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June 3, 2006 at 11:15 am #412CaseyObrMember
I’m wondering if I could get some advice from some of the people here. I’ve been weighing the idea of wintering at McMurdo. A little background: This will be my first season, I’m going down on August 26th for Winfly this year, and I’ll be working in Supply as a materialsperson. Obviously I’ve never been there before, so I’m wondering what people think about the idea of a first-timer signing up for what will essentially be a 12 month contract? I’ve read good things about wintering, both on this forum and from other sources, and I don’t really have anything tying me down to the US right now as I am fresh out of college. (plus the idea of coming out of Antarctica with many thousands of dollars to pay off student loans and get on my financial feet doesnt sound too bad either). My supervisor-to-be has said some mildly reassuring things, and I’m going to talk to him more about it on Monday, but I also realize he might have quotas to fill and whatnot so he might be a little biased. So I’ll throw it out here to see what people think: Am I insane, or would 12 Ice months in a row be something doable for a first timer? I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks very much in advance!
CaseyJune 3, 2006 at 2:25 pm #3040
It’s my experience that it’s easier to do a winter if you have summered first somewhere along the way. Winter in many respects is way better than the summer. You get a room to yourself, lots of space and workload tends to be things you can plan instead of a million emergencies popping up at the last minute.
The down side is that you are far away from friends and family for a very long time. It is however, not unlike moving to Seattle when your family is in Baltimore. You can call on the phone. You can email, but you can’t easily go home to visit when you have to be back at work the next day.
In McMurdo you can’t go home even if you wanted. But other than that workwise it is similar to working anyplace. There are bosses who have bosses who have bosses and everybody wants things done their way. As in the states they are concerned with the “Big Picture” that you will never see. The nice thing about the winter is that the bosses are back in Denver so things have a way of running a little smoother.
In general, I think that if at the end of the summer you are ok with wintering, then you will do fine. I think most people who don’t do well, know it before the winter starts.
June 3, 2006 at 6:59 pm #3041SciencetechKeymaster
I’d say go for it.
This is especially true if there’s nothing tieing you down back in the states. You have to be somewhere, you might as well be making $$ at Mactown.
I agree with Mike: you’ll know by the end of summer if wintering is right for you. If you’re unsure and they only offer you an initial summer contract, go down prepared to stay the winter anyway. Chance are good that, if you want it, you may be able to stay.
Don’t worry about 12 months… Time is on a different scale on the Ice. It’ll go by in a finger snap.
glennJune 3, 2006 at 8:33 pm #3042
Okay, that being said, go for it.
I’m strongly against FNGs jumping right into a winter their first time out, but since you’ll have a summer under your belt, you’ll probably do fine.
Also, Mike didn’t tell you this, but after all the stuff from the ship is put away, usually by the end of March, then there’s basically nothing for Supply to do till Winfly. It’s no wonder Mike likes winters so much. 😉
In what area/department will you be a Materialsperson? They’re all over the station – the most prominent areas being FEMC, VMF, and the Carp Shop.
I’ll be doing a Winfly/Summer/Winter, too. Look me up. I’ll be wearing a red parka.
Enjoy the adventure.
atlasJune 4, 2006 at 2:54 am #3043
We say the same thing about Atlas’s job as well, only without a ship to unload he has little to do the entire winter. Actually we assume he is like the rest of us. One guy who is responsible for hundreds of computers and everyone blames him when they don’t work. He has plenty to do, is probably swamped, about to have a nervous breakdown, but somehow makes it look like a piece of cake.
In the supply warehouses, you go to get a part, there is a person behind the desk who helps you and that is all most people see. Behind the scenes are another 1-3 persons who are doing the work of making the warehouse function.
Casey,once the items for the ship are unloaded, the busywork of supply gets going. Mostly it’s behind the scenes things. Lots of inventories, lots of moving product. Most of the really big projects are saved for the winter. Last year we moved all the product in an entire warehouse to another one that was closer to town. This year we are redoing the entire fuels building. It’s not just moving either. We go through hundreds or thousands of descriptions, look them up and try rewrite everything so that like items are consistant. Then try to sort them on shelves in some consistant manor. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of items every year in the winter. The idea is to make it easy for future employees to do their jobs. Many will be like you, first time down and expected to hit the ramp running. The winter people try to make it easy for you to look good.
To the uninitiated like Atlas, it looks simple. You go to supply ask for your part, its on the shelf where you think it is, it’s the item you think it is in the quantity it should be, you get it and leave. You wonder why there is more than one person. You have no clue how much time goes into keeping all these parts organized.
The big FEMC (construction trades) and Vehicle warehouses work this way. The smaller computer and science support as well. The food warehouses are another world. In some ways the most interesting of the bunch because so much goes out each week. Up to 15 palletfulls each week. The galley staff relies each week on the ability of supply personnel to have an accurate inventory. They take the food we have on hand and divide it out to last the year, and plan menus around those figures. If the staff is telling them we have 8000 pounds of meat and suddenly it cant’ be found, panic ensues.
