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Making Dream Jobs Come True (TL;DR in OP)

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by NateJanota, Jun 5, 2016.

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  1. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    Afternoon, CB!

    So it's time to let a kitten out of the bag (I would say cat but my project hasn't grown up that much yet, ha ha, okay I'll stop now).

    Some of you may remember that several months ago I posted a request for help in doing some research on Technical Entertainment; you can find that here. Several months have passed, tons of research has been done, and I'm ready to (slightly) reveal what I've been working on.

    I've formed a company named RTECS (Regional Technical Entertainment Career Sourcing), with the goal of connecting technicians with their dream jobs (and clients with their dream techs). I've been in too many workplaces where the techs I knew were invariably frustrated with their work not lining up with their expectations; I hate seeing a fellow tech struggle, so I've begun work on what is the equivalent of eHarmony and Monster all blended into one for the purpose of matching Technicians to ideal as possible work.

    As part of this company's development, I've begun doing even more in-depth research into what makes techs (and clients hiring them) tick. Below I've posted two links to surveys that I would greatly appreciate anyone filling out. They can be filled out anonymously, and there's no strings attached.

    The surveys are being used to help me better understand what makes up a dream job for most techs. While that may sound simple, it's innately complex and difficult to quantify.

    If for any reason you don't feel comfortable filling out these surveys without knowing additional details you can either 1) contact me here on CB and ask any questions you may have, or 2) contact me by email that I'll have listed below.

    Thanks everyone! Y'all have been awesome in helping me work on this thus far, and I look forward to more feedback, input, and criticism!

    RTECS Technician Survey
    RTECS Hiring Client Survey

    My Email: Nathan.Janota@r-tecs.com
     
  2. Amiers

    Amiers Well-Known Member

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    Completed.
     
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  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Going to be a bit critical here....

    Just curious, what is your background? This survey seems to be written by a person with very little production experience.... A lot of the things that I expected to be there were not. The entire thing felt rather childish. Many of the jobs I regularly hire were not there. Also, you never asked about location and relocation. That is probably the biggest thing. The reason that most people are staying at the gigs they are in is due to being tied to a location. I own a house, you won't see me leaving my gig anytime soon for this reason. I know EVERY gig that comes around in the region I'm in because there are so few gigs. Be sure to include this. Usually the ideal gig is the one that is where you live, not necessarily the one that is perfect.

    Also, you never asked about what kind of shows you are looking at. An audio engineer who only mixes legit theatre would be lost working in my theatre that produces mostly concerts. Likewise an LD who does mostly corporate work would be lost lighting a concert.

    I'm truly not certain if there is a need for this. Artsearch and offstagejobs.com do a good job in fulfilling this need. If I need a head hunter I go to my facebook contacts. My current audio engineer was hired this way... through a contact that I met on CB actually.

    If you are looking for real research you should be asking what makes a successful employee for your organization, not what you are looking for in an employee. You never asked about team dynamics or basic management styles. You also never asked about how that employee deals with clients or how good they are at thinking on their feet. I want someone with good customer service skills and someone who can tell me they know they answer before I know what the question is. The biggest thing that makes a good employee in this business is simple logic skills. The best employees can say "ya, I can do that", knowing they have no clue how, and figure out how to do it before you figured out they can't.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
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  4. Amiers

    Amiers Well-Known Member

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    Golf clap Footer, but I said all that in my own way in the comments section of the survey.

    None the less...

    Doing research on them they are up an coming give them some wiggle room. I think it's a great idea. It takes out the interview process once it has accumulated enough data about clients/techs. No longer will you have to know if the Tech knows or not or if the employee is shady before you step into the door.
     
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  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Great, he came to a forum asking for feedback and criticism and I gave that. You don't come to a forum asking for comments only via PM.
     
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  6. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    @Footer I'm going to do my best to answer every one of your concerns, or take steps to better address them! Regardless, thanks for taking the time to give me feedback and critique!

    10 years doing lighting design, programming, and show control, as well as 8 years of simultaneous experience in professional videography with an Associates in Film, Media Arts, and a Bachelors in English just for fun. I'm sorry you find the entire thing to be "childish"; could you please provide a specific example and demonstrate why said example is "childish"?

