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Need a bit of career advice

Discussion in 'Business, Finance & Legal' started by that1surveyor, May 18, 2017.

  1. that1surveyor

    that1surveyor 6-Year Member

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    I don't often post here, but do lurk often. I've found this to be a very valuable resource of knowledge in numerous subjects. With all the experience here, I'm hoping to get a bit of advice. I'm a rather young surveyor, late 20s (a baby in our field) and hope to one day run my own business, but as of right now I've run into the first job offer that I've actually considered. On paper it's seems much better including a large raise, better hours, and a quite frankly easier job. The problem is the job is for a lets say less than reputable firm. I care deeply about this profession and really want to leave a mark in some fashion be it in an association or just through excellence. I just wonder if my reputation would be tarnished by this, even if I'm able to turn the place around. There are a number of other issues, but my question is what have you guys done to evaluate a job offer?
     
    Brad Ott likes this.
  2. StLSurveyor

    StLSurveyor 4-Year Member

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    We all want to run our own business. Me too. I've been thinking that for 15 years. Money isn't everything. If the firm has a bad rep stay away! Bad news travels fast - yes it will follow you. Talk to your boss, he/she was once like you, express your desires in the profession and your goals.
     
    FL/GA PLS. likes this.
  3. thebionicman

    thebionicman 3-Year Member

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    I spent a few years working for the worst Surveyor I've ever known. I wouldn't do it for a few dollars. It's not worth it.
     
  4. jim.cox

    jim.cox 7-Year Member

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    Mud sticks

    Coin is only a small part of job satisfaction

    Having been stuck in an engineering firm I dont like to show on my cv, I would avoid them like the plague
     
  5. Kent McMillan

    Kent McMillan Banned

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    The typical career path in the professions has at least three phases:

    - apprenticeship,
    - selling expertise, and
    - elder statesman.

    Apprenticeship - Gathering a broad range of experience to operationalize some background knowledge of the activity.
    Selling Expertise - Putting the expertise acquired to work and being well paid for it.
    Elder Statesman - Shaping the profession from the sum of one's experiences.

    A surveyor in his twenties is in the apprenticeship phase of his career and should be focused upon gathering a broad range of experience that will form a basis for selling expertise later. Working for a Sad Sack firm with nothing other than a check to offer would not remotely qualify.
     
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  6. FrozenNorth

    FrozenNorth 2-Year Member

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    You'll earn less over the long run if you throw in with these guys. This can happen in lots of ways: You burn out with these guys and have to "start over" at a different firm. You miss out on the chance to build a portfolio of great clients, because, let's face it, the great clients don't hire bad firms for long. You bite the bullet and stick with this company a while, but end up stamping marginal stuff turned out by their low-level field crews, which in turn gets you in hot water with your peers and maybe even the licensing board. All kinds of stuff that equals stomach ulcers and less money in the medium to long term.
     
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  7. Michael White

    Michael White Member

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  8. Michael White

    Michael White Member

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    Not really a tough call at all. You will gain their reputation by proxy. Unless you're buying in as a the owner or controlling partner, you won't change that company.

    I've owned my on firm for almost 15 years now. Company reputation is everything.

    Or you could just but me out. I'm selling and getting ready for retirement after 30+ years in the business.

    If you're willing to work hard and keep your ethics high, surveying can be a very lucrative business.
     
    munt21 and FL/GA PLS. like this.
  9. Richard Imrie

    Richard Imrie 1-Year Member

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    I've said this before on a previous similar thread: "Watch your back, nobody else will."
     
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  10. James Fleming

    James Fleming 7-Year Member

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    I walked away from potential ownership in a firm because I didn't like the way they were cutting corners as the recession was coming on. You only have one reputation.
     
  11. StLSurveyor

    StLSurveyor 4-Year Member

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    Selling, Getting ready for retirement....Maybe we need to talk...
     
