Monday, July 16, 2007

The Invisible Profession?

This isn't quite like the license plate game in the car, but the next time that you're commuting to work, take a look out the window and look for signs of the records management profession.

Records centers, records center trucks, shredding trucks, data protection facility vehicles, etc.

You might be surprised at what you see.

I was thinking about this the other morning. On my typical commute of about 45 minutes (suburb to suburb in the Chicago area), I drive past at least one marked commercial records center and usually see a variety of vehicles from names in the industry. If I drive to work a different way -- or head to the airport, I'll pass another commercial records center. If I drive downtown, I see yet another one on each of my alternate routes into the city.

Stand on a corner in a downtown area some morning. See how long it takes before you see a vehicle from a commercial records center. I go into the city about every six weeks for a haircut (probably fodder for another blog entry). I can virtually guarantee that I will see a commercial records center truck during the few minutes while I walk from the train station to where I get my haircut.

And yet, who really understands what we do? How many times have you been asked by someone to explain what you do, then asked to explain it again?

I'm looking forward to ARMA's published Competencies document later this month. I'm further hopeful that records managers will be recognized by the US government with a Standard Occupational Classification. The Competencies will better define our roles in a standard manner. The SOC will embed the roles within the standard manner in which the US Government defines jobs and enable more accuracy for salary studies and general recognition.

I'd suggest that we're really not that invisible, just not that recognized.

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