Forums: Skydiving: Instructors:
Instructors priorities

 


d123  (B 6134)

Apr 6, 2011, 7:18 PM
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Hi everyone,
Just a small question to see how other dropzones are organized in terms of priority between instructors.

For instance at a certain dropzone lets call it XXL-Xtreme-2-cool-for-school-fool the tandems instructors are taken in a certain order, each instructor has a priority (based on the age in rating at DZ or sport or number of jumps, whatever). This means that certain instructors get picked more than the others based on that priority.

How does your or what rules what ways of thinking uses your dropzone sets the priority for:
- Tandems Instructors
- Vidiots
- AFF

The reason I'm asking this is because few friends of mine want to find something that works best for everyone.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Apr 6, 2011, 7:28 PM
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I've always worked under the same system at two different DZs. It goes like this, if there are full-time instructors, who commit to and are available 7 days a week, they get first dibs on work. What that means is that if you're at the DZ, and the full time guy isn't already on a jump, they can take the next thing that walks through the door. It's the bonus for commiting to the DZ, you're kept busy above all others.

That aside, the rest of the staff works on a rotation based on what time you showed up that morning. The first guy in is the first guy on the rotation, and so on. It's up to the DZ to limit the number of instructors in the rotation so everyone stays busy.

If every instructor can stay busy for 75% of the day, that's a good number to shoot for. Fewer instructors means that nobody gets a lunch (or maybe bathroom) break, and if a group of walk-ins shows up, the DZ is in trouble. more instructors than that means too much time to go through the rotation and get guy #1 back up to the top. If you're instructors have an hour of down time between jumps, they're not going to be working there for long.

Generally there's no distinction between AFF, tandem or video. Most guys are multi rated, and it's generally just looked at as 'work jumps'. If everyone has about the same number at the end of the day, that's good enough. Even if, say, video paid more than tandem, and one guy got more videos than the other guy who got more tandems, sure the first guy makes more, but that's just the way it goes. Jumps are assigned based more on who's available, what the jump is, and who would be the best fit.


koppel  (F License)

Apr 7, 2011, 12:05 AM
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One of the few areas that my work place has got spot on is the rotation.

We have between 6-9 full time staff on any given day. There is a wheel of rotation on the wall and the next in line at the end of the day is the first up the next day.

There is also a rotation for Camera to ensure that all get a fair bite of the cherry.

Now lets talk about entitlements such as Superannuation etc for the professional full time working skydiver........



ooops got carried away for a moment. sorry


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Apr 7, 2011, 7:06 AM
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Priority is based on both commitment and tenure at my home DZ.

Full-time staff at top, regular (every weekend) part-time next,"as needed" part-time last.

Within those groups, seniority (tenure) sequences folks.

Our chief instructor schedules staff each week based on the number of student slots we have reserved. Walk-in customers go to the bottom of the queue. Thus, the chief instructor is able to book only as many staff as he needs, which keeps those booked busy. It also means that if not booked... We can fun jump without guilt!


VTmotoMike08  (D 30399)

Apr 8, 2011, 3:30 PM
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Full timers (if there are any) get first dibbs. After that, it is based on who signed up to work for the earliest. So if you commited to work two weeks in advance, you jump before the guy who said he wants to work the day before.


pirana  (D 30661)

Apr 8, 2011, 7:52 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

Should the person working 4 or 5 days per week (regularly scheduled - mostly the same days) be in equal rotation on the days they work as the people there 6 or 7 days per week?


Ron

Apr 12, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Our chief instructor schedules staff each week based on the number of student slots we have reserved.

Dallas runs one of the best school programs that I have seen.

Ernie would not call me out unless I was going to get 8-10 jumps (of be doing AFF all day).

Awesome!


Ron

Apr 12, 2011, 12:22 PM
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Here is how I think it should be done.

You have three lists
1. AFF
2. Tandem
3. Video

Each list is populated by the number of staff in the order of their time on staff FT then PT.

The chief I only calls out the number of staff he thinks he will need based on the bookings.

When on the list you are called in the order on the list... FT/PT does not matter, you came out to work you should be worked.

So using my plan the FT guys are there every day and on the list, the PT guys are either on the list or can do something else.

When called to work, I make no difference between FT and PT. I'll give an example. I knew a guy that was FT, but only 4 mths a year. So yes, he was at the DZ every day for those 4 mths.

But I am PT almost EVERY weekend 52 weeks a year.

So the PT/FT guy is at the DZ 5 days X 20 weeks = 100 days.

I am there 2 X 52 = 104.

Now my last three jobs have involved me calling on Thu or Friday and either coming out of not.... I love it. I do not have to be there, and they do not need to have me there. LOVE it. I do not take work from the FT guys and I do not plan my weekend to work and get 3 jumps.

