Sunday, October 20, 2013

Let there be Normal!

Tomorrow will hopefully be day one of the first normal full week of work I will have in the Visiting Vehicles group since I started, nearly three weeks ago.  We got to go back on JSC property starting Thursday, which made for a quick couple days to try and settle into the new stomping grounds.  With luck I will be able to start walking to work now that the whole level of uncertainty about the situation will be reduced substantially.  A big part of this week will be my appointment on Tuesday morning to go submit my background check information to the security folks, which will hopefully get the ball rolling to get me a lot of the computer and facility access I need to be a fully-functioning employee on-site.  Other than that, I imagine I will be doing a lot of reading and training and who knows what else.  It feels good to have a job and some stability once again.
“A man doesn’t begin to attain wisdom until he recognizes that he is no longer indispensable.”
~Richard E. Byrd, “Alone”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

waiting for a GO

Since Congress passed the bill last night, I assume I am headed back to work today.  However, at this hour of the morning there is still no definitive statement that we should report to JSC like "normal".  It would be fantastic if we could avoid doing this again.  It has been great, but...
“To show resentment at a reproach is to acknowledge that one may have deserved it.”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

the slopey bit

Indeed, I'm going to have steep going to climb this learning curve for my job for a good long while.  However, I am making progress, despite the extra challenges the last weeks have held.  We continue to meet for training sessions at the library, and I’m getting in plenty of studying at home as well.  I haven not set foot on JSC since a week ago Tuesday, so it will be a little weird to do that again (at some point).

Something here that gets joked about a lot, but is a real phenomenon to which a neophyte must adapt, is the lingo.  We talk in acronyms, and even sometimes nested acronyms, that stretch to several levels of encryption.  The whole operational culture is different than that in which I worked for three years with the SOHO spacecraft.  The scale of the organization is orders of magnitudes larger as well.  Of course a lot of that has to do with the scope of the vehicles involved (a space station with an area footprint the size of a football field…hello, big!) and the added concerns about safety since human beings get to go fly on a number of those vehicles.  I have a lot to learn, and I’m looking forward to it.

On the home front, I feel pretty much settled in and continue to revise how I have my junk arrayed in my apartment.  I actually got a folding lawn chair and some new pillows last weekend, so I feel I’m living pretty large now.  But, with the uncertainties about the work situation, I have been maintaining a frugal budget.  I did get my first paycheck today (hooray!), and hopefully that will continue to be a weekly event.

My heart goes out to the researchers and support personnel of the United States Antarctic Program that are being hit hard by this manufactured disruption to normal business.  With a bit of luck the abbreviated summer season and premature redeployment of hundreds of people will come off safely and leave the stations squared away for next winter.
“Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards.”

Saturday, October 5, 2013

a memorable inauguration

This first week of work has been mostly me studying materials at home, with a couple trips to meet co-workers to receive training at the local library branch.  I have made incremental progress, but I think the learning for this job will probably never cease.  There is a lot to know about flying these vehicles and doing so safely.  For now, we are still being paid for our time.  I fill my time card out online, and keep in touch with my manager via email.  It certainly is a bizarre way to start a new job, but there is nothing we can do to change it.  At some point, however much further down the road, we will get to resume. 

Apropos to this ongoing situation, I got my new voter registration certificate in the mail this week.
“Beware the fury of a patient man.”
~John Dryden