CAUT

Topic: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

1.  Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 6 days ago
Hi gang!

I'm looking at applying for a promotion here and looking at rewriting my job description to prove that I do more, both quantitatively and qualitatively, so I can convince the administration that I qualify for the next level of job category.  Anyone have any experience doing this? I'm trying to show that either I supervise other staff (nope, although I do sometimes have interns and work study students), or I do work of a highly technical nature.  Basically, I'm not just the piano tuner who is told what to do.  Any sample job descriptions out there I could take a look at?

Thanks in advance,
Zeno

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Zeno Wood
Brooklyn, NY
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2.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 6 days ago
I would look to utilize the framework of the CAUT Guidelines? Also, see if a supervisor from another department like Building Maintenance can provide you with a template or sample to flesh out your criteria.  Hope this helps.

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Garret Traylor
Trinity NC
336-887-4266
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3.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
I have a good one Zeno. Lots of verbage about "managing" and "overseeing", etc. I have dicussed this with my director but to no avail in getting my job TITLE changed to Manager of Keyboard Sevices--or anything else that would put me in a different "job tier" --BUT I haven't pushed. Anyway, I can look it up and post it soon but SLAMMED today. Sorry...

------------------------------
[Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
[Staff Techician]
[Texas Tech Univ]
[Lubbock] [TX]
[8067783962]
------------------------------



4.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
Hey Zeno,

Changing a position title is a good step.  I'm Director of Piano Services where at UNL, I was just Piano Technician.  This job put me in a different catagory plus I oversee an assistant tech.

Best of Luck,
Paul

------------------------------
Paul T. Williams RPT
Director of Piano Services
School of Music
813 Assembly St
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
pwilliams@mozart.sc.edu
------------------------------



5.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
Zeno
I started writing something last night but will try again this evening.  Main issue is, as a government controlled entity CUNY, who makes this decision and how is the position classified.  If it is defined in terms of hours per week and weeks pretty year, there should be a stipulation for overtime or comp time.  If that were to become excessive, in the course of effectively fulfilling your responsibilities, they might decide to bump you up to an administrative level, which would not be subject to those same rules.  In this situation,I doubt that the guidelines or any job description one of us might provide would make much difference.  That said, talk to Andy Saderman.  Need the closest 'comp' you've got.

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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6.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
I know Eric Wolfley was successful in changing his job description, but it did involve overseeing employees. Paul Williams' job at USC was redefined due to the efforts of Jeff Tanner (though I think the changes happened after Jeff left).

One problem with pursuing an administrative title is the possibility they might want to make it "exempt" (from the National Labor Standard's Act), in which case your hours are not defined, but you are expected to spend as many hours as needed (no overtime). That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending whom you are working for/under/with. There are pluses and minuses either way. 

I wonder how much your particular position is tied to NY state system (I am assuming you are part of one of the NYS systems), and whether there are already different categories in play, so that you could make the argument for changing from the one you are under to another available description. (For me, as the one and only person with that job description in the state of NM, it is potentially more flexible).

------------------------------
Fred Sturm
University of New Mexico
fssturm@unm.edu
http://fredsturm.net
http://www.artoftuning.com
"We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
------------------------------



7.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
Thanks everyone who has responded here, and also to those who have sent me info via email. My title is Piano Technician, and I'm seeing if I can change that to something more executive-ish sounding, but the push here is to go from the job classification of College Lab Technician to Chief College Lab Technician, which involves supervising assistants or other personnel, and/or performance of highly specialized work requiring significant technical expertise etc.  I would say that the job meets the second part of the definition, but they sometimes interpret it to mean only the first part, i.e., supervision.  We'll see, wish me luck!

