spidey’s what about list


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  • #6469
    Mradyfist
    Member

    @Sciencetech wrote:

    Re., what do people do in the off season? The salaries are not really enough to sustain you through the rest of the year unless you’re extremely frugal.

    Clearly you’ve never worked for the public school system.

    #6470
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    @Mradyfist wrote:

    Clearly you’ve never worked for the public school system.

    I’m puzzled by this. I agree that times are tough on a lot of people, especially school system employees.

    But it’s not really a good comparison. The salaries on the Ice vary widely by position, and the term of employment is typically much shorter than a school year. Locally, school system pay (and benefits) are spread evenly throughout the year, summer included, whereas Ice pay and benefits end with the contract. This is a show-stopper for some Ice people who would otherwise like to return year after year; if you’ve tried to purchase private health insurance or COBRA lately then you are aware of the financial burden.

    For others reading this post, perhaps the thing to take away from it is: Assuming you get a job in Antarctica, what are you going to do afterwards? For many of us, the answer is we live like a pauper until we can pick up another job. If you winter-over you can tuck away some savings, but even a series of summer contracts won’t buy you a comfortable lifestyle.

    #6471
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    have a “what about.” Actually, I have a couple of “what abouts.”

    What about supply?
    Supply is a far reaching dept that touches almost everyone. The process starts the previous summer season on the ice when dept put together their orders for the coming year and continues thru till the next summer season when returning staff expect the items to be there and ready to use. The items get bought and are shipped to Port Hueneme, Cal where the sit for up to a year. Once a year in December a container ship gets loaded with everything MCM has purchased. It arrives in Feb and is unloaded by contract Navy cargo handlers and the containers and other items handed to the MCM supply staff. Some of the containers are unloaded on the spot. Mostly things needed right away. After that the summer staff leaves and the winter staff starts the drudging task of opening the containers and receiving the product. Most things are stored, either indoors or out in snowdrifts for the winter. The summer staff returns in October along with most of the base staff. The supply focus changes to providing custormer support and doing inventory control. The dept is broken into commodity groups. Vehicle repair, Electrical, Carpentry, Small engine repair, ect. Generally, each area has one or two people that are generally aware of the product. IE Vehicle repair looks a little like going to NAPA auto to the community. The truth is that only a tiny part of what goes on is the person at the front desk handing out parts. Mostly it’s inventory control and counting. Counting counting and more counting. Counting in the morning, Counting in the afternoon, Counting on Saturday. You can count on it. To be looked at you must have material handling skills of some sort. If sitting in a windowless warehouse for three days sorting piles of nuts and bolts and bagging them into countable sizes would drive you nuts, then don’t apply. The end result is a living breathing healthy inventory. When you go to look for something, the description in the computer matches what is on the shelf and describes the item well, it’s sitting where the computer says it is and the quantity is what it is supposed to be. Do that for tens of thousands of items and you have supply. If you are detail oriented and count, sort and put in things in order, then apply. It tends to be heavy with smart on the ball, college educated people.

    Is there anyone who can give me a heads-up on SOP, the unique inventory software,

    The program is MAPCON. It is an archaic DOS program. Nothing to click on, it’s all command focused. Remember the old days. ALTI Shift F2. You have to memorize the commands. Supply people use it daily and after a few months become relatively proficient. The rest of the station hates it. It has a good search engine, so with an understanding of the program you can generally find what others can’t. Mapcon was originally a common program, but was purchased by USAP and modified for polar use. It is no longer supported by anyone except the Denver programmers. They have been trying for years to come up with a replacement, but this program ties in every aspect of work. Requesitions, purchasing, shipping, port hueneme, workorders, hr ect, that new programs have to be custom developed and the cost skyrockets.

    mechanics (forklift gear etc. . . are we talking Skid Steers or handtrucks?),

    All of the above, hence the need to have material handling experience to work in the dept. You don’t need previous forklift skills but it helps. Mostly we have forklifts that are different than a normal warehouse. We will train. Forklifts are the most common. The smallest are electric or propane rear steering machines like you would see in any warehouse. There are only a few of these because the are mostly indoor with no cab or heater. Next is the Case M4K center articulating military forklift. It is the workhorse machine because it is all wheel drive and can drive into all the containers and pretty much any building. Next up are the front end loaders. They have the buckets removed and replaced with forks. These are big heavy item workhorse machines. As a materialsperson, you will learn to operated these and m4ks. The others are workcenter specific. There are also pallet jacks, hand trucks, straps, chains, hoists and a myriad of small items.

    a regular day, regular problems, an extraordinary day, or any extraordinary problems?

