Most undervalued job

What do you think is the most under valued job on a FIRST team? When you think of important jobs, what one do you place low on the list, and then reconsider? Why?

I’m not opting for a discussion over why <insert job here> is better then <Insert other job here> I would seriously like to know what people think is the most undervalued job on their team. Whether it be the scouts, the animators, the builders, etc. What job do you think of as important only after you look at the grand scheme of things?

Also, what job do you think of being skipped on smaller teams because of this? My team, 973, has 11 students. We double up on the jobs. The programmer is also the mascot, one of the scouts also the animator, etc. What can you tell a rookie team looking at this thread, what jobs should they make sure to include in their roster?

The people who cleam up the workspace. I hate cleaning in a dirty workspace, it is hard to find tools and hard to find a clean surface to work on. Even just for the off season, I worship whoever cleans the robotics room.


For a rookie team they should never underestimate the power of scouting. From what I have seen the majority of rookie and some 2nd year teams neglect this. Good scouting information and an average robot will beat an outstanding robot with no scouting data 95% of the time.

Doubling up on jobs is a great idea. What you do during the actual build phase does not have to be what you do at the competitions. It helps to round out the team members experiences.

I agree completely…

Sometimes, having someone to keep tools and materials organized during build season is really useful. You can waste an incredible amount of time looking for tools while working on the robot. If everyone working on the robot puts tools back immediately after using them, you probably don’t need a “tool master” role on your team. If your team isn’t that disciplined, having a person who’s willing to put tools in their proper place after they’ve been used can improve the team’s efficiency. It’s not a glamorous job, but possibly a really valuable one.

From past 5 years experience, it is the battery person. Not done right it will kill you. done right you will do well but nobody notices.

Wow, yes! I didn’t think about it that way. Battery person and scouting seem to be the most undervalued on our team.

The least appreciative job on any FIRST team may be Scouting due to the lack of trust that the information could be wrong.

The most appreciative job on any FIRST team may be battery changer. Without a fresh battery no robot would move thanks to those battery changers.

On our team, during build/the year at large, it’s PR/Business.

During competition season, it’s the battery charger and the person who cleans up/puts away tools.

Scouting is abnormally appreciated on our team. We know it’s won a few regionals for us, so we value it.

On my team the most undervauled job would have to be (non-mechanically) the animation team. This yaer we won our first Visualization award ever, But otherwise we arent as vauled as the people who work on the robot.

I here you bro. The first year our team did animation i was the only one who wanted to do it. I almost got myself kicked off the team (we had a different team cordinator back then) Now most of the mechanical people think we waste time.

Another undervauled job is the Spirit team and the Promotions team. Our mechanical gurus were talking on the way home “Im so glad our spirit team didnt come up with something stupid to wear, I wouldnt wear it” I tried to convince them that teams who do crazy stuff like that have a whole lot of fun. but no one wants to do it. So i barrow other teams crazy things to wear and have fun with it.

Same people think its all about the robot and durring the off season make designs and stuff for next years robot. None of them ever look to community service or other stuff like that. And why is everyone afraid of giving presentations?

Most of this is just personal stuff with my team

Safety Captain - My team would keep passing the job along and then when it reaches this one sophomore, he just tosses the button, this pissed me off how uncaring they were about it

Strategist - We consider it important, it’s just the way our strategist gets treated on our team, well just the “boys” are mean to him which was truely unfair because he’s just as important to the drive crew as the drivers, even the human player

Keeping the pit area clean - between matches and stratgizing, I would end up cleaning a majority of the pit, except when our coach gets to the pit first and then he starts cleaning it, this annoys me because we this sophomore that’s there all the time and the only reason he wants to be there is to lay under the table and play his gameboy, bugged me evn more when he used the laptop cases as pillows, with the laptops still in them

Battery Changing - Drive crew had to keep taking care of it

Mascot - at the Colorado Regional, nobody wanted to do it which dissappointed me because our cheering section was like 5 people,

Drive Crew - now this is personal, it’s because how practice day went for us, I told the drive crew to get sleep and eat healthy, unfortnately we had a bad practice day because nobody on the drive crew took care of themselves, except I tried to. I couldn’t sleep at all because I was stuck with on of the parents and her snoring was loud, raspy, and annoying(I even went into the hall and still heard it-it’s true, the media captain can vouch), so for practice day I go a half hour sleep(I didn’t sleep the night before either because I had to finish some stuff before I went on the Atlanta trip). Our strategist was being harassed by the chassis driver, human element, captain, and extra person, so our strategist never got any sleep(This also pretty much says the human element and Chassis driver was awake all night as well). We get to practice, we concentrate, we can score, and we were all stressed out and over reacting to things. Luckily drive crew stepped it up and our assistant coach gave me and the media captain our room like it should have orginally been(Finally, sleep, I crashed and skipped swimming with the team).

Media Crew - They just don’t get it, simply that.

