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Offline wclark160

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2009, 09:16 »
Don't worry, short outages are only for the numbers and inpo indexes...  from what I have experienced, the equipment that was not worked this outage... will further degrade and take twice as long the next cyle to repair. Just my humble opinion

Offline namlive

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2009, 07:11 »
Don't worry, short outages are only for the numbers and inpo indexes...  from what I have experienced, the equipment that was not worked this outage... will further degrade and take twice as long the next cyle to repair. Just my humble opinion

In some cases it is pay me now or pay me later. In other cases I have found out that utilities repair many things while at power that they used to hold off to outage time. In addition to smarter planning, the TMI modifications should all be done. Remember those anchor bolt outages? Seems they didn't build the plants according to the prints. (That is why you have to put up with engineers who don't know how to dress out, who need to go some godforsaken place and take measurements.) So they opted to modify the plants by moving anchor bolts from one spot on the floor, over 6 inches so it will match the print, and the reactor print submitted to the NRC for safety evaluation. One outage a plant would be adding snubbers, the next outage they would be removing them. It all made for money in the bank. Those days are gone.

The newer outages are make it tougher on contractors who have to juggle short outages, staff them all with less techs, all the time the contractor is making less money because of shorter outages. They are forced to do more with less.

It does help if you send your recruiter thank you flowers from time to time. They tend to remember you. Of course that means you don't deal with the male recruiter.
No one gets out alive.

Fermi2

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2009, 03:54 »
Don't worry, short outages are only for the numbers and inpo indexes...  from what I have experienced, the equipment that was not worked this outage... will further degrade and take twice as long the next cyle to repair. Just my humble opinion

Not true

Offline jams723

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2009, 07:14 »
Not true

Broad is right, "IF" the equipment is on the proper maintenance schedule barring unforeseen breakdowns you work the right equipment for the outage.  You don't always shoot for a sub 20 day outage rather figure out your major scope timeframe and then work the correct equipment in that timeframe.

Offline wclark160

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2009, 07:25 »
Again, my opinion.. but experience talking here.  used to work for INPO 1 plant who set the world record 13 day refueling outage. Now plant is INPO 4 with 50 day outages.  Again simply a craft person talking here.  But experience has proven my theory.

Fermi2

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2009, 08:36 »
I doubt the INPO rating had anything to do with equipment condition. Outages are in the 30 to 20 day period because we do so much more online, not because most equipment is neglected. It's been my experience, and I'm certain most SMs will agree that what you are alleging as a fact simply isn't true.

namlive if you are a Marxist why do you support a union?

Offline HydroDave63

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2009, 10:27 »
Again, my opinion.. but experience talking here.  used to work for INPO 1 plant who set the world record 13 day refueling outage. Now plant is INPO 4 with 50 day outages.  Again simply a craft person talking here.  But experience has proven my theory.

It may be a root cause issue....the same utilities that have sites slide from INPO 1 to 4 over a decade or so usually have a common thread of a lax culture with good-ol-boy management, that sometimes manifests as human performance errors, other times with 45 day outages slipping to 120+ because of lax outage management, that then takes "calculated risks" on operating with high vibration on equipment to get/stay online, which fails and lowers the capacity factor...it's all intertwined, and not really accurate to boil it down to "short outage= equipment failure or short outage=lower lifetime capacity factor" There are multiple failure paths, yet a good utility culture that supports a good site culture avoids these pitfalls.

Offline wclark160

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2009, 12:12 »
Agreed... the good ol boy attitude is slowly pulling the good sites down the drain..

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2009, 03:47 »
You can have the attitude that you will always have work if you are a good tech, or see the writing on the wall and take action by leaving the system or speaking up with one thing that unites all techs.   We are NOT in the business because we love to get underpaid to travel across the county hoping to make up for the loss with a longer outage.  We are not excited about all the exciting sights we see when  we travel.  I have made it a point to see most of the sights when I traveled.
 
Bottom line: WE are in this line of work for the money

I have not met a tech yet who said that if they won the multimillion dollar lottery they would come back once the check came through.   When the money incentive goes away, we fade away like MacArthur's old soldier metafore. . . Good or bad, that is where the industry is headed.   So you either adjust, move on to non-traveling jobs, move out of the field, retire, or die.   

