I Need to Know Right Away if You Come Across Anything that Smacks of Harassment - Page One

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» The Nuclear Dudette

Back when I was running a complement of a hundred nuclear dudes, and even a handful of nuclear dudettes .. my boss let me run things in the plant.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station | Southern California

He was more of a business man than a technical type. Certainly I would keep him well-informed and often ask his opinion on things.

» Respecting Management's Values

I respected him .. the way he ran things. His managerial style with its values.

He told me how he had brought in contractors who had later joined the permanent utility staffing (Southern California Edison) where they eventually became bosses themselves.

"If they fuck-up," he told me, referring to our own people, "then we need to whack 'em. But otherwise .. we might be working for one of these assholes someday."

Before he bellowed, "I've seen it happen, sir .. I've seen it happen."

My point here is to say that he was not malicious. Being a contractor .. this helps keep you in check.

(Our whole system of government, with its checks-n-balances, is specifically designed to address and thwart the corrupting effects of power. It's a very seductive thing .. especially over time. And sometimes, it is difficult to discern exactly where the line lies between you-the-person and the authority that comes with a particular position. Especially as that distance grows between the two).

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He was smart in a way that I was not. And I was smart in a way that he was not. And this is why we made such a good team.

(Many of my best relationships have had this very same structure.)

He understood how things operated from a business perspective .. and I understood how things operated from a technical perspective.

And we can both see how we need each other .. if we are going to make this thing work.

And our styles were so different. Our respective strengths and weakness were so different .. in a complementary sort-of-way.

» Do Not Delay (At All) Responding to Harassment

Even tho he let me run things inside the plant, I remember him telling me that he needed to know "right away" if I came across anything that smacked of either sexual or racial harassment.

Harvey Weinstein's accusers tell their stories by Ronan Farrow Oct 23, 2017

(I do not know for a fact, but I feel confident that he got this directly from the owner of the company himself .. who was his boss.)

So I always had my radar run up in those areas.

Notice this article here about abuses by Peter Martins at New York City Ballet where it says (9th paragraph):

Asked to respond, City Ballet said in a statement: "When the current board and management received the anonymous letter suggesting inappropriate actions by Peter Martins, they immediately engaged an independent outside counsel to begin an investigation into the allegations. The board and management take these allegations very seriously. Since the investigation began Mr. Martins has announced his retirement but the investigation into the allegations surrounding him is continuing."

Notice how they responded immediately. They did not delay .. not even a little.

I also noticed where they said "When the current board..." .. as if suggesting that the previous board did not.

» I Need to Talk to You in Private

I never had any full-blown problems, but a girl came to me complaining about the guy who she was assigned to work for.

Now, my people are migrant nuclear workers. They are contractors. They come from all around the country. They have usually been to many different nuclear plants. Rad whores. Burning for dollars.

So they have been around. As you might imagine, as a result they typically know how to do their jobs better than the house supervisor who they have been assigned to work for.

» More Practice Usually Results in a More Highly-Honed Skill-Set

Permanent house techs typically perform a reactor refueling outage every 18-to-24 months, whereas migrant nuclear contractors do one refueling outage after another .. at different nuclear plants.

Plus they are able to see the same job done numerous different ways, and some ways of doing things are better than others.

This is why contractors typically know more about how to do their jobs during a reactor refueling .. because they have had so much more experience at it. They are ultimate warriors when it comes to refueling a reactor.

Practice makes perfect, and your typical contractor gets more practice than your typical house tech. And they usually get assigned to the nastier, more radioactive jobs that nobody wants.

I am generalizing here, and many exceptions exist .. because many contractors will settle down and "go house" when they get tired of life on the road.

And utilities will naturally pick techs who they feel are the best for their opening permanent positions. My housemate was one such contractor who ended up going house.

[ He earned his electrical engineering degree (his days spent at UCI) while working full time on the nightshift. If you have done this, then you know how difficult it is. I drove out from New York with this dude. Each in our own car. He was motivated like a motherfucker. He read Nietzsche. He wore the dark-eye thing to the clubs that he frequented. He liked demure Asian chicks. ]

» The Colville Bros

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River in New YorkThe Colville brothers in New York were the #1 best house people I have ever seen.

Who knew how to run an outage.

And they were both contractors who had settled down there and grown roots and families.

The two of them pretty much ran the entire outage for the dept, with Richie on days and Jay on nights.

I am talking about inside the plant. They spent lots of time in containment.

Containment is the dome. The dome was my home. It was more like my domain .. where I was king.

(Containment domes are designed to withstand a direct impact from a fully-loaded 747. They are well-built.)

When folks know what the fuck they're doing, then shit runs smoothly and you look good doing it.

And because they had been contractors themselves, they knew how to talk to contractors. It's definitely not a very common skill.

I so admire these skills, which take years to hone. It's a beautiful thing to behold. Truly impressive. Inspiring, even. Boner city.

I liked it there in New York so much that I stayed after the outage and pitched for their softball team that summer .. before it got cold and I headed west for California sunshine and warmth.

When they made me a boss in California, I tried to pattern my style after that of the Colvilles. I went for the best I had seen.

» Aggressive Male Boss with Young Attractive Female Subordinate

This girl who came to me complaining about the guy who she was assigned to work for .. she was pretty. And her boss had a personality that could be a dick. [ Stephen knows what I am talking about here (at t=1:40). ]

This was not sexual, but he was being a dick to her. Which was not difficult to imagine this guy being.

Sometimes, when a guy is being a dick to a girl, that actually means that he likes her. But I think that this guy was just being a dick. Plus, he was married with kids.