It greatly irritated me(plus the 13 other people on the team, well plus the parents, and the coaches) at championships how this sophomore on our team just laid in our pit area to play his game boy and we would tell him to go away if he wants to do nothing and get in the way and he starts complaining how he can’t play his gameboy in the pit area(yeah, especially when we had to fix the arm-well improve the strength and speed of it-and a couple of our team members tripped over his legs and cut themselves because he was lying underneath the table, he didn’t even say sorry, he even yelled us to watch where we’re going and wanted us to say sorry for stepping on his legs and distrubing his video gaming)

I guess, it’s just that it didn’t matter how improtant a person’s job was on the team, it was that the job was taken for granted and that really dissappointed me.

the team’s advisory
you can’t imagine the stuff they have to do most of them put in so much time
and sleep
even on are team’s that are both student lead and run
the team’s advisory still has to do so much just to give the right first experience
we love you guys

Animation Team- They’re the bud of all of our jokes, yet they finished on time (unlike our build team).

Opeartaions-If someones gone, people wonder why they;re not there. When they show, people give no gratitude.
(Operations is a team division for people who don’t built the robot , yet assist in all other duties like Field Construction and Clean Up.)

Mascot-People don’t realize how hot these outfits get!

Chairmans-People think that building a robot is all that matters…

Public Relations- Many people thaink that money grows on trees, yet I beg to differ.

Website Team-Do these people even need to show up? They add pics to the web…WOW!(sarcasm)

We didn’t always have a battery person, we just had a few scattered chargers and batteries. We never knew how long they had charged or if they had any problems, which meant that we would often go into a match with an undercharged or damaged battery. The problems this caused became especially clear last year, when low battery made it impossible for our robot to climb the 30 degree incline on the ramp. We realized the problems it caused at our regional, and before we went to last year’s championship we had one of our members create a charging system with charging sheets and number batteries to track it. In this process, our “battery man” discovered that we had several faulty batteries, which we labeled accordingly and replaced. This year, our system progressed to the point where our battery man effectively managed our energy at the UTC Connecticut regional and the Championship Event… and he even helped out our alliance partners. We worship our battery man, so that’s definitely not an undervalued role on 1124.

As for the people who have undervalued scouters on their teams, we also do not have that problem. Again, last year, our scouting was at a deficit. We didn’t realize what we were missing until we met with our alliance partners for the elimination rounds and saw the kinds of incredibly valuable information we had been missing out on. That’s when we tried to find a better (aka existant) system of scouting. We tried a new one out at the Championship Event last year, but nothing really fell into place until Bash @ the Beach this year. Between the off-season events and the scrimmage, our team had a scouting team break off and develop a system for scouting other teams. By the regional this year, our scouting captain had things mostly under control. At both the regional and the Championship, the other coach and I were indebted to our scouters for providing us with information that allowed us to create winning strategies to complement our robot.

Our team also values the positions typically thought of as key roles, such as the drive team, strategists, and programmers (though the programmers are often the subject of jokes… but it’s all in good fun).

I’d have to say that there are several undervalued roles on our team, including spirit, community relations, and organization.

From personal experience, I would have to say that spirit makes a huge difference in the dynamics of a team. Not only does it get the team noticed, but it adds to the excitement and energy of a team. Being down on the field and seeing your team sitting there with long faces doesn’t get you pumped up. Hearing them cheering for you and supporting you through good and bad, on the other hand, can provide a little extra push and makes things more fun for everyone. Our team is very reserved, and has many inhibitions about being loud. They think they’re embarrassing themselves, but they don’t realize how much fun they’re missing out on. I usually end up as the only one screaming my lungs out and clapping until my hands are numb, when I get the chance to sit in the stands, anyway.

Our community relations are also something I feel is undervalued. We don’t have a set way of communicating with the our community, including our school, our sponsors, and finding ways to get information around. Also, I want to get more involved in our community with younger students in the school system because I think that the public schools don’t do a very good job of teaching appreciation for the math and sciences. I want to show kids how much fun technology it can be and explain some of its applications, but whereas I’ve done some things on my own time, the team generally is “too busy” to bring the robot on tour to the elementary schools or something of the sort. Now that the main season is over, I really hope that we can work on this point.

And finally… organizational skills. As people have mentioned with the organization of tools, I think it’s ridiculous when it takes our team half an hour to find the tool to fix something when the fix will only take five minutes. It’s a waste of our valuable time during our six-week build season and during our competitions, and it’s just a bad habit to get into in general. Good organizational skills with tools and parts can make of a world of a difference with a team. For our team especially, packing is a major issue. People throw parts into boxes without really noticing if they’ll be useful or where they ended up. We thought we had overpacked for the Championship in 2006, when we had eleven plastic and cardboard boxes in addition to our crate… this year we had fifteen, plus an overweight crate. Getting back is even worse. Though I acknowledge that we were out on the field until the last match at both of our competitions this year, it’s beyond ridiculous that we’ve gotten ushered out of the pits as the last people there on a repeated basis. They had the field completely disassembled and carried out at the UTC Regional (both in 2006 and 2007) by the time we had finished packing. And at the Championship yesterday we didn’t make it to the party until 9 pm because packing became such an ordeal. So again, organization is definitely one of the more undervalued aspects of my team.

