I’ve been following the threads that have to do with some of the changes that are in store for the upcoming 2010 FRC competition season. In my opinion, there is a lot of sarcasm, complaining, and negativity being voiced, often by mentors. Is all of it a necessary or needed contribution to the discussions?
Since some of my posts can be read that way, I’ll take the time here to respond.
I’m a mentor. I work a full time job, and due to cutbacks etc. I end up working more than 40 hours a week. I commute for hours back and forth in the localized hell called South Eastern Pennsylvania, where 4 million people travel each day on roads dating back to William Penn. I teach at a local university. I teach a beginning Mentor class for VEX. I’m the Chief Roboteer for the Downingtown Area Robotics VEX team(s) (currently 40+ kids). I’m an FRC mentor (project management and electronics). I’m on the D-A-R steering team. So I’m busy, I have a lot going on, I have a lot of balls in the air. I spend about 4 nights a week with robot stuff off season, during January and February even the cat doesn’t remember me. I also spend a tidy sum of my companies money on robots as a sponsor and somehow I spend money out of my own pocket.
So I don’t have time for gratuitous BS. I don’t have time for people that have hard dead lines to meet and miss them. I don’t have time to listen to spin about how someone is making my life better when they are not. I don’t have time to get involved in petty internal politics. I have stuff to do, places to be, projects (like building robots) to make happen, roboteers to inspire.
You have a problem and want help, just ask. Don’t whine about it being hard, if it was easy, they wouldn’t have asked you to do it.
I went back and looked at my last three “cranky” posts.
VRC/FRC debacle from a year ago - I felt I was being snowed and manipulated. It was an internal politic issue that drove the change and there was an attempt to sell it as “better”. I’m not an outliers on this view, I’m in pretty stellar company when I look at posts around mine.
Lack of hard dates for events. I was surprised and still am at not having dates locked in 8 months out. I have friends in the A/V business, they tell me that most large venues know 18 months out whats booked. Yes there are holes and yes they would love to toss you out if you are doing a discounted rate for someone thats paying full rates. But the times are tough for them and they are getting more and more canceled dates than closed dates. I called three University arenas in the area, five day dates (remember setup / teardown) with a weekend are in short supply, start booking now for 2012.
Cost of the KoP. I understand all the issues, etc around the KoP. (It’s not $5000 worth of parts, things are donated, availability, etc.) So say all that up front. Tell the story, tell the back story, tell me whats going on. Don’t show up and go “cheaper for you”. May be for some, won’t be for others. Will be a problem for us since our primary sponsor pays for “the registration” and now I need another $1500 to keep my demo robots (that we use all the time to fund raise) alive. I don’t appreciate the spin.
Bottom line - I have a ton of time, money and effort into FIRST because I believe in it. But as a mentor I want to be treated like a partner, not some high school student. I get the big picture, feel free to color in some of the important details of your choices. The farther in advance that I know about the change the better choices I can make for me and my teams.
We all need to keep GP in mind, especially in these times of change and trouble.
Saying that something isn’t true is not being anti-GP. Not responding to the more outlandish items is just as bad. This is a real hot button for me. Any time anyone takes FIRST to task about what they are doing there is a post about “well you’re not being GP”. Remember, FIRST is a business, would you put up with some of these items from your vendor of choice? Would you expect your vendor to treat you this way?
I don’t have a lot of posts. I do have a reasonable amount of reputation points compared to the small number of posts. And I’m willing to put them up at this time, these issues are important, especially in these times. Trying to cover them up under the blanket of GP is disingenuous.