    I am only one man, and my entire company research team right now is only three people covering lighting, audio, and video. Even then, the point of the surveys is to garner feedback and support to strengthen the quantity and quality of data available. Also remember this is an Alpha-phase primitive survey designed to gather base info to meet certain research criteria; it is not the end-all be-all.

    Most people relocate once during their careers for a job that is more advantageous, whether 10 miles or 1000 miles. Let's say there were a resource that could help them find consistent (read: full-time or contracted) work that matched a large portion of their ideals for a workplace. Would it not be wise to select a job that both provides and suits your preferences?

    Once again, I reiterate that this survey is primitive and is only designed to cover basic criteria. The algorithm which RTECS is working on (the matching algorithm) uses 350 individual data points to plot the type of person the Tech is, and the type of gig the Client is hosting. As research helps us deepen our research pool, the algorithm will also evolve to be more detailed.

    Popular research disagrees with your first statement here. While I am not permitted to divulge my research without you signing an NDA (I paid for the research from a respected firm), I can say that most people surveyed (covering nearly 90% of industry averages) would have preferred to shop for their gigs, or have a client shop for them, IF it had resulted in a better matchup for both parties. Incidentally, personal bias both positive or negative hurts technicians of all backgrounds and skill levels. For example, the "new guy" in the industry who may have spent 5 years working his rear off to study lighting on his own time shouldn't be shunned for the 5-year-veteran who holds a degree and some opinionated referrals. Give the 'new guy' a chance. This is called "deforestation." When you cut down trees without planting saplings, new forests never grow. When the industry continues to eschew the "new people" in the industry for the bloodied, battle-tested veterans, then the industry ages and wears and eventually stagnates.


    I'd be violating the NDA I signed if I explained to you how RTECS has already covered all of this. But let me put it this way: the algorithm we're developing maps both technicians and clients/gigs across several hundred quantifiable data points. These points make up a multi-dimensional profile. Every technician has a unique profile, and like thumbprints and snowflakes, no two are alike. Same with gigs and clients. That means out there there are both a Client and a Tech whose profiles are similarly matching enough to satisfy both of them beyond the mere "it's a job." How many people can say their passions are fueling their work and their ambitions are being noted and rewarded? In-depth research says not many. Ironically, no one is taking steps to quantify technician desires.

    As a final note, did you know that across over 1200 gigs held weekly in the United States, there is a global satisfaction rate of only 40% between Technicians and Clients? (Here I'm referring to Tech's satisfaction with pay, benefits, location, workload, coworkers, etc; and Client's satisfaction with payout, work done, quality of work, popular opinion, subordination, etc) According to additional research, did you know that Technicians hired into workplaces where their ambitions, creativity, and skills are highest respected and utilized produce a higher satisfaction rate for themselves and clients by an increase of nearly 170%? Google, Disney, Yahoo, Tesla, XCOR, and Apple are just a few companies who have utilized a system of matching their employees to ideal work to optimize worker happiness and maximize profit and throughput. RTECS is merely looking to broaden the search and allow all technicians nationally (and hopefully eventually globally) to experience a similar level of happiness and work output.

    Thanks for your time and I appreciate your feedback.
     
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  7. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    Thank you very much for bringing that point up! One of the many things the founders of RTECS discussed was the question "Would you have taken your current job knowing "______" about it?" where you can fill in the blank with a surprise. The surprise could be lack of advancement opportunities, inconsistent hours or pay, poor benefits, smothered or falsified company reputation, etc.

    Let's also consider for a moment that there's the "little guy" to think of on the Client side of things. Joe Shmoe Band-o probably doesn't have the means, connections, nor money to hire the best and brightest from a Union House or local pool. But what if they could one-stop shop for someone willing to take the risk and work for a cheaper rate, whilst simultaneously being allowed to express their creativity? Fostering potential relationships is a key part of being a hiring Client.

    RTECS isn't trying to cater to those whose level of care for their work is "it's just a job." That sounds bigoted of me, I know, possibly even naive. However, research shows that a majority of people would be so much happier if they were able to just change one or two things about their job to make it a more positive experience.

