I was thinking about young Edward Snowden recently (.. who was beaten out for Time Magazine's Person-of-the-Year by the Pope) ..
.. and who now lives in Moscow, where he has asylum, and who himself was a CONTRACTOR .. working for various government intelligence agencies known better by their acronyms than by their official names.
And I thought about how .. after I got out of the Navy (minimum 6-year enlistment) .. I interviewed at a few nuclear power plants in the NorthEast .. including Pilgrim in Plymouth ..
.. and Indian Point plant (the state-owned Country Club side) .. there in New York ..
.. on the scenic Hudson River (.. let Billy and Bruce tell you all about it) ..
.. where I later worked as a contractor .. but on the other side, on the ConEd side. The bad boy side ..
.. for a year or so .. where the ConEd boys would sometimes come to the plant to work from Brooklyn. The plant is located some 30 miles north of "the city". Very entertaining, these Brooklyn guys. I found them downright fascinating.
Life as a » Rad Whore Contractor
And their accents. Interesting how the presentation can come off as uneducated, but you can quickly see thru to their sense of highly developed street smarts .. and how to deal effectively with people .. of all types and under all circumstances. Smooth operators. Very smooth.
I enjoyed my time there in New York very much. Yes, it is ridiculously expensive to live there. But I jibed with those guys very easily. The culture. They even asked me to pitch for their softball team.
Cracking a » Stand-up RBI Triple Off the Junk-Throwing Megavar Pitcher
We kicked much ass, but got beat by the stupid Engineers [ nuclear engineers » the "Megavars" ] in the play-offs.
They had the best softball pitcher I've ever seen. He could actually throw junk underhand. The rules for pitching were that » your arm couldnt go past horizontal on the backward arc.
He was a tall, lanky dude, with long-ass arms. His pitches would come wizzing across the plate and even pop when they hit the catcher's glove.
But I cracked a beautiful stand-up triple off that dude .. out past left-center field .. and brought in our first RBI.
I simply took the first pitch to determine his rhythm .. then » crack-o. "How do you like THEM apples Mr. Junk-Throwing Megavar-pitcher?"
The harder they throw, the more easily you can turn ball-speed into hit-distance when you connect.
My point here in New York is that » I was there as » a contractor. A rent-a-tech. A purveyor of a military-grade set of skills. Not working for "the house" (directly). A rad whore. Selling my body's federally-allowed radiation-exposure for Rad dollars.
» Contractor vs House-Tech Relations
Remind me to tell you about the house-tech there who I found fascinating to talk to. Sometimes house techs have a shitty opinion of contractors .. because some contractors are pieces of shit. So you have to feel out each one individually.
But there was a guy there who I often had lunch with (there in the site cafeteria). He was not only smart, but also articulate, with a strong, opinionated personality.
At work, I am attracted to competence .. and competent people often have strong, opinionated personalities.
Generally, during a refueling power-outage, house techs move into management positions (.. such as supervisors and administrators) .. while contractors do the actual (radiological) work.
He came from a police family and told me fascinating stories. I totally stretched my lunch breaks whenever I ate with him. The time just flew.
I am referring here to non-technical, non-nuclear discussions. Stuff that I would call » personal. I mean, you are learning about the real person behind his technical qualifications. And yes, he was technically proficient. So I had nothing against him there. If you went to him with something, you knew it would be handled right proper.
Regarding technical aspects of the job .. contractors are generally given the hardest, shittiest jobs .. so they generally have more experience with really nasty shit. Radiological shit. Involving how radiation areas. High dose. High exposure jobs.
You are there (almost by definition) there to > burn dose. The feds give you both quarterly and annual limit.
I have a respectable lifetime exposure. Enough to make any Rad whore proud. So when the Bug came out okay .. I sighed a little sigh of relief. Said a little prayer of 'thanks'. You know.
But this is not really what I want to talk about. I do not want to talk about "whoring myself out for cash" (as lauren says).
Tho it is not possible to draw many hard-n-fast conclusions .. when comparing your house tech to your contractor .. seing that many utilities hire contractors to become house techs .. and they only hire the best. They can have their pick.
So they do indeed have quality people. But contractors go from one nuclear plant to another .. from refueling outage to refueling outage .. where all the really nasty (radiological) work is done.
While house techs only see a few months of outage (12- or 13-hour work-days, 6-days a week) every 18 months or so. While a nuclear plant is up-n-running .. while the reactor is operating .. this tends to be boring (8-hour work-days, 5 days a week).
But the thing about being a contractor before becoming a house-tech .. is that » you understand contractors. So you know better how to deal with them. (As a supervisor or an administrator.)
If you treat your contractors shitty .. they will stop coming to your plant. Or worse » you will only be able to get shitty (less-experienced) contractors.
An experienced true-stud contractor is worth his weight in plutonium .. because he has seen the same job done many different ways. So he knows what works and what doesnt. (And he can even tell you WHY .. if you ask him nicely.)
And generally speaking .. better pay buys you a more-skilled technician. Which can make your (house-tech) life much easier.
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