There are still a 1000 people in the summer who need to be fed 3 times a week. To me it’s the least boring of all the warehouses because it demands so much. Originally I was coming back this summer to be the senior there, but a second person who has run that warehouse asked to come back as well, so I decided to stay where I am.
June 4, 2006 at 3:46 am #3044
A first timer doing a full year is not the best approach. 12 months is a
long time first time out of the gate. A winfly-summer is a big step and the
thousands your expecting may fall a bit short of what your expecting as
well. The one thing to your advantage down there is….you dont HAVE to
spend your money on the basic's, but partying has been a way of life down
there in the past. I wish you the best, I've been there twice.
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http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/June 4, 2006 at 3:51 am #3045
Atlas…your being a shit to a FNGY even before he hits the ice, are you
trying to get in the first lick? Boy is it hard to out-do you. “There might
be two red parkas at McTown”
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http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/June 4, 2006 at 6:43 am #3046
Hey, the boy’s gotta be tough if he’s gonna winter. Just giving him a little head start. 🙂 By the time Mainbody arrives, he’ll be head and shoulders above all the other FNGs.
P.S. McMurdo ain’t big enough for TWO red parkas wearers! Bes’ you just concede now…June 4, 2006 at 10:17 am #3047Big VMember
if you have an offer for a winter contract, TAKE IT…you can always bail but it’s hard to get it once you’re here. definately take it and get throught the PQ. supply is an easy job, especially in the winter….they’ll be people scrambling to find anything they can to winter over so if you end up bailing, it’s no big deal.
TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT 🙂
Big VJune 4, 2006 at 10:17 am #3048
Atlas…..my hats off to you 😉 The kid is in for a BIG surprise! He will
be begging for a flight out by the end of the season, summer that is.
Take care and have a great season,
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Security. http://clinic.mcafee.com/clinic/ibuy/campaign.asp?cid=3963June 4, 2006 at 10:33 pm #3049
Yo, Big V —
How’s the winter going down there? Hear it’s been pretty boring. Anyone win the Condition One pool, yet?
One thing you didn’t mention to Casey is that if he bails on the winter portion of his contract, he’ll probably lose out on his bonus for the summer. Depends on how his contract is written, of course.
But what’s a few grand? Mere pocket change to us rich, contract-worker scum. 😉
Take care, and please tell Ron I said howdy. Oh, how are you making it without the latest issue of Glamour ? 🙂
aJune 5, 2006 at 1:52 am #3050Baghdad JimMember
Poole said:”There are still a 1000 people in the summer who need to be fed 3 times a week.”
the benefits are astounding…3 times a week.June 5, 2006 at 4:10 am #3051Big VMember
yeah, that is something to consider…the bonus thing. seems like alot of the time in supply you get a “last chance to bail” without having your bonus affected. they really don’t want people to stay down here that hate it so there’s usually an “out” offered.
the Glamour thing didn’t make me quite as famous as i had hoped but maybe once i get back to the states, people will start asking me for my autograph 🙂
and my newest idea to keep me entertained is to try and get on survivor–any ideas for my video? i’m thinking of using the plunge.
Matt M won the Condition 1 pool, that was the last week.
nice to hear from you!
VJune 5, 2006 at 8:11 am #3052
What the hey Jim, somebody wants to be fed more than 3 times a week? Maybe I’ll throw my weight and see if we can get fed 3 times a day by the time you get here. By the way any word on a contract?
Casey if you sign a year contract, you should qualify for an extra 1000 dollar bonus. Not a bad incentive. And a big chunk to loose if you backout. But then if you don’t sign in advance you don’t get it anyway. There is usually a waiting list of supply folk wanting to stay the winter. You are lucky to get an early invite.
As to whether you sign or not, I still say you probably already know if the time away from home is going to be too hard on you. If you are thinking it might be a problem then it could well be. If you think you would do fine, but are cautious because of what others say, then you will enjoy the winter.
Your summer supervisor has a saying about Antarctica. If you can go to a movie alone or eat out alone and be happy about it, then you will do fine down here. My gut reaction to your accounts of traveling around and making your own enjoyment at the job fair leads me to think that you will fit in fine down here.
I’ll be here this summer, so I can fill you in a little more with the winter activities.
MikeJune 5, 2006 at 3:33 pm #3053Baghdad JimMember
Mike..nope–no contract sent my way yet. I took your POC advise and emailed one of the HR, she forwarded my resume to the hiring Mgr and I got sent a second, and different, HireRight email.
filled it out–currently listed as “in review”–this time it’s one of the billeting positions. The materials position …never heard back, I just noticed a ‘not in consideration…’ one day.
kinda late in the season so I’m not expecting anything. Evacuate on the drop of a dime, I can do. Change jobs at the last minute because a Primary fell thru…i dunno. Honestly, considering I’ve got a good bead on the pay there…if I got told today that I was a primary for Aug–I’d start shipping stuff home within a few days and prepping for a nice 13 month 4 week and another 13.
it topped 122 here yesterday. I saw McM listed as -6F this morning–that true? that warm?
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