    In an industry as negative, harshly opinionated, unforgiving, and critical as the Technical Entertainment industry, the jump from "new body" to "nobody" is a snap of a finger from someone with an opinion. I'm trying to inject some positive into the process. I also want more people to realize dream careers and opportunities. I'm not naive; I'm just not bitter enough to wave off optimism.
     
  8. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    The language used on several parts of the survey were simply not what I would consider professional. The conversational nature of your questions made me think you thought this was all a joke. Like the following: "So you're looking for a Lighting Guy™, great! Now, you don't have to answer the following question, but trust us: answering us will keep your lamps (and sanity) intact." Mrs. Footer would probably have closed your site and been done with you at that point. I'm not looking for a lighting guy. I'm looking for an entertainment electrician. Preferably like @Mrs. Footer who is ETCP certified. Sex has nothing to do with it. (and you trade marked lighting guy, video guy, sound guy?????)

    I would also work on the word "technical entertainment". I don't think that really describes what we are or what we do. I don't think that I have ever heard that used in common language. Might be too late to change it now, but might be something to think about.
     
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  9. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    I see what you're saying. The reason the survey is a bit glib is to avoid giving people the dreaded "I'm being interrogated syndrome." It's called sense of humour. Maybe it doesn't strike your funny bone, and that's okay! I'm always open to suggestions. But for the few out there whose desire to take things too seriously overrides their desire to see the humor in what they do, it's not worth changing.

    I will say this, however. This is a preliminary survey. Not a website. You have to have a sense of humour. You can't sit for 10 minutes, complete a survey in utter solemnity, and then anticipate that your answers will reflect you as a person. If that's you, great! The survey doesn't ask you to crack jokes or limmericks or puns. What the survey DOES ask at its core are simple questions with straightforward answers. If the sense of humour injected does not sit right with you, then you are not obligated to laugh nor provide feedback complimenting the humour.

    Incidentally, without putting too sharp a point on my opinionated statement: if you're taking issue with the fact that "Lighting Guy" is not gender neutral, then you are putting too sharp a point on YOUR opinionated statements.

    Incidentally, as an honest good-natured foot forward, I will gather my team and see if we can't craft a "more serious" survey that takes Political Correctness and jargon into account. Thank you for your feedback!

    FOLLOW-UPS: I have noted your critique and it is now on the list of adjustments being made to the survey. The more detailed, less-assisted version will include less forced humour or glibness throughout than previously observed. It should also be noted that, as a B.A. English holder, I fully possess the skills and writing ability necessary to write technical surveys with apt jargon and specific terminology. Forgoing is by choice, not ignorance.
     
  10. MrsFooter

    MrsFooter CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hey there, just popping in to speak for the away team!

    @Footer's right, the "Lighting Guy" thing is really irritating. I know it sounds like some petty neo-feminist bull, but even though great strides have been made, we're still *way* under represented. I still have to stomp on necks when people call me "Sweetheart," I still have road co asking if I sell merch, and I still have road guys trying to take heavy cases away from me because they think I can't handle it. I know it feels like we're past all that here in 2016, but we're not. It's still out there, and I still feel like I have to work twice as hard to prove myself to new people. So to have the survey just assume that I'm a dude, even with no ill intentions, is just another reminder that this is a man's industry and I'm the outsider.

    But beyond gender, I also found that title to be slightly demeaning, something akin to "techie." The Lighting Guy is the guy who shows up to the club and pushes the "Red" button on the American DJ controller. I have a degree and a certification. I'm a Theatrical Electrician, a Lighting Designer, and a Lighting Director, but I'm not a Lighting Guy. If I'm going to entrust someone with with forwarding my career, I'd like them to respect my title.
     
  11. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    Thus this vvvvvv
    Your feedback IS actually being listened to, and I'm going to make a conscious effort to re-evaluate the surveys and make sure that terms possibly demeaning or under-crediting are no longer used.
     
  12. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    I'll agree with Footer on all of his points. The conversational/casual way the questions are written, the broad use of slang terms ("gearhead" isn't the point of reference I'd want a potential employer using to assess my skill level, nor is it a qualifier/quantifier I would use in looking at a candidate. That's entirely too vague of a term, as one example.)

    I think I got to the 2nd or 3rd page and decided not to continue. Even when "pretending" I'm looking for a job (I'm not, actually), I found the way everything was worded a turnoff. I doubt I would go this route in the real world.
     