I brought this up, Like Paul Revere, to say the warning that, "Short non-profitable outages are coming, short non-profitable outages are coming. . . "   I hope some finds a solution to balance between short outages to raise Company profitability verses making a wages that the traveling techs can afford to live on.

Offline roadhp

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2009, 09:44 »
I can agree with most of the comments here so far.  The one thing that is going to drive the outages is money, either from the utilities point of view or from the techs.  With all of the techs going to DOE for a guaranteed paycheck, although long term, and with all of the outages going on this fall (San Onofre and Crystal River and TMI, OH MY) there is definitely going to be a tech shortage.  With some utilities already giving the short game to techs, they will be the ones hurting the most as their staffing will take the biggest hit.  I heard that the techs that worked the Dominion outages this spring got the shaft, with each site promised a month, but panning out at two weeks, which makes for a 4 week outage season.  :o  Again, the old addage is true:  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  ::)
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Offline G-reg

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2009, 11:20 »
Regarding what roadhp said about the Dominion outages:

I obviously don't know what was promised (because I wasn't there), but two- or three- week outages have become a Holy Grail in those Dominion offices which require the longest elevator rides to reach.  Furthermore, they are looking to reduce contractor staffing during outages by borrowing more techs from the other on-line fleet units.

Frankly, I'm not sure how these "next generation" outages are going to be profitable for road techs.  It doesn't seem to bode well; not for the contractors - and not for the utilities, after all of the contractors decide that working for Ebeneezer just isn't worth it and subsequently find something better to do (i.e. DOE).  I do harbor some anxiety over this particular issue...
"But that's just my opinion - I could be wrong."
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Offline Already Gone

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2009, 03:00 »
Outages are not meant to be profitable to the techs.  But techs can employ a strategy that will make them valuable - and therefore more employed.

Awhile back, I learned that what my boss needed, what he was willing to pay for, and what made me the most money as a result, was for me to be willing to go where he needed me to go and stay there as long as he needed me there.
Now that I have his job, I can see how valuable I was to him - because all my former coworkers (now my employees) did not see it the same way.  Some of them do, some are real pains in the ass.

Anyway, here is what worked:

Call the boss/recruiter (infrequently) and remind him you are available

Don't just tell him where you want to work - listen to what HE is saying to YOU.  But, also be honest and upfront about your own preferences in general.  Some people love to work a lot.  Others don't need as much.  Some folks love working Exelon sites.  Others would rather eat cat food.  Let them know what you want, but do not demand it.

Be willing to go to any job that is offered.  Eventually, you will have banked up enough goodwill that you will be the first person called because you are the most reliable.  The earlier they call you - the more choices you have.

If you need an early layoff from site A to get to site B, work this out with the OFFICE and the SC in advance.  They can work this out.  But, if you show up at a site and ask them to let you go so you can get to another job, this will come back and bite you. The customer will blame your employer - who will not be happy about it - for shorting them in favor of another customer.  Even if you just want an early layoff because you don't want to work as much, it is the same as dragging up in the eyes of the customer.  If you are not willing to stay an extra week or two to help them get finished, they will have to keep all the other techs who need to leave for other jobs.  In either case, if the office and SC know in advance, they can arrange the schedule without pissing off the utility.  This one is so easy to manage, but always ends up being a problem because nobody communicates.

Instead of trying to schedule yourself, just be available and willing.  Scheduling you for jobs is not your job, it is the manager/recruiter's job.  YOU ARE NOT HELPING IF YOUR TRY TO DO HIS JOB FOR HIM!!!

