A couple questions…


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  • #1231
    daneel
    Member

    Ok, maybe a ton of questions… 😀

    I just got offered an alternate position today by email for the winter term 2010.

    1. No salary has been mentioned yet. Are salaries negotiable with Raytheon?

    2. Considering I’m 54, how much more stringent are the Pq’s? I have hypertension kept under control with meds. I’d rather find out ahead of time if this will disqualify me rather than having to end up paying for a slew of medical exams because I did’nt PQ.

    btw, neat and interesting forum.

    #10208
    will
    Keymaster

    I think after 50 you need an annual EKG and chest x-ray. At some point, age-wise, one needs a treadmill stress test. Plus the usual, urine, blood, PAP for women, vision, dental, flexability, routine complete physical exam things. I first PQ’d at 61 and last at 68.

    #10209
    MATKATAMIBA
    Member

    Don’t be too concerned about PQing at 54 – lot’s of people do it. High blood pressure is unlikely to be an issue if it is controlled. As one of the over-50 crowd myself, I had to take some additional tests: a cardiac stress test (treadmill), a chest x-ray and a GUIAC test (yuck), plus a few additional lab tests. Cost isn’t an issue since RPSC pays for it all whether you PQ or not.

    I’m just guessing, but for salary negotiations it probably depends on what your job is. If you are a physician and they don’t have one and the station closes in 30 days you can probably stick it to them. If you’re a cook’s helper probably not. It just depends on how critical your position is and how badly they need to fill it.

    Good luck, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get to go as an alternate this season. I was an alternate for summer but it evolved into a primary offer for winter. If you are interested in next season mention it to your hiring manager. It saves them a ton of work if they can get a primary PQ’d and in the bag for next season.

    #10210
    daneel
    Member

    Thanks for the relieving news, folks. I thought I’d read somewhere that if you did’nt PQ, you foot the bill. I have insurance, for a time.

    I spose I’ll just play it by ear concerning the salary part.

    Um, what’s a GUIAC test (yuck), lol?

    edit: Found it, so, uh, never mind on that GUIAC thingy…

    #10211
    skua77
    Keymaster

    I do find it surprising that if they offer you an alternate position (and want you to start to PQ) that they don’t tell you the salary and give you a chance to turn it down before they start to spend money to PQ you. Notice that I said “tell you the salary” because that is the extent of the negotiation, unless–as Matkatamiba mentions–you’re the doctor and the station is about to close without one.

    If you are going to Pole, my usual deployment site, there are some additional tests, like a lower intestinal/gall bladder ultrasound.

    What could get expensive is the dental stuff, any corrective work is on your nickel, and they are pretty picky about that. Your dentist has to send the X-rays to Denver for further review after all the work is done, in my case a few years ago the Denver dentist wrote back “there is decay under this tooth and it needs to be pulled.” Actually the problem here was that I had a lousy dentist at the time, and had basically figured it out, but when it is Christmas week and you’re supposed to deploy in the near future it is not an easy time to go find a new dentist. And when I got to Pole and had a “quick exam” by the visiting RPSC dentist I almost got sent home, ended up getting another tooth pulled.

    Your mileage may vary. So can you tell us a bit more about your potential job?

    #10212
    ricochet
    Member

    Okay, I’m brand new at this – what’s PQ?

    #10213
    ricochet
    Member

    Another question: All I know is the stuff I read in the book which was about the dome – are things easier in the new station? From pictures on the web, it looks a lot easier in the daily-life kind of stuff? I was fascinated by the descriptions and stories in the book.

    #10214
    daneel
    Member

    @skua77 wrote:

    I do find it surprising that if they offer you an alternate position (and want you to start to PQ) that they don’t tell you the salary and give you a chance to turn it down before they start to spend money to PQ you. Notice that I said “tell you the salary” because that is the extent of the negotiation, unless–as Matkatamiba mentions–you’re the doctor and the station is about to close without one.

    The email I received was asking if I was interested in an alternate position. I mailed back and just said that I was interested which sparked another email and phone contact number in which I was “officially”offered the job. The OP of this thread was made shortly after asking if I was interested by email and before the phone contact. The interview was done from the Ice last Friday in which I was told to contact a person at HR. Profuse apologies for any confusion. But you’re right, they tell you the salary and the rationale behind it. Whilst its being explained, I’m thinking either, Yes Antarctica, No Antarctica, Yes,No, Yes No…I’m sure you understand the *cough* dilemna. Besides, due to re-alignment and restructuring and the demise of my current job at college, doddling on the decision was quickly a moot point.

    If you are going to Pole, my usual deployment site, there are some additional tests, like a lower intestinal/gall bladder ultrasound.

    I received the link for the packet info today. It looks rather extensive and I’m somewhat surprised at the intensiveness of it all. I can understand the rationale behind it but wonder if there’s just a little too much scrutiny involved. Too much scrutiny put me on the operating table for what turned out to be nothing when I was 35 and finding out that the eye doctor was abso-correct…I did need reading glasses when I turned 39.5

    What could get expensive is the dental stuff, any corrective work is on your nickel, and they are pretty picky about that. Your dentist has to send the X-rays to Denver for further review after all the work is done, in my case a few years ago the Denver dentist wrote back “there is decay under this tooth and it needs to be pulled.” Actually the problem here was that I had a lousy dentist at the time, and had basically figured it out, but when it is Christmas week and you’re supposed to deploy in the near future it is not an easy time to go find a new dentist. And when I got to Pole and had a “quick exam” by the visiting RPSC dentist I almost got sent home, ended up getting another tooth pulled.

    Have some issues with the dental anyways that needed to be taken care of and started on them last week regardless.

    Your mileage may vary. So can you tell us a bit more about your potential job?

