Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New title

I am now a full time employee, salaried and sitting at home, for a short while.

I just finished a stint at a plant in the south, testing their primary containment. I had eleven techs working with me, and supposedly for me.

Supposedly, because the little dears seldom accept the authority of any human living or dead.

It's a good thing they don't let me carry a club, or frustration might have led me to make a mistake. Not really, but I can dream, can't I?

We were testing the leakage from primary containment at design pressure in Loss of Coolant Accident conditions. The testing itself is pretty simple, put air in a pipe and see if it stays, if not, it's a maintenance problem.

The complexity comes with the accuracy required. We are testing in Standard Cubic Centimeters per Minute, and the Leak Rate Monitors are very expensive and accurate. The effects of temperature and changes in pressure will drive you to distraction. You can actually warm the plastic test line with your hand and change the leak rate. The leak rate tech needs to be able to understand the changes and decide when the leak rate is stable enough to take data.

All my problems were due to the personnel who were on the job. Slippery individuals that they are, some want to wander around when they should be available, that would be with out communicating with me. Not to mention, I had a few who were actively trying to undermine me as supervisor. Don't forget the one who didn't show up, or the one who showed up to get a badge, and get paid mobilization money, per-diem, and hours for getting a badge, just to "drag up" and go to the next job. We were staffed at sixteen techs, and ended with twelve.

The name of the game is roll with the punches, and we pulled it off. After several painful, for me, conversations with the little lambs, we got settled in, did the job, and left a good memory behind us.

Now I have to see if I can build a team and find us some more work.

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