A Day in the Life of a Solutions Deployment Group (SDG) Member
One of the most intriguing jobs that Staff Management | SMX offers is a Solutions Deployment Group team member. This position requires 100% travel and such a unique job structure certainly peaks a lot of curiosity and confusion. Thank you to Allison Tanzer, a current SDG member, for helping shed some light on this valuable role.
Allison has been an SDG member since August 1, 2010. Allison always told her friends and family that she would travel the country by car, paying particular interest to small towns that were off the beaten path and far from tourist attractions. Upon hearing about an available SDG position from college friend and current SDG member, Katie Smith, Allison realized that the opportunity was a wonderful way for her to pursue her dream while also earning a living. Allison has definitely gotten to visit a fair share of tiny towns, including, Bradstown, Coffeyville and Mehoopany. Coffeyville, she notes, does not actually have a Starbucks of any coffee chain at all.
Prior to joining Staff Management | SMX, Allison was working at San Quentin Prison running a mentoring program for teens that had an incarcerated parent. Although she loved the kids and mentors in the program, she saw no growth potential and didn’t have an outlet use her previous business experience.
The Break Down
In her own words, Allison breaks down her current role into three major components; new implementation set up, training and firefighting.
Implementation: During a roll out, a typical day can include anything from setting up office equipment, building a Stafftrack site, to getting out into the community to scout out job site locations, work force centers and community partners. Training occurs internally and at the field site level.
Training: Over the last six months there has been a department initiative to offer extensive training by fellow managers to other managers within the SDG department. Some of these topics have included: Utilizing MyStafftrack, Pending Management, and Getting to Know SMPHD. At the site level an SDG manager is typically requested to come in and train a new service team member, and in some cases to train the client on Staff Management | SMX systems like MyStafftrack.
Firefighting: Firefighting encompasses all other scenarios where additional resources are needed either by a new site or an old site that is facing challenges. SDG managers have the common thread of being problem solvers so they all look forward to the challenges and coming up with new solutions.
When asked what a slow week looks like for an SDG group member, Allison replied, “I’m sorry I don’t understand the question, this is a scenario I am not familiar with.”
Truth and Misconception
Allison shared some perceptions that others have about her job. She often gets statements like, “Oh you are like George Clooney in that movie Up in the Air.” Although she validates this as a true reference in regards to travel, she does like to remind people that SDG does hiring on a grand scale, not firing. Allison continued, “When I tell people I live out of my suitcase and live in hotels they usually all say the same two things “Wow you are so lucky that sounds so exciting,” followed by a long pause where reality sets in and then, “oh I don’t know if I could do that.” Allison loves seeing the look of shock on people’s faces when she says that she’s home for about 20-30 days a year.
Instead of being off-put by the shocked reaction people have, Allison gets inspired. “I am extremely proud of every member of the SDG team because it isn’t easy, not everyone can do it and yet we thrive in this environment. I think internally there is sometimes a misconception that we are coming in to point out what is wrong but that is really the last thing on our minds. I think we are all naturally competitive and once we are assigned to a site, our goal is to help the site be as successful as possible. I look at every site as a potential opportunity to waive a victory flag for my team and for the company.”
When it comes to bringing awareness and understanding about the SDG role Allison wants you to know that “SDG is like the end of a Fun House at a carnival, the part where you have to try to walk straight by the wheel keeps turning. Our job might be the same actions but you have to be constantly moving and changing to adapt to each new site. Each site has different personalities; different client challenges, each hotel and every rental car is different. There is never a time of being “settled” in SDG. At the end of the day you don’t get to go home to all your own things with your own family members, you go home to a hotel room. That might sound difficult, and it is, but it is also awesome. I love that my job keeps changing. There are so many things I thought I could never do or I would never survive (trying working in a refrigerated building for three months) but at the end of the challenging assignments you feel invincible. You start to get excited about the bigger challenges.”
Although she admits that leaving her nieces, missing family events and leaving assignments once you become attached to the workforce and client team is hard, she’s thankful for the opportunity to meet new people across the country, see how other people live, how products are made and capturing her memorable travel moments on camera.
Allison offers advice to new managers, “Approach SDG like you would a Study Abroad program. Every city you go to you should make a point of exploring and getting to know the people. If you spend your SDG experience sitting in a hotel room, this lifestyle will not work for you and you will have wasted time that you could have used developing as a person by taking advantage of this experience.”