    A normal day- somebody mans the counter and provides parts service for the shop you are supporting. The rest count. Extraordinary days would be station emergencies,where something importantant breaks and they need parts we don’t have. You and the tradesperson you are supporting have to use your skills to think of other ways to take what we do have and make it work. It’s fun and sometime requires coming in and working when you should be off.

    And what about winter-over options? Are there certain positions (outside of supply operations or including) that a person has a better chance of getting the option to winter-over?

    What are regular winter-over positions? I imagine there are not many.

    Actually almost all depts have lots of people in the summer. In the winter the station goes on at a slower pace. The still need everyone just fewer. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, computer, they are all there. The dining staff is pretty big of course.

    Also, if there is a new contract, how will this effect any winter-over workers? Is there any new scuttlebutt either way on the contract? These are my “what abouts.” Thank you all for all this information. The “penguin punch” thread has been particularly useful in punctuating an otherwise pedestrian recession. I have a few more “what abouts” knocking around somewhere. But, I hope these are sufficient for now.

    Any new company could do anything they want, but would shoot themselves in the foot if they did. The contract changes in the middle of next years winter season. You shouldn’t see much change at that point. Since they will need to know the ropes, they will most likely hire everyone that isn’t upper management. But in that respect, a lot of current and past upper management are already working for the bidding companies. There will be changes for sure, but it shouldn’t affect the lower employees much at all. From the recent posts, you can see that the big change Raytheon put into place was the HR and safety rules. Early on they required drug tests, made you sign a disclosure form that allowed them to do background checks, and a few other things that rankled the people escaping from the US corporate lifestyle. A lot of them chose not to return. Others gave in. Is it better or worse? Depends on who you talk to. In any case it’s different.

    #6472
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    @Sciencetech wrote:

    For others reading this post, perhaps the thing to take away from it is: Assuming you get a job in Antarctica, what are you going to do afterwards? For many of us, the answer is we live like a pauper until we can pick up another job. If you winter-over you can tuck away some savings, but even a series of summer contracts won’t buy you a comfortable lifestyle.

    That said, many people could care less about a comfortable lifestyle. They are out to take every last penny, travel the world and come back to work when they run out. To do this you pretty much have to be debt free. You can’t travel if you have huge loans to pay each month. Pay everything off now and live cheap. If you own a house, find a renter while you are gone. A house payment will eat your saving up pretty fast.

    In general people learn to travel on the cheap pretty well. Once on the ice you will hear of traveller friendly parts of the world where you can live in a beach bungalow for a few dollars a day. In fact you will surrounded by people who do that each year. Travelling can be cheaper than going home to the states. If you time things well, you travel, get back to the states and get unemployment, maybe find a job, but by the time the unemployment runs out, it’s time to return. Just keep enough cash to do your PQ

    #6473
    Mradyfist
    Member

    @Sciencetech wrote:

    @Mradyfist wrote:

    Clearly you’ve never worked for the public school system.

    I’m puzzled by this. I agree that times are tough on a lot of people, especially school system employees.

    But it’s not really a good comparison. The salaries on the Ice vary widely by position, and the term of employment is typically much shorter than a school year. Locally, school system pay (and benefits) are spread evenly throughout the year, summer included, whereas Ice pay and benefits end with the contract. This is a show-stopper for some Ice people who would otherwise like to return year after year; if you’ve tried to purchase private health insurance or COBRA lately then you are aware of the financial burden.

    For others reading this post, perhaps the thing to take away from it is: Assuming you get a job in Antarctica, what are you going to do afterwards? For many of us, the answer is we live like a pauper until we can pick up another job. If you winter-over you can tuck away some savings, but even a series of summer contracts won’t buy you a comfortable lifestyle.

    That was more supposed to be an off-color joke than a real complaint about working at a school, but in my case it’s still true. For employees who are officially hired only for the hours that students are there, you have much less paid hours than you’d think. My job is officially 7 hours a day, 177 days a year (we don’t get paid for all those holidays and conference days), which adds up to 1239 paid hours a year. Contrast that with a 9-5 job working 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, which adds up to 2080 hours, and I’m working closer to half-time, probably fairly on par with a 7-month winter contract in Antarctica. Then add in the fact that I need to pay 12 months worth of rent, groceries, gas, car insurance, electric, internet, etc and the idea of having no expenses for a while is pretty tempting.