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Zeno Wood
Brooklyn, NY
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8.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
Yes! I am particularly passionate about this, but not so much for me believe it or not--but for the new generation of highly skilled tech that are up & coming. I just don't feel that we (at least I  am being responsible by "giving in decade after decade" to frankly bean counters who look at a list of job classifications (such as level one manager, level 2 manager---blah blah blah---look over at the paperwork when hiring our positions, and within a few moments have concluded that "Piano Technician" fits "HERE" --STAMP!! And that's it. I have been told POINT BLANK the only way to fix it is to resign or attempt to resign by finding another job. I absolutely hate game playing--am happy where I am and will just choose to continue quiet negotiation with my director for the time being. Power to ya Zeno!

Sent from my iPhone





9.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
Zeno -
Some additional thoughts (or maybe the same thoughts... I don't remember):
- If it's only so that you can be called "Chief", I'll do that for free, the next time I see you.
- Otherwise, what is it you're actually looking for?  Is it more $?,  More (any?) assistants?
- Have you been getting regular increases or do you have to work for them?
- How far from the top tier available in this position are you?

Your relationship with your supervisory structure is important, but I suspect, as I previously suggested, that there is very little they can do, unless your boss understands and appreciates what you do and either doesn't think you are easy to replace or is planning to expand the music program.  Needless to say, he/she would have to be a 'player' in the internal politics.  Otherwise, they'll assume that they can get someone starting out at the lower level and do just what you did.  There has to be a reason for them to elevate you, beyond simple gratitude.

Still, good luck

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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10.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
Another side of that coin is that, if a job description is changed, that usually triggers a requirement for posting the job and doing a search. It might be pro forma, but it probably has requirements to meet various EEO and similar laws.

------------------------------
Fred Sturm
University of New Mexico
fssturm@unm.edu
http://fredsturm.net
http://www.artoftuning.com
"We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
------------------------------



11.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Although I have a "fancy" title, I am still restricted to the normal 40 hour work week.  I often work more than that (about double during the SE Piano Festival) but then am awarded comp time.

------------------------------
Paul T. Williams RPT
Director of Piano Services
School of Music
813 Assembly St
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
pwilliams@mozart.sc.edu
------------------------------



12.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Paul -
I'll let Ben Sloane be the 'tweaker' for now, but it's interesting that, as always, we'll circle around all these interlocking issues but never come right out and say "I get paid X".  It's OK, just interesting.  We, of the PTG have been trained for years to NOT discuss fees, for fear of violating regulations.  I doubt that such restrictions apply to salaries, though we continue to observe such proprieties.  Might be interesting to see these numbers side by side, along with a regional cost of living factor.  If significantly disparate, to what might these be attributed?

Anyway, to your comment:
Although I have a "fancy" title, I am still restricted to the normal 40 hour work week.  I often work more than that (about double during the SE Piano Festival) but then am awarded comp time.
Director of Piano Services
School of Music
University of South Carolina


- What is the category of your job?  Where is it in the administrative structure?  To whom (or whoms) do you report?
- Are there other 'Directors' who are clearly on a higher (or lower)  tier?  How many levels of 'director' are there?
- Are you thoroughly familiar with the labor laws pertaining to  public educational institutions in SC?  (Are there any such laws in SC?)
- Does that '40 hours' include a lunch hour (35 actual work hours) or does it mean 9 actual hours?
- Do you have to 'punch-in/out?
- Do you have the flexibility to rearrange your schedule to work more hours on one day if you needed personal time?
- At what rate do you/they calculate 'comp' time?  One to one?  
- How much vacation time/sick days do you get?
- Is your health insurance adequate for you and family?
- Do they contribute to any pension type plan?
- How close to the top end of your current job classification are you?  If and when you reach that, will you be content?

OK.  That should keep your secretary busy for a while.

------------------------------
David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
------------------------------



13.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Paul,
Sounds like your position is "exempt," but they are treating it as 40 hour a week restricted. Is that right? You get comp time, not overtime for the hours in excess of 40 for the week that you put in some weeks? 

------------------------------
Fred Sturm
University of New Mexico
fssturm@unm.edu
http://fredsturm.net
http://www.artoftuning.com
"We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
------------------------------



14.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Fred,  My comp time is not "officially" on record through payroll.  The Dean instructed me to just keep track of it and use it when I wish.  the payroll likes things simple and I'm fine with that.  As far as they know, I only work 40 per week every week. So, after the Southeast Piano Festival where I accumulate massive extra hours, I just spread that out over the rest of the summer and have easier weeks. My title still puts me in a regular staff status.

