By John Garrett
Everyone is looking for the most value for every dollar spent. This is not unique to the imaging industry. As the world becomes more and more of a global economy, it will only become more prevalent. So, how do you make yourself more valuable? How do you make every dollar spent on your pay and benefits become a better investment for your employer?
This is really about being relevant and making sure that your employer knows that you are relevant and a better dollar spent than any alternative. There are a number of the ideas that apply across industry and job description, and some specific to the Field Service Engineer (FSE).
First, get enough sleep. Being well rested will make you more able to think clearly and deal with whatever is thrown at you. Seems obvious when it is written down. However, a quick look at your favorite Internet search engine will show you that most people get only six to seven hours of sleep a night. Seven is typically the minimum recommendation. That also assumes you are getting restful sleep. That same search engine will also inform you that there are a number of health issues related to lack of sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to cognitive impairment. In layman’s terms, that is unclear or diminished thought. The inability to think clearly or at maximum capacity. Anyone that has changed a CT tube will tell you that it can be a physical job. But the troubleshooting that got you to the tube as the issue was driven by clear thought.
When you arrive at work, be ready to work. Sure it is nice to have a cup of coffee and chat with others in the shop or department, but when you go “on the clock” be ready to actually get some work done. Once again, it may seem obvious when it is written down. However, everyone has seen someone (or been that someone) who has gotten to work and had a call that they put off until they had a cup of coffee. You can drink your coffee before you get to work, have more after that first call. Be ready to walk in and work. If you can have that coffee before you get at it, look at it as a bonus.
Take care of your health. This connects with sleep, but it is a bit bigger. Eat right, exercise, get check ups and keep stress manageable. This will lead to fewer sick days. It will also assist in allowing you to deal with the days that don’t allow you to get enough sleep or exercise. The day you troubleshoot most of the day, have to courier a part to the hospital, then install and calibrate it will be much easier to deal with. Your body and mind will have the reserves to deal with the challenge. You don’t have to be an extreme athlete, just exercise and eat reasonably.
Read trade magazines and keep up. Know what is available and what is coming. As technology changes more rapidly, this will be critical. A radiologist or hospital administrator needs to know that they can come to you to help them with understanding what is and isn’t important after a talk with a salesman. Do they really need the top of the line general radiation suite with all the options for orthopedics in a remote imaging center?
Finally, understand the national, regional and local goals. It is obvious that these may not all be the same goal set. Each may take a different priority. Yet, being engaged and having a good grasp of the big picture will help you make the immediate decisions on parts, downtime and overall spending.
You will notice, none of this is technical. Because technology changes, what works today in troubleshooting and repair may not work tomorrow. The physical tools and practices may change as the government looks at changes to laws and policies. But making yourself valuable and being flexible and adaptable will bring you both financial success and personal satisfaction in a job well done.