    I’m not going to include the actual numbers here (although I’m sure someone could reverse the math), but my rough calculations tell me that if I worked a summer at the lower paid position I’ve qualified for, it would be enough to replace my current income for about 8 months, without including a end of contract bonus. For the higher paid position, it would be closer to 10 months, maybe a year if I was careful. If I did a full year at the better position, I could probably spend the next two years doing whatever I wanted.

    All this is also assuming I continue renting out commercial space for my recording studio at the same price, which is currently more than I pay for my apartment.

    #6474
    spidey
    Participant

    I’ve got to put togther a good what if like the supply guy.
    So what do the IT people do all day? Get up, get ready, have breakfast, then all wander over to the “IT” building to report in at 7:30?
    Then what a morning meeting to go over whats outstanding and what needs to be done?
    Besides traditional server maintence and handling requests to add accounts or permissions, or reset passwords, what are the normal daily tasks?

    #6475
    Ridgewood
    Member

    .

    #6476
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    spidey, Atlas would be the one to help you with IT. To me it’s a big black box. Things don’t work, you call them and then things work again. I’ll see if I can find another IT person to answer as well.

    #6477
    MightyAtlas
    Moderator

    I’m not quite awake yet…

    #6478
    skua77
    Keymaster

    Wow. This collection of threads is the most amazing I’ve seen here in a long time, and I just now found time to read it all! That’s a basic compliment to everyone who has contributed, which I address to the new folks who are reading it. From my corner, all I can say is that 98% of what you see here is great information (I’m still looking for that swimming pool 🙂 but as a facilities and construction person and occasional Antarctic historian I must say that there actually was talk of one once upon a time).

    I truly hate those phone interviews. I had one for an ice job a few years ago (I didn’t get the job) that was totally frustrating since there were about 6 people on the other end that I’d never met, and I was really confused about who was asking what question. And of course there is the perspective that a few of us have….that HR person on the other end of the phone or the email was not even born when I made my first trips to the ice.

    There was mention of Darryn Schneider’s site…he has a wealth of information from a somewhat different perspective–an Australian who wintered at Davis as well as Pole–doing science rather than working for the contractor…and his winter at Pole happened to be the one when Rodney Marks died. Since he’s a good friend and I think he’s got an excellent perspective on the program I’ll throw out the link: http://antarctica.kulgun.net/.

    One other thing that has been mentioned on this board before that is worth repeating….lots of folks do blogs, put up photo galleries, do stuff on social networking sites, or whatever. And if you are interested in what life on the ice is like I stongly encourage you to read a few to get some different perspectives. But what do you see on these sites? Discussions about welding? Leaks in the subfloor? Forklifts? MAPCON? Photos of chipping p#ss in the utilidor? Heck no (well, not usually at least). People take and share pictures and video of parties, friends, fun, free time, wildlife and scenery, just like they do everywhere else in the world. Just don’t let that put the wrong spin on the place, there are important jobs getting done every day.

    #6479
    spidey
    Participant

    still hoping atlas wakes up. Poked around frozen brodys blog but didn’t get as much of the daily routine as the mannamah one.
    But of course the more I read the more I learn and the more questions I have.
    Cravings have got to be tough there. I see you have mr frosty. Guess it is the last place without McDs.
    Do they stock any hot sauces?
    Thx
    Pete

    #6480
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    tabasco is stocked. It’s got too much vineger for me. I send down tapatio.
    IT is a pretty far ranging job, that covers daily pc maintenance, printer and copier repair and maintenace, network, telephones and off continent satlink connections, programing, and the network backbone system. Different people for each job.

    I wish I had more inside knowledge. I think you were applying for pc tech positions. The do the copier and printer repairs. All laptops get scanned for active antivirus software and approved before being allowed on the net, they do that. There is an ongoing program of respinning computers. And so on and so on. All black box stuff to me, but seems pretty cut and dried to the techs.

    #6481
    Mradyfist
    Member

    I had started a thread a while back which ended up with some good info about IT, but it seems to have disappeared. I could’ve sworn it was still there a week ago, although it hadn’t had any new posts for a long time.

