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May 17, 2005 at 4:07 pm #837
I just got news that I got the job I interviewed for. Power plant tech/ facilities engineer for winter over. I start training soon. As for the physical/dental exam, if I get issues I may have fixed now they shouldn’t be problems when I take the real physical in a few months correct? Anyway, I’m really excited to get down there. Hopefully my job doesn’t get canceled, but it seems like that is the exception rather than the norm. Thanks.
-NateMay 17, 2005 at 10:42 pm #8125
The next step should be Hirerite( the background check).I think the next step this year is a drug test. After that they send full medical packet. The most important thing at this point is to get the medical and dental done as soon as possible. If you flunk for low iron, calcium etc, you not only need to have enough time for the initial test and evaluation but also for the evalution, the call for retest, time to make a new appointment, take the test, and time for Denver Medical to re-evaluate. There are many people who wait too long on the initial medical. They find themselves without enough time to finish up the secondary stuff before the deadlines.
Mike in McMurdoMay 17, 2005 at 11:13 pm #8126
Yup, Mike’s right: get stuff done as quickly as possible. If nothing else, that way the PQ is out of the way so you can relax.
If you know you’re going to have some issues to resolve (like filling cavities, for instance) it’s good to do it now, before the exam. Don’t put off anything.
When the medical/dental/drug test/HR packet arrives, don’t panic! It’s a huge stack of paperwork, but if you plow through it it’ll go quickly. My one suggestion about this stuff is to go to Labcorp for the drug and blood tests, if there’s an office near you. You can do it at your local doctor’s office or hospital, but in my experience they sometimes bungle the testing (Labcorp has very specific requirements, and the paperwork is a huge headache for staff unfamiliar with it).
Congratulations on the job offer!
gMay 17, 2005 at 11:23 pm #8127
Thanks, so if I have to say, hypothetically, have a minor surgery and do that now I should be ok to go on the ice in october, assuming everything else is taken care of? I know it’s not as rigorous, but I’m a Truck driver and I just passed the Department of Transportation physical that basically says “we don’t think he’ll drop dead behind the wheel of a truck/bus/other commercial vehicle”
I’m so excited, yeah I guess it’s just an offer before I pass all the jazz. I better pass it, I’d feel like a real jerkoff after I told all my friends I’m going to the south pole. Well thanks a lot everyone. I hope I can meet some of you in denver (if you aren’t on the ice) in the next few months and spend a great year with you all on the ice.
-NateMay 20, 2005 at 11:29 pm #8128
If you need the surgury. Do it now. Often they require some amount of time after surgery before coming down. It varies a lot. a guy with a gall bladder removed last year was out for about 2 to 3 months.
mikeMay 27, 2005 at 11:08 pm #8129
Hello! I’m also a “new guy” here trying to prep himself… in prepping for going down there I started reading online journals etc and have been surprised at talk of jobs being pulled, etc. I also was surprised at the pay/benfits offered for “experienced professionals” as well as some of the nickle and diming I’ve been told of (considering the wages being offered)… as for not having to “spend” money on rent etc maybe that works for recent college grads but some of us do have mortages, family health insurance, etc that have to be paid. Yes, a big part of me applied for the “experience” but then again I am being hired to “work” to the best of my trained abilities (at least that’s what one post said: “you’re not here to look at penguins, its hard work and lots of it” – if that’s the case the pay should match the job regardless of how many people may apply). So, are these all negative rumours? Would any of you ice-vets care to comment on the morale of McMurdo in general? I appreciate any and all responses – Thanks!May 28, 2005 at 9:54 pm #8130
It’s a lifestyle choice.
We could argue about the pay and working conditions all day (and we do!), and the scenery and wildlife and all the other stuff, yada yada. But in the end we come back because we enjoy the lifestyle.May 29, 2005 at 1:45 am #8131
Thanks for answering Glenn.
I’ve already digested the “pay” issue… But I do have one more nagging question after reading an interview on Big dead Place: For those who wish to not stay “3 sheets to wind at all times” are there people/places of refuge? Or do all succumb? This liver ain’t 21 no more!May 29, 2005 at 6:26 pm #8132
As I said before. In my opinion paints a somewhat humorous look at the darker side of life here. There is a rather large percentage of people who don’t participate in the things they write about. Especially the older group. There are lots of light or non-drinking, non-heavy partying people here. They tend to hang out together. The party crowd tends to be the younger set, but not always. It also tends to be a lot of the newer crowd. I look at it as a college dorm environment. You come in as a freshman, away from home the first time and you go a little wild. By the time you’ve spent four years you’ve grown up a little and things tone down.
There is a lot to do down here if you have enough ambition to follow your own path. In fact most people end up complaining that there is too much to do. They try to do it all and end up with no time to themselves.
