Now here is a job I have serious doubts about.

Now here is a job I have serious doubts about.

Joined: 11 Oct 2014, 03:36

17 Mar 2017, 03:00 #1

As much as I dislike the type of work I have been doing for a while now. I know bloody freak well that it is still better then the all to often undependable private sector market right now. And every so often one or more of my co-workers harp on that if I want to be a Machinist why not go and get a Machinist job? I don't even bother re-re-re-RE-listing the lengthy list of reasons why. But out of curiosity I poked around the local Craigslist. Predictable was a number of jobs from one contract agency. There was one or two jobs that sounded very tempting though. Then there was this listing: ... 93477.html

Okay now, a canning outfit looking for Machinist in Minnesota? Why not more local? And there was not real hard statement of exactly what the pay scale would be. The hours for work to be done were around for FIVE MONTHS. I don't know about anyone else, but at my age (mid 50's), I'd be either completely wasted, a raving lunatic or just plan dead. I looked up the location on Google maps, and there is literally NOTHING there!! No way to 'get out' and take a break for the job. Unless you enjoy a rather 'liquid' mental tripping out.

Joined: 02 Jun 2015, 03:34

17 Mar 2017, 11:07 #2

...I have a friend who did a season in Alaska. They flew him up there, dumped him in basically a prefab-shack-hotel with a community bathroom/shower area and expected him to work 16 hours a day. They provided two meals and that was that. They paid him once a month after deducting tools, uniform, and other expenses.

He said it was a brutal nasty job with very long hours and very poor conditions and it was not worth the pay.

I see these positions come up on Craigslist quite often... and we all know what a pillar of upright and integrityness Craigslist is. I used to order my hookers for murdering off of there, after all. Well that was before they changed the laws about that sort of thing.

Anyway. No way in hell you'd see me considering that sort of nonsensical seasonal-relocation job unless there was a very very generous up-front signing bonus.
It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.

Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 11:09

17 Mar 2017, 14:14 #3

Is a stinky and very intensive job.

The processing plant needs to run 24/7 the entire season, and any downtime at all costs cartfulls of money per hour.
So techs should expect to be housed close, have all necessary tools already in place, 16hour days, possibly be woken up after only one hour of sleep... and bucketloads of money afterwards.

Deducting tools and uniform is NOT acceptable for a job like that.

The real warning not to take that job is this one line:
We will fly you from your home to Cordova; all travel expenses, room and board paid as long as you complete the season.
This means they will hold part of your pay to cover the travel expenses, and if they're using their own aircraft or charter, it could mean 'we set the price, you lose'. (Fly you in as the sole passenger on a cargo plane, then later claim that it was sent specifically to pick you up even if it was stuffed with supplies)
And what if you for one reason or another can't complete the season?
Maybe you injure your hand the last week?
If that line or something ends up in the contract they can still shaft you for the expenses for the entire period.

It wouldn't surprise me the least if they at the end of the season start looking for excuses to 'let employees go early'...

The kind of machinist they want and NEED is very, very expensive. And there's not all that many of them. They should treat them like the unicorns they are, instead of their use and abuse policy.
(Why else would they be searching for them so far away? All the locals know not to accept the contract)


Joined: 01 Jan 1970, 00:00

17 Mar 2017, 21:07 #4

On the flight in, Cordova is on a semi-regular supply route, and chances are you'd fly in on a commercial puddle-jumper, probably something like a Twin Otter. They'd simply pay for your ticket- how that's handled on the paperwork end might well be another story, but they're not going to shove you into a cargo plane or charter you a private flight. (Unless, perhaps, it's an emergency.)

Long hours and the potential for little sleep is, however, quite true. As noted, when the season is in full swing, the plant is going wide open and flat out, and everything gets pushed to the breaking point.

Like any manufacturing business, if a line is idled, it costs big- you might have two dozen people standing around, at anything from $10 to $40 an hour each, doing nothing. And that doesn't count the fish, which is very heavily subject to time-out-of-water restrictions, handling methods, and others. That vat of 20K pounds of fish has to sit for 12 hours while you get your beauty sleep, then have a nice breakfast before coming out to fix the sluice gate? Sorry, the whole mess as to be chucked, which costs a fortune in disposal costs- they can't just dump it all overboard.

Back in 2014, I took a tour of a nearly-identical plant in Seward, which was, at the time, idled but in the stages of gearing up for the start of the season. Here's one of the processing machines:

They had I think three of those, all of which were leased- you cannot buy them- and the newest of which was made in 1968.

Now, don't take that wrong- each was immaculately maintained and very well cared for. The manufacturer has virtually all the necessary replacement parts in stock, so if something breaks which can't be repaired, they have ready stocks on hand to send out hot-freight.

The lady giving us the tour basically gave us the same schpiel as in that Craigslist ad- they were semi-desperately looking for a new machinist, as their current one, who had been with them for many years, was looking to retire. I got the impression, though nothing was quoted, of $50-$60K/yr with some pretty stout benefits. Keep in mind that was 50-60K for 6 to 7 months of the year.

Seward, at least, having the benefit of being a somewhat larger town than Cordova, and also part of the road system- Seward's about a 90 minute drive from where I sit.

That Craigslist deal isn't terrible- maybe not a cushy IT job in Silicon Valley, but it's also not a Bataan Death March these guys made it out to be.