Professional Development: FM–The Oldest Profession?
FM transcends this good and bad. While sustainability is a more western notion, fms are tasked with balancing what is good for their companies with what is good for the environment. They are often the ones who bring the idea of sustainability to bear in their companies, teach employees how and what to recycle, and reduce the electricity consumption with retrofitting fixtures or decommissioning older, inefficient equipment. Fms may bethe modern day cowboys of the built environment; working as many hours as it takes to get the job done, while maintaining a reverence for their environment and being polite to everyone they encounter.Some fms wait all their lives for their dream jobs. Recent openings at the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium and at Skywalker Properties for Lucasfilm probably had their fair share of applicants. For an Ohio State Buckeye or a Texas Longhorn, an opportunity in FM at their alma mater might be the last position they ever take. Some fms may do great work—just in a tough location. There were probably not a lot of applicants for the opening at the Coliseum in Rome after the previous fm was eaten by lions. The fm at a prison probably has a hard time pleasing building occupants. While some may say another profession is the oldest, there always had to be someone to turn on the red light. Many fms are constantly on the go. One can imagine that the fm for the Great Wall of China was a busy man. At over 4,000 miles, it probably took him a year to get from one end to the other. The fm on the Titantic was probably called too late after the accident but still expected to right the ship. Like a good fm, he probably told the captain something optimistic and never admitted defeat. The conductor on the OrientExpress probably doubled as the fm, always having to stock up chalk for outlining bodies. Where will the future take FM? One may speculate that it will be out of the boiler room and into the corner office. Fms may have come of age when they are mentioned by title in national radio ads. More colleges and universities are offering courses and degrees in FM. The NASA Web site mentions “FM folks” as part of the preparation for NASA’s Constellation Program Lunar Surface Systems Office. While FM may not be as noble as being a teacher or doctor, where would these noble professionals be without an fm to maintain the roofs over their heads? One aspect of FM is that it is often the last functional position at any company. When businesses close down or move, fms are the ones who shut down the empty buildings. They get the unenviable task of clearing out personal belonging for employees who are long gone. When that final day comes, they are the ones who lock the doors one last time. In ten of thousands of years,when some beings are looking at the hieroglyphs that today are called English, Japanese, or German, they might find the term “facility manager.” While those beings may not be able to decipher its true meaning, odds are there will be someone managing their facilities (or spacecrafts or whatever) who can imagine what today’s fms went through. And while FM may not be the oldest profession, it will probably be the last profession. Carpenter has worked in FM since 1995. He is currently working on his Masters Degree at Texas State University, but he will eagerly make time to answer questions from readers, despite his hectic schedule.
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