Antarctica Forums › Forums › Antarctic Memories Message Board › Discussion topics › Anyone worked as a Met Tech or GA?
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May 7, 2008 at 9:01 pm #579
I’m being considered for both Meteorological Technician at one of the field camps and General Assistant at McMurdo. Has anyone worked in either of these positions before? I have the job descriptions for both but, of course, they are basic at best. I’ve scoured the web for information and have come up with conflicting tidbits here and there but only for the GA position:
– Great job because you get to go to lots of interesting locations (but mostly do less than interesting work once you get there).
– Horrible job because all you do is grunt work and mostly shovel snow. One person called it the “second lowest job a person can have on the planet” (gee, I wonder what the lowest job is?).
– GAs are found in all areas including science support.
– GAs only work in FEMC mostly to haul materials and clean up after the “real” workers have done their jobs.
Some of the postings I found definitely sound like it is mostly a matter of where the GA gets assigned and what kind of work is being done at that time. Some of it also sounds like sour grapes to me. As far as I’m concerned, anything that gets me to AA the first time is OK by me.
So, any thoughts on either the Met Tech or GA positions (by the way, I couldn’t find a single thing on the web about the Met Tech job).
Oh, yeah, one last thing. My wife just got a contract to be a vehicle operator for 2008-09. This happened two weeks ago on April 28. Application, review, interview, and offer all happened in record time. All of my applications are still in either the “received” or “in review” stage (the hiring manager for the Met Tech position said she is waiting for funding before she can hire anyone for this job–that sounds kind of unusual unless the $$$ for the Met Tech position comes from the grantee $$$ for the camp). Is there a time frame in which the hiring process usually takes place or is it totally random? Does Raytheon prefer to take couples or does that matter at all?
Thanks for any info, tips, hints, etc. you may have to offer. I appreciate it!
-=Cliffhanger_MTMay 7, 2008 at 9:15 pm #5372
I should clarify that my wife and I went to the RPSC job fair in Centennial, CO on 3/28/08. She waited four weeks before being contacted for an interview for the vehicle operator position. She got a call on a Thursday to schedule an interview, had the phone interview on the following Monday and then had a job offer three days after the interview on Thursday. I didn’t want to give the wrong impression that it was only a couple of weeks from the time she submitted her application to the Rayjobs site to the time she got her contract.May 8, 2008 at 12:15 am #5373ZondraMember
I was a GA, and I must say that it was an awesome job. It depends on where you’re a GA at, as the job can really vary. I was an OPS GA, and I highly recommend OPS, if you can get that job. FEMC isn’t as good, but I heard it’s gotten better in the past few years. FEMC GA is better than DA (Dishwasher/Kitchen-Slave), in my opinion. There are a few other deparments that also hire GA’s, and in those cases you are basicly doing whatever that deparment does, ie: fuels hires a GA, and you do fulie stuff… there are several other departments that hire GAs, but I’m sure you’d know if it was one of those departments that was looking at you. If you don’t know which pool of GA’s you’re being considered for, my best guess is FEMC.
The Met Tech possition is out in the field, so you won’t get to see your wife very much, as she’ll be in McMurdo the whole time. Field Positions can be really awesome, and Met Tech is a great first job there. It’s kind of like GA for the field camp, but you’re in charch of the meteroligical readings. That means you’re the one who has to get up during the wee hours to check the weather. It can vary from camp to camp. And yes, field camp positions are tough, because they never know what the funding will be, and it is a long waiting game. And then sometimes they never have the position in the end.
Good luck and let me know if you have more questions.
ZondraMay 8, 2008 at 3:34 am #5374
Thanks for the quick reply and for answering my questions. I’ll check and see if it is in OPS or elsewhere. I don’t want to pester the recruiter too much, but it seems the ones I have contacted have all said for me to feel free to ask questions if I have them. I have asked different recruiters different questions at different times, and even though they said they invite inquiries, they rarely reply. Hmmm, not sure why that is the way it is. Anyway, I’ll give it a try and see what she has to say (she is a telecommuter recruiter that actually lives on the East Coast). I have already filled out HireRight and answered a who bunch of written questions sent to me by the department supervisor. All of the materials have been confirmed received (I sent them in almost a month ago), so I guess it’s just a waiting game now. Do you have any suggestions on what to do at this point? Thanks again for all the help!
-=Cliffhanger_MTMay 8, 2008 at 3:39 am #5375
One other thing to note–the Met Tech position first opened about 5 weeks ago and then closed shortly afterward. It remained closed for the past few weeks and then yesterday the link became active again. I’m not sure how to interpret something like a link/job closing and then becoming active again (and then closing and becoming active again as it has with some other job listings). Does this mean more job openings have become available, do they not have enough qualified applicants, or has the pool of applicants in general simply dried up?May 8, 2008 at 4:12 am #5376
I believe there are some met tech jobs at MCM as well. Same thing- get up at all hours of the night to take readings. Report clouds and visibilites from the airfields ect. Other than that I don’t know much about the positions. It is probably considerably higher paying than a GA.
GA is another story. You will hear stories from one end of the spectrum to the other. I would say basically this is a work ethic job. If you get a task and can feel that you should complete it, you ‘ll do fine. Often you’ll be working side by side with someone making twice as much as you for the same work. Suck it up and do the best job you can. GA’s are often out where everyone can see them. If you are a slacker everyone will know and nobody will want you working near them. Hard working GA’s are noticed and in demand and usually find it easy to move up the next year, provided they start the networking early on.
