JOAT is doing something unprecedented for an employer. In March 2020, owners of JOAT made the decision to pay all staff (owners and non-owners) equal wages and benefits. If anyone receives a pay increase, all staff receive a pay increase of the same proportion. On the day that you start working at JOAT, you can expect that your gross wages are equal to the wages of every person employed by our organization. This applies to part time and full time workers. All excess funds are saved for future operations, equipment purchases, and wage or staffing increases. This is not lip service… We’re doing it!
We are aware of the unfair pay, tangible, and intangible benefits practiced in most if not all businesses, and our owners are progressively working to change the modus operandi at JOAT. The carrot for our staff is the satisfaction of being able to work in an organization that truly cares about the financial, physical and mental well being of every member of our organization. JOAT owners are not working to get rich. Instead we are working to enrich the lives of those serving our organization, and the clients who support us.
We have frequently been accused of being idealists. Unfortunately, we live in a world of entitlement, which means that in most people’s daily lives they live by the “golden rule”. Those who own the gold make the rules, and in general the rule makers heavily weight the rules in favor of themselves. Even though equal pay was a difficult decision, we are committed to the decision and believe that wage equality works best for our organization. We want to share the wealth of our business and knowledge with our staff. This was a difficult decision for several reasons. In general, our staff did not work for eight years going to college to earn degrees to improve their quality of life while operating businesses on top of a full course load each semester, in their off time after working a full time job they likely didn’t operate businesses creating software and retail products, and they did not spend the last thirty plus years of their life creating and operating businesses that lead to the inception of JOAT. Regardless, we are committed to the decision to provide equal pay for as long as the company remains viable and successful.
Below is an example of how we are able to provide equal pay for all staff, and it does require sacrifice, especially for those who are skilled. Even so, over time, we believe most rational individuals will agree, this strategy benefits each of our staff and the company.
Example: If we have three staff members working on a given day (Bob, Alice, and Sally), where Bob provides services that are charged at $50.00 per hour for 6 hours, Alice provides services that are charged at $35.00 per hour for 6 hours, and Sally provides services that are charged at $20.00 per hour for 6 hours, the charges for services of all three members is $630.00. Bob and Alice have proficiency in certain skills that allow them to earn more for the organization, but Sally is new and somewhat inexperienced, or she’s skilled but performing a service where the rate is lower. In most businesses, the pay structure might look something like: Bob is paid $20.00 per hour, Alice is paid $14.00 per hour, and Sally is paid a meager $8.00 per hour.
At JOAT, this is where the sacrifice occurs. Bob is willing to work for a lesser wage, so Alice can earn more and have a better quality life. Since Bob was willing to earn less, so Alice can more easily pay her bills from a greater living wage, Alice is willing to help Sally. Let’s assume that Bob, Alice, and Sally are all paid the same wage at $17.00 per hour as their gross wage, and let’s assume that company expenses for those staff are 40% above their gross wage, which is about $6.80 per hour per staff member. The total cost per staff member per hour for this example is $23.80. This means the cost for all three staff members on this day is roughly $428.40, so $201.60 remains in company funds for wage increases, overhead, expansion, hiring new staff, equipment, etc…
Bob is a smart guy, and he understands that the more staff he helps achieve his level of knowledge, this will increases the base wage for all staff. As a result, Bob does his best to ensure the internal growth of JOAT, which increases the earning potential for JOAT and as a result provides greater pay for staff and a better quality of life for all.
The hope over time is that, if Sally is inexperienced, she will work to learn new skills, which will allow JOAT to earn more for the work that Sally performs. By doing this, Sally can help the next inexperienced person earn a greater living wage, so they can have a better quality of life. If you’re skilled and willing to sacrifice a greater wage to help someone less skilled, or if you’re unskilled and willing work hard to learn, JOAT wants you!
In trade for a fair wage, we ask all full time employees to work at least 30 hours each week. There are times, where we work a bit more, but we do our best to cap work hours at 30 for our staff. If anyone wants to work more than 30 hours, and there is additional work to do (usually there is no shortage of work), staff can work up to 40 hours per week. Additional hours worked increases that staff member’s wages and the overall earnings for JOAT. We also allow part time work, which is less than 30 hours per week.
Daily, owners correspond with clients, coordinate future projects, and perform much of our business related activities outside of the hours worked in the field. Owners also frequently work over 30 hours in the field, because we love what we do. These are some of the ways we serve our staff who do not share ownership in the company. We are working to provide all staff the best quality of life possible. This also benefits our customers, because people show up to work refreshed and ready to work each day. Hours of operation for field work are generally 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Since we work short periods in the morning and afternoon, we do not take official breaks other than lunch. Our scheduled work meets the guidelines set for state and federal employment laws.