------------------------------
Paul T. Williams RPT
Director of Piano Services
School of Music
813 Assembly St
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
pwilliams@mozart.sc.edu
------------------------------



15.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
So Paul -
If you have some time (comp time perhaps), it would be interesting to generate some sort of graphic representation of your job, its category, pros and cons of its expectations, overall remuneration, satisfaction (including professional and personal growth vs. stress, etc.  Would you choose to change the category of the job if you could?  Why/why not? 
Without getting unnecessarily specific, how would you compare your situation to the description posted by John Minor for the Ball State position?

Your description suggests a significant level of trust and understanding between you, your Dean, and finance department.  That can change for any number of reasons, so, while much of this may go unrecorded, I would hope you have some written documentation of these understandings, and, by all means, you should maintain very accurate records of your hours, even if they don't require them, at this point.  
One potential problem could emerge where the (growing?) work load can't be supported with the current resources (i.e. your 40 hours +) and you find yourself (perhaps with a different supervisor) scrambling to maintain peace and tranquility.

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
------------------------------



16.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Hello, all,

I also worked with informal “comp” time at CSU Long Beach for several decades. It was always clear that I would need to work more than 40 hours some weeks, and the school flatly refused to pay anyone formal compensatory time through the payroll, which would be declared and then paid at time-and-a-half. My chair and Dean were delighted that I was willing to just switch time for equal time, and I was very content to juggle my hours as needed. (I did always make it clear that I wouldn’t change personal time-off plans to solve someone else’s poor planning, so I had a three-week minimum scheduling time set up. It even worked, sometimes!) I always enjoyed not having a typical 9-5 job, so I might work a Saturday evening concert and take the extra hours off, say, on Tuesday afternoon. I could also accumulate hours for a specific personal project, like summer events or for working the January NAMM show. I carefully tracked the extra hours and showed specifically when I took them “back” for the full 30 years, and not once did anyone ask to see them. I offered, several times, if anyone had a question, so it was a powerful tool just to be very organized. Now that I have left that position, my successor is using the same pattern and techniques. I think it is critical to track your informal comp time hours.

One caveat, though - while my chair and dean were pleased to solve the problem so easily, my financial officer in the Dean’s office actually, physically shuddered! It was a choice between two awful situations for her - I could claim every hour and she would have to make it work in the official structure, or she could just plead with me to not tell her! Technically, if I were off at another task on a Tuesday afternoon when I was on the official clock (taking back those Saturday night hours) and had an accident, if would be a serious nightmare for her position. She just said, “Write down your 40 hours per week, and please don’t tell me otherwise. And be careful!” It is the same for my husband David Vanderlip at Pomona College. He writes down the “official” time but works everything out much as I had been.

The whole situation wasn’t ideal, risk-wise (for them) but I enjoyed the actual work arrangement and really enjoyed the flexibility. Many summers, several of us worked a 4-40 schedule (4 ten-hour days) for the 3-day weekends. I also had a better shop at home than I did at school (thanks to David’s rebuilding work) so early each summer I would take a piano “home” for three weeks or so to rebuild an action, maybe re-string it. It was quite enjoyable to put in school hours at home, although that situation is not likely to work for other schools and situations. In fact, I would no longer recommend it in the legal society we have today - too much risk for too many people, I guess, as far as “what if anything goes wrong”. I expect I was lucky in many ways.

The CSU structure for positions and job titles was very clearly outlined, with 23 campuses, and it offered Piano Technician I and Piano Technician II positions. I was a Piano Technician II from the start, and had numerous small pay raises over the years, as negotiated by a statewide union. I ended with over 3 paid weeks of vacation each year, quite a few holidays, many possibilities for Professional Development (some with a little remuneration, at times) or at least paid time off (not my vacation hours) for things like PTG conventions. I accumulated over a year’s worth of sick leave, which was added to my time worked in the final calculations. I never had any formal assistants or students to supervise, and would never have been able to fulfill the descriptors of the more generalized Technician III position. I think other techs even within the CSU system have found other ways to work with students or assistants, I’m not sure.

