Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lots o' Turmoil

I rarely blog about work because, well, I’m already there 40 hours a week. Rest assured that if something momentous happens there, you’ll be notified.

Yesterday, I spent a few moments watching a sleeping rabbit. I work in a trailer that’s right next to another one. Both abut onto another building and have a vestibule that connects them on the other end, so in between everything there’s a little graveled courtyard – my word for it; it’s only there to provide access to the HVAC equipment. The rabbit was in the courtyard, napping away in the sun. Its feet were curled up underneath it like a cat, and it had its ears back. Preserving heat. It looked pretty comfortable.

That must mean it survived the gassing of the voles. We’ve been overrun with them this summer, so overrun they’ve forced the ordinary mice into the building. One climbed all over my boss’ bookshelf a few weeks ago. Scared the hell out of him. He spent the rest of the day seeing phantom mice in his peripheral vision.

We’re hopeful too that the weasels survived, since they’d been doing their little part to control the vole population. They’re fun to watch, undulating through the grass like snakes with legs.

We’re hopeful we’ll survive. After about two years of stimulus funds, they’ve dried up and the company is back in layoff mode. Lives that were “touched” by stimulus money are likely going to be touched by its absence. The company is laying off 65 this month, with another 600 or so to go next year. Yikes and double yikes. The only good news we have right now is that nobody in our little group will go in the first 65. We’ve got some assurance in that the projects we’re attached to have a life beyond the end of the contract in 2012, but that’s cold comfort seeing as we don’t know how many bodies will remain attached to that life.

But thus is the life of a worker in the DOE complex. I know one guy who fled Paducah for Rocky Flats, then when that place got shut down completely he came here. And that story’s not uncommon. I’ve just got to hope it happens to me, because I kinda like this line of work. We joke about this line from Ghostbusters a lot, but it’s not like that. Much.

Good news, though: Today I went and got my security badge renewed. That’s typically a good sign when they let you do that. It’s no insurance that nothing will happen to you, jobwise, in the coming fiscal year, but at least you can get into the building before they throw your ass out.

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