It has been mentioned many times that the average age of the Field Service Engineer (FSE) in the imaging world is getting older. That has some major implications within the imaging community. While the manufacturers will continue to grab a mass of individuals and process them through the in-house training they have, everyone that works within the field of imaging knows that it is a mixed bag of results. Some turn out to be outstanding and some seem to do just enough to keep employment.
The result seems to be that a lot of the outstanding individuals, though not all, tend to eventually leave the big manufacturer to either go with an Independent Service Organization (ISO) or an in-house team. But even the manufacturers are struggling a bit. It is a buzz that certain areas are hard to keep an FSE of any worth servicing them. These are typically very remote or very urban areas.
So a number of FSEs are taking a look to see what is out there as an option to their current employment. This is a normal market reaction. FSEs are growing harder to come by so the value tends to increase. Most people can gain a significant increase in income only by switching companies. But is that what it is all about?
It is easy to look at another job and think that the grass is greener there than it is in your pasture. Truthfully it might be. There are, however, a number of things to consider before you jump for a few extra dollars. Some are obvious, some are not.
The obvious ones would be things like benefits. Are they comparable? What is the net gain or loss? Is the commute the same, are you getting a company car, are you losing a company car, as well as phone and other company perks including discounts. These are easy to find out about and calculate your monetary bottom line.
The less obvious. Will you love the new job in a year, or will you believe working fast food would have been a better career move? There are more ways to mitigate the risk that is faced when considering a new opportunity. This is one of many areas that the ICE community can be helpful.
Who is the radiologist or radiologist group that will be involved if you are looking at an in house position? Are they professional and understand that equipment needs service, or are they the radiologist that everyone dreads? How competent are the rad techs? What is the culture really like? Are people happy to be at work there? Have you talked to others in the industry? Have you talked to the ISO sales or service individuals who have worked with that hospital? What about the parts providers? Who have you developed relationships with inside the industry? What can they tell you about the position? What about the tech schools that you have attended? Who do you know there that may know the imaging team already?
Finally, if you don’t have a network of people you know in the industry, you should be building one. Attending ICE and talking to everyone you see is a great start. There will be a lot of nice people there. It is a very small industry and most people know a guy or know a guy that knows a guy. Remember, the employer may have already asked questions of that same network. And finally, while it is healthy to keep an eye on what is available out there, sometimes the grass is greenest in the field you are already in.