Another benefit that we’ve recently added is that JOAT makes lunch daily that arrives to our job site(s) by 12:00 PM each work day. We make sure to know what everyone likes to eat, and whether they have any food dislikes or special meal needs. It’s not a benefit if you can’t eat what arrives to the job site. Whoever chooses to eat lunch at JOAT, sits down together for 30 minutes to one hour, eats lunch, visits, and go we back to work. This is not mandatory. Staff are free to run errands, eat lunch elsewhere, or do whatever they like for one hour plus or minus. JOAT provides each employee a time tracker application that allow staff members to clock in and out as needed for each job. There are no rigid guidelines other than lunch being on site and available at noon. This benefit first started in April 2020.
JOAT does not use titles. All participants are referred to as “staff”. We are small enough that people working in our organization know who owns the company. Even as we grow, this remains an unimportant matter. We don’t care how long you’ve been working in our organization, at JOAT you may expect to be treated with the same respect as anyone in our organization.
We do not have a vacation policy, and we’re aware of the efforts in industry to provide a “faux unlimited paid time off” to stimulate competition between staff to take least amount of time off… If you need or want time off, we will do our best to accommodate your needs without impacting your pay. If time away is required and the company does not have funds to cover your time away, or you have taken a lot of time away with pay, you may be asked to take unpaid vacation. There is no particular waiting period required to receive these benefits, but we expect staff to be courteous and responsible with paid vacation.
One question that many people will wonder is, “How is this model sustainable if wages are capped at $50.00 per hour for all staff?” Currently we are focused on construction activities integrating custom 3D printing into our construction projects. JOAT staff possesses experience in construction, heavy equipment operation, farming, manufacturing, manufacturing processes, mechanical design, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining, enterprise level software development, etc… In addition to being business and technically savvy, we are creative, and find ways to integrate technology into our every-day activities. The earning potential of JOAT is only bound by the knowledge shared by our staff, and we plan to expand into areas of business other than construction and tech as the company grows. As the company grows into other areas, the earning potential for the company grows as will the wages for JOAT staff.
If you read this far, kudos! That’s a lot of reading, but important to know before applying for a career at JOAT. If our procedures of operation sound appealing to you, and you share our values, employment at JOAT may be right for you.
- Punctuality – you arrive on time at the location where you’re expected as scheduled. If you cannot meet this commitment at any point in time for any reason, you notify those who need to know ahead of the occurrence
- Integrity – capable of doing what you say you can do and you make responsible decisions with respect to the impact that those decisions have on others
- Honesty – you tell the truth regardless to the potential negative impact or consequences to yourself
- Respect – you care about others, the well being of others, and you treat others with dignity and respect
- Willingness to learn – you may or may not be skilled in our particular fields of work, but you have a desire to learn and contribute to the success of the organization
- Desire to earn your wage – because we provide the advantage of equal wages, our expectation is that during work hours you will dedicate your efforts to accomplishing the tasks you’re assigned and perform to the best of your ability in completing those tasks. We’re not interested in grinding as much work as we can from anyone, but please do not stand around and have to be told to do something productive. If you need direction, ask for help
- Autonomy – you have a willingness to productively achieve goals for the organization without being told to do so, and you focus your efforts to accomplish these goals. As you display the willingness, skill, and desire to contribute to the success of the organization, you will earn more freedom to choose and execute tasks that you want to work on
- Quality – you care about the outcome of the work that you’re performing by completing tasks as expected or directed and correcting mistakes when they occur
- Illness – you stay at home and away from others when you are ill to avoid spreading illnesses. This is not only related to COVID-19, but to any illness that can be spread through every day casual contact with another individual
JOAT is a drug free workplace! Upon an offer for employment, or at any time during your employment at JOAT, we exercise the option to screen for drug use (recreational or other).
Benefits at JOAT:
- Equal wages for all
- Learn in our areas of knowledge: Construction, equipment operation, equipment maintenance, CAD/CAM, tooling design, machine design, applied and theoretical mathematics, software development (web and install based), software interfaces, server configuration and maintenance, computer networking, applied technology, business, graphics art, manufacturing, manufacturing processes, recreational diving, etc… Our diversity is what makes us JOAT (Jack of All Trades)
- Work fewer hours and earn more money than other employers are willing to pay, because the owners are invested in our staff and our company
- Lunch is provided daily for those individuals working
- Safe work environment
- 401K current through OregonSaves
- Paid vacation for holidays recognized by JOAT, when the company is financially able to pay this benefit. We expect to be able to do this, and staff will be notified ahead of the holiday whether the company can pay this benefit
- Personal paid leave, if the company is able to pay this benefit, and the staff member making the request has not abused paid vacation, you can expect to receive pay
- Learn skills that can be used for life
- A chance to love what you do and have the freedom to do it autonomously
- We try to go out for at least one lunch each month, where staff meets at a chosen location to share a meal
- Company activities outside of work for those interested in participating. All mandatory activities are performed on the clock during work hours
Those who say, “Who said life is fair?” give reasons for what has been practiced for ages and passed down through generations. We’re working to change the status quo, “Who said life cannot be fair?”