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Elephant in the Living Room 2.0 - Page 4

post #91 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The necessary evil of ski area operations is that the ski school can be exploited to brighten the overall financial picture. Because it can be, it should be. That's sound fiduciary management that no board of directors is going to dispute, especially in view of the low to nonexistent margins in other departments. The part is exploited for the betterment of the whole. The part is rewarded by being skiing employees, which is an intangible of great value to the employment market.
That's the reasoning behind the status quo. One can almost imagine that the ski school employees are the heroes of the enterprise, picking up the slack and all, if it wasn't for the "haha, you call this a job" attitude that ski instruction is a slacker's paradise.
post #92 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
Gonzo, you lose . . . time after time after time. While nolo is "here to learn", you're here to burn. Your credibility here is minimal.
thank you lord and master. keep swallowing those bitter pills, they seem to fortify coelenterate qualities.

in case you didn't understand - and you apparently did not - I am seeking an even deeper understanding than what nolo's messages indicate she seeks.

I seek to understand fundamental reasons why someone would be so preoccupied with "professionalism" and the ethics of "tipping."

She seeks only to understand tipping and professionalism. I see nothing deep there. A tip is a tip. What's the problem? What does the label "professional" advance, besides obfuscation of the real issue - QUALITY OF WORK?

Answer those questions and some REAL learning can occur. Sorry if philosophical approaches are so nauseating. Maybe I should stick to obfuscatory "facts."

:
post #93 of 112
addendum to random observations...

* why would anyone look EXTERNALLY for validation, when a good job done well truly is its own reward?

* do external validators improve the quality of the work?

* which of the following is more likely to improve the quality of one's work -- the internal pride in one's own workmanship (pursuit of excellence, quality as an operative model), or the external validation through labeling and salary size?

yeah, it's easier to take pot shots and say that I'm just picking on nolo. it's easy to gang up in her defense too. but this thread looks like David M's threads - all self-impressed with its "exploration" but not really exploring very much other than the layer of pond scum and what lives there. how about some benthic studies?
post #94 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
in case you didn't understand - and you apparently did not - I am seeking an even deeper understanding than what nolo's messages indicate she seeks.[/QB]
Ya, right. Let us know right off when you achieve your "even deeper understanding."
post #95 of 112
(maybe straying from the post here, a little?)

**********************************************

If someone wants to lay down big bucks for a ski lesson, then a "generous" tip, that's great, for the student and the instructor. Some of the numbers I've seen, heard of, for privates, or groups at the pricier mountains, truly make me shake my head. And I confess to not getting it.
Still, I begrudge no one in that dynamic a thing. What the market will bear and all that. The last lesson I had, a group (of two, besides the instructor) cost $90. I thought it a reasonable price and hoped I'd get something out of it. I did, and had a great time doing it. (This is Deer Valley, by the way.) I tipped the instructor $20, without thought of percentages or what it equated to in per-hour terms for the instructor; it just seemed a fitting amount. Fair. I'm darn sure he's gotten tips MUCH larger than that, and maybe a few that were less.

What I keep coming back to in all this is that really it's just skiing. That's not to denigrate anyone, but it is THE reason I can't always empathize with the lament of Not Enough Pay. Except for some instructors, skiing is a pastime. A vacation. Simply having fun and exploring a mountain in a probably attractive locale. The man or woman I'll easily express my deep financial thankfulness to is just more likely to be the MD who finds out what's wrong and stops it from killing me, or the carpenter who keeps my house from caving in, or the mechanic who gets my vehicle back on the road so I can get to work and make a living. So I can THEN ski and smile a lot.

The relative worth card is an easy one to play, of course. It also happens to be highly applicable in my opinion.
The skier who drops a handful of C-notes for a lesson, then another one on the instructor is as much about sheer disposable income as he/she is about some hunger for improving as a skier. But hey, no law against conspicuous consumption. Or leaving a healthy tip as appreciation for the guide, if you want to and can.

Not saying anyone's EXPECTING things here, but if so, maybe a reality check?

[ April 03, 2003, 10:40 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #96 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by gonzostrike:
in case you didn't understand - and you apparently did not - I am seeking an even deeper understanding than what nolo's messages indicate she seeks.
Ya, right. Let us know right off when you achieve your "even deeper understanding."[/QB]</font>[/quote]because I note you ignore each of my observations on this issue that you pretend to take so seriously, I can only say about YOUR posts and their own worth,

res ipsa loquitur

[ April 03, 2003, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #97 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
What I keep coming back to in all this is that really it's just skiing. That's not to denigrate anyone, but it is THE reason I can't always empathize with the lament of Not Enough Pay. Except for some instructors, skiing is a pastime. A vacation. Simply having fun and exploring a mountain in a probably attractive locale. The man or woman I'll easily express my deep financial thankfulness to is just more likely to be the MD who finds out what's wrong and stops it from killing me, or the carpenter who keeps my house from caving in, or the mechanic who gets my vehicle back on the road so I can get to work and make a living. So I can THEN ski and smile a lot.
pithy and on-point. very nice, ryan. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #98 of 112
As a member of one of the learned (pronounced "ler 'NED") professions [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] , I get to keep about 35-40 percent of what I bring in. If a Vail private costs $525 and the instructor gets $150 plus a 20% percent tip, he/she is getting to keep 49 percent of what he/she brings in.