Never EVER EVER, under any circumstance or condition do you call the site or go behind the manager/recruiter's back to get an assignment that was not offered to you.  I know, we all have a story about the outage that was "staffed" that wasn't really staffed or where we were expected to return and not offered a slot.  That is going to happen for a lot of reasons that may or may not interest you - and your recruiter may not be telling you everything, but he is telling you all that you need to know.  If the site really needs you and your name is not on the list, let THEM be the ones to ask, but if you call them the office will find out that you did.
I have struggled with this one, because we all have sites where we like to work - whether it is the people, the money, the good deals we get on lodging, ... etc.  Yet, it comes down to this; your employer is your employer.  They are not your agent, your travel agent, or your career manager.  They need you where they need you.  If you want a favorable relationship with them, get to know them and let them know you.  But going behind their back only undermines them with their customer, leaves them overloaded with resources where they are not needed and short of resources where they are needed most.
Before you pick up the phone and call a SC or RPM to get into a plant for an outage, ask yourself if that one plant will have enough work for you to keep you going all year every year.  Of course, the answer is NO.  But your employer can and will take care of you if you are an asset instead of a liability.  You might be the most gifted and hardworking tech in the universe, but if you screw the company whose name is on your paycheck, don't be surprised to find that your name is in the file marked "problem child- use only as necessary".

Take whatever you want from this, but it has made me a good living.
"To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Offline LOKI RAD

Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2009, 04:11 »
Agreed.

No complants here, espically back in the 80's, 6 month outages!!!!

I could not have lucked up in a better career.

Thank You TMI! 8)

Content1

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2009, 06:07 »
[quote author=
Call the boss/recruiter (infrequently) and remind him you are available

Don't just tell him where you want to work - listen to what HE is saying to YOU.  But, also be honest and upfront about your own preferences in general.  Some people love to work a lot.  Others don't need as much.  Some folks love working Exelon sites.  Others would rather eat cat food.  Let them know what you want, but do not demand it.

Be willing to go to any job that is offered.  Eventually, you will have banked up enough goodwill that you will be the first person called because you are the most reliable.  The earlier they call you - the more choices you have.

[/quote]

That is the way I have always done it, state I was available for even the most hated sites.   I used to joke about it this way: 

There are four levels of tech jobs.

Level 1.    The recruiter call you to ask where you would like to work, day or night shift, and day off.

2.    The recruiter call you to ask where you'd like to work but you take what is offered.

3.    You have to call the recruiter and offer to work at a list of sites as long as you can get 2 outages.

4.    You call the recuiter, and offer to work at Lymric;  He/She will certainly know you are willing to take anything.

     I usually operated close to level 4 because I had 4 in my party and we were thankful for anything.  What happened different here is even with that submissive attitude, I was dealt 1 outage millstone in the fall 08 and the infamous North Ana/Surry turbo outages, where 2 outages = 1 outage pay.   I start my long term job Tuesday.

Offline roadhp

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2009, 06:21 »
  Yet, it comes down to this; your employer is your employer.  They are not your agent, your travel agent, or your career manager.  They need you where they need you.  If you want a favorable relationship with them, get to know them and let them know you.  But going behind their back only undermines them with their customer, leaves them overloaded with resources where they are not needed and short of resources where they are needed most.
Before you pick up the phone and call a SC or RPM to get into a plant for an outage, ask yourself if that one plant will have enough work for you to keep you going all year every year.  Of course, the answer is NO.  But your employer can and will take care of you if you are an asset instead of a liability.  You might be the most gifted and hardworking tech in the universe, but if you screw the company whose name is on your paycheck, don't be surprised to find that your name is in the file marked "problem child- use only as necessary".

Take whatever you want from this, but it has made me a good living.
I have a problem with this one.  If I let the employer decide which outages I am going to, I will be going to every S#!&hole there is instead of the ones that treat the techs like valuable assets.  I will be overworked and underpaid because those are the outages that the employer is having a hard time staffing.  I will work almost anywhere, but there are a few places that I would rather starve than work, and not trying to tie in another thread, but if everyone did this every time, we would still be making under $15/hr with $50/day.  Now, I am not saying call the SC first, just let the office know you are going to call him or her and see what new things they have to say.  Most of the time, the SC's, who are also the employer, have a better insight into what the numbers are than the office, and will know the possibilities better because they are in constant contact with the customer.
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Offline Already Gone

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2009, 10:14 »
You might be tempted to think it will work that way, but recruiters, site-coordinators, and managers are people too.  They take care of the people who make their jobs/lives easier.

