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June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #1037
is the information on http://www.bigdeadplace.com still pretty accurateʔ like a 9 hour workday schedule and sundays offʔlooks like itʹs not been updated since nov o5ʹ or so. did management have a fit with that siteʔ our raytheon guys here made one up that pissed people off so bad, they had them block the direct url…not knowing it was their own guys doing the site. (http://www.iraqiinsider.com). that perticular guy left after 3 years here and went to do networking on norweigen cruise ships.went to the msn group pages..but as i cant make it to the jobfair, looks like its a waiting game now that iʹve submitted for every job i was close to and even a few i swore iʹd never do again <ǃ-- s:wink: --><ǃ-- s:wink: --> iʹve googled around–but whats with the “1996 hammer attackʔ”. it that something that happened there or is it a running jokeʔJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9153
bdp is not unaccurate. its more a one sided look at things. nobody is shutting them down. we all love the things they poke fun at. we do work 6 days a week 9 hours a day for pay that is probably lower than you would make in the states. probably way lower than iraq. of course nobody is firing mortars at us. i wouldnʹt work in baghdad for any amount of money. if you donʹt go to the job fair, just be prepared to jump on any responses you get. follow all the suggestions on the medical process and keeping in touch.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9154
jim, you should get the award for touching on the most hot-botton topics (wages, alcohol use, bdp, etc) in the shortest amount of time. i think thatʹs a good thing — youʹre doing your homework.yes, bigdeadplace did cause some management consternation. it was not the first website to take a poke at the program, but definitely the most acerbic.the hammer attack was real, a drunken response to a chronic provocation ten years ago. the guy was arrested and we all had a new theme for the halloween party.regarding hiring, my impression is that they prefer to hire people whoʹve been there before (even so-so workers or those only marginally qualified) rather than take a chance on an unknown person who may npq or bail out. only when they canʹt find anyone willing to come back do they start plowing through the rest of the resumes. virtually all of the hiring is over the phone.the good news, if you can call it that, is that apparently there has been a low return rate lately for former rpsc employees. there are a number of reasons why this may be happening, none of them positive. and as mike said in another post, theyʹre bungling the advertising for the job fair. as a new applicant, this all works in your favor.out of curiosity, what would be your preferred job thereʔgJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9155
hi jim. i read the bigdeadplace article with a mixture of amusement and disgust. it certainly made me happy that i wintered-over 47 years ago when conditions (aside from occasional bad weather) were pleasant and my colleages were friendly, cooperative and non-political. i donʹt think iʹd want to go there now.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9156
right now, (working within the limitations of the slots posted), iʹm looking at the 2 housing positions–supervisor of course but i would imagine thats gonna be filled by an ice vetetran. ( iʹve applied fo all but the kitchen jobs.)i did billeting (housing) over here for a year and a half until i moved into operations, (where i am now). i wasnt manager–only supervisor–and we had just under 4000 bed slots for the state department and military. i also did a stint running our employee camp (800+ people…a one person job). itʹs a supremenly easy job but, unfortunately, one of the most thankless over here. state dept people are..well..example: itʹs 3 am and they want someone out to fix their dvd player–statǃ within minutes of an extremely fatal rocket attack on the south end of the palace (night before elections 2005) state person wanted–no, demanded– that someone come out and exchange his mattress, right then. <ǃ-- s:lol: --><ǃ-- s:lol: --> it took a while, but thereʹs always a way to find humor in it–we were doing ʹtop 10ʹ lists on both state and the military. (like being astonished that someone wasnʹt going to carry their bags for them–or the military girls that were fully armed but we had to move them for being afraid of the dark).bdp is pretty–well lets put it this way–iʹm reading it out to some of my fellow night-shifters and the joke is that it looks like it came out of some kbr project manual–ʹspecially the jabs at safety slogans.yea, you could say iʹm doing my homework–i never knew that many people were down there. as i type this, iʹve also got open pages for usap, bdp, the seventh continent, and neals blog (nowhere to go but up)–i still havent worked my way through his links to fellow ice bloggers and their links.mirage–47 years back…thats quite a while and another world completely from what iʹm reading. the bureaucracy i can handle–and laugh at. it seems to mirror what we have here. (like the policy letters coming out the same week about 1) do everything in your power to be inconspicuous and not identifiable as an american or kbr employee –and 2) project management decreed that every last one of us must wear this blazing red and white kbr id holder lanyard around our necks regardless of weather we were on duty on not.)things are slow recently– the awards fee reports for dcma are over so i pretty much sit around for 12 hours a night seeing if i can single-handedly reduce the collective iq of the internet down to near a tic-tac.that puts me at about 48 solid hours of researching life and jobs in the antarctic–including the fact that the australians will only hire non-residents if they cant fill the slots.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9157
nealʹs site (about the pole) has a picture of a laydown yard–and you can see cartened matteresses in off to the left.how are the beds/mattresses thereʔ linen/pillowsʔeither i didnt see it or skipped over it—what about a store/pxʔ is there a place to buy junk food snacks and smokesʔ if so–does it last thru winteroverʔJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9158
@jim in baghdad wrote:
how are the beds/mattresses thereʔ linen/pillowsʔ
adequate. everything is provided, diy. repeat offenders often pack their own sheets or comforters just to have something softer or with style. i sometimes mail down my own pillows, synthetic and new, for allergy reasons. they may already have these available, but thereʹs no guarantee.