Now I ask you, which one of us is the true learned professional?
post #99 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
addendum to random observations...

* why would anyone look EXTERNALLY for validation, when a good job done well truly is its own reward?

* do external validators improve the quality of the work?

* which of the following is more likely to improve the quality of one's work -- the internal pride in one's own workmanship (pursuit of excellence, quality as an operative model), or the external validation through labeling and salary size?
You probably would not be skiing if you were salaried as little as ski instructors are in many places, and it was your only job. There are several motivating factors for a job, and one of them is, Can I afford a living and supporting my family with this kind of pay? And if the answer is no - I am out of that job.

Now, a typical ski instructor works for the ski area, not for the customer. (We are not talking about freelancers.) The low pay from the ski area means that the employer indicates the low value given to the job performed by the employee. Tips cannot help that situation, other than to make the instructor feel, "At least the students value the job I'm doing... but my employer still does not."

Tips are usually associated with service industry. Ski instruction should not be service industry. A ski instructor applies every day deep knowledge of skiing, physics, sport psychology, sport medicine, meteorology, etc. That hardly qualifies him/her as a typical pizza delivery kid who works for tips.

[ April 03, 2003, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: AlexG ]
post #100 of 112
Alex, you're being manichaean.

I don't quarrel with the notion that a ski instructor is not a pizza delivery person -- well, in general. I suppose some might moonlight for Domino's!

It seems to me that there is a continuum of skill and learning for EVERY job.

What elevates a person from mere laborer/worker/role-filler to an oustanding artisan, craftsman or expert in one's field is the degree to which one applies one's self to the chosen job. Do you say "it's just a job" and merely put in your time? Then you are at the "weak" end of the spectrum. Do you try to analyze not only your tasks, but also how your tasks affect others within the same workplace, and how best to improve that workplace? Then you are well along toward the "strong" end of the spectrum.

I don't want to retread Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," but I find that novel to be indicative of my feelings on the subject of work and "professionalism" -- only I accuse the word "professionalism" of vagueness and being a willing participant in obfuscation! To me, the worker's attitude toward "quality" is much more indicative of the respect one ought to earn. I respect craftsmen/women who put their souls into their work. I don't show that respect with a tip, nor with a label.

Respect is earned. One cannot demand it, lest one expose one's self to legitimate claims of hypocrisy, etc.

[ April 03, 2003, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #101 of 112
At my former ski school all level 3s were paid the same no matter how much or little they put into the job. The only difference in what they made was in tips or the amount of time they were requested. That didn't always relate to pure skill at teaching/coaching. There was an element of salesmanship and personality with some of most requested intructors.
post #102 of 112
Thread Starter 
Gonz,

You are asking me to repeat myself. I did repeat what I thought was a revealing passage to indicate that my thinking changed from Post 1 to Post whatever. I accepted the facts. I acknowledged that tipping is a necessary adjunct to instructor pay, particularly for full-time professionals.

I am honest when I say I started this thread to see what others feel about tipping. I have found it very interesting and even enlightening, whereas you have found it another irritation in what must be a most irritating life.

I don't know, call me a word that is so arcane we won't find it in any edition of Webster's under 5 lbs., but I think your incessant whining about me and whatever I post says more about you than it says about me.

And that's all I plan to say about it. Thanks to everyone who offered their insights, feelings, and experiences here. I really did learn something.

[ April 03, 2003, 05:33 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #103 of 112
Quote:
What elevates a person from mere laborer/worker/role-filler to an oustanding artisan, craftsman or expert in one's field is the degree to which one applies one's self to the chosen job. Do you say "it's just a job" and merely put in your time? Then you are at the "weak" end of the spectrum. Do you try to analyze not only your tasks, but also how your tasks affect others within the same workplace, and how best to improve that workplace? Then you are well along toward the "strong" end of the spectrum.
Nice one Gonzo ….... at last

I love tips ... unbelievably I am still receiving them in the mail. Thank you. I am very, very happy that SOME of my clients feel that I have made an improvement to their skiing. That IS my motivation as a ski instructor (ex).

The downside of tipping as I see it is when a customer pays a HUGE amount of money for a private lesson and then feels they MUST TIP to keep the instructor. Handing clients around based on TIP SIZE I feel is hugely unethical (in a perfect world sense).

Now ski instructing is NOT a perfect world. There is a huge SHORTAGE of holistically skilled instructors that can be labelled true professionals.

So the wash-up is that, in some of the major destination resorts, paying HUGE amounts of money for a private lessons WILL NOT get you a professional instructor worth the asking price. So TIPPING becomes a means of securing the "right guy\girl" instructor.

