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Realities of the job: If you ever wondered what is the life of a CRM field tech like, here is a video that does a better job of capturing the reality of it than I could write. Obviously, this video is about a different industry, but essentially this will be your life… should you choose one in CRM archaeology.
"But why would we ever want a telephone at Downton, my lord?"
That’s Mr. Carson, the butler from the television show Downton Abbey, talking to Lord Grantham about a new piece of technology being installed in their home.
Recently, I’ve been re-watching old episodes of Downton Abbey and episode seven from season one is one of my favorites because of the telephone subplot. It’s the summer of 1914, and while the telephone had apparently made its way to London, the inhabitants of Downton Abbey are both confused and afraid of the invention.
Realities of the job: Techy stuff
If you have ever wondered where all that paperwork you fill out out ends up. Or why your crew chief or anonymous office drone calls you up asking about a site you worked on six months ago. Or how impressed a project manager will be with how you slaved in your off hours to come up with a digital version of a company form.
You will find many of the people you work with have a rather limited grasp of technology, and may as well have stepped off the set of Downton Abbey.
If you replaced the talk of telephones in this essay with IPads or computers, you will have a good idea of how an average CRM firm operates.
Realities of the job: The company man
Field Tech One: Did you apply to that job that just got posted on Shovelbums?
Field Tech Two: No. I want to stay loyal to this company.
Field Tech One: Do you have any plans after this project ends?
Field Tech Two: No. I’m hoping this company puts me in the lab or something over the winter.
Variations of this conversation go on all the time on every project I have ever been on. Essentially you have people who understand the job of being archaeological field technician, and those who treat it like a regular job.
An archaeological field technician is a temp job. Yet so many new and perpetually hopeful field techs treat each job like the last best job they will ever want or need. This is the best company ever. Someone is going to recognize what a wonderful person and hard worker they are, and they will have more work than they know what to do with.
Let me repeat: Archaeological Field Technicians are temp workers. At every company I have worked at, I have seen PI’s, project managers, GIS people and business managers fired on the spot and given minutes to turn in their office keys, clean up their office, and vacate the premises. No Sorry. No warnings. Just get out. And these were staff people. People who had health care, 401k plans and got to attend company Christmas parties.
Most of these people were not bad people, or incompetent. Work had just slowed down and it was their time to be cast out into the cold wilderness of unemployment. Now ask yourself, where do you fit into such an equasion? Do you honestly think that any company that can fire staff at the drop of a hat is going to “find work” for a field tech during the winters
Too many field techs treat this job like their old jobs as a retail cashier or server at a restaurant. But you are no longer a worker, working at an ordinary job. You have gone from being a worker at a franchise to being your own franchise. You are now responsible for selling yourself and booking work. Trying to stay loyal to one company is like the owner of the first Pizza Hut saying that they are only going make pizzas for the first customer that walks through their door, because they want to be loyal to that person. How long do you think that first Pizza Hut would have stayed open, let alone a nationwide chain?
A good CRM company understands that good field techs are always in demand and that they are competing for your time with plenty of other companies. A good CRM company understands that you have bills that need to be paid on time, and you cannot afford to be sitting around for weeks or months at a time while they “secure permits.”
Only a crap one blacklists field techs for working for other companies. Or throws a tantrum, because you took a job in the interim to pay bills, put food in your mouth or had to pay for your kid’s doctor visit. I know that last part sounds ridiculous. But you would be surprised at the number of moronic project managers, PI’s, and office managers who expect field techs to be at their beck and call for the whole month or two of work their soon to be bankrupt company was able to drum up for the year.
Conversely a good field tech ALWAYS keeps his CV or resume up to date along with any region specifc documents that will cast you in a positive light with potential employers. Good field techs periodically send in updated resumes and relevant documents to companies they wish to work with in the future. Good field techs stay in touch with companies they like working for. Newbies always ask me what if another company has work for me while I am on another project. I just turn the project down. If you have a good enough reputation with that company or in the region you work in, it won’t reflect badly. Only newbies have to take whatever shit job comes their way. The whole point of gaining a reputation as a good field tech is so that you can pick and choose jobs as you please. Pretty soon companies will try to entice you to join critical projects with higher pay, a promotion to crew chief, or even a staff position.
Loyalty is for people with ordinary jobs. If you want to get ahead in the world of CRM archaeology, work hard, promote yourself whenever you can, and make yourself the kind of field tech whose time companies fight for.
Cool Archeological Video: Something about the history of buttons