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Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs” was a television sensation when it first came out, and its success continued for years. People loved Mike’s celebration of a job attended to with a sense of mission and a view to doing one’s best, no matter what the task, from inspecting sewers to making cheese to hot tar roofing. Mike has gone on to a new show called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” (or “SGDI” for the hardcore fan) filled with people who, he says, “march to a drum that only they can hear,” and “who do what they do because they just can’t help themselves.” These include circus performers and a guy that makes creative neon signage. In short, Mike Rowe celebrates the average, the usual, the everyday—work that is enjoyed for its own sake and a job well done no matter how uninteresting it may seem to someone else.

We’ve rolled over into 2015, and for some time we will be inundated with platitudes about new beginnings and fresh starts and updating plans. While we do use the new year to reorient and re-motivate, the truth is that in facility management, as with most other jobs, we face the same general issues year-round. We in snowy areas of the country are assessing snow removal budgets, just as we were last year. Maintenance tasks continue—roofs must be inspected, parking lots paved, drains snaked, vendors reevaluated whether it is January or June. The thing that some of us love about facility management is that no day is ever the same. New crises abound! But that’s not entirely true. What never seems to change is that phone call in the middle of the night or while we’re on vacation about something that backed up, died, or caught on fire. What never seems to change is the realization that it’s already time again to replace that piece of equipment—didn’t we just take care of that?—and the same old stressful budgeting periods when we have to share with the top brass what has been spent and why, and what enormous cost must be paid in the coming year to maintain compliance or to prevent teetering on disaster.

I find that most facility managers truly enjoy their jobs. Along with one of the reasons already mentioned—every day is different—the various facets of the work allow us to use our hardwired talents a good portion of the time. Vendor interaction, employee complaints, and executive meetings bring out the relationship management in which some of us excel. Budgets and calculations about energy use and the intricacies of building management systems energize those who lose themselves in the technical. Design and build projects draw out the creativity and the joy of watching something move from an idea to drawings to a finished product. We can operate in the role of supervisor, carpenter, negotiator, janitorial inspector, keeper of data, and security overseer, and maybe even show ourselves superior at some of these tasks.

Yes, it’s a new year, and here we go again! Like Mike Rowe, I hope 2015 will be filled with the best your job offers you and the best you bring to it. It may be an occasionally dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

Steven R. Pons, CFM

Learn more about Steve here.
From Your President

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P. S.

Next month the board will be meeting in Houston for our annual strategy meeting. If you haven’t already, you will soon receive a brief survey in your inbox. I encourage each of you to take the time to complete it as it serves as one of our primary tools for determining our future direction and plans.

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