Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

I start work tomorrow.

It's only a day awa-a-a-a-y.

Yep. I got the call from the team leader this morning. The shift starts at 6:30am and goes until "fifteen hundred hours." (That's how they talk on base - cute!)

I added some freon to my 16 year-old car's faltering A/C system. I also started working on replacing the radio.

I took a "test run" out to the fort, so there'd be no early morning surprises.

Turns out it's an eight and a half mile commute.

Buh-bye hour-long, 83 mile round trip job trek.

Hello, contract job!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Post-Pity-Party-Party

After boo-hoohing about my "special" 30 year anniversary (see previous entry) on July 22nd, I should also mention that I got a job offer that very same day.

Yep, that very same Friday I got the phone call that I have been offered that contract job at Fort Bragg! The lady at the contracting firm sent me an employment agreement to sign and fax back to her, which I did by lunch time.

"You will start on Monday, July 25th," I was told.

Whoo-Hoo! Christmas in July for Craiggy-boy!

The next step was for the on-base team leader to contact me so I would know where to go, who to see and what to do.

The phone rang at 3:00.

It was the lady from the contract company.

Seems there was a delay in processing one of the many forms I filled out and sent in.

I was told NOT to come in on Monday.

The team leader would (eventually) contact me once everything was processed.


Yet ANOTHER waiting game.

Deep breaths.

Think about puppies and rainbows.

Must resist the urge to pen a 1,500 page "manifesto" and then go on a holy rampage to right all the world's wrongs...

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Friday, July 22, 2011

It Was Thirty Years Ago Today

On July 22, 1981 I started working for Ohmtek, Inc. of Niagara Falls, NY. I was hired as a QC Technician to do final testing of the film resistor products manufactured in their brand-spanking-new plant.

Within the year I was promoted to QC Supervisor and kept failing upwards for the next 15-1/2 years until I was the "Manager of Environmental Testing."

Ohmtek makes ultra precision resistors with tolerances being spec'd out to 0.01% resistance ratios and 25 parts-per-million/degree C resistance change over temperature.

There were many demanding military and commercial customers that had rigid testing and performance requirements for their components. It was my job to ensure that the resistors produced met every last customer requirement.

Unfortunately, I was very unpopular when I had to fail a batch of material of report a poor yield at final inspection.

Also, many times there would be weeks and months of testing required and customers were NOT happy when the product didn't hit the lab until (or 'way after!) the delivery date.

Again, more unpopularity for yours truly.

There was no interest in these short-comings by either the sales department, engineering or manufacturing. The ass-covering, backstabbing and meeting-room gamesmanship always left me flapping in the breeze.

Eventually, the toll on my nervous system of always being wrong about everything pushed me out the door. In hindsight, I think I may have suffered a slow-motion nervous breakdown.

Like a person who experiences phantom sensations after a limb is amputated, the Ohmtek experience is always rattling around somewhere in my noggin.

I just can't help wonder where I'd be now if I had known enough to "play the game" and half-assed the stuff out the door.

Ah, well.

Happy anniversary to me...


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sorry, Calvin

Thanks to a tip from one of my peeps at church, it looks like I might finally be rejoining the workforce.

Now, I'm probably counting my chickens before they've hatched, but I've filled out all the paperwork and did the physical today, so barring any unforeseen circumstances...

Looks like I'll be working at Fort Bragg as an "Electronics Helper."

My thirty-four year-old AAS degree in Electrical Technology is finally paying off!

From the job description I'll be doing things like preparing units for refurbishing, either by making/painting cabinets, installing name plates, tightening sockets, looking for obvious physical damage and what-not.

It's a one-year contract with Medical & Dental benefits. And it's a first shift gig, too.

Sounds like COTY and their promises of a three-to-six month second-shift gig is going to be filed under "thanks for screwing around with me all Summer."

Let's see what happens next.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Calvin And Me Part III

Well, since I hadn't heard anything from the job pimp by lunch time on Monday, I sent him an e-mail asking about what I had to do to get the ball rolling on this contact QA gig.

He called back later in the afternoon with only a vague, "well that guy must still be on vacation" sort of response. (WHICH guy?)

Oh, how aggravating it is to sit around and wait for the phone to ring. I've even taken to keeping my cell phone turned on and within arm's reach, since he seems to like to call me at that seldom-used number.

This all makes little sense, given the fact that I've been told this position was brought about by Coty's three-month "busy season" that runs from May through July.

Um, hey guys, JULY IS HALF OVER!

This has been dragging on since April and my nerves are getting a little "tingly."


Call me, m'kay..?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Me And Calvin - Part II

Guess what?

I had a second interview at the Coty factory back on June 24th.

I got a call at about 12:45 from "the agency" that I had to be out at the factory by 2:00 for another interview, this time with a Ms. Burns.

I peeled off my shorts-n-tee shirt, slapped on the shirt-n-tie and made a bee-line for Sanford, NC.

Turns out that this was an interview for a different part of the plant. Whereas the previous session had involved incoming inspection for packaging components, this jobs is for final inspection of product at the enamel (i.e. fingernail polish) line.

Ms. Burns didn't know that I had been out there a few weeks prior and that I already had a cursory knowledge of the plant layout and product lines.

A couple of highlights:

1. The position is as an inspector on the second shift, so she was concerned that I would be able to handle some of the drama associated with telling people when product is not to spec and corrections are needed.

What luck!

I just happened to have a letter of recommendation from a previous boss at the dishrack factory that stated:

"[Craig's] diplomatic and genial approach is very successful with both customers and suppliers. He is particularly adept at calming difficult situations."

(Thanks, Colin - I owe ya!)

2. The interviewer played the old, "you seem to actually be OVERQUALIFIED for this position."

Aha - I was ready for her this time.

The main concern with "overqualified candidates" is that once you hire them and train them they will bolt for a better job, more in line with their experience level.

I pointed out that since this was to be a temporary contract position for "three to six months" then it is already acknowledged by both parties that there is a finite time period involved. Putting on an "overqualified" person in such an instance is actually buying the employer "more bang for their buck!"

This morning , my wife turned on my cell phone and noticed that there were two messages in queue. There weren't any messages the previous night when I hooked up the charger, so I knew these were fresh.

Yep, it was the job pimp once again ignoring my request NOT to call me on my cell.

He said he had some good news for me and to please call him back.

I dialed his number at 8:45am and left a message on his voice mail.

Within fifteen minutes he called back to say that Coty was going to offer me the job.


I'll be getting more information about the particulars come Monday, or possibly Tuesday.

Oooh la-la!

A gig at a clean, air conditioned plant?

Come to Poppa!