I lay the blame for this ugly scenario not on the disillusioned Ski Pros but on an industry that continually cuts benefits\pay to instructors and REFUSES to attract, train and MAINTAIN the talent that PROFESSIONAL level ski instruction requires.

When ones work force starts to treats the place of work with contempt then ugly scenarios will ALWAYS arise.

Oz
post #104 of 112
Thread Starter 
Gonzo had reminded me of a directive from the WWII Japanese Kamikaze Manual:

Do not waste your life lightly.
post #105 of 112
Oz, my ability to make such observations always is with me, but sometimes some people read my posts the way they want to, regardless of whether the good observations are there.

there is nothing on Earth more obnoxious than someone who always must be correct, and always must win.

duplicity is a subset of the "eternal rectitude" issue.

further your affiant sayeth naught.
post #106 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
[QB]

there is nothing on Earth more obnoxious than someone who always must be correct, and always must win.

QB]
Wow we agree.
post #107 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by Kima:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by gonzostrike:
[QB]

there is nothing on Earth more obnoxious than someone who always must be correct, and always must win.

QB]
Wow we agree.</font>[/quote]I'm sure we agree for different reasons, and regarding different people.

[img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #108 of 112
It seems to me an important consideration has been left out in this discussion. While the state of professional status and pay for ski instructors is in part related to ski corps. and ski instructors it is not entirely so. The nature of our American culture has a lot to do with it. Some here have pointed out that skiing is a recreational activity and so if you want to instruct you shouldn't complain about pay and working conditions. I think this represents a significant component of "American" culture and thinking. Certainly, in at least some European countries (Austria for sure), that is not the case. Skiing is an integral part of the culture (as is mountain hiking and climbing) and as such it and its instuctors receive a great deal more respect and attention without any prodding. The issues discussed in this thread seem to me to be a reflection of our American culture as much as a ski corps. drive for profit margins.

A second point is that the desire to receive "professinal" recognition is not at all unique to ski or even sports instructors. I can name dozens of job groups that have pushed and worked to achieve "professional" recognition - some successfully and some not. One thing that is common to most (though not all) of these efforts is that achievement of professional status is in part based on completion of an accredited academic program of study. While American ski instructors may participate in clinics I think they don't really have a readily identifiable academic criteria they can point to and this remains as a barrier to achieving professional status in our American culture.
post #109 of 112
Apparently, there's no such American cultural barrier to the highly paid professionals - both players and coaches - in baseball, basketball, football, golf, and tennis.

However, I'll bet another cookie that the tennis pros at my club aren't pulling down six figure salaries, and not a whole pile of professional golf instructors are, either . . . so, anyone including Gonzo, where does this take us?

Lisamarie? Any other teachers or instructors? What do you say?
post #110 of 112
No one has mentioned "the other" snowsport. Ski lessons may continue to decline simply due to the demographics of snowboarding.

How many level 7,8, or 9 snowboard lessons are taught. Link two turns and send the student to the terrain park.
post #111 of 112
Quote:
I can name dozens of job groups that have pushed and worked to achieve "professional" recognition - some successfully and some not. One thing that is common to most (though not all) of these efforts is that achievement of professional status is in part based on completion of an accredited academic program of study.
Si, IMHO the notion of "accreditation" is so subjective that even those jobs allegedly entitled to "professional" status are watered down by the time accreditation occurs. Besides, that still begs the question -- WHY the pining for the pin/certificate when it's how you view and do your job that REALLY matters to the end product of your work?

Examples that make me feel disdainful: CPA, PE, LCSW - no graduate education required; CLA - no undergraduate degree required. Just because Anne Accountant cannot pass the CPA exam does NOT mean that she isn't as good at accounting as her cousin Ed Dedd that did pass the exam but is dumb as a brick. Is a "professional" engineer really a better engineer than one who has a BS w/o the PE?

Also, the fact that "others are doing it" doesn't lend any credence in logical debate. We need to examine first causes, not lemminglike responses.
post #112 of 112
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
However, I'll bet another cookie that the tennis pros at my club aren't pulling down six figure salaries, and not a whole pile of professional golf instructors are, either . . . so, anyone including Gonzo, where does this take us?
I don't think it takes us anywhere, but it does give us a map. What it tells us is that our culture is hugely superficial. Lower-middle and middle class people will pay thousands of dollars for season tickets to pro basketball or football games, but even if they are fairly avid skiers they won't spend that much money on lessons.

Now ask yourself - why pay thousands to WATCH someone do something with a level of athletic skill YOU IDOLIZE (or you wouldn't have bought those expensive tickets), when you could actually be increasing your same athletic skill in a sport you LOVE, and thus can grow nearer to this ideal athlete you pay thousands to watch?

Face it, folks. The people who will pay fat lesson fees are fanatical and rare. That's not likely to change - and IMHO it only will get worse. We are becoming less and less active and more sedentary. More are becoming observers, fewer are becoming participants.

The root problem isn't about ski instructor salary. It's about the same darned thing that flips my wig about ski "resorts" - the superficial achievement, the gaudy appearance... it's all about an "experience" that you can say you had. It's not about becoming top skiers.
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