    #6482
    m0loch
    Keymaster

    @Mradyfist wrote:

    I had started a thread a while back which ended up with some good info about IT, but it seems to have disappeared. I could’ve sworn it was still there a week ago, although it hadn’t had any new posts for a long time.

    The thread: “what’s IT like in Antarctica”

    #6483
    spidey
    Participant

    Decided to watch the Thing tonight. I’ve always been a big Kurt Russell fan anyway. I would swear I must have watched it at one point, but there is no deja vu so far and perhaps I missed it.
    So I understand there are no firearms or flame throwers in McMurdo, or even swords for that matter. What do you do if an alien appears that consumes people?
    More than that, there always seem to be both large stations and dogs in these movies. I seem to rememeber reading no dogs since 1980? But maybe they were there in 82 for the Thing, but not for 8 below. Are there camps like the ones of either of these movies, or how big/small are the diving outposts or penguin ranch facilities?
    The Thing had roller skates, I have a pair of blades, though I’m not sure I ever put them on, is there any roller blading?
    How evil is Karen’s gut buster regiem? Is it as bad as the PR makes it out to be? Can’t remember the campy name for her classes.
    I wonder if I could talk AC/DC into doing a performance on Ice for their Black Ice release, if the NSF would get them there and put them up. I’m not so sure that Morale incentive program is going to take off. Perhaps it would have to go through the Writers and Artists grant program. I’m sure it would be a long shot anyway, but they are based in Australia.
    Who was responsible for the short film “Waste Side Story”, that was quite amusing.
    Why would the comptroller frown on dollar coins? I would think they would hold up better than paper.
    What do you need to do to get a spot as a bartender in the coffee house or one of the other establishments? How much work is that vs. what are the benefits? I’m thinking back to my stereo thread plus it would likely be a good way to meet people outside your job.
    Boondongles… What types are the average FNG likely to have a chance at. Just a trip out to the airstrip, a remote camp, up to the rim of Erebus, Happy Camper, or a trip to a nearby curiousity such as an ice cave or something.
    Any chance of the store selling Goslings Black Seal Rum and Ginger beer for Dark and Stormys, or would that be a byo option?
    How bad is the turn around for netflix?
    I haven’t seen a good breakdown of the dorms in terms of the pros cons an what you might aspire to. The main dorm is the most crowded w/ 4 to a room, the lowest seniority, but has the galley, the internet cafe, and a few other needed services? Is that 155? Others are more remote and might offer a tradeoff of quiet and more space to long hikes to other facilities? Are all people distributed evenly or are grantees and beakers segregated? Or are senior vs. FNGs likely to be in different dorms/floors?
    What’s the scoop on when you get the crud? Can you just call in sick or is more like the military where you need to go to the medics first thing and they tell you to go to work anyway or take bedrest?
    What about cheese? I seem to remember there was some bad news on that front. Cheese for your eggs? burgers? w/ crackers? sauce over broccoli?
    Are the veggies canned or frozen for the most part? I’m a big frozen fan when fresh isn’t available or is too expensive, but canned veggies tend to bring me down.
    Bacon, after cheese, everything goes better w/ bacon. Bacon?
    How useless or makeshift are my northface, Bugaboo, LL Bean…. ski jackets as alternatives to Big Red. Always kept me warm in 20+ here, but thats here. (Can’t believe I own 6 ski jackets living in Florida but it wasn’t always that way).
    Is a Ham radio license easy enough to get that I should make the effort, or is it only applicable if you have the passion?
    Is all TV prerecorded or do you get to see any live Football games? Any Fantasy Leagues on the ice?
    How successful have been people been contacting maufacturers w/ the I’m headed to Antarctica can you send some of your product along with me line? Be nice to get some good golf clubs and dayglo balls sent down, or maybe some cool electronics.
    If Humidifiers are really nice to have, what are the chances if I send a few down in August I would get one of them in Oct?
    Whats the story on off hours skill bartering? I read a bit about massages but I’m most likely to try to procure one, not give one. I have been known to read tea leaves for people, fix computers, teach computer application classes, repair Italian automobiles, write documentaion, and even dabble in the arts.
    I may have asked this one, but are there irons on the ice? The get wrinkles out of clothing type.
    These are the ones I’ve saved up so far, I’ll more before long….

    -Spidey

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