I’’m finding it pretty interesting to hear of all the situations that have been created by various schools, private and state, and the many people who fill the positions. I guess for me it was a matter of finding out how the “system” was set up and finding my best potential within that structure. I was professional, kept up my technical skills, and dressed professionally, and I felt the respect of the faculty. Similarly, I’ve also been adept over the years at moving to a new home and making it work comfortably for our family, but I also know people who are braver or more ambitious than that, and are quite eager to start knocking down walls and renovating the house. There seems to be some parallel here. I expect the brave ones are more likely to make permanent changes for the better.

Best to you all,

Kathy




17.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
I might do something like that, but my huge comp. time won't happen until late June.  Anyway, the Dean and I came up with a "plan" on a percentage of my workload;
5% supervises employees. My assistant is on contract and only comes in right before each semester and during breaks, or when I'm in a time pinch.
40% maintenance of the various concert instruments (3 Steinway D's, one Sty B) and practice grands (my assistant handles most of the verticals)
20% maintenance of faculty pianos, mostly piano and voice
15% Oversee coordination and management of piano maintenance, repairs and improvements and inventory
15% Rebuilding/rehab of actions and keyboards and other shop work
5% administrative work,scheduling and assigning work as needed

The job description of Ball State sounds pretty similar. I have 115 pianos 3 harpsichords and 1 forte piano and the pay is similar as well.

I must say that this job is the least stressful job I have ever had. At Univ of NE, the pay was substantially less even after 8 years and the stress level was pretty high.  I had many late evenings and weekends there and here, just a few Saturday or Sunday needs for just a few hours each time.  The only thing I miss is not getting to meet the huge number of world class artists, the best in the world, who performed at the adjoining Lied Center for the Fine and Performing Arts.  Here, we have the Koger Center, but they never bring in huge names and contract out their piano tuning needs. I don't think I've ever had to work past 6pm!

I think my employee level is just about right and couldn't really improve on it.  I keep record of everything in case they ever ask.
Paul

------------------------------
Paul T. Williams RPT
Director of Piano Services
School of Music
813 Assembly St
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
pwilliams@mozart.sc.edu
------------------------------



18.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Thanks Paul - sounds like you're pretty well set.
I imagine it would be a fairly simple task, for someone with the basic skills, to come up with a program whereby you could  record your hours with the category designation as per your breakdown (below), and thus, see if you are falling within that 'plan', or the extent to which some percentage of your time falls into the 'other' realm  (not shown).


5% supervises employees. My assistant is on contract and only comes in right before each semester and during breaks, or when I'm in a time pinch.
40% maintenance of the various concert instruments (3 Steinway D's, one Sty B) and practice grands (my assistant handles most of the verticals)
20% maintenance of faculty pianos, mostly piano and voice
15% Oversee coordination and management of piano maintenance, repairs and improvements and inventory
15% Rebuilding/rehab of actions and keyboards and other shop work
5% administrative work,scheduling and assigning work as needed

------------------------------
David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
------------------------------



19.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Alan McCoy's database template for FileMaker has that ability built in, though you would probably want to tweak it as to categories and whatnot. It is included in a system for tracking costs of all elements of service (labor and parts) for each instrument. Done as you log what you just did.

Let's see, where do I log writing this post to CAUT? :-) You need to add a "professional development" category.