Sure, you can talk to a Site Coordinator about coming to work at his outages.  Let them know how much you enjoyed working for them. Better still, be the person they remember as the one who pitched in a little more than everyone else.  Give them a reason to ask for you.
Realize that if you have to call them to ask to get in, you are putting yourself into the wrong category.  It is always better to be requested than to be requesting.

And you can certainly give the recruiter advance notice that you are going to stab them in the back.  That doesn't mean they will return the favor.  They will probably screw you by surprise in return for you making them look bad, complicating their jobs and being a prima-donna.  The SC might have a little pull in certain circumstances, but if he wants to keep being a SC, he won't piss off the office too many times - and certainly not without getting something in return.  Basically, he is just another tech who makes a couple of dollars more than you and gets a few more weeks of work at some sites.  He can be replaced almost as easily as you can, so he's not going to go too far out on a limb just to make you happy.

Those $h!thole plants need to be staffed too.  If you think you are too good to work there, you're not.  You can complain all you want that this plant sucks and you want to go elsewhere, but your personal desires are not the recruiter's problem.  I'm not saying that you have no say in the matter. By all means let your preferences be known.  If you hate working at certain places, say so.  Then realize that you may have to go there anyway.  At least that way they can owe you a favor.  But every single time you refuse a job, you owe them a favor.  It is better to be in the black in the favor column than to be in the red.

Being a better tech is not your ticket into better jobs.  Being a better employee is.  Considering that they bill the same rate for you that they get for the weaker tech who doesn't cause problems, you need to come to terms with the reality that being high maintenance is not a good strategy for career development.  I'm no different from anybody else.  I try to do right by my employees.  Most of them will tell you it is true.  But I will bet you a paycheck that I can tell you which ones won't.  It is not that I am vindictive.  It is that some people are so impossible to please that I don't waste the energy trying to please them.  Some are so demanding that I stopped listening a while ago because I realized that they were essentially demanding that I give them what they wanted at the expense of the guys who would do anything I ask.

When you connive, cajole, whine, bitch, or demand your way into a job, you are pushing out someone else.  When you do those things to get out of a job, someone else has to go in your place.  It is that simple.  So, ask yourself; what makes you better than that guy?  Why do you deserve all the good deals and he only the bad ones?  From where I sit, the guy who goes where I ask him to go and doesn't go behind my back is the guy who gets to go to the better jobs.  I am NOT going to push him out in favor of someone who is demanding, devious, or dishonest.  Which would you choose?

So, go ahead.  Go behind your recruiter's back.  You may get away with it here or there, but make it last, 'cause the minute the clock strikes payback time you're gonna get yours.  But don't come here crying about how Big Blue screwed you over.  Heard it all already.
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Offline UncaBuffalo

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2009, 01:31 »
Outages are not meant to be profitable to the techs.  But techs can employ a strategy that will make them valuable - and therefore more employed.

Awhile back, I learned that what my boss needed, what he was willing to pay for, and what made me the most money as a result, was for me to be willing to go where he needed me to go and stay there as long as he needed me there.
Now that I have his job, I can see how valuable I was to him - because all my former coworkers (now my employees) did not see it the same way.  Some of them do, some are real pains in the ass.

Anyway, here is what worked:

Call the boss/recruiter (infrequently) and remind him you are available

Don't just tell him where you want to work - listen to what HE is saying to YOU.  But, also be honest and upfront about your own preferences in general.  Some people love to work a lot.  Others don't need as much.  Some folks love working Exelon sites.  Others would rather eat cat food.  Let them know what you want, but do not demand it.

Be willing to go to any job that is offered.  Eventually, you will have banked up enough goodwill that you will be the first person called because you are the most reliable.  The earlier they call you - the more choices you have.

If you need an early layoff from site A to get to site B, work this out with the OFFICE and the SC in advance.  They can work this out.  But, if you show up at a site and ask them to let you go so you can get to another job, this will come back and bite you. The customer will blame your employer - who will not be happy about it - for shorting them in favor of another customer.  Even if you just want an early layoff because you don't want to work as much, it is the same as dragging up in the eyes of the customer.  If you are not willing to stay an extra week or two to help them get finished, they will have to keep all the other techs who need to leave for other jobs.  In either case, if the office and SC know in advance, they can arrange the schedule without pissing off the utility.  This one is so easy to manage, but always ends up being a problem because nobody communicates.