» Industrial-Grade

The nuclear industry is heavily male-dominant. It is a very industrial type of environment.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station | Southern California

So a pretty girl tends to stand out .. even more than usual.

And the term 'sexual' is never very far whenever you are talking about an insecure male boss with a young, attractive female subordinate.

» Motivated but Lacking Social Skills

See, a dude may be smart and motivated and competent .. yet his social skills might suck. That was this dude.

I bet that Will Smith knows exactly what I am talking about here. Stress can make insecure people act in ways that are stupid.

» Trying to Compensate for a Lack of Experience

They try to cover their lack-of-experience with something that is designed to project a sense of dominant aggression. Probably because this is what has worked for them in the past.

But you cannot do this kind of shit in the nuclear world. Such a thing is simply not tolerated.

I have actually studied this thing here .. where people who really dont know what the fuck they are talking about .. often speak more boldly and assertively than people who do indeed have the correct answer .. tho they might not be certain about their answer.

There is actually a quote somewhere that speaks to this very thing. I may go find it later.

I have had many different examples of observing this phenomena firsthand. It is indeed a curious thing.

The effect that these observations have had on me .. is that I now look past, look beyond the presentation (bluster?) to what is actually being said.

And we all operate differently in a professional environment compared to how we do in a personal setting, or in the home, the bedroom.

How to Win Friends & Influence People[ This would probably be a good place to mention,

that the best book I ever read

on the subject of developing your social skills ..

.. was the 1936 classic by Dale Carnegie

» How to Win Friends & Influence People.

This book is chocked full of so much excellent practical advice and insights,

that if you get even half of what it says,

you will be a social stud. So to speak.

You could subtitle this book » How Not to be a Dick When You Talk to People. ]

He did not work for me. He is house.

I run the contractors. She is a contractor.

We supply people to supplement their permanent 'house' staffing as necessary during reactor refueling outages.

» Outages are Hoppin'

At one time, I think that we were supplying them with close to 400 people, all total. But only a hundred of those were mine. I got up to 110 or 120 there for a short while.

You tend to over-staff at the outset .. expecting that you are going to lose some people .. for various reasons. (« Another good story there .. losing people.)

I remember being stretched pretty thin there for a while. I also had a clone of myself on the backshift (.. working 12-hour days).

» My Nightshift Counterpart

He was me on the nightshift. This guy was a total stud. He was actually a bigger stud than myself .. this I will freely admit.

(Tho they were using me for my organizational skills .. more than my technical skills.)

He oozed competence. He had tons of excellent experience. Everybody respected him. He was very much at home in the middle of a reactor refueling outage.

When I went home at night, I did not worry about jack-shit. Because I knew that things were being handled .. probably better than if I were there myself.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) at night

The bad boys tend to migrate to the backshifts .. preferring to do their jobs without so many mucky-mucks around.

I have worked my fair share of nightshifts. I love nightshifts .. after your body has adapted to the new rhythm.

But I had to be on dayshift in order to do what I did. It was challenging. Nuclear power is not known for being a forgiving industry. Perform or die.

» Crunch Time

The hardest part is when we brought in the new people .. staffing for a new outage.

Before this point, I am just running stacks of resumes back-n-forth .. getting them signed and approved. The calm before the storm.

There are weeks of orientation and indoctrination before we hand over our techs to the house people .. depending if they have ever been to this plant before (returnee or newbie).

And this is all me. Me and this dude. This right here is where the stretching comes. It's just a lot of shit happening all at the same time.

During the outage itself, I would wake at 3:30 in the morning, which is actually very much nighttime .. and run right down the middle of the road .. because there were no cars. At all. None.

Everything was very quiet .. except the sound of my feet on the pavement. Even the birds were still sleeping.

This is actually where I became fond of night-blooming jasmine. It grew at many of the homes along the coastal route that I took there in San Clemente.

I would arrive at work at 5:30. We made our own hours .. and getting ahead of everybody by 30 mins .. this lets you be ready to rock-n-roll when the troops arrive. You are able to hit the ground running.

Except for one day a week, I saw this guy every 12 hours for months and months. Almost always, one of us is always there.

He was never late. Not even one time.

Even when I am not there, I am wondering how he is holding up. You become tight with a dude when you work like this.

» An Impressive Dude

Anyway .. this guy knows how to talk to people. He has outstanding social skills and tons of credibility.

He was an impressive motherfucker. He lived on diet Coke. (They paid him the same thing that they paid me.)

Before I ever met this dude, I had worked with his brother at a different nuclear plant. You could not find two people more different.

I can't tell you the number of times that I said to him, "I can't believe you two are brothers."

This was one of the things that helped me establish a good relationship with this guy .. because I had previously worked with his brother.

And his brother was a total character .. so I had plenty of good stories to share with him.

» That was the Best Party I've Ever Been to

I am thinking of one such story right now .. when I bought my first place, and threw a house-warming party.

It ended about 1AM when the cops came, and said that they coud hear the music blasting from several blocks away.

His brother was at that party.

Six months later, people were still coming up to me on the street and saying things like, "You probably dont remember me .. but I was at your party. I came with a friend. That was the best party I've ever been to. Please let me know if you ever have another like it."

If his brother is still alive .. I would be surprised. Very surprised.

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on October 23, 2017 10:23 PM.

Establishing the Pre-Conditions Necessary for a Trump to Rise - Part Two was the previous entry in this blog.

I Need to Know Right Away if You Come Across Anything that Smacks of Harassment - Page Two is the next entry in this blog.

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