------------------------------
Fred Sturm
University of New Mexico
fssturm@unm.edu
http://fredsturm.net
http://www.artoftuning.com
"We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
------------------------------



20.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Hi Paul, I'm so glad that they have figured out a good way to help compensate you for all those extra hours/time/energy, etc. This is an actual practical example of what I personally believe COULD help certain other techs in similar situations. 
I don't care one little bit about getting a better title for my job. "Manager" of keyboard was my example because it seems to better fit my own situation. 
In my particulater situation, our school of music keeps growing & growing. Thus my work load continues to increase. I am been serving the school since '09. I have been given about 3 raises. One was about .05 cents an hour, another about .45 cents an hour and the other was in between. I am a "one man show" basically. I am not in favor of getting all upset and starting "stuff" or doing anything unprofessional. I just believe there has GOT to be a way that a typical "thriving" music school such as ours can do something. They can do better. I am just going to slowly & diligently make my case with my director as oportunities arise. My goal is simply to push for a "fair raise" comensurste with the situation. So perhap they could get my salary up to someplace in the 45,000 dollar a year range. My 2 cents...

------------------------------
[Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
[Staff Techician]
[Texas Tech Univ]
[Lubbock] [TX]
[8067783962]
------------------------------



21.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Edited by Benjamin Sloane 4 days ago
dIn general the CAUT discussion about social climbing through academia is a combination of disturbing and disgusting. Get tenured in from the get go or start your own business. Starting your own business in piano technology or being a full time performer will always be harder and more ethical than social climbing in private or public colleges. Not to deny a quarter century experience in the schools.

Did it ever occur to you that CAUTs might be the sickest of all of us?   

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201107/field-guide-the-social-climber

It's sad that Steinway in some circles has been reduced to this...

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Benjamin Sloane
Cincinnati OH
513-257-8480
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22.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 5 days ago
I don't have a dog in this fight,retired 4 years ago, but I should point out that the mind-set of your institutions HR director may smooth the way or be an absolute roadblock. 
Back in the 90's I was part of a class action suit brought by many of my universities classified staff employees. Everything from grounds keeper, electricians to Police Officers, Director of the Artist Series. 
The Director of HR actually said, during testimony, that she had had her piano tuned once, she saw how it was done, didn't appear too hard and my position was properly placed. 
Boom. Torpedoed, went down by the bow. 
Hope your HR chief isn't an idiot. 

------------------------------
Paul E. Dempsey, RPT
Piano Technician Senior, Emeritus
Marshall University
dempsey@marshall.edu
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23.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Hi Zeno,

I am in the process of doing just what you are. In my situation, being reclassified as a "Director" is key. But to become a director, one must have some thing to direct (duh, huh?). You mentioned that you do have/have had some interns and/or student assistants. At my school, people are well-accustomed to my many minions. They know that there is always a gaggle's worth of them, that is it a value-added proposition to their (high-priced) arts education, and that several of them are actually paying off their student loans by working as full-time professional piano technicians (many at the highest levels). Not hard for me to argue that all of that adds up to me being a director (i. e., "All that AND a 'bag of chips'"). Bottom line: The Prime Directive of maintaining the pianos--the essential part of the job description--is greatly facilitated by my troops, but I am clearly directing the work of many others, and have been doing so for years, in a very visible way. Hope to take that to the bank some time soon.

I wish us both well in our respective quests to receive not only the CAUTs' "Reward In Heaven", but here on earth as well.

Alan

------------------------------
Alan Eder, RPT
Herb Alpert School of Music
California Institute of the Arts
Valencia, CA
661.904.6483
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24.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Alan -
Unlike Paul and Zeno, you are employed by a private institution, in a state that is likely to secede any time now, but that's a different issue.
The administrative and decision making structure is likely quite different as it gets to policy, as they don't have to ask the state legislature to buy you a new drill press, or a dozen more felt mutes, but I suspect that the institutional motivations are fundamentally the same.  Why should they pay you more, now, for the same type of work you've been doing, unappreciated perhaps, for years?  Gratitude?

I am clearly directing the work of many others, and have been doing so for years, in a very visible way

It seems that there have to be either economic (they value what you could legitimately withhold, or know that you are irreplaceable, and that you've gotten a better offer elsewhere, or some competing institution is upgrading their facility and staff), or legal - as in, they're out of compliance with laws.

Otherwise, maybe you could have your secretary answer (some of) the questions I submitted to Paul.