either i didnt see it or skipped over it—what about a store/pxʔ is there a place to buy junk food snacks and smokesʔ if so–does it last thru winteroverʔ
yes, yes, and yes. usually stocked with a decent variety. they sometimes run out of under-ordered items, such as good beer. if you have a preference for special kinds of toiletries itʹs best to bring down a good supply for yourself.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9159
cool beans. good info to know.iʹm still fuzzy on how these contracts work…do any of them roll-over into open-endedare there permanent staff that take occasional r&rʹs (travel pending)i keep reading about people that keep coming back…what do they do when they leave (employmentʔ) and how long are the breaks between assignmentsʔif i just wanted to stick around—do they allow that, (assuming iʹm still qualified for the job)ʔi was going to ask about dcma people there but i donʹt imagine the usap is considered any shade of dod.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9160
@jim in baghdad wrote:
iʹm still fuzzy on how these contracts work…do any of them roll-over into open-ended
nope. when your contract is finished they ship you north. there is some latitude (pun) about the departure date, depending on whether they need you to stay longer or not, but eventually they kick you out.
are there permanent staff that take occasional r&rʹs (travel pending)
no. there are “full timers”, but that refers to staff that work in denver full time and deploy to the ice seasonally.
i keep reading about people that keep coming back…what do they do when they leave (employmentʔ) and how long are the breaks between assignmentsʔ
good question. when you leave the ice youʹre unemployed. what happens next depends greatly. for many, itʹs a time of collecting unemployment, travel, and trying to score another contract. you may or may not be offered another job for a coming season, but you can always apply for something else. what you do in the mean time is up to you.
if i just wanted to stick around—do they allow that, (assuming iʹm still qualified for the job)ʔ
no. there are people who would stay forever if that were the case (i was one of them for a long time). but there are times when they canʹt fill a position and they may invite you to stay longer for that reason. the rotation of workers is, in some respects, a good thing: people get toasty after working 6-7 days a week for months on end. they need to go home or take a long break, even if they donʹt admit it to themselves. iʹve been there.no dcma. the closest thing to dod contracts is probably atc and weather forecaster positions through spawars. otherwise itʹs a civilian operation, except for the af and ang flight crews and the uscg icebreaker visits.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9161
you guys are great–both online and off.iʹm getting entirely too much good information here. if iʹm seeing this right, iʹd have to pick up a summer in aug/oct then skip a season to get on the winterovers.speaking of toasty, heres a non-employment question…how bad was the worst semi-recent case of someone losing itʔand do you guys use uv lamps down there in the winter like some do in alaska for sadʔand one more while iʹm at it–do the stations smell to high hell with bo and do, (doesʔ), athletes foot pattern(s) become a form of art after a whileʔJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9162
so hereʹs the deal about winter-overs. itʹs possible, although not really recommended, for someone new to get a winter-over position right from the get-go. youʹd deploy in, say, october or february, and have a job all the way until next august or october. so itʹd be a contract lasting somewhere from 6 to 13 months. this would be a bit unusual for a first-timer but not unheard of (heck, i did it). it also depends a lot on what your position is and whether they even need someone doing it during the winter. if that doesnʹt pan out, more likely scenerio is this: you get a summer position, oct-feb, and sometime that january they say, “anybody who wants to winter, we have jobs x, y, and z open. please apply before the end of the month.” chances of being hired and continuing on through the winter are very good because, hey, youʹre already there. some people take summer positions with the intent — and already prepared — to stay through the winter.regarding someone losing it, it seems like at least once a season somebody takes a poke at someone else, and thatʹs about the worst of it. they fire ʹem and ship ʹem out on the first available transport. others may quietly go on anti-depressants, probably as often during the summer as the winter (the darkness in not always the issue, there may be other emotional or social problems going on). such stuff is usually dealt with privately.a few people bring down uv lamps.some buildings have a characteristic odor, but itʹs usually because theyʹre just old and itʹs rarely bad. ironically, the wood varnish in mcmurdoʹs nsf chalet smells a bit like cat piss and is the only building i found unpleasant (itʹs also the only building in town with any real style, go figure). only the worst of the dorms are stinky at all; itʹs not a problem. but you can always tell a fuelieʹs room: diesel-soaked clothes are piled outside the door so it stinks up the hallway instead of their room. itʹs just part of life there, and most people are understanding about it. excellent question, btw.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9163
itʹs the simple everyday ʹrealʹ things that never seem to make it on the packing list and newcomers-guides.cat piss – nice. cant wait. heheh… anyone down there need some ʹpine-treeʹ car air freshnersʔJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9164
glenn,i have spent a bit of time in the chalet over the years and i have to say i have never noticed the smell of cat piss. agree some of the older buildings have a odd smell. nothing like the old days when we burned the dump. on a nice calm day the enitre town stunk.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9165
bt –i thought i might get a reaction with that one… <ǃ-- s:wink: --><ǃ-- s:wink: --> yeah, peopleʹs sense of the smell in the chalet seems to be highly individual. from my conversations with coworkers, some think it smells fine while others find it bad. i always hated meetings in there because of it.what i found surprising was the odor in the sewage treatment plant. it ainʹt rosy, but not as bad as i thought it would be considering the, uh, quantity of exposed effluent.gps to bt — 3 days to deployment. and iʹm bummed about primo being cancelled.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9166
glenn,hanging out in the waste water treatment plantʔ i donʹt even want to ask. not much to do in the winter for fun at mcmurdoʔ now i understand your sense of smell or lack of same. i can see you sitting out by the sea water intake at palmer enjoying the fine smell when the elephant seals haul out. bt
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