett wrote the following:
I'm 23 years old and I've been in this business for seven years.
Here in South Florida, we're sweating out in the field 12 months out of the year. Not six like it is for pros in seasonal areas. Just last week I logged 65 hours with no overtime.
Why do I do all that work? Because I need every penny. Despite working my butt off 'round the clock all day every day, I can't even begin build a savings account. Some months I'm in the red.
Rent in my area is $1,100 a month for a two bedroom/one bathroom apartment — and that's in a terrible neighborhood with a high crime rate. A three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in this part of Florida is at least $350,000.
That's why I get so frustrated when I hear pool pros complain about my generation: "They don't want to work hard," "The only thing they care about is money." I'm just trying to do what everyone else wants to do: Live comfortably, put some savings in the bank and enjoy life. The American Dream. I work hard. I love what I do. I want to have a future in this industry, and I'm actively taking steps to make that happen. But I barely make enough to get by, and that has certainly given me doubts about my future in this line of work. Yes, money is important to my generation. Of course it is — it's important to everyone! While you may think we're greedy when we ask how much a job makes, I think we're being financially responsible. Here's something you may not know: My generation was young when the Great Recession hit. We witnessed our families struggle with layoffs, a shrinking job market and financial crises at home. Research has shown that because of that experience, my generation is more inclined to be cautious with our money.
Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to rise. Millennials who went to college are facing crushing student loan debt and spend, on average, more than $350 per month on repayments. My generation craves financial security. It's no wonder we're flocking to careers in tech, where candidates are paid top dollar.
Meanwhile, the pool industry offers $10 an hour to get skin cancer from toiling outside for 12 hours a day.
That's not an honest living. It's a stupid one, if you ask me.
Obviously, the place you want to be is sitting in the owner's chair, but that's a tall order for a 23 year old. It's hard enough to save up for myself, let alone to start a business. No one will even look at me for a loan in my current financial condition. I have a 750+ credit score, but it means nothing because I "don't have enough history on my record." I need 10 years of credit history first, which means I have to wait until I'm 28.
The current system we have in place is unsustainable. To put it simply: If you want young people to join your company and work hard — those 12 hour days under the beating sun, no weekends, all while developing a thorough technical understanding of how to repair/maintain pools — you HAVE TO pay them accordingly. Make it worth their while to work with you.
And cut it out with the criticism. In the end, you're going to need us. So let's figure out how to make this work for both sides.
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