------------------------------
David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
------------------------------



25.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
Academia, whether public or private, is hierarchical. There are full, assistant and associate professors, lecturers of different levels, and then part to full time slaves (whether grad assistants or adjunct). Each level is associated with "qualifications" and pay range. You submit an application to go up a level, documenting you have presented papers, published articles, published a book, etc. If you get the promotion, you get a pay hike.

Among staff, in most cases there are "career ladders" where clerical staff can move from receptionist in the direction of administrative assistant, custodian to being manager of custodial work, etc. In the case of piano technician, it isn't so clear, unless the school is large enough to have at least two full time positions.

If you are the only one, there should be at least some opportunity to upgrade as your professional skills increase, or perhaps as your responsibilities become greater. I think in most of our cases, we are managers of a piano maintenance program: we plan, create a record keeping structure, do inventory control, etc., etc. That, as opposed to being a lackey employee who does as instructed. Most of us make almost all the decisions as to what will be done and when, and many of us manage a fairly substantial budget. That on top of a high level of complex physical skills, and the knowledge that underlies those skills.

------------------------------
Fred Sturm
University of New Mexico
fssturm@unm.edu
http://fredsturm.net
http://www.artoftuning.com
"We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
------------------------------



26.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 3 days ago
Edited by Benjamin Sloane 3 days ago
There are a lot of problems in defining a hierarchy, or an authority structure, within the schools, that provides the opportunity for promotion in piano technology that is ethical.

The discussion about this within the PTG has ignored some fundamental distinctions that must be made to have this discussion. Because administrators in the schools sometimes get defined as staff, we lose sight of the difference. Administration is an entirely distinct category. Employees in schools are a mixture of Faculty, Staff, and Administrators. The PTG is confused as to what administrators do.

E.g., many schools proffer a PhD in health care administration. Health care administrators in hospitals, whether or not affiliated with a school or not, have nothing to do with training or teaching medical doctors. PTG members, however, when attempting to redefine a position as piano technician in a school, don't understand the difference between a faculty member and an administrator; such a piano technician erroneously will conclude the responsibility of the technician in such a glorified state is to administrate, teach, and train other full time technicians. This is ridiculous. Faculty do not train other faculty to play the piano. Administrators, while sometimes teaching a class or too, primarily take up other responsibilities than teaching. To designate it the responsibility of a technician to train another full-time salaried technician is ridiculous and self-defeating. 

The PTG needs to sharply demarcate between an effort to improve the status of piano technicians in the direction of administration, and in the direction of faculty, to have a rational discussion about the same. The potential for movement in a direction contrary to guild ethics seems far more likely in the direction of administration. We cannot expand the status of piano technicians in the schools by augmenting the authority of one full-time piano technician over another. Precisely the opposite happens. 

Assistantships are an entirely a different thing. An assistantship is not really a job, but a way to pay for school for the most part, and get a higher degree. 

------------------------------
Benjamin Sloane
Cincinnati OH
513-257-8480
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27.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 3 days ago
Hey Ben -
I have a suggestion - entirely well intentioned:  try rewriting your post without framing it in terms of what the PTG believes.  If you are still bitter about your experience at CC, see if you can distill what could be considered 'universal', and set aside those circumstances that might be unique to the personalities that were involved.

Still, this is what your post brings to mind:
How our responsibilities are defined (either by administration or by ourselves), how we fulfill these responsibilities and how the institutional structure chooses to categorize that function within the logic of their hierarchy are all different.   Being the one and only technician, or employing full or part time assistants (either as staff or independent contractors), or developing a training program, the purpose of which is to barter the cost of a student's education to help supplement maintenance support for the piano inventory, or function academically in carrying out original research, with publication, or teach, or perform:  all require somewhat different skill sets - technical, organizational, intellectual and interpersonal.  Our positions have always thwarted easy categorizing.  And who is more deserving of the rewards of recognition?  The one who does all the work themselves, or who supervises a staff, or who functions as and, thus, blends in with the academic milieu? 