    I applied for the Refrigeration Mechanic position about 2 weeks ago on the 8th. It’s for winter 2010 at McMurdo

    #10215
    m0loch
    Keymaster

    @ricochet wrote:

    Another question: All I know is the stuff I read in the book which was about the dome – are things easier in the new station? From pictures on the web, it looks a lot easier in the daily-life kind of stuff? I was fascinated by the descriptions and stories in the book.

    Depends on what “things” – yes, the living conditions are more comfortable, homey even, so in that regard, and in similar matters, I’d guess that life is easier (My first trip to Pole was post-dome living). Other things seem to get harder, e.g. navigating the HR and political scene.

    @daneel wrote:

    I just got offered an alternate position today by email for the winter term 2010.

    1. No salary has been mentioned yet. Are salaries negotiable with Raytheon?

    ….

    I presume that an offer letter is forthcoming. The offer letter will contain salary information. As to whether or not it’s negotiable…I’ve had success in negotiating in the past. That said, before you think about going down that road, you should take pause and figure out the reason you want to go to Antarctica. You should also keep in mind that there is a completion bonus…the amount will depend on a few things, so you can positively influence your total pay. Also keep in mind that while you’re on The Ice your housing, medical, transportation…on and on are paid for.

    #10216
    daneel
    Member

    @m0loch wrote:

    @daneel wrote:

    I just got offered an alternate position today by email for the winter term 2010.

    1. No salary has been mentioned yet. Are salaries negotiable with Raytheon?

    ….

    I presume that an offer letter is forthcoming. The offer letter will contain salary information. As to whether or not it’s negotiable…I’ve had success in negotiating in the past. That said, before you think about going down that road, you should take pause and figure out the reason you want to go to Antarctica. You should also keep in mind that there is a completion bonus…the amount will depend on a few things, so you can positively influence your total pay. Also keep in mind that while you’re on The Ice your housing, medical, transportation…on and on are paid for.

    Talking to HR on the phone I was told the salary and the bonus info all the while thinking the reason why I wanted to go there and accepted the offer. I did’nt push the subject. It’s still do-able but stilll have a mortgage, etc. As far as I’m concerned, the medical PQ’s, transport, housing, meals and so on are a nil point; a cost of doing business on their part. Such things would have far more glimmer to them if I had no mortgage, etc. The hourly is still less that what I’m making now, but the 54 hour week and bonus at end of contract will still gross me more than what I make now. All in all, I spose there’s no real complaints.

    #10217
    MATKATAMIBA
    Member

    @daneel wrote:

    I received the link for the packet info today. It looks rather extensive and I’m somewhat surprised at the intensiveness of it all. I can understand the rationale behind it but wonder if there’s just a little too much scrutiny involved.

    It’s a lot but I don’t think it’s too much. In the winter you are 1500 miles from a real hospital even if you could get there, which you can’t. And if they do try heroic measures to get you out (or even air-drop medical supplies) many other people will be risking their lives for you – so no I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we be certifiably healthy. Although the tests are annoying and people complain, I suspect most feel better knowing that they have a good chance of surviving the winter. As has been said, “It’s a harsh continent” and it doesn’t care if you live or die.

    As for the 54-hour work week – you will be paid by the week not by the hour, so the 54 hours doesn’t get you any extra pay.

    #10218
    MATKATAMIBA
    Member

    About bonuses.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but are there three bonuses?

    1. Completion Bonus: which you get when you have been on the ice for x weeks. Is this 5% of base pay?
    2. Performance Bonus: which varies between 0 and 20% of base pay.
    3. Winter Bonus: which goes to winter-overs. I think this is 5% of base pay but I don’t know if it is only for Pole or if McMurdo w/o’s get it too.

    Do I have these right?

    #10219
    daneel
    Member

    Only 1 bonus mentioned to me. A completion bonus of 16-20% of gross.

    16% for first year contract.

    #10220
    m0loch
    Keymaster

    @MATKATAMIBA wrote:

    About bonuses.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but are there three bonuses?

    1. Completion Bonus: which you get when you have been on the ice for x weeks. Is this 5% of base pay?

    Partially right, see my response to #3.

    @MATKATAMIBA wrote:

    2. Performance Bonus: which varies between 0 and 20% of base pay.

    yep, that’s right. Your bonus potential goes up based on the number of contract years you have been on The Ice, and tops out at…I believe 28% for your third year…doesn’t go up after that. 16% (first year, 18% 2nd year and 20% 3rd year and beyond) are pretty easy to attain by simply showing up, doing your job and not getting into trouble. You have to put in extra effort to get more…and not necessarily at your job.

    @MATKATAMIBA wrote:

    3. Winter Bonus: which goes to winter-overs. I think this is 5% of base pay but I don’t know if it is only for Pole or if McMurdo w/o’s get it too.

    Things change but the last time I worked on that side of the continent there was NO winter over bonus. There was, at the time, a “location” bonus for South Pole that was paid to everyone, including summer people, who work at Pole. You must be on station for 2 consecutive weeks before you become eligible for that one, then it was paid for every week afterwards. If one leaves station (for instance R&R for summer/winter people) then you must start over at 0 upon returning to Pole.

    Prior to that, there did exist a “winterover” bonus, though it was more a long-duration bonus. I think it was a set dollar amount…it was different for Pole vs. McMurdo and it was paid to those who did a summer/winter. People who did winter only weren’t eligible for that.

    @MATKATAMIBA wrote:

    Do I have these right?

    Probably not, and I probably don’t have it right either….but what I posted above is at least somewhat current and I tried to make it correct.

    #10221
    daneel
    Member

    So, I have to ask,

    Is the internationally famous Mike Blachut still working at McMurdo doing the refrigeration? If so, then my knickers might untwist a bit.

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