Prepare yourself today for future positions
By Richard Komarniski
Some areas in our industry are experiencing a shortage of skilled aviation maintenance technicians. But, what an opportune time to get into this industry. As new aviation maintenance technicians join the industry, opportunities will unfold for those with more experience to become managers, supervisors, specialists, planners, technologists, purchasing agents, coordinators, and even instructors/trainers. These opportunities will be offered to the best aviation technicians in their respective organizations. The shortage will in fact create significant opportunities requiring the specialized skills and expertise many of us have worked hard to acquire over many years. Start thinking about the areas that interest you and how you need to prepare to step into these new roles.
If you had told me 25 years ago that there would be an opportunity for me to become a professional aviation instructor, I would have laughed. What does maintaining aircraft have to do with being a trainer? Besides, I never liked speaking in public. I became violently ill at my best friend's wedding because I was his best man and I had to present a toast at the reception. It was the worst day of my life. Now, 25 years later, I facilitate classes all over the country for a living. I am always itching to get in front of a group of aviation technicians to be able to impact their day with some new information and thoughts.
There are many opportunities in this industry and becoming an instructor is just one of them. My first supervisor in this industry became an instructor at the local community college and loved every minute in the classroom. He also gave me my first opportunity to provide a specialized sheet metal course on a part-time basis that I really enjoyed. Then as time went on, I started facilitating workshops introducing technicians to the regulations that govern our industry. After that, I thought if I could teach regulations, then I could probably teach anything. I started learning about human factors and maintenance errors and eventually started teaching Human Factors to aviation maintenance personnel. Yes, one thing does lead to another, but not without a lot of personal preparation. For example, I took many public speaking and personal relations classes to gain enough confidence to be able to speak about sheet metal repairs. You need to be willing to seek out additional training courses and practice. And seek out constructive criticism as you look to move into the areas that are opening up to you, including being an instructor. It will not fall in your lap. If you make the effort and prepare yourself today for the opportunity, you will be ready when the time comes. This not only applies to being an instructor but to the other fields in this industry that require your strong aviation maintenance expertise. With long-range goals, you can start preparing yourself today for what you want or think you would like to do in five, 10, or 15 years from now. But, a lot of planning for your future starts with being the best technician you can be and always studying, taking classes, and learning everything possible that can enhance your career. Always striving to improve yourself today will make you available and promotable for other opportunities in this industry. "The harder you work, the luckier you will become." Embracing the change and opportunities within our industry with a positive attitude and outlook means this industry will never be boring to you and you will never be underpaid for your efforts. Attitude is everything.