  12. PA PLS

    PA PLS 2-Year Member

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    If you are looking to own your own firm one day, I would skip the less than reputable company. I am considering what I expect will be an offer from a company which involves a move about an hour and half away. For me it is about 8 years too late. I've been with the same company for 21 years and bought into the stories of how valued I was. Years went by, licenses were obtained and responsibilities grew yet the pay never changed for stretch of 11 years. I trusted the company would come around and things would change. I was wrong. If you have a goal keep working toward it. This will not be the last chance to advance your career if you pass on it if you don't let it. You just have to keep looking.
     
  13. Holy Cow

    Holy Cow 7-Year Member

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  14. Brad Ott

    Brad Ott 7-Year Member

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    Historically, my tolerance for working with a "bad" employer has been 3 to 6 months. Those events never made it to the resume.
     
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  15. Monte

    Monte 1-Year Member

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    Kent, I may use this phrase in some of my discussions, if you don't mind.
     
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  16. Lee D

    Lee D 4-Year Member

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    There's a reason why shady firms offer attractive looking deals... they can't keep good help. The short term gain isn't worth the long term pain.
     
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  17. Nate The Surveyor

    Nate The Surveyor 7-Year Member

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    I suggest working with them for 3-6 mos. You will learn more ways to cheat, and that will HELP you later.
    When, evaluating another firm's work.
    It'll "Fast forward" your education.
    N
     
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  18. VA LS 2867

    VA LS 2867 6-Year Member

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    When I was laid off from my previous employer and started working for the Contractor we did a lot of layout for, I told my new employers I will not sign my name to anything I did not have full control of. Granted I have had to sign only a handful of drawings in 8.5 years, I remain the final arbiter of anything that is produced that is going external of the company. I have been kicking around the idea of a solo operation to run on the side to actually do some surveying to supplement my income from what I mainly do now, which is building machine control models and volume calculations. Maybe this is an opportunity you can use and change the reputation of the firm. Be candid with the interviewer that their company does not have a good reputation within your peers and you have reservations on joining the company. Kent is right, your still in your formative learning years, so take your time and learn. The money part usually takes care of itself with knowledge gained.
     
  19. Kent McMillan

    Kent McMillan Banned

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    Be my guest. To give credit where credit is due, it isn't original with me. I first heard that description of the arc of an ideal professional career from one of my professors at UT, the late Robert Mather, who tended to analyze all things in terms of how they changed over time.

    I think that I'd also describe the Elder Statesman career phase as that in which a surveyor's professional reputation is the dominant element of his or her practice. That is, clients call because they want to have Elder Statesman overseeing the work, not Justaminute Mapping.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
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  20. Kent McMillan

    Kent McMillan Banned

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    The other thing that I'd mention is that land surveying expertise strikes me as having four fundamental components that correspond with the four fundamental activities of land surveying, described by these four verbs:

    - dig,
    - measure,
    - judge, and
    - preserve.

    Digging means investigation, both on the ground and in the records. Being an expert investigator is a critical skill for a land surveyor and is one that can only be learned by experience. The state of records tends to vary by locality, as does physical evidence. So there is a strong geographical component to learning how to investigate.

    Measuring means the obvious, determining the shapes and locations of things on the ground with both reliability and professional-level quality. A considerable amount of energy tends to get soaked up by learning to operate measurement technologies, but is ultimately only a fourth of the overall picture.

    Judging means analyzing evidence and making decisions that will hold up under independent examination. The ability to make proper judgments is a higher-order level of expertise that is shaped by experience, beginning with some knowledge of the elements of the law and standards of practice specific to a jurisdiction.

    Preservation is a broad term encompassing both reporting and perpetuation. The ability to write a lucid surveyor's report is a critical element of expertise in this area, as is also knowing how to monument a boundary in a way that will likely facilate the work of some future surveyor.

    In my opinion, the best way to acquire expertise in investigation is to work in an office where deep investigation is the norm.

    Bad judgment is much easier to recognize than good judgment. Bad judgment tends to produce results that fail spectacularly and relatively quickly after completion of the work. Good judgment is both a product of a broad knowledge of the law and standards of practice and the experience of watching various train wrecks unfold.
     
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