[SBE] In Need of Mentoring
Henry M. Seiden
info at techworkspro.com
Tue Oct 13 10:45:27 EDT 2009
The mentoring subject has taken an interesting turn and should really
be about all our careers, goals and motivations, right?
Edwin nailed it down in a short sentence or two. Here are my thoughts,
To add to, maybe expand what's been said so far, I think the new
candidates in engineering should look for entry into television or
radio rather than as an end or even a career path. How many people
look to gain entry to production positions each year? I think it far
more folks try and fail to break in than even look here. The numbers
seem to work in your favor for entry into tech jobs within this
business. Also there are many more facets to this business than
working at a studio or even for a station. There are engineering truck
jobs in audio and video for example. That trend is one the SBE's
working to change. But change doesn't come easily.
The reality is that there will be fewer of us (not more of us) who
make engineering a life-long career, perhaps there should be more of
us who use it as a path towards larger roles- be they business-
perhaps more generally the arts, sciences. I'm talking personal
growth, not SBE-wise.
News for engineering wanna-be's is not as bleak as one might think,
though. Out of 100 or so 'production school graduates' (many with four
year degrees), zero to two find immediate work within a year after
graduation, based on numbers I heard before the economic downturn. I
know of one guy that started delivering pizza, targeting a production
studio nearby, just to get his foot in the door. I think that it was
innovative for him to try that, though unproductive. Did he get a job
at the studio in question? No! Our (membership) numbers that find work
out of school are higher, but not even close to 100%. Keep in mind the
overall numbers involved.
Clearly you'll need to know both electronics and computers, they are
totally intertwined now. It's surprising how few 'computer-savvy'
folks, even those with high levels of hardware skills, have both
television/radio engineering principles and an IT core knowledge. I
think the SBE is working on that one too. Making yourself valuable and
demonstrating that ability is part of finding work in this economic
That said, your ability to troubleshoot a problem to it's cause, and
the experience gained working with electro-mechanical systems, (even
training) in this profession we call radio/TV engineering will ALWAYS
stand you as the candidate in good stead. Most importantly, I think,
it cannot easily be duplicated anywhere else. For my part, I do not
regret my years in it. Nor do I think of it as a dead end profession
in any way, as some here have opined.
There probably will continue to be the old 'warhorses' (meant in
nothing but a good way, and perhaps count myself one of those being
around 40 or so years in related fields)- those who made their careers
in this business from the ground up. I think that good, basic
electronics training is what's actually needed in terms of formal
experience to do our jobs. You don't enter our profession as a game-
winning major leaguer. Sometimes it happens, but less and less often.
Sometimes want and need are not the same in impressing a potential
employer in an interview.
The associate experience, hands-on training opportunities offered in
this business were fabulous in the past. You can start young and learn
by experience- many of us did just that- and had a great time doing
it, too! Edwin's point about what the future holds as the business
evolves and changes is a good one. This industry is downsizing from a
diverse industry to one that is highly concentrated- a more
centralized universe. One that is more mature. This trend won't change
So what can newer, technically gifted individuals expect in the
industry they see from the outside as a challenge? Not a free ride,
that is for sure.
Why go into a career that has such low growth potential? Taking some
opportunities for granted is a buzz (oops, I mean adrenaline) kill,
though. Opportunities provided through organizations such as this one
are for training more than employment. Guidance more than guarantees.
Find work opportunities within the business instead of looking in from
the outside. You might need to sweep floors. Stardom is possible,
regardless of your entry level. And it's not easy, we're not all stars.
Take on the challenge then, study and train for innovation. Don't come
in from the sidelines expecting you will win the game on the first
pitch (sorry, it's October, sports metaphors abound!) Our businesses
will likely continue, perhaps in a smaller ways, and similar to any
general employment positions. If you are lucky to find entry, take
advantage of specialized training geared toward your specific long
term goals, outside of the day-to-day work (what do you want to do
next?) or general schooling (if you have no idea which direction to
pursue) towards a 4 year degree. Meanwhile, concentrate on looking for
opportunities to demonstrate your skills to people who are hiring.
If you want to do engineering support at a station, youneed to be
lucky enough, and talented enough to find a spot to start work, you
will then have to become more of a skilled, self directed manager in
addition to what you are doing, and developing your skills as a
technician second to advance or even to stay there. Why? Your boss
wants results- the project complete, the station on the air making
money- think larger than yourself. Everyone wears multiple hats in
what they do. We will likely continue and wear more. So make hats!
There still will be a need for practical, innovative technical folks,
especially at smaller market stations, but going forward, I think, is
clearly declining (and maybe now in radio is at the point) where the
concentration of ownership makes engineering operations a cookie-
cutter design, if not centralized. However, there will always be those
opportunities even in that environment, to innovate.
Said differently, in a smaller market more of an ownership path. I
think that soon you'll need to buy into that by owning/starting up a
small station on an entrepreneurial basis and doing that yourself if
you really have the motivation.
On Oct 11, 2009, at 16:54 , russ at russvanderhorst.info wrote:
> Hi Jeff,
> over the last 15 years, there has been a 'dumbing down' of high
> school courses and
> students. I have literally seen high school honor society students
> who couldn't multiply.
> This being the case (and don't get me wrong, I am not trying to
> start a debate about h.s.
> education)...but wont some degree of technical knowledge beyond the
> h.s. level be needed,
> even if that is just an associates degree?
> On 11 Oct 2009 at 15:50, Jeff Carter wrote:
>> What do you think will happen, long term?
>> I predict that technology will completely do away with the need for a
>> real engineer, and common tasks will be done by someone at a high
>> school competency.
>> For heavier things, contracts with the transmitter manufacturer will
>> be the norm for the rare occasions that something must be serviced.
>> On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 3:11 PM, Edwin Bukont <ebukont at msn.com>
>>> Jeff is correct.
>>> We have two radio CE's in DC that did not even graduate HS.
>>> One even brags about it!! Some could care less about color codes,
>>> electrical codes, good practices etc. I had the DOE of a publicly
>>> group tell me that standards are a waste of my time and his
>>> money!! TV
>>> appears to return a better value on the cost of education,,,but
>>> there are so
>>> many changes that the learning is quickly outdated. I think
>>> vendor seminars
>>> are a better use of one's time, talent and money. Studio Hub has
>>> alot of the need to spend money on learning audio wiring.
>>> Edwin Bukont CSRE, DRB, CBNT
>>> V- 240.417.2475; F- 240.368.1265
>>> The SBE Roundtable, SBE at sbe.org
>>> To unsubscribe, go to http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/options/sbe
>> The SBE Roundtable, SBE at sbe.org
>> To unsubscribe, go to http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/options/sbe
> my webpage
> The SBE Roundtable, SBE at sbe.org
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Techworks Professional Systems, Inc. Henry M. Seiden, Founder
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