Frustrated

I am just steaming right now!

I FINALLY got a call for a real job! First one in ages, and after talking to them for a few minutes, they eliminate me because I don’t have one, (just one), of the multitude of newly required certificates of “training’.

You want to know which one? It’s a fairly new one, called “T-HUET”. T-HUET is supposed to be a less involved iteration of the HUET. HUET is a less involved iteration of the BOSIET.

I have the HUET, in fact I just renewed it. I also have BST (which has also been repeatedly renewed). They have not taught anything new in either course in the last 20 years.

ALL of these courses cover almost exactly the same stuff! But the companies now are insisting that you need to spend the thousands of dollars and weeks of time to take ALL 3 of them! Of course, THEY will no longer help pay for any of this. YOU need to spend all YOUR time and money on this stuff!

This is the email I just now sent off to the recruiter:

Just for your information:
T-HUET 
Course Outline
Procedures at Heliport
Helicopter Safety Equipment
Types of Helicopters used in the Offshore Industry
Dangers associated with Helicopters
Helicopter Safety Procedures
Preparation prior to Emergency landing
Emergency landing on Land
Surface Evacuation into an Aviation Liferaft
Escape from a Partially and Capsized Helicopter
In – water Survival Procedures
Helicopter Winching
HUET
Course Outline
Procedures at Heliport
Helicopter Safety Equipment
Types of Helicopters used in the Offshore Industry
Dangers associated with Helicopters
Helicopter Safety Procedures
Preparation prior to Emergency landing
Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET)
Emergency Breathing System Exercises
In -water Survival Procedures
Helicopter Winching

I don’t know why they don’t add the following to their description of their HUET course since they DID cover that same material. The only thing they did NOT cover that they say they do in the T-HUET is:

  • Surface Evacuation into an Aviation Liferaft- (we DID do this in the HUET course)
  • Escape from a Partially and Capsized Helicopter- (this is the exact same thing as what the HUET course describes as Helicopter Underwater Escape Training)
  • Emergency landing on Land

Do these companies SERIOUSLY want to eliminate pretty much ALL experienced mariners from consideration because they don’t have 10 minutes of ‘training’ differing in a course (that is only for the insurance company that has no clue about what ANY of these courses cover anyway)?

Do they really expect someone who has been out of work for months or years to pay hundreds of dollars for another course when the ONLY difference is at most a half hour talk about emergency landing ON LAND??? We get that same lecture every single time we fly, wether to go to work in the helicopter or flying to vacation. I would think it is 100% memorized by everyone in the country by now!

So now it is not years of experience and who can do the job, but who has the largest stack of certificates (most of them completely irrelevant to the job at hand). That is really sad.

I am perfectly willing to wait and ride the crew boat in if they are not willing to put aside that 10 minutes! I think it’s NUTS to throw someone out of a month of work because of some ridiculous ‘rule’ like this!

And you can feel free to pass this email on to Oceaneering (and any other company with the same stupid rule!). Just in case they REALLY believe there is some inherent advantage to their insistence on T-HUET, please do send them the facts, the ONLY difference is 10 minutes about emergency landings ON LAND!

Hope I’m not burning my bridges here too, but some things just have to be said!

Jill Friedman

MASTER MARINER (35+ YEARS OFFSHORE EXPERIENCE).

Do you think that was a little excessive? I don’t, I really don’t. I am getting SO fed up with the amount of complete and total pure BULLSHIT these companies are putting us through. Just in order to go to work for them.

Does anyone really think that after almost 50 YEARS spent working at sea, that 10 minutes, or even if I really push it, 2-3 hours of instruction, will make ANY difference to ANYTHING out there? If anyone does, there is no other word for those people than “INSANE” or “STUPID”. And yes, I am specifically talking to everyone involved in insisting on requiring these so called “training’ certificates!

They’re expensive and they’re USELESS! I know it and you damn sure OUGHT to know it!

How many mariners have you heard gushing about how much they learned in one of those courses? How many have you heard thanking the heavens that they’ve been forced to waste their vacation time in one of those classes instead of spending their time enjoying it the way they EARNED the RIGHT TO?

I can count the number of mariners who’ve felt that way on one hand, and after working out there for so many years, I know a LOT of mariners!

This whole certification rigamarole is just one more unnecessary burden. It’s not as if it’s all that great offshore anymore. They’ve cut and they’ve cut and they’ve cut some more. Yeah, things were finally getting pretty nice out there. Back a couple of years ago when the price of oil was sky high and they needed us badly and so were finally willing to offer us decent pay and conditions. Up until the price of oil dropped like a rock.

Now, we’ve dropped right back to where we were decades ago. Lost pay, lost benefits, lost time at home. Increased workload, increased forced ‘training’ and costs associated with all that, loss of freedom, loss of opportunity.

I used to think this was the best job in the world. It really was, way back when I started. Now, nah, not so much. Yeah, I still do personally consider it the best for me. I really can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be than out on the ocean somewhere. Sailing to some obscure foreign port with adventures awaiting.

Sadly, there’s not too much of that on offer anymore. It looks to me more and more that my days of sailing the seven seas are about over with. After so many years of fighting to get my license, it’s become all but worthless these days.