Instead of trying to schedule yourself, just be available and willing.  Scheduling you for jobs is not your job, it is the manager/recruiter's job.  YOU ARE NOT HELPING IF YOUR TRY TO DO HIS JOB FOR HIM!!!

Never EVER EVER, under any circumstance or condition do you call the site or go behind the manager/recruiter's back to get an assignment that was not offered to you.  I know, we all have a story about the outage that was "staffed" that wasn't really staffed or where we were expected to return and not offered a slot.  That is going to happen for a lot of reasons that may or may not interest you - and your recruiter may not be telling you everything, but he is telling you all that you need to know.  If the site really needs you and your name is not on the list, let THEM be the ones to ask, but if you call them the office will find out that you did.
I have struggled with this one, because we all have sites where we like to work - whether it is the people, the money, the good deals we get on lodging, ... etc.  Yet, it comes down to this; your employer is your employer.  They are not your agent, your travel agent, or your career manager.  They need you where they need you.  If you want a favorable relationship with them, get to know them and let them know you.  But going behind their back only undermines them with their customer, leaves them overloaded with resources where they are not needed and short of resources where they are needed most.
Before you pick up the phone and call a SC or RPM to get into a plant for an outage, ask yourself if that one plant will have enough work for you to keep you going all year every year.  Of course, the answer is NO.  But your employer can and will take care of you if you are an asset instead of a liability.  You might be the most gifted and hardworking tech in the universe, but if you screw the company whose name is on your paycheck, don't be surprised to find that your name is in the file marked "problem child- use only as necessary".

Take whatever you want from this, but it has made me a good living.

The problem with your argument is that it assumes the 'recruiter' is one person, or a stable group of people.  That seemed to be more true during the 90's, but in recent years I seem to get a different voice every time I call.  They have no clue that I have been the perfect tech & employee for the past 15 years...all they know is that they need names to hang on lists for THIS outage season.  There is NO reward for all the years I have gone to every crappy outage they offered me (because I used your theory for a long time).  There is only, "What can you do for me now."

So, now I will call a SC or utility if I feel like the recruiter isn't being straight-forward.  No, I don't want to end up on Double-Secret-Probation, but if the office has that short of memory about what I have done for them, maybe they'll forget I went behind their back, too...?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2009, 01:44 by UncaBuffalo »
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Content1

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2009, 05:20 »
What made outages nice compared with permanent jobs is the anonymity, that is you did not go through the normal hiring process where you had to interview, get recommendation letters, etc., and you did not stay long enough to get involved with the politics at a site. 

If to get a job now it requires kissing the posterior regions of the RM, SC, or recruiter then this advantage is lost.  It used to mean when you took a sucky outage, at least they went through the motions of pretending they needed you.   If we are now of such little worth to them they give you the bums rush after 2 weeks, the is no longer fun as it was.

Most traveling techs are like eagles or lions, we are territorial at our jobs and work areas and although we work with others  to accomplish our job, we enjoy doing the assigned work as a lone wolf.  When you start getting micromanaged to squeeze every minute of labor from you and not hiring enough techs, you end up doing 5 hour jumps in containment with no breaks while the crafts have enough people to get breaks and relief.  I did that at North Anna.

It is like Rodney Dangerfield, "I don't get no Respect."  My outage was so short it felt like I got my first paycheck after I got home.   It was so short my leftover food never had enough time to go bad.   To get home, since I made so little, I held up a sign at a freeway offramp the said, "Will do rad con work for food."   

This part is not a joke.  I worked 8 hours on my last day of work because it occurred on the first day of the unemployment work week, so I actually netted less than $0 because my unemployment benefit was reduced by everything I earned (gross income) but I was paid net income from my company and then -$20 more than I made from working.  I not only worked for free that day, but also lost $20 on top of this as a further insult to injury.  I pointed this out to my contractor lead but we were needed, so I was not able to skip the day.  Although I stayed and honored my commitment to not go until released and took a loss thereby, I am sure this act will not be appreciated nor even remembered.  This is what outages are coming to actually taking a loss for a days work.

