Monthly Archives: May 2014
One of the interesting things about being in the HVACR industry and active in the technical and professional development of technicians is that you never know what inspiration will come about when you’re working on your blog. This is the fourth segment in a series on in-house training programs, and up until I read a Linked-In post by D. Brian Baker about how some people with an academic bent view the education process for trades and crafts, I had a different idea of what this installment would be about. Since I happened upon that discussion, this segment will be about what I read there.
The discussion that Brian started was about the academic community, and some of the comments that followed offered enlightening thoughts about how some think that the difference between an academic education and a trade/craft education is that with academics, people are taught to think, while in the trade/craft approach of “training” (as opposed to educating and training, which is what we in the industry consider it to be) is that people are just taught to, well, just do.
Reading some of the comments on this particular discussion, I remembered a few things…..
As somebody who ran service calls in residential and light commercial applications for many years where customer contact is on a very personal level since technicians are guests in customer’s homes (and some of their small offices that they consider to be a second home), I can attest to the fact that there are two types of customers when it comes to interaction with those who are there to provide a technical or craft service for them. One type is quick to engage in an interchange of mutual respect. A second type of person has a tendency to, as we say “look down their nose” at others. And, in accordance with the aforementioned discussion on the sometimes perceived differences between an academic and skilled craft education, it was, in my experience, that those of the second type were, far more often than not, those who either held an academic degree and worked in what could be commonly referred to as a ‘white collar’ job, or they were married to someone who held an academic degree and worked in a white collar job.
The common term that is often applied to people who act toward others in the way I’ve described is that they are a snob.
And, when I thought about that, I recalled a bit of history on the origin of that term. It came about early in the 18th century as “Sine Nobilia” ( a Latin term that means “not of nobility”) when university professors in Europe were told that they would have to offer admission to some that they considered to be lower class. This term was entered into the margin next to the person’s name in the student registry so they could be easily identified. My personal opinion is that it was noted there so professors could get ‘what they expected’ from these students, and also be able to, when one of these students dropped out, be able to say, “See I told you so” to the entities that were forcing these enrollments.
Well, as it often happens with this sort of thing, it didn’t take long for “sine nobilia” to be shortened to “snob”, and here’s where it gets even more interesting.
When some of these ‘lower class’ individuals did graduate from college in spite of what the professors thought about them, they often had a tendency to, well, treat the people in the communities that they came from differently than they treated them before they went off to school. And the term “snob” took on a new meaning….what we normally think about it today.
And, if you’ve been wondering what all this has to do with your in-house technician training program, here’s the thought that followed what I’ve noted above.
I often have to shake my head about the fact that even today, I have technicians who attend a training workshop, and in the course of our discussions on customer service, tell me that they have negative and disrespectful experiences in which people ‘look down their nose’ at them, and it bothers them.
My response to this is a simple two-point approach.
1. One of the classic behaviors of a person with low self esteem is that, because they are unhappy with who or what they are (or aren’t), they try to make themselves feel better by putting others down.
2. When this occurs, we should have compassion for these unfortunate individuals rather than be angry or upset because of their behavior. And the reason we should take that approach is that, because we’re human, we could wind up taking some of that negative energy with us to our next call. And our customer there doesn’t deserve anything less than the best we have to offer, not just from a technical and craft approach to doing our job, but also from a customer service perspective.
Learn From Yesterday……Live For Today…..Look Forward To Tomorrow
In Part Two of the discussion on in-house training programs for HVACR technicians I touched on the subject of attitude and how it can affect a training session. In this segment I wanted to look at this subject not just from a technician’s perspective, but from an overall point-of-view.
So I decided to share something called the S.W.E.A.T Pledge.
It’s by Mike Rowe, and I think it addresses the subject of being a Technical Professional in a way that makes sense to all of us.
“The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge”
(Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo)
1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.
3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.
4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.
5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.
6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.
7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.
8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.
9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.
10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.
11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.
12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.
On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements to be an accurate summation of my personal worldview. I promise to live by them.
The thrust behind this is that Mike Rowe has developed a scholarship program for high school students who plan to pursue education in a trade or craft, and in order to apply ( a $15,000 education and training opportunity here), they have to sign the S.W.E.A.T Pledge.
While I like all 12 of the points that Rowe makes in the pledge, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 12 are my favorites.
Learn From Yesterday…..Live For Today…..Look Forward To Tomorrow