When you get down here in the summer it will be around 0 degrees, but within a month it will warm dramatically. Once that happens, grab your camera and start getting out.
mMay 29, 2005 at 8:16 pm #8133
Thanks Mike… I worked in the Aleutians once, same type of atmosphere, younger crew partied, and us “somewhat” older types tried to explore the island as much as we could etc.
I look forward to it.May 30, 2005 at 12:50 am #8134
Yeah, you’re going to fit in just fine. My boss describes the perfect Antarctic person as one who can go to a movie or out to dinner alone. If you can make your own fun, you’ll find plenty of others that can as well.
What is your position and is it winfly, summer or winter?May 30, 2005 at 1:08 am #8135
with the fire dept, summer (October?)… years ago (93) my father wintered in Palmer Sta., have been interested since then.June 1, 2005 at 2:12 pm #8136
Having better than average knowledge and experience in this area, let me interject a bit of common sense into the discussion.
There are several points that RPSC does not make clear. First, RPSC is not entitled to information that is protected by HIPAA, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. This includes your parent’s and sibling’s medical history. Although RPSC will probably pressure you to provide it, they are prohibited by law from demanding it.
Likewise the HIV test. They will likely appeal to your civic responsibility and again try to pressure you, but the likelihood of needing to donate is small. They are prohibited by law from requiring it. See also the footnote.
Almost everybody on the ice has a story or two or three about how RPSC messed up their tests and they had to retake them. Given the importance of keeping your medical records accurate, RPSC has a great deal of responsibility for the accuracy of this information.
Nevertheless, numerous inaccuracies seem to occur. The simple way to prevent this is to have the results of your tests returned to your doctor for review, and then sent on to Raytheon. This is a win / win situation for everybody, including Raytheon, since if there is an inaccuracy it will be spotted sooner and you can be immediately retested, rather than waiting for Medical to review your results a month or so down the line. In addition, you have an opportunity to keep your medical information private. For example, if your test suggested prostate cancer or pregnancy, and a retest confirmed it, you certainly wouldn’t be going to the ice, and therefore RPSC really has no need to know. You would simply excuse yourself from the job and deal with the situation on your own. In that case, of course, you would not be reimbersed for the cost of the tests.
More insidious is the drug test. Drug testing is problematic for two reasons. First, the tests are notoriously unreliable, often purporting to show illicit drug use where none exists. Secondly, the results cannot be verified by a later test. There is plenty of information about drug testing on the web, and I would encourage everyone to educate themselves. The ACLU discussion is particularly informative, as is the book “Ur-ine Trouble”
Again, the most logical solution is for your test results to be sent back to your doctor for verification, since, after all, YOU know if you did drugs or not, so you can easily verify whether the test was accurate or not. Again, a win /win for everyone involved. Whether RPSC will accept this or not is unclear.
A second solution less logical solution is to have a backup test done with the same sample, at your expense, and the results sent back to your doctor. This is a lose / lose for everyone involved, since it means arguing over the results of the inaccurate test. On your part, you’ll be trying to convince Raytheon that the test is inaccurate, and they aren’t likely to believe you no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary.
Last but not lest, for you winterovers, there’s the MMPI, or psychological test. The Minnesota Multi-phasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is what’s called a normalcy test; it designed to see if you think roughly the same way as an average male from the midwest.
Composed of 700+ T / F questions, the idea is to get you to check off the answers without thinking about the answers, or even the unanswerable nature of them. Questions such as “my best friends are the ones I drink with” are designed to see if you have a drug problem. Others, such as “I like taking pictures of flowers” are designed to try and decide your sexual orientation. Failure to answer 30 or more questions invalidates the test.
The test is usually followed by a session with a psychologist, who frequently suggests that the test shows that you have answered the questions carefully in order to get the job. Well, duh. Nobody ever accused psychologists of being smart.
The fact of the matter is that the test doesn’t work, and in fact there have been a number of million +dollar settlements against companies who used it for hiring. When its Raytheon’s turn for such a lawsuit remains to be seen. Information about the MMPI, and probably a copy of the test, is available online.
To once again interject commonsense, the logical way to find out whether a person is likely to have problems on the ice is to see what they are like at work.
I hope this helps you understand what you’re getting involved in. I wouldn’t let it scare you, but you should definitely be aware that there’s more to it than meets the eye, and that RPSC isn’t likely to tell you the whole story.
Good luck and enjoy the ride.
It takes 3 months after contracting the HIV virus for a person to show positive on an HIV test. So a person could have sex with an HIV positive person on May 1st, have a clean test on July 1st, and donate HIV positive blood on the ice in October. They would be able to transmit the virus the entire time.June 3, 2005 at 4:17 am #8137
O-kaaay. Plumdog, Cannonball, you’re going to meet loads of interesting people. Have fun. 😉June 28, 2005 at 5:47 pm #8138
Ok, I just need to get a cavity filled, pass the Psych test and I’m PQ’d for 13 months on the ice. Bitchin’
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