This is true and it happened to others, many are not aware of it.  Do the math.  Earned $200, netted $180.  Unemployment benefit reduced by $200, therefore a net loss of $20.  These are the kind of things that happen at short outages.  No per diem that day because I was on night shift.

Offline roadhp

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2009, 11:07 »
It is always better to be requested than to be requesting.

And you can certainly give the recruiter advance notice that you are going to stab them in the back. 
The SC might have a little pull in certain circumstances, but if he wants to keep being a SC, he won't piss off the office too many times - and certainly not without getting something in return.  Basically, he is just another tech who makes a couple of dollars more than you and gets a few more weeks of work at some sites.  He can be replaced almost as easily as you can, so he's not going to go too far out on a limb just to make you happy.

Those $h!thole plants need to be staffed too.  If you think you are too good to work there, you're not.  You can complain all you want that this plant sucks and you want to go elsewhere, but your personal desires are not the recruiter's problem.  I'm not saying that you have no say in the matter. By all means let your preferences be known.  If you hate working at certain places, say so.  Then realize that you may have to go there anyway.  At least that way they can owe you a favor.  But every single time you refuse a job, you owe them a favor.  It is better to be in the black in the favor column than to be in the red.

When you connive, cajole, whine, bitch, or demand your way into a job, you are pushing out someone else.  When you do those things to get out of a job, someone else has to go in your place.  It is that simple.  So, ask yourself; what makes you better than that guy?  Why do you deserve all the good deals and he only the bad ones?  From where I sit, the guy who goes where I ask him to go and doesn't go behind my back is the guy who gets to go to the better jobs.  I am NOT going to push him out in favor of someone who is demanding, devious, or dishonest.  Which would you choose?

So, go ahead.  Go behind your recruiter's back.  You may get away with it here or there, but make it last, 'cause the minute the clock strikes payback time you're gonna get yours.  But don't come here crying about how Big Blue screwed you over.  Heard it all already.

OK, lets start from the beginning.  The only ones who are requesting is the customer.  Those requests are placed in a file that says pre-approved.  But if the employer wants you to go to another outage that they need staffing, that pre-approved list gets a file 13 and never existed.  So that part of your argument is invalid.

Most recruiters ask that you call the SC, because they can't get an answer either, and they are trying to get answers as well.  Most SC's are the negotiators for the contracts, get new contracts, and expand the business.  They are normally not just techs, like you said.  They want the outage to go as well as possible, and the only problems they will have is from the customer complaining about a tech not pulling his or her share or causing problems.  The recruiter doesn't hear about that person, because once the outage is staffed it's like it never existed, and it's on to the next staffing problem.

Those $h!thole plants need to be staffed too?  That is the reason they can't be staffed.  I'm not going to waste my time and an outage to satisfy a recruiter's quota for an outage that is going to be 1. unprofitable and 2. undesirable.  Most of the recruiters haven't been to these $h!thole outages, so they don't know what problems exist or why they can't staff.  All they hear is the comments from the techs when they even mention the plant and get a "Hell No" as a response.  By the way, my personal desires ARE the recruiters problem, because I am a customer, too.  Without us techs, they can't staff their outages, and we don't have to work for them.  Favors are forgotten within the time it takes to hang up the phone. With the number of techs calling into the company, the recruiters can't keep track of who they owe and who owes them.  And don't try to tell me they have a category on my electronic file that says "favors".  And if I refuse a job that I put in for, then I can see that point, but if I up front tell them I don't want to go to plant X, that isn't owing them, it is just informing them of my desires.

From your point of view, as management, the guy who goes where you tell him to go when you tell him to go is going to get the good jobs UNTIL you need him to go and do something you want done, and then you are going to him to go to that $h!t job, which means that he gets the $h!t jobs even more.
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Offline Already Gone

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #44 on: May 27, 2009, 11:51 »
You didn't really lose any money.  You just paid your taxes with it.  But I see the point.  You could have been home that day and made the $200 on UI.