The tasks are varied and will often be boring and mundane. The good side is the tasks are varied. It would be rare to have you do the same thing all season. That puts it above being a DA dining assistant in my opinion. As a general rule you will be on the same shift as everyone else when you are in town. Sometimes your boring mundane job will bring you to some interesting places. Not all, but a fair number of GAs get sent for short periods(Week or two) of time out on the ice shelf or are flown to field camps. Most of us will never get that chance. It will still be mundane work, but again, suck it up and enjoy where you are.
So bottom line. If you get assigned to shovel snow and you think it’s beneath you or you aren’t getting paid enough, and are going to gripe then don’t take GA position.
As Zondra said. Every Dept has a GA or two. No assigned jobs, they just help out with everyone else, but are confined to only that work center. These would include the Carpentry Shop, where you might be out in the cold helping haul wood: or the Vehicle repair shop, where you might be the person emptying the old oil and keeping the floor clean: the Electrical Shop where you might help pull wire or bend conduit or change lightbulbs. ect.
The trades (FEMC) GA positions will often get you training in one of the construction fields, so if you think you might like to pick up some electrician, carpentery, auto repair skills, then get the mundane stuff out of the way and ask to help with the good stuff.
OPs GAs have no dept. and are assigned to the station or field camps as work is needed. The worst jobs would be crawling under buildings chipping away ice from leaky pipes with plumbers or doing manual lifting. If you have a good attitiude, you’ll enjoy it. If not you’ll hate it. These are the ones most likely to do their mundane work in really interesting places. Again not everyone gets out of town.
Hope this helps
May 8, 2008 at 4:31 am #5377MightyAtlasModerator
I’m certain SPAWAR/ATS/SPPO/SOPP take care of all the wx stuff at MCM. They cover things, and let the balloons fly, 24/7 in the summer.
I think it’s a union thing.
Until last summer, I didn’t even know RPSC hired Met Techs. Flew down with one, destined for Pole.
Cliffhanger — Don’t get too wound-up about jobs going back-and-forth between active and inactive. Just something that happens. Could be that someone bailed, or NPQ’d, and the position became open again.
It’s all part of ice life.
Semper Gumby (always flexible)May 8, 2008 at 5:56 am #5378
Thanks for all the quick replies and useful information–this is helpful as I try to assess what is going on at Raytheon.
I wouldn’t have any problem working as a GA, nor would I have any difficulty being a Met Tech (what I always figured was the camp counterpart to the GA). The two things I hope for are to be able to work outside whenever possible and maybe see a little bit of the countryside while I’m down there (if I get to go, that is). I understand that this is a “pay your dues” kind of arrangement and have realistic expectations. Hey, I was a forest ranger for 10 years and a public school teacher for 10 more so I know what it’s like to work up from the bottom. 😉
I think the most difficult part for me is the inconsistency of communications with Raytheon. There was a flurry of interest right after the job fair in Centennial last March (emails of interest, filling out the HireRight form, more emails of interest with specific questions related to the position, dates I would be available, would I mind doing this, would I like to do that, etc.) then almost three weeks of silence–and my application is still In Review (and I don’t want to keep pestering them and possibly tick someone off). I’m assuming that HR is overwhelmed with processing applications so answering any of my questions is placed way on the back burner.
Oh, well, no reason to lose sleep. I’ll keep checking my email and keep my fingers crossed!
-=Cliffhanger_MTMay 8, 2008 at 8:38 am #5379
If they say keep in touch and ask questions then call them about the details for heavens sake. Who knows , maybe the person has to make a decision and your call comes right at that minute and it goes to you.
Also it wouldn’t hurt to let them know your wife has a contract and there is no way you are going to back out at the last minute.
MikeMay 8, 2008 at 8:41 am #5380
By the way, a telecommunications recruiter probably doesn’t know anything about the job. See if you can call some of the people you talked to at the job fair.
MMay 8, 2008 at 8:49 am #5381
Please don’t get me wrong, I have called and emailed everyone I know at RPSC, responded quickly to all the questions they asked, sent them additional information, inquired as to my status, offered to assist in any way, etc. I also let them know immediately that my wife signed a contract and that I would love to come down there as well. I think I must have directly emailed 10 people (both in HR and hiring managers). They definitely know I am ready, willing, and able to head down there. I’m just waiting the long wait to hear something back from Raytheon (like so many before me). Like I said, right now it is a matter of wait and see. I’ll give ’em a little more time and then I’ll try to find out what is going on. Keep it fresh in their mind that I am interested without being a pest.May 8, 2008 at 8:52 am #5382
Oh, and the recruiter *telecommutes* to work at RPSC from the east copast. She is not a telecommunications recruiter. From what I was told by HR she’s in charge of recruiting for all the GA positions.May 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm #5383
What I was getting at is that if she is on the east coast, she may not have ever been to the ice and wouldn’t be able to give you first hand info of what they are expecting this year.
The whole hiring process changed in the last couple of years, so it’s much more difficult to talk to people who can give honest firsthand info on the jobs. Good luck with the process.
MikeMay 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm #5384MightyAtlasModerator
I’m pretty sure third-hand anecdotes are the company standard now.
Wonder if Barb’s coming back to wrangle the GA herd this year…May 8, 2008 at 10:36 pm #5385
Ah, I see. No, I don’t think she’s been on the ice. And, yes, from what I’ve heard the hiring process is quite a bit different from what it was in the recent past. Seems that HR makes all of the initial evaluations/cuts and then passes the pile of applications on to the hiring manager. I’m not convinced that what they’re using it is the best system available, but it’s what we all have to work with. I think the ol’ chin up attitude and positive outlook gets most of us through the ups and downs of working our way through the application process. 🙂
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