I have been working at The Sanborn Map Company full-time
Sanborn has a fascinating and storied history as America's oldest mapping company, which gives it a definite "cool" factor. As a modern, evolved organization, adding aircraft, high-resolution aerial cameras, airborne laser sensors, computer modeling and mapping, etc., and you're working in an organization that does some pretty neat stuff. It's one of a small number of companies left with the talent and resources needed to pull off major geospatial programs, domestically and internationally.
Ok, straight up, to succeed here, you need to have it together. Know your stuff. Be motivated. Work hard. You can have a nice career and make a nice income, and the company offers competitive benefits. You'll be working alongside some really talented people, and with some very cool technologies. Speaking from my experience - if you make it happen, if you do for the company, the company will do for you.
One of the things I love about the company is that it's still small enough that you can really feel like you make a difference, and that you have access to people at all levels of the organization. There are no ivory tower, golf-playing, figurehead executives in the company - they are all tenured industry professionals who are passionate about the business and deeply involved in the running of the organization.
It's a sad reality of modern business in America that employers expect employees to hit the ground running, and the old days of apprenticeship, mentorship and such, are largely gone, and Sanborn is no exception. While you will have the support and help of your peers, and it's a good place to gain experience, as previously stated, it's expected that you know your stuff and make material contributions to the organization from the start. Do not buffalo your way in expecting to be trained on the job. If you're the kind of person who needs constant training, support, reinforcement, encouragement, feedback, etc., you will not succeed here. While cross-training opportunities do come along, basically, you need to come to the company with the necessary skills for your job, be able to work as a member of a team under high pressure situations, and make it happen.
This has never been an easy business. You're either struggling to get work in, struggling to get work out, or both. Workforce size shrinks and grows as a function of backlog, and while that may look and feel brutal at times, it's just a reality of project-based business. To a greater or lesser extent, this happens to everyone from defense contractors with multi-national business footprints to mom and pop t-shirt printing shops. It may suck, but it's about profitability at best, and survivability at worst. Welcome to capitalist America. Read any competitor's reviews and it's the same story.
Advice to Management
It's not only desirable but necessary to take a few fliers now and then, but don't lose focus on the core parts of the business, the stuff that keeps the lights on, even if it isn't the sexiest thing going. Avoid being a mile wide and an inch deep.
I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at The Sanborn Map Company (Colorado Springs, CO).
The interview process is a joke. It consists of a phone call, that's it. I am not exaggerating at all. This, along with the toxic company culture is a reason why they have such incredibly high turnover.
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