No, I'm not talking about shopfloor yoga lessons.
I'm talking about the kind of flexibility GE boss Jeff Immelt had in mind when he waxed wise on worker's expectations a couple years ago.
There's always something precious about a $25 million a year guy giving tips for living to the shopfloor folks he's been driving into abject penury.
But we're talking about the flexibility that ensues when you see your job being fobbed off on one of those hard-working Mexicans or Filipinos who have been making hay big-time under Canada's "Temporary Foreign Worker" program.
A friend of a friend made quite a success story of herself establishing a business that did site-clean-up for home-builders in the Calgary area over the past few years. She struggled till she hit the brass TFW ring.
Her first batch of Mexicans turned her struggling business into a gold mine! Needless to say, she swears by them now. And why not?
They get in the country on their TFW card, and you can bet they won't be making any trouble. They don't have the luxury of taking the tried and true "take this job and shove it" route. The conditions of their contract don't allow them to quit just because somebody down the street offers them a couple dollars an hour more. Once they're in-country, they're yours!
While $12/hr may seem like a joke to any Canadian in Calgary, it's considered a great opportunity by the Mexicans in Calgary.
Which is what we're talking about when we talk about "flexibility."
Employers love flexibility. A Croatian or Tunisian welder making $16/hr is so damned flexible he makes the typical Fort Mac Newfie look like rigor mortis set in ten years ago. These folks are keen! You can hire two or three of them for the hourly rate of a Canadian!
And what is really great about the TFW program is that it helps the Canadians be just a little more flexible. Nothing like having a reserve army of TFWs waiting in the wings at contract time...
It helps those lazy-ass Canadians appreciate that in this globalized economy, they're not the only game in town anymore.