Resolutions You Can't Break

January 6, 2013

We always joke about it, and we're often guilty ourselves: Make a resolution or two the evening of Dec. 31 and by Jan. 3 you've already broken it. The usual resolutions about eating better, exercising and losing weight come and go, but how about a resolution you can keep? Your personal well-being is important, but here are some resolutions I know you can fulfill.

Chriss Scherer

Take a class. In our annual salary survey, a common response to the question "What would you do to improve your job?" relates to education and training. Many engineers say their employers won't provide or pay for classes or training in technology. I'm sure this is true in some cases, but it's also possible the training could be covered, but the question is never asked.

And if the classes aren't covered, why not take the class on your own? There are many outlets offering education for career advancement, including the SBE, community colleges and technical training centers. Find one that fits your needs and register.

Don't have the time to take a class? Make the time. We're all busy, but chances are you can carve some time somewhere and take the class.

And don't limit yourself to IT or broadcast-related technology. Learn a foreign language. Take a class in photography. Take a class in sales or management. Just take a class. Education is always worth it.

Protect your hearing. I'm fortunate that my hearing is still very good. I haven't always taken the best care of my ears. I've been to loud concerts. (Are there any quiet concerts?) I've worked around loud blowers. I play in several bands. In the last few years I have stepped up my efforts to protect my hearing going forward.

I've worn the foam earplugs to concerts for many years. I don't like how they affect the sound, but I would rather listen to a muffled band and protect myself than enjoy 90 minutes of music a few times. I have thought about getting custom ear plugs with a flatter response curve to reduce the entire spectrum evenly instead of just killing the highs and slightly reducing the lows. Custom-molded plugs are not cheap, but they last a long time. If you're serious about your hearing, look into a custom set. I often see exhibitors at the AES convention offering free molds, which reduces the cost.

I recently found a less-expensive alternative. I bought a pair of EP3 plugs from a company called Surefire. These tout a more linear reduction across the band. They also say they don't affect sound below 85dB, but kick in above that level. I keep a pair in my saxophone case now, because I always sit in front of the trumpets or trombones. They're not as linear as a custom set, but they are better than the foam plugs. I have also seen plugs from Earasers, but I have not tried them yet.

At least wear the foam plugs when you can. Keep your hearing as long as you can.

Be seen. Too often, a station engineer hides out in the shop or at the transmitter site. Returning to our salary survey, some responses said the engineer doesn't get the respect he deserves. There are many reason why this could be, but one reason should not be because the engineer isn't part of the station team.

Walk through the station every day. Know all your coworkers, and know how what you do affects them. When possible, help them understand what they do also affects you.

Here's to a successful 2013.

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