Future PerspectivesEducation is surely a cornerstone of professionalism, but let's be frank about things here. Every day I get to hear about how drunk my classmates got the night before. I get to see them coming into class in beat-up T-shirts and jeans. I get to hear the griping when the poor scholastic attitude is reflected in the grades. And sadly, as the old saying goes, the guy who graduates the lowest in his class from medical school is still called doctor.
Formal education is nice but professionalism is not the same as education: it's attitude. This was something I learned as a cadet in the United States Air Force Reserve. We had to be "shiny" in not only our outward appearances but in our attitudes [as well]. Even off-duty you are to be an example in your community as an officer in the Air Force. So you could educate the heck right out of a person and make him or her the smartest person in the world, but if you don't foster some of the other virtues, you'll just end up at the same place.
Look at the advertisements at the Virtual Museum of Surveying online [www.surveyhistory.org]. A surveyor was an officer and engineer. Look at the people in a picture of a project from these old ads: the surveyor is the one in clean cloths wearing a tie! I'm not saying we need to wear ties in the field, but after looking through some of the pictures of today's surveyors and seeing my classmates, I think perhaps a haircut and a shave are in order (for starters) if you want to be taken seriously as a professional [and] not just another guy with a diploma.
You are preaching to the choir! Education IS THE KEY. Most surveyors in my market area are competent conscientious professionals that know the value of their work. After all, all great engineering and architectural projects were constructed upon the basis of surveying. However, there are some who are ignorant of the value of their service.
These are those who produce products that are marginal at best and often at a cost that is well below job cost of others within the local surveying community. These few not only damage the image of those who strive to excel but also tend to confuse the clients they serve.
Many small surveying firms in my area offer absolutely no employee benefits. Why? They cannot afford to. Educating the ranks, in my humble opinion, should be our paramount concern. The well-being of our profession is dependent on it.
It is good to see a young educated surveyor "jerk the slack" out of a profession that is losing its professional standing through the actions of those who do not realize the long-term consequences of their business practices.
Jerry O. Peery, PLS