LOVE IT.


rehmwa  (D 12816)

Apr 12, 2011, 12:53 PM
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Re: [Ron] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm part time and won't take jumps from FT if they want them.

Us PT'ers keep the AFF moving pretty much. It works nicely for the FT to roll and turn tandems. I'll also fill in video too if needed.


d123  (B 6134)

Apr 12, 2011, 10:43 PM
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Re: [Ron] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the 3 list idea. What do you do when a person is on more than 1 list? Let's say for instance and instructor Mr. Versatilium is on the Tandem and video list. Does he take the 1st job found for him and he's removed from the other lists rotation until the end of the job?


robblack31  (D 26661)

Apr 13, 2011, 2:05 AM
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Re: [Ron] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

well said, I could not agree more.


Ron

Apr 13, 2011, 6:06 AM
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Quote:
I like the 3 list idea. What do you do when a person is on more than 1 list? Let's say for instance and instructor Mr. Versatilium is on the Tandem and video list. Does he take the 1st job found for him and he's removed from the other lists rotation until the end of the job?

You have to do that, otherwise the students might sit on the ground.

*personally* I like how Dallas did it, they called you out for a specific duty. You were primary on one list and that was your main focus for the day.

The CI would have 30 tandems on the books and 10 AFF's. He would call out 3 TI's, and 3-4 AFFI's (based on the levels needed).

If you were called out for Tandems... You were only on the Tandem list that day. Same for AFF and Video. Near the end of the day we would all join up to ensure everything was done, but it worked very well.

The place I work now has a "master list" When you are on a job, they mark a slash on a box next to your name. When you are done they "X" it out. That way they know who is free, who is busy, and how many work jumps you have done. So if guy "A" has 10 and guy "B" has 7, they can give a jump to guy "B" to make it more even.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Apr 13, 2011, 9:23 AM
Post #13 of 21 (1597 views)
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Quote:
The place I work now has a "master list" When you are on a job, they mark a slash on a box next to your name. When you are done they "X" it out. That way they know who is free, who is busy, and how many work jumps you have done. So if guy "A" has 10 and guy "B" has 7, they can give a jump to guy "B" to make it more even.

I think this is the more common way to go, as most DZs don't have an overflow of staff always available. So it becomes a combination of the above system, mixed in with 'whatever it takes' to keep things moving.

Keeping it fair and balanced is one thing, but unless every member of the staff is multi-rated and all the same size, sometimes the circumstances will dictate that one guy gets more work than another. All it takes is one 90 lb or 250 lb student to throw things off. Then you need your bigger/smaller instructors specifically, and the 'rotation' gets knocked out of whack. All of this, of course, is out of everyones hands, so whatever happens is what happens, and you just have to deal with it.

I think overall there are a dozen different ways to run a rotation, and all of them have their ups and downs. This issue has been brought up before, but I think then the problem was a guy who felt like he was getting screwed on the work. My adivce to him, and to this thread as well, is to know what the deal is before you make jump #1 for the DZ. Sit down with the DZO (and possibly manifestor) and go over their system, how it works, how much you get paid, when and how you get paid, and any additional expectations or perks they have for you. Conversely, this is the time to go over your expectations you have for them as employers. In the end, the key is to make sure that you have a clear and concise 'meeting of the minds' BEFORE you start to work for them.

None of that guarantees you won't get screwed by a DZO, but it guarantees that if you do, it really is a case of the DZO screwing you over, not you mis-understanding the policy of the DZ.


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Apr 13, 2011, 9:27 AM
Post #14 of 21 (1596 views)
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Re: [Ron] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

Ron your plan works well with an infinite supply of instructors. Many DZs do not have that during peak season. I know at least 2 and maybe three DZs in Alberta turned work away last year due to staff shortages. A couple of years ago our TI list and vidiot list were identical with one extra TI. If our DZ put part timers on an equal footing with full timers during shoulder season there would be no full timers; they simply would not be able to earn enough to make it. Also some part timers do not want to do nothing but work. I can think of one guy whose idea of a good day is 3 AFFs, 2 tandems, 2 coach jumps and a 10 way.
Each dz needs to balance their needs with the needs of their staff.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Apr 13, 2011, 11:07 AM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Each dz needs to balance their needs with the needs of their staff

Of course. The concept of full timers getting work before the part timers only applies when there is a shortage of work. If everyone is busy, and full timer is on load 12, and a part timer is on load 11, there's no cause to switch them to keep the full timer 'more busy', they are both manifested, and will both be working.

The idea of a full timer taking precedence over a part time comes when there's not that much work. If everyone is not working, and one tandem walk in at noon, give it to the full timer. If another one walks in at 2pm, again, back to the full timer. If anyone is going to get screwed out of work, it's going to have to be the guy who didn't commit to the DZ full time.

