Randomness


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  • #892
    Baghdad Jim
    Member

    Is the information on http://www.bigdeadplace.com still pretty accurate? Like a 9 hour workday schedule and sundays off?

    looks like it’s not been updated since Nov o5′ or so. Did management have a fit with that site?

    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 I’ve submitted for every job I was close to and even a few I swore I’d never do again 😉

    I’ve googled around–but whats with the “1996 hammer attack?”. It that something that happened there or is it a running joke?

    #8434
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    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 wouldn’t work in Baghdad for any amount of money.

    If you don’t 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.

    #8435
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    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 that’s a good thing — you’re 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 who’ve 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 can’t 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, they’re 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 there?

    g

    #8436
    Anonymous
    Member

    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 don’t think I’d want to go there now.

    #8437
    Baghdad Jim
    Member

    right now, (working within the limitations of the slots posted), I’m looking at the 2 housing positions–supervisor of course but I would imagine thats gonna be filled by an Ice vetetran. ( I’ve 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). It’s a supremenly easy job but, unfortunately, one of the most thankless over here.

    State dept people are..well..example: it’s 3 am and they want someone out to fix their DVD player–stat! 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. 😆

    It took a while, but there’s always a way to find humor in it–we were doing ‘top 10’ lists on both state and the military. (like being astonished that someone wasn’t 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–I’m 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–‘specially the jabs at safety slogans.

    yea, you could say I’m doing my homework–I never knew that many people were down there. As I type this, I’ve 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 I’m 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.

    #8438
    Baghdad Jim
    Member

    Neal’s 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 there? Linen/pillows?

    Either I didnt see it or skipped over it—what about a store/PX? Is there a place to buy junk food snacks and smokes? If so–does it last thru winterover?

    #8439
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    @Jim in Baghdad wrote:

    How are the beds/mattresses there? Linen/pillows?

    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 there’s no guarantee.

    Either I didnt see it or skipped over it—what about a store/PX? Is there a place to buy junk food snacks and smokes? If so–does it last thru winterover?

    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 it’s best to bring down a good supply for yourself.

    #8440
    Baghdad Jim
    Member

    cool beans. Good info to know.

    I’m still fuzzy on how these contracts work…

    do any of them roll-over into open-ended
    are there permanent staff that take occasional R&R’s (travel pending)
    I keep reading about people that keep coming back…what do they do when they leave (employment?) and how long are the breaks between assignments?

    If I just wanted to stick around—do they allow that, (assuming I’m still qualified for the job)?

    I was going to ask about DCMA people there but I don’t imagine the USAP is considered any shade of DoD.

    #8441
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    @Jim in Baghdad wrote:

    I’m 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&R’s (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 (employment?) and how long are the breaks between assignments?

    Good question. When you leave the Ice you’re unemployed. What happens next depends greatly. For many, it’s 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 I’m still qualified for the job)?

    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 can’t 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 don’t admit it to themselves. I’ve been there.

    No DCMA. The closest thing to DOD contracts is probably ATC and weather forecaster positions through SPAWARS. Otherwise it’s a civilian operation, except for the AF and ANG flight crews and the USCG icebreaker visits.

    #8442
    Baghdad Jim
    Member

    You guys are great–both online and off.

    I’m getting entirely too much good information here.

    If I’m seeing this right, I’d 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 it?

    And do you guys use UV lamps down there in the winter like some do in Alaska for SAD?

    and one more while I’m at it–do the stations smell to high hell with BO and do, (does?), athletes foot pattern(s) become a form of art after a while?

    #8443
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    So here’s the deal about winter-overs. It’s possible, although not really recommended, for someone new to get a winter-over position right from the get-go. You’d deploy in, say, October or February, and have a job all the way until next August or October. So it’d 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 doesn’t 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, you’re 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 that’s about the worst of it. They fire ’em and ship ’em 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 it’s usually because they’re just old and it’s rarely bad. Ironically, the wood varnish in McMurdo’s NSF Chalet smells a bit like cat piss and is the only building I found unpleasant (it’s also the only building in town with any real style, go figure). Only the worst of the dorms are stinky at all; it’s not a problem. But you can always tell a fuelie’s room: diesel-soaked clothes are piled outside the door so it stinks up the hallway instead of their room. It’s just part of life there, and most people are understanding about it. Excellent question, BTW.

    #8444
    Baghdad Jim
    Member

    It’s the simple everyday ‘real’ 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 ‘pine-tree’ car air freshners?

    #8445
    Been There
    Member

    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.

    #8446
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    BT —

    I thought I might get a reaction with that one… 😉

    Yeah, people’s 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 ain’t rosy, but not as bad as I thought it would be considering the, uh, quantity of exposed effluent.

    g

    PS to BT — 3 days to deployment. And I’m bummed about PRIMO being cancelled.

    #8447
    Been There
    Member

    Glenn,

    Hanging out in the Waste Water Treatment Plant? I don’t even want to ask. Not much to do in the winter for fun at McMurdo?

    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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