Getting Settled In

In my first week at my new job, little bits and pieces of information about what I will be working on has been coming to light. They showed me a five minute video of grainy footage from one of the military’s weapon proving grounds. In the film an F-16 dropped a canister filled with submunitions over a desert road cluttered with armored vehicles and trucks. The small muntions scattered in the air above the convoy and in an instant little black puffs of smoke appeared sort of like World War II flak explosions. At the same time every one of those vehicles on the ground was destroyed. I was totally impressed. Watching the film was surreal though because as I saw the destruction take place an announcer kept talking about cost effectiveness and other junk. Giant slowly rotating dollar signs were transposed over the film a couple of times. War really is money.

Because I have no DoD clearance yet and won’t for some time, they set up a workbench for me outside the Closed Area. It’s in the hallway all by itself near one of the main entrances to the Closed Area. The only times I’m allowed in there is when I’m escorted by another employee that has the proper clearance. Everyone’s picture ID name badges are color coded so you can easily tell who has what grade of clearance. Mine is clear plastic so that means I’m a nobody nothing for now. We all have to wear light blue smocks or lab coats. I like the lab coats better because they have more pockets. I can carry more tools around with me. I don’t like having to get up and hunt stuff down every couple of minutes. As the Dead Kennedys say, “Give me convenience or give me death.”

Sitting in the hallway I get all the gopher work and mindless tasks dumped on me. I better get used to it because it might be months before my clearance comes through. I’m still working on my DoD clearance paperwork and I can’t believe this is what everyone has to go through for the Government. For now they allow me to work unsupervised in the hallway on sub assemblies and components. It’s quiet and as long as I stay busy the time goes by quickly. Behind me people come and go through the main double doors to the Closed Area. They’ve got the place sealed up with multiple kinds of locks. There’s an electronic key card reader, a big old combination lock, deadbolts, glass windows with thin wires criss crossing through them, and a buzzer on the wall just like a door bell on a house. All of the employees in there are intense about keeping people out who shouldn’t be there. And the FSO guy John seems to come through their area at random times of the day and give them grief for stuff. He’s very sarcastic with everyone almost to the point of being obnoxious. It’s been amusing to watch him rip up a few of the folks in there.

The commercial products area is further down the hall and to the left. It’s always busy in there. Employees coming and going with paperwork and small black ESD boxes filled with products. Rows of workbenches are loaded with microscopes and precision soldering equipment. All kinds of machinery I’ve never seen before is scattered all over the place. Some of the stuff resembles large ovens and other big kitchen appliances. I have no clue what it’s all used for. One thing I’m very thankful for is that they didn’t set me up to do the insignificant work inside the commercial area. The overhead lighting in their room is filtered with mangy yellow lenses and the entire room is flooded with a depressing yellowish color. I figure having to spend eight hours a day inside that room would be a strain on my eyes. Must take some getting used to.


~ by factorypeasant on November 6, 2004.

One Response to “Getting Settled In”

  1. thing about that fool you bumped into is that everyone forgets his name after they meet him.. Even me..

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