These are the little things we do because we are hired to do them.  Yeah, working part of a week almost never gets you ahead of unemployment, but the bottom line is that you got hired to work a job.  You worked the job.  That $180 actually counted as $200 in wages toward your next unemployment claim, so it wasn't totally for nothing that you put in those 8 hours.

Let's step back a little and see the Big Picture for a moment.

Unc has a long distinguished career as a first-string tech.  For all I know, so does everyone here.  But the days are gone when you can work two or three outages a year and still wish you had more time off.  The plan of working a small circuit of plants - where you go every time and are remembered - doesn't work anymore.  Now, the reality sets in that, although you have worked at a particular plant for 12 straight outages, you may not have actually been all that important to their success, and all the whining and demanding you do on the phone will not change that.  There has to be more coming from you than what you want.

If you want to go to a SC, go ahead, but do it BEFORE the staffing process is done.  Let him know that you would really appreciate a word from him when the time comes to fill the slots at the next outage.  But if you have already been told by the office that the outage is staffed, you waited too long and you are now in the mode of being the pushy, selfish, all-for-me kind of tech that nobody wants to help out.

Yes, a lot of the recruiters are new.  They don't know Jim-Bob from Bo Diddley.  That does not meant that you should circumvent them.  If a SC knows more about what the staffing needs at a site are than the recruiter does, YOU are NOT the first person he needs to tell.  When a SC knows what a recruiter does not know, it is his job to tell the recruiter.

I really don't know of any other profession where the networking opportunities are any better than this.  If you can't work this out with the tools you have - like NukeWorker, or just the tightness of the community you are in - you ought to try learning how.  Just consider for a short moment the fact that many of us have been given certain considerations that we are totally NOT entitled to for so long that we start to feel that we are.  A prime example is the statement "there were four in my party".  Although it is not unique just to RP's for coworkers to travel in pairs, it is rather unique the way it is accommodated.  In the trades, it is common for craftsmen to have a work partner.  The travel together, split the costs of lodging, carpool, and take their layoff at the same time.  But they are almost always paired at the same level of competency.  A Journeyman Pipefitter won't have an apprentice Boilermaker for a partner.   When fathers and sons or brothers work the same job, they normally split and have someone else as a work partner.  We, on the other hand, work as a Senior RP tech and get the company to hire our wives, nephews, daughters, girlfriends, and worthless sons-in-law as deconners or firewatches.  Then we expect them to schedule the whole clan as a block at the same outage, on the same shift, and with the same hire-in and layoff dates.  And they DO it!!!  Pretty nice of them to work around the bulk of our various relationships, but they are under no obligation to do it.  Many is the time I heard my old foreman groan while going through the resume stack, "I'd like to have her back, but then we'd have to take him along with her."
That one consideration, which does not apply to everyone, is great big proof that the companies have been willing to adjust their priorities to meet our personal needs for years.  None of us has ever had the right to double dip by "dragging along" someone else to every job, but it has become the norm.  And just listen to how we repay the kindness.

The point?

Give them a reason to help you out.
Make them want you to get what you want.
Be the person who makes the person on the other end of the phone smile instead of groan when you name is on their caller id.
If asking for consideration, such as being paired with someone else, make sure that you offer equal consideration in return, such as being as valuable to the job as your girlfriend is instead of letting her work carry both of you.
Have something more to offer than a list of your demands.
Accept that sometimes things will not work out the way you were planning, and accept that it might actually work out better for you if they don't.

Respect?  You want respect?  Why not?  But I have NEVER experienced the desire to respect anyone based solely on his demanding it.  Have you?  Usually, it works the other way.  Most of the time, I find that I respect those who show it to me.  That is all I'm asking.  Show some respect and you will be pleased at the result.
"To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Offline NJ

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #45 on: May 27, 2009, 12:06 »
BeerCourt:  Are you so high on yourself that you think all utilities have the same attitude as you?  Most plants have a few returnees who are friends.  They don't mind a call to see whats up.  I even got a call from a plant and said I wasn't on the list..call the office.  Hey you treat the workers as you would like to be treated.  You don't get respect with your attitude.
Who do you think you are??  We all put our pants the same way. Sounds like you need some people skills.  I don't want to come to your plant.

