Tell us about your experience working in maintenance

Whether it's by choice or by chance, Managing Editor Lisa Towers wants to hear about your experience in the maintenance profession.

By Lisa Towers, managing editor

How did you get here, today, to the moment in which you’re reading this article? If you could put your life in reverse and review all the moments leading up to this one, what would you see?

Your journey in the maintenance field likely began with a career choice, whether conscious or unconscious, that led you down the path to a couple of decades of steady employment in a manufacturing facility – or, perhaps not. People’s career paths are rarely that simple, and most have had a couple of detours here and there that helped them decide whether to stay the course or find a new vocational angle to pursue. But, however your story has progressed, we want to hear about it.

And so do the high-school and college-aged kids who are looking for career information that will allow them to make decisions about their own journeys. They’re getting ready to go back to school right now, leading their parents by the hand from the mall to the local superstore to pick up new clothes and shoes, pencils, calculators and personalized laptops.

Sure, having the right supplies in the classroom is important, but what’s even more valuable is your advice: What stories would you like to share with students? Because I can guarantee that they can use your guidance.

How else can you speak to kids who like to tinker, collect tools and watch the Discovery Channel because they love to see science and engineering in action? If ever there were a video brochure to get young minds thinking about the marvels of manufacturing, the show “How It’s Made” is it. Or even those who idolize Jesse James and his West Coast Choppers or Paul Teutul Sr. and his boys on “American Chopper” are great candidates to be recruited into the field of maintenance. How will you reach them to tell them about all of the opportunities that exist in this career path?

Equally important to reaching kids is getting their parents to be receptive. Yes, Mom and Dad, your child will be successful if he or she doesn’t become a doctor or lawyer. Pursuing a person’s vocational passion is what’s important, as anyone from Oprah Winfrey to Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, will tell you.

And you certainly don’t want your kids to stumble into that half of the American workforce that reports not being satisfied with their jobs.

“How much time do young people spend planning it [their careers] and considering options?” asks Stanford University Professor of Education John Krumboltz. “Many give more thought to choosing a new pair of shoes. For many people, it’s a decision they never knew they made – it was made by default.”

Krumboltz’s own experience was recorded in the article, “How people choose ‘career paths,’” where he details how he originally planned to be a doctor until he discovered that he was prone to nausea when viewing common injuries such as broken bones.

It seems like such an obvious piece of advice, but to someone who has his or her heart set on being a doctor, finding out whether he or she can handle the unspoken horrors of patients’ ailments in order to treat them is something one should to consider before filling out that medical school application form.

That’s where you come in. Haven’t you had moments in your career when you wished someone would have given you certain advice before you had gone to the trouble of having to discover it for yourself? Here’s your opportunity to record for time and posterity the pointers that could make the difference for the next generation of maintenance technicians and engineers. Your words could be the ones that convince an undecided teenager to dedicate himself to a career in maintenance, and to experience for himself the pride that comes with keeping American facilities up and running.

You can start by sending us your story, advice and career tips, which we’ll gladly print in the magazine and post on www.PlantServices.com and www.SkillTV.net. And, if the company you work for engages in any recruitment or mentoring programs, we want to hear about them, too.

When you’ve got something good going, especially something as coveted as a satisfying career, the noblest thing you can do is to pass that knowledge on.

E-mail Managing Editor Lisa Towers at ltowers@putman.net.

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