Once upon a time, I worked in facilities management. Later on, I became a mom. And it strikes me, often in the wee hours of the morning, how the two are not so dissimilar. Well, there are the obvious differences. Before, I used to have a much larger operating budget and a multi-building portfolio to manage. I battled a finicky CRAC unit, moving 50 people and submitting financial reports in one afternoon. There were buildouts and chiller replacements and constantly dreaming up ways to get people to take the fire drills seriously. But when my toddler is having a meltdown, it doesn't feel remarkably different from placating a certain COO who demanded an ever-present Diet Coke in the vending machine. Or when the basement floods when we have a house full of guests, the baby's molars are coming in and he's not sleeping at night, the bathroom drain clogs and I finally get the quote back for the work needed on the roof, it really doesn't feel remarkably different at all.This is all a bit tongue in cheek, of course. But in my latest round of marveling at the similarities it struck me that while parenting is still -- through biological necessity and the pervasiveness of eons of social structures -- largely a woman's job, facilities management is largely dominated by men, though women are well represented throughout. I wondered if seeing the similarities between my former and current lives would only be shared by other facilities professionals who are also moms or if dads would also have a similar reaction. And would being in facilities management make the men in the field more sensitive to the varied, unpredictable and urgent challenges of parenting and in turn make them better parents? (Not saying you’re not stellar to begin with.) Or if perhaps it works more in the other direction: parenthood making FMs better FMs, regardless of gender. What do you think?
I have found it to also be true that whether the properties be commercial or residental it is very much like running a home. I have had my share of spoiled children to deal with whether they be two or 62 and the owner of a company. Once an arbitrator told me that the other party look at me as a parent figure. So, I would agree with you parenting and facilities management are a lot alike.
Spoiled occupants is right, Barbee. We pretty well kept our kids straightened out at my house, however my occupants/customers behavior is not subject to my fatherly recommendations. When I make 'strong recommendations' regarding my occupants demands, my boss usually straightens ME out!! (Life is not fair)
Oh yes, the joys of FM/motherhood. I many times a week feel like the "Mommy" here at my Company! I clean up after my employees (just like my kids), I make sure they are not to hot or not to cold (hmmm). I listen to complaint after complaint and feel like I am babysitting 200 + children. i have heard it all!
However, the rewards are multiple just like Parenthood. I have a absolutely beautiful facility and people are so happy to work here. When things run smooth I throughly enjoy my job. I can be proud that we all have a "happy home" if you will!
Aaah, the similarties. And I realized it immediately as I was a parent before coming into this position!
Thanks for your responses everyone. I knew it couldn't just be me!
I gotta say, this is a very interesting post. Anyone that owns a home knows all about facility management. The difference is comercial management is on a grander scale than residential. I do think, like you, a good facility manager would make a better parent and vise versa. It's all about character traits, I'm not sure why this information is relevant since personal information in interviews is not legal to ask, but I do like the fact that you made a correlation. I'd say, a person, regardless of gender willing to take on the responsibility of managing the home should be able to manage commercial property, but this person would take 10 to 20 times longer to gain the experince they would gain in a commercial property. I hope this is along the lines of what you were looking for in a response.
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