  13. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    I don't understand why people continue to pile on this issue. I've said now three times that the issue is being worked on. If you have feedback external to this issue, that would be more useful than to continue beating the issue into the ground. I will also once again point out that this survey caters to three different types of people:
    1) People whose understanding of the industry is null (beginning techs and clients with no tech background)
    2) People whose understanding of the industry is sufficient
    3) Veterans whose understanding of the industry is superior

    Needless to say, if you're glancing at the survey section catered to #1 because you stated that you "wanted help" in finding work/techs, then yes, you're going to get a dumbed-down version of the survey. Not EVERY tech and Client has your experience, your vocabulary, and your opinions. In fact, for many low-end, small-scale clients, you're asking too much of them to understand you intrinsically. Thus why there IS a dumbing down to begin with.

    That said, I am going to redirect all future feedback on this particular issue to this statement below:
    If you have any additional feedback, I'd appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
     
  14. TheaterEd

    TheaterEd Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Just throwing this out there, people may be willing to take your survey and read a few comments, but there is a lot of text in this thread, so very possible that us users will just 'skim'

    That being said. Took the survey and have a couple notes.

    First note: I personally don't have any industry certifications, but I do have a degree and there was no place to specifically state what my degree is other than the certifications area. If that is also where degree information should go, some clarification may help.

    Second note:I love my job as a high school TD and facility manager, but when you ask me to pick my primary discipline, I had a hard time deciding which that would fall under other than 'other'. Seeing as I pretty much do everything tech-wise, a jack-of-all-trades option might be a good idea, or possibly just check boxes on areas of experience would serve that purpose. For a person like me, I could see myself being happy working in almost any hands-on aspect of theater, so I don't like to have to just pick one or two.

    My current situation is that I have off all summer starting next week. I would love to find a theatrical job, but all the summer stock work I have seen started back in May. So if your service would be able to help me then I can see where it would be different than offstage jobs. Oh well, guess I'll just spend my summer at home with my one year old :D
     
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  15. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    @TheaterEd Thanks for the feedback! Much appreciated. I'll see if I can't address all of your concerns!

    I would appreciate if people would take the time. No good product or service gets developed from shoddy, slapped-together research. Information is power, and I can't make RTECS useful, or help change the hiring environment in Entertainment for the better if I don't have data.

    FOLLOWUP: It should also be noted that, with me trying to hold down a full-time job and a part-time job, it's difficult to come up with time to do research, so there's a lot the community can help me with just through feedback alone. If you throw the expense of professional research into the mix (often thousands of dollars for one topic researched), I'm really short on trying to establish solid data. This survey is a step in the right direction for a good balance of time and money spent.

    Good point. I will make sure to clarify the degree portion and/or add a specific section for entering that. I will offer this as a side note: one reason I am de-emphasizing the degree is because, after nearly 7 months of research, I've learned that the degree doesn't always have influence on someone's skill or abilities as a Technician. It certainly increases their book knowledge and theoretical application skills, but it doesn't substitute for experience in the field. This isn't to say that holding a degree is inferior in any way to being experienced- there's a lot that can be learned from classes that would not be necessarily taught in the field. Sometimes even you are assumed to have learned certain things for certain work applications. But I want to avoid making the degree the primary selling point for any technician; I know some techs without degrees who are incredibly talented! I will ponder your feedback and see if I can't find a better compromise between the two!

    As for the "primary discipline", this is a limitation of SurveyMonkey as my hosting web channel right now. I don't have the necessary funding to develop my website myself yet, so I'm forced to develop questions and answers within SurveyMonkey's feature limitations. Right now, I'm trying to get a gauge on what work each technician does the most of.

    That said, you bring up a great point about "jack of all trades." I think I will implement that option in some way. SurveyMonkey, unfortunately, doesn't allow me to make a Jack-of-all-trades option and still somehow rank what work each technician does most. For example, a lighting tech who dabbles in audio and then video (respectively) wouldn't be able to check "jack of all trades" and then "lighting" and "video." SurveyMonkey would force him/her to leave it at "jack of all trades." Make sense?