Anyway, that’s my insight into how jobs go on the ÜberBots. (Other ÜberBots may feel free to disagree with me, as long as they explain why.)

I would have to say the human player was the least recognized. The human player can very well be one of the most important roles on the drive team because without him, you wouldn’t get tubes so easily. Because the common perception on my team is that anybody could have done it our human player didn’t get much recognition but getting the tubes onto the feild in the right spot can save tons of time and be that little thing that wins the match.

This year, I was the strategist. On my team, I got enough recognition to satisfy but I dont think people understand how important the strategist is. Good strategies are what win championships and I would say that the strategist has the most stressfull job. While the drivers may only have 2 minutes of stress every 10 minutes, the strategist has to work in-between matches with alliance members to create the best possible strategy. Then a match comes and the second it’s over, you start again.
The only times I had any rest during the Portland and Sacramento regionals was during lunch and after all our matches were done. It’s not as easy as you’d think.

As for the Safety Person, our safety person had alot of recognition. She was by far the most spirited person on our team and was constantly walking through the pits saying “Arr, dont forget your safety glasses, mateys!” For Friday, she made thank-you posters for all the volenteers and they awarded her “Safety Person of the Day” She was mentioned in an article about us in our local newspaper. She was probably given more recognition than any other member on our team.:smiley:

There’s a few that really should be made more important than is often the case:

  1. Battery Guy (or Battery Girl, as appropriate), for reasons already mentioned.

  2. Media rep. Three robots since, I’d kill for any videos or pictures of my rookie year robot.

  3. Marketing, in nearly any sense of the word. (A subset of this would be any degree of graphic design. Just applying a little bit of aesthetic design work to your signs, shirts, and robot can make a world of difference. I think we can all agree that this looks much better than this–and that took about an hour and a half and $16.25 at USC’s computer lab.)

  4. The role dubbed by the kids when I was on 1293 “Rules Nazi”. I think the politically correct phrase is Compliance Officer, but that’s more syllables. Having one guy who internalizes the whole manual and makes sure the robot is within the rules (even if it means irritating the rest of the team to the brink of insanity) is a lovely thing come inspection time.

Two of the most under-appreciated jobs at competitions are scouting captains and scouting team members. You never know how successful your team will be at a competition, and need to be prepared to select from a large list of teams, depending upon the event you’re at. If you get seated at the top, you truly need to know who the best teams are that complement your style of gameplay, and who consistently perform well at the given tasks.

Often times, the scouting crew’s work is never used (due to the inability to pick), so their hard work often times goes to naught, making them incredibly under-appreciated. This year, we started off 5-0 on Friday night in Newton, and had a three-hour scouting meeting in one of our hotel rooms. Due to a motor burn-out in the first of two near-consecutive rounds, we lost both rounds, ending at 5-2, and were unable to select alliance partners. In fact, we didn’t get picked, so all of their work was un-usable.

On the positive side, I believe a lot of our students learned to truly appreciate the benefits of a good scouting team when we saw the alliance captains choose some very surprising picks.

IMHO from our team the least appreciated jobs are the programming(the first thing blamed for anything both being serious and sarcastic)
Then there is the Animation team which catches a lot of flak for wasting time(ok so they did this year but before then it wasn’t their fault)
Chairmans gets neglected a lot, usually someone is sent into the corner and told not to come out until they have something to show.
In general cleaning is ignored on the team because whenever someone is seen not doing something they are then told to clean so they start to hate the job because they never get to help the fun part(making the mess)

These are all my observations from what happens on my team and something I would advise rookies to watch out for. Also my advice to rookie teams would be to make sure that no matter what someone is always doing something. Having dedicated members is great but don’t forget about the rest of them that want to learn and help too.

I definitely think the compliance officer is the most undervalued job on a first team, especially new teams. There are so many small rules that a lot of rookie and some veteran teams forget about and when they get to competition they have to spend valuable practice time or even match time fixing these problems. It requires that some times the whole team gets mad at you but it is always better to have to redesign to fit the rules at your shop then when the inspector makes you at competition.

Another job I noticed that I don’t think has a title on many teams but I think is really important is a Quality Control person. A member of the team that periodically makes sures that all parts of the robot are being built to the correct specs. Even if the robot is not fully designed if two different subgroups are using different specs it causes a big problem later.

I definately agree. When the average FIRSTer thinks of a drive team, they mention the two drivers and the mentor, often overlooking the human player as an insignificant role in the grand scheme of things. Human player is definately one of the more undervalued jobs on a team…