Quote:
Also some part timers do not want to do nothing but work. I can think of one guy whose idea of a good day is 3 AFFs, 2 tandems, 2 coach jumps and a 10 way.

I worked a DZ that had an overflow of staff such that they did a 'who's working' rotation on top of a daily rotation. They would schedule one group of guys for Sat, and another for Sun. Anyway, some of these guys were clearly just in it for the money, and some of the TIs didn't even have rigs, or keep their rig in-date since they knew they were just doing tandems. Sonner or later, the DZO caught on, and put the word out that employees who didn't fun jump wouldn't be employees for long. Most of the guys took the hint, and started showing up on their off days to jump, but a couple figured he was bluffing. Those guys were fired, mid-season, and have never been heard from since.


Ron

Apr 13, 2011, 12:11 PM
Post #16 of 21 (1567 views)
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
with full timers during shoulder season there would be no full timers; they simply would not be able to earn enough to make it.

It still works; if you do not have work, you do not call in your PT's.

Quote:
Also some part timers do not want to do nothing but work. I can think of one guy whose idea of a good day is 3 AFFs, 2 tandems, 2 coach jumps and a 10 way.

Then he just tells the DZO that he can only work on Sat and needs Sun off.

It can easily work.


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Apr 13, 2011, 12:25 PM
Post #17 of 21 (1561 views)
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Re: [Ron] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

Quote:
Also some part timers do not want to do nothing but work. I can think of one guy whose idea of a good day is 3 AFFs, 2 tandems, 2 coach jumps and a 10 way.

Then he just tells the DZO that he can only work on Sat and needs Sun off.

It can easily work.
It can work but in some cases other plans can work better. Some part timers may not want to be there first thing in the morning as it is their day off from their real job. Others only want a few work jumps per day. An example of a system that works is the FTs go hard all day, while the PTs go hard from 11:00-4:00 when they are really needed. They can do rec jumps in the morning and evening, or acquire spouse points at home as needed. The "system" does not have to be symmetrical across all part timers; it needs to satisfy both the employee and the DZO.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Apr 13, 2011, 10:59 PM
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Re: [d123] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to work at a DZ where full-timers had first priority on tandem students.
Supposedly I was the most senior full-time instructor and had first priority, but I did not drink with the boss, so he eventually scrapped that part of my contract (without telling me). Then he wondered why I quit!


baronn  (D 22387)

Apr 14, 2011, 8:30 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

I just left a DZ where the rotation was completely geared toward making the DZ money. The full timers ability to make a living doing this was the absolute last concern. They proved this week in and out, time and again. They told you that you would get all the work you could handle. This never happened in the year and a half I spent here. The work load was heavy. Every tandem got an altimeter, taught to pull, hands on the toggles on landing and the 2nd tandem taught to exit,turn and track. Logbook was filled. Never paid extra for this. After I left, the rest of the staff had to practically do a mutiny to prevent them from overstaffing. Again. It really amazes me how short sighted some DZO's can be. I fail to understand how a constant churn is beneficial. Apparently, as long as they can get away with this and the staff tolerates it, things will continue. Really is too bad. Could be a great place to work and jump. At this time, till a major change happens(management, owners) it will be a place to avoid. Like the plague.


(This post was edited by baronn on Apr 14, 2011, 8:35 PM)


rhys  (D 95)

Apr 21, 2011, 2:31 AM
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We have a fair rotation, everybody is full time and we evenly distribute the jumps, the extra altitude jumps, the handcams, the outside cameras and the free fun jumps.

If soemone stands in for someone then thay get tjhe same treatments as every body else.

I have been at DZ's that give priority to some while others miss out; it seems that
is based on selfishness and greed, and fueled by ego.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Apr 21, 2011, 6:48 AM
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Re: [rhys] Instructors priorities [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
We have a fair rotation, everybody is full time and we evenly distribute the jumps

That is very fair. I don't think there's any way to make it more fair.

Quote:
I have been at DZ's that give priority to some while others miss out; it seems that
is based on selfishness and greed, and fueled by ego.

What about the difference between full time and part time employees?

With only full time employees at your high volume location, there is enough work to go around and make everyone a living.

What about a lower volume location, where they might do 100 or 150 tandems over the weekeend, and then only 10 or 20 during the week? The DZ needs people everyday of the week, so there has to be a couple of full-time employees to cover the weekday work, and then a group of part time employees to handle the weekend volume.

The part timers have all week to make a living elsewhere, while the full timers are looking to the DZ to provide their entire living. So when the weekend work is slow, or a part timer has a day off and shows up on a Wed, should that part timer get an equal share of the work?

It's not unheard of to treat part timers and full timers differently in the business world. Most jobs in the US limit things like health insurance, vacation days and sick days to full time employees only. If you want to work one or two days per week, you don't get the benefits of commiting to the company as a full time employee.



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