Offline Already Gone

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #46 on: May 27, 2009, 01:44 »
Maybe you ought to go and read some of this topic before you stick your uninformed nose into the conversation.

I don't work at a plant.  I am a manager for a contract company.  I speak from the points of view of the road tech, the recruiter, and the manager.  I was also a house tech for nine years where everybody wanted to come as a contractor.  We loved some of them, and some weren't coming back no matter how good they were at the job.

I'm giving the benefit of my perspective so all my beloved road techs can avoid being viewed as selfish prima-donnas by the company who pays their wages.

You say that management should treat the workers like they want to be treated, and I agree.  But I expect the same in return.  It is not alright to crap all over the company who arranges for you to have work and then expect them to treat you like gods.  As an RP tech for over 20 years of my career, I can say without doubt that the very best RP in the world can be replaced in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee.  A good employee, however, is irreplaceable.  So, if we expect to be treated with respect for our skills and our work ethic, we need to keep our boorish personalities and childish demands the hell out of the way.

I say this all from actual experience.
The people in the office may be new.  They may be clueless.  They may not value your contribution.  But THEY staff the jobs (including the site coordinator jobs).  If you treat the office badly, you cannot expect good things to come your way.  If they need to know things, then TELL them instead of bitching about how little they know.  If you want to maximize opportunity, you cannot be too picky about where you work.  If you demand that you get to work where you want, don't cry that you didn't make enough money.
"To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Offline SloGlo

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2009, 08:15 »
beercourt.... wile i'm in yer corner on mosta da issues bean discust hear, their's one problem, just a little itty bittie word.... employee.  mosta da rent-a-tex aren't employees in da traditional cents.  there contractual employees, 'n gone when da last dime is payed.  iffen dey wuz employees inna traditional scents, going ware yer boss wants ya two go wood bee a good idea, because watt goes around comes around.  butt, wit contractual employees, their ain't da same loop, what goes around keeps on going.  'n watt comes around, keeps on coming.  sew, iffen yer gitting da shaft, well ya better be gitting da big bux 'n like it caws yer gonna get it four a wyle.  ifffen yer onna gravy trayne, smile like a fat dawg, caws yer gonna bee they're four awhile two.  is it rite?  whoo cares.  assa contractual employee, ya don't ever hafta go back two it.  until day reely knead yew.  then da phone rings, da dance begins, 'n every won wants two be da big dawg, 'n knot da shaftee.  butt, sum buddy gotta due it, huh? ;)
quando omni flunkus moritati

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duke99301

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2009, 09:56 »
Humm my two cents sounds like upper Management talking .
The days of long outages are gone . I moved on from RP ten years ago.
And I moved on from most nukes I may do one a year.
But there is nothing like Nuke dollers and going home clean at night.( coal Dust) Had a few good times back in the old days Did a few steam gennys with Numanco seems like we had an rolling hearts game going on. money was good for the time things have changed and I took one thing off an old friend  years ago the name of the game was 1600 a week take home on a 40 hour week. now that is diem in some places. the outages we knew where  over in the early 90's I was working outage planning on and off then I seen it going away.
I have found out one thing hard work and keep knocking on the door and they open for you. heck I had not done Alara in Ten years and last outage I was the Alara eng at a job. At least I was able to see a few old friends. and relive some good old days of the long outages. recall the wish list had the 90 days , then it went to 60 now you are gone after 3 weeks wow they have got fast.
good luck have fun I think Brewster is the only one who has this figured out.

jowlman

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Re: End of outages as we know has begun . . .
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2009, 11:33 »
All Troy is trying to do is give advice on how to be more adaptable in the coming outage environment. No need to kill the messenger. Some things have changed a little since he has swung a meter. The initial message is still the same and has been since we both began doing outage back in 87 at IP2. This business has an ebb and flow, you either adapt to the current or you drowned. You can fight the ocean, you will lose.

 


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