An ode to utility workers

July 13, 2010
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What is it about people who work for utilities? A new Indiana University study shows they stick with their jobs more than employees in any other industry—just the opposite of temp workers.

More than 65 percent of state utility workers have stayed in the sector, and nearly 60 percent with the same employer, for more than six years, according to a study by Indiana Business Research Center in the Kelley School of Business.

Manufacturing is next in line in job tenure, but the sector is stable partly because layoffs favor those with seniority.

Bill Beck, who worked in corporate relations for a Minnesota power utility before starting another career writing corporate histories—many of them about utilities—says utility workers are a different breed.

The industry is about as close as one can get to government and still be in the private sector, notes Beck, whose Lakeside Writers' Group now operates out of Indianapolis. That’s not to denigrate utility workers, as in “good enough for government work.” Beck’s point is that the industry is highly regulated, which means i’s must be dotted and t’s crossed by careful engineers and financial people.

Utility workers, from the professionals to the electric linemen who enjoy a kind of esprit dé corps for their keeping the juice flowing, make good money. They also draw contentment from knowing they do important work.

“It’s one of those jobs where you can go home at night and you can feel like I contributed something today,” Beck says. “I mean, how many people can say that anymore?

“It seems to attract people who are very stable. They just hang around a lot.”

What are your thoughts about utility employees?


 

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  • Utility Workers
    My cousin Cheryl just retired vrom Rush Shelby Energy after 37 years in their office. They asked her what she wanted to do on her last day. Then they took her to the parking lot and put her up in a 50-ft. bucket truck. Gotta love the ride.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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