And now, how does this job description for Ball State, posted by John Minor, reflect upon our conversation?


------------------------------
David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
------------------------------



28.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Edited by Benjamin Sloane 2 days ago
David,

If I was responsible for defining what should be a universal goal for the PTG and its members it would in fact be universal. But it should be needless to say I am not. My hope, nevertheless, is that our efforts in academia would be to raise the ceiling for all members, not just some members.

Painful as some of my experiences have been with over a half dozen schools in almost a half dozen states, some, working relationships lasting a decade, some, nothing more than an audition, today, I feel liberated. Yesterday, I tuned an Estonia, a Mason & Hamlin AA, and a Shigeru. These are all fantastic pianos, second to none. I cannot tell which is best because every time I sit at one and play I hear something different that it can do that is better.

I can honestly say I was blind and blinded but the aforementioned institution and others, and am grateful to be closer to the truth about pianos. I was living a lie, and the truth is setting me free outside of the Steinway bubble. I would say my career is not the primary source of bitterness in my life. But there is plenty of that to be had, for sure...






------------------------------
Benjamin Sloane
Cincinnati OH
513-257-8480
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29.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
Thanks Ben.  I might have done better in defining what I meant by "universal", but, in any case, I wasn't thinking about the PTG's views or actions with regard to CAUT's. Other than the significant contribution of communication venues such as this list,  I don't believe the PTG can have any direct impact on the dynamics of piano maintenance in academia, generally speaking.  Raising any ceilings is within the purview of the individual institutions, and the individual technicians.  

I'm glad you are able to revel in your liberation.  

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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30.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 2 days ago
David,

In regard to those particular institutions, it is incumbent to consider the edict, "To thine own self be true." 

Plagarism is a dangerous business. For others, it is a modus operandi. I have been liberated to openly declare to all it is not mine. This may be distilled into the spirit of the character Polonius, act 1 scene 3, in Hamlet, as that representing his viciousness, not his virtuousness, from Shakespeare, who Tolstoy despised. 

Perhaps, we must, in the spirit of universality, be true, to all?
 

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Benjamin Sloane
Cincinnati OH
513-257-8480
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31.  RE: Job description, enhanced responsibilities

Posted 4 days ago
David,

I think the powers that be at my institution know I have value well beyond the one-line job description pertaining to piano maintenance. I am pretty sure that my boss, the Dean of the School of Music, would like to keep me around and, if possible, pay me more. (For example, at his suggestion, I am paid separately to do an Independent Study--on any topic--with one student per semester, and to co-produce an annual singer-songwriter recording project.) 

I am currently at the top of my pay grade, and we are in a salary freeze (and have been for quite some time). If, however, I can get reclassified as a director, I could ascend to higher pay grade (tier, range). That reclassification in and of itself would amount to an increase in salary, however incremental it may be (for this "unethical"," social climbing" sinner!).

Regarding some of the other points you raised in your your post to Paul to which you invited me to respond, there was just such a CAUT salary study, conducted and published by the PTG around 25-30 years ago. I used it in a salary negotiation at the time (ah, those were the days!).

Here are my secretary's answers to some of your other questions.

-My work week is (greater than or equal to) 37 1/2 working hours per week during the school year, and 34 hours a week during the summer (at which time we have traditionally been on a four day work week--may it ever be so!). While these hours may be concentrated into a few days each week during the summer months, they are spread out by concert work during much of the school year so as to make swiss cheese out of my weekends. And since I am salaried, as opposed to hourly, I do not punch in and out, and do not have scheduled breaks or a fix lunch time. I eat when I can, and it's usually not a five star dining experience.

-I get one paid sick day per month, and three weeks paid vacation per year.

-My employer pays 80% of my health care premiums.

-My employer contributes towards my retirement.

-Within the context of the logistical demands of my job, I do have flexibility for personal time.


Alan

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Alan Eder, RPT
Herb Alpert School of Music
California Institute of the Arts
Valencia, CA
661.904.6483
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