    There's a market of nearly 1200 hiring gigs [edit] a week in the United States alone, another 3000 globally each week. Out of this market, venue staffing services such as LiveNation Entertainment manage to capture almost 80% of the market (impressive!). If RTECS could capture even 10% of the market, that's nearly 120 jobs connected a week, and nearly 500 techs sourced into employment weekly. That's a decently reasonable yet ambitious goal!

    You just gave me an idea, as well, thank you! I need to look into timing and hiring trends within the industry; I haven't analyzed if there is any particular swing up or down with hiring based off of time of year. I will look into that and attempt to integrate it into the survey system.

    Thanks again for all the super-useful data! Really really appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    road that require a local crew of 100 or more. I'm in a C market with about a dozen venues that present large scale shows. This area alone hits your 1200 "jobs hired" per week. Finally, Livanation does very little to no actual hiring of "techs". Livenation works with IATSE locals and staffing companies like Crew1/Rhino to fill their calls.">

    I find both of those numbers impressively low. If that is what the research you paid good money for is telling you I would not trust your data. At any given time there are at least 100+ shows on the road that require a local crew of 100 or more. I'm in a C market with about a dozen venues that present large scale shows. This area alone hits your 1200 "jobs hired" per week. Finally, Livanation does very little to no actual hiring of "techs". Livenation works with IATSE locals and staffing companies like Crew1/Rhino to fill their calls.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  17. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    1) My mistake. The thread should be read as "1200 gigs hiring techs" per week. This is the national average for gigs hiring externally without internal staff or full-time venue tech staff. The information is reliable, and if you disagree, please cite your source (if you are permitted to).

    2) I am aware of LiveNation's purpose. I was wrong to assume that most people do, but I assumed anyway that people would read "venue staffing" as "non-technical" venue staffing. The point I am illustrating here is that LiveNation captures a percentage market in a business similar to the one RTECS is looking to occupy. Instead of hiring venue staff such as ticketing, ushering, janitorial, etc, RTECS is looking to handle technical staffing. I was making the LiveNation analogy as a demonstration of the potential market capture capable of a business such as the one we are creating.

    Incidentally, you should be well aware that you cannot make estimates of market capture off of any one segment of the market's peak or typical performance. I take the average across the nation, including states with lower-count markets such as North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, etc. These states possess a smaller market and necessarily lower gig count weekly. These are being taken into account. The 1200 average count of gigs hiring weekly maintains a standard deviation of approximately 150. I will need to do additional research on whether or not that standard deviation has historic trends based off of time of year.

    FOLLOWUP: I am also being conservative with all numbers in order to avoid being too aggressive with my business model. If I attempt to base potential business stability off of peak or atypical performance, my model will be weak.

    FOLLOWUP 2: @Footer Thank you for taking the time to point these things out to me. You're enabling me to take notes and better reinforce my data through our conversation. Sincerely, thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  18. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Even that those in the industry don't always give much stock in degrees after a time, HR departments put a lot of emphasis them. If you want to attract upper end corporate clients, which many consider dream jobs, then you really need to consider it. If you are working in the educational or repertory theater market, any position aside from entry level will require a degree. If you want to limit your job searching to concerts and events, which the questions for the seasoned professional seemed to lead to, then certainly de-emphasize it.
     
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  19. NateJanota

    NateJanota Member

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    I can see where a degree matters on the higher-end of things. Right now, RTECS is definitely trying to serve the freelance and lower-end hourly markets. The salaried and corporate tiers are definitely on our radar, but I'm trying to think of a way to compromise between the two. I've met a fair share of HR departments who don't know the difference between a Lighting Designer and a Lighting Programmer- and that's an HR department for one of the world's leading Entertainment brands. That kind of misunderstanding should somehow be clarified, and the problem nullified.

    How would you bridge the gap, since you brought up such a good point (if you don't mind saying so, that is)? How would you propose handling HR departments who hire for technical jobs without knowing the in-depth technical criteria? Their misunderstanding leads to poor hiring choices, thousands wasted, and hours burned. I am a first-hand witness to such incidents. Do you think a hiring standard for techs at that salary level would suffice? Maybe testing? A different interview process? Or something maybe I'm missing?
     
  20. GreyWyvern

    GreyWyvern Apollo Staff

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    No, he didn't. I just did a search.
     
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