Monday, April 30, 2007

Convince me to buy: Job security

I cannot help but notice the number of posts by "anons" saying something along the lines of "it hasn't crashed, ignore the high inventory, BUY!" Not just my blog, but all over the housing blog spectrum.

But I look at it this way:

I'm an engineering manager
My job security is dependent on keeping those whom work for me happy and productive.
All but a few of those who work for me earn less than I do (some exceptions, but they're worth it).
50% of engineers retire as a senior engineer... so they have to be able to afford homes.
Engineers are worthless without technicians (whom also want homes)
Basically, if someone cannot afford to earn 1/3rd less than I do and buy...My job is a lost cause as our business model is broken. :(

So don't bother to taunt me about buying, show me how those who work for me can afford to buy in such a way that I'll know they'll be around in five years. That's what concerns me. I really pull myself out of the picture, as most good managers do.

I know of several senior engineers and a few other managers who are ready to throw in the towel. (This has already been blogged.) A good subset have already moved out of the south bay. I've only once seen a similar number with their foot in the door once before; that was the only engineering "revolt" I've ever seen in aerospace. (A big one is supposed to happen ever 3 to 5 years nationally... but its really hard to get the technical guys that pissed off...) For the record, people like to work for my employer... so its not that.

We're already transferring technicians to Phoenix and paying them hotel, airfare (southwest advance purchase), and rental car for the work week. Not many... but the number is growing. Update: Had technicians in Phoenix. They found jobs out there sans the inter-city commute hassle. (Notice given 5/1/2007).

So now, like David's excellent DC blog (bubblemeter), you've found my blog. Convince me that those I'm responsible for will stick around. Then... I'll buy a home.Until then, me and my fiancee (soon to be wife) will save our money. We just re-affirmed our savings goal (again, previously blogged).

Let's put it this way, I'm pretty relaxed financially. Heck, my biggest worry today was "should I spend $120 for a fancy knife to compliment my kilt at the wedding?" Yea... I'm part Scottish. So I'll say vows in slacks but when my wife puts on the traditional Chinese wedding dress... I'm marching around in my kilt! :) (Can't wear a kilt without knives... yea, I bought the knife.)

So give me reason that those I mentor will stick around the south bay... and I'll buy. But right now... *everyone* seems to be working on getting to either senior engineer or the 1st rung of manager... and then moving out of state.

Don't worry, I have confidence aerospace will stay in Southern California. I just have a finger on the pulse... and the rumor mill keeps talking about a few thousand here and there moving out of state. I know of 2,000 condos/townhomes being built (soon to be built) on land that my employer has sold within the last 30 months. Not one of those units is complete... And co-workers were shocked when I showed them the links in our quarterly report on land options in other states...

Let's just say engineers are good with numbers and patterns... and while there are always land options out there, the quantity (acres) was not within the norm. Since the group of departments I work for will stay in state, may I wish my coworkers Bon Voyage? (And if my employer moves to Austin or another fun city I like, don't get in my way to the door!).

And let's say a certain employee of a competitor spilled their attrition rate... and I knew they were building in another state... yea... Convince me to buy now or be price out forever. (Need we mention buy vs. rent?) Put they guys who work for me in homes... and I'll know all is well. (Townhomes are fine... but engineers and condos... you won't convince me.)

So to the anon's who say "buy now!" I say... why? Give me numbers... not emotion. Numbers. To those who say the market isn't bad... so what? I'm a saver. I can only hope credit tightening temporarily excludes me from the market. Eventually I'll be let back in at a reasonable price level. But until those that work for me are let back in.... being out of the market is a no lose option for me.

Got popcorn?


Matt_in_TX said...

I used to very much enjoy traveling to Sunnyvale on business (engineer).

Even in the late 80's, I remember standing in line ahead of late-20's people in the trendy salad bar restaurant talking about RE deals with price tags that made me seriously wonder if they were in the drug trade ("It's 300K, but they'll give 10% off for cash!")

On a happier note: Best Wishes for your upcoming wedding! (L - 15 and counting ;) )

wannabuy said...

Thanks for the wishes!

Two weeks! No nervous. :) But lots to do!


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