Who in their right mind would want to sail as master these days? When every meaningful decision is made by some bean counter on the beach? Yet YOU and ONLY YOU are the one held responsible for the results of those decisions. When you have NOTHING to say about them?

That license you worked so hard to get will be taken from you. Without it, you can’t work ANYWHERE! On top of that, they will probably fine you a lot of money (millions), and then throw you in prison just to make sure that bus runs you over reeeaally good.

The companies need you for your license (by law) but refuse to pay you for them now (see my last job). They treat you like shit and expect you to lap it up like you were slurping down an ice cream Sunday (with a cherry on top)!

The longer it takes me to find a job, the more frustrated, cynical, depressed and angry I get. I think it’s just sick that a company in need of good workers would turn someone with my qualifications and years of experience away simply because they lack one simple certification. Especially when that particular piece of paper is so completely worthless! I worked for that company for 5 years, they KNOW I am perfectly capable and will do them a good job!

I’ve probably just burned my bridges with them and a bunch of other companies office people with this rant. Well, so be it. They need to hear it. For damn sure I’m not the only mariner who feels this way. I guarantee I’m saying what most would say about the situation. These companies need to wake up and get their heads out of their asses and THINK for themselves for a change! STOP sucking up to the god damned insurance companies and their suck-ass lawyers and do the RIGHT thing for once! Stand up for their companies and their people instead of cowering behind the threats of the paper pushers.

God DAMN I wish people in the USA would grow some balls and start acting like the free people we brag to the world about!

I really wish I could afford to start my own boat company. It would be so nice to work for a company that was run by people who really understood the business and was willing to stand up for their employees. I don’t see any like that around anymore. It’s a real shame.

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P is for Paranoid- #AtoZChallenge

“P” is for ‘paranoid’.

adjective

1. of, characterized by, or resembling paranoia

2. (informalexhibiting undue suspicion, fear of persecution, etc

I’ve been called paranoid a couple of times in my life. I do have to admit, I’ve never been an optimist. I worry about all kinds of things (probably un-necessarily). I worry will I ever be able to find decent work ever again. I worry about how will I be able to pay the bills when my savings runs out. I worry about how we are losing our freedom here in the USA and will we ever wake up and start clawing it back from the power hungry bastards we elect that keep stealing it from us.

But is it really paranoid if they are out to get you?

I must have some sort of mental issue. I mean, I’m definitely not ‘normal’. ‘Normal’ people just ignore all the things that bother me so much. They would pass right by that mass of cameras and not even notice. And if they did happen to notice (like one fell on their head or something), they would only comment (while they bleed all over the place from the injuries it just gave them) ‘it’s all just for our own good’.

My stepmother used to tell me “don’t worry, the universe is in divine order”. I could see that for her, it sure seemed to be. She was very pretty, confident, talented, smart. She made a (very good) living as a topless bartender for decades. She had a beautiful house right on the beach paid for (by ex-husband) and really had nothing to worry about at all. She could (and did) live her life exactly as she pleased.

My best friend tells me all the time, “chill out, don’t worry so much”.  She is retired, with a decent pension, social security, a couple of other checks coming in every month, with a paid for house and although she  has some health issues, she really doesn’t have any concerns either.

For me, whenever I go out anywhere now, I see the red-light cameras everywhere and they drive me crazy! WHY does “our government” feel that they need to spy on us? What gives those people who actually do those jobs the idea that they have any sort of right to do it? I don’t even want to get into the fact that there are so many “laws” on the books that we are ALL guilty of breaking at least a couple every day (no matter how law abiding you may think you are)!

Try reading “Three Felonies a Day“. Take a quick look at the hundreds of thousands of “laws” on the books (last count 178, 277 pages at the end of 2015)! This for a supposedly “free country”. 😦

I go absolutely crazy in the airports over the TSA BS. It’s all I can do to keep my mouth shut. I’m grumbling through the whole process, from the minute I see the line start. It completely ruins the trip for me. WHO in the hell has decided that we must give up our INALIENABLE RIGHTS in order to travel? WHY have so many people just simply accepted their ridiculous excuses that “it’s only for our own safety”?

I have decided I must be some kind of mutant. I mean, I’m in such a tiny minority that it sure seems that way. Am I paranoid? Yeah, I do feel like they’re watching me all the time. The fact is that they ARE. They ARE watching ALL of us all the time! Every single email, phone call, website you visit, everywhere you go, every dollar you spend. Even your own house, phone, TV and appliances ARE spying on you now!

Poor Ed Snowden. He tried to wake us up. I consider him a hero for what he tried to do for us all. He gave up a lot to get the information out there. To put a stop to “our government’s” serious abuse of power. To wake us up so that we could take back our freedoms before it was too late forever.

I already knew most of what he said. It was all dribbled out in the news over the decades. But nobody paid any attention. Everyone still ignores it all. It’s just business as usual. Most people just go right on ignoring all the continuous everyday violations and don’t seem to give a damn at all. When I bring it up, the only thing they have to say is: “but it’s all for our own good”. WOW.

What in the world is “good” about living like that? Like George Orwell’s 1984, but worse?

WHY? That is what I want to know. No, not why they’re doing it. I already know that. It’s because they’re all a bunch of power hungry, greedy bastards! What I want to know is WHY does the general public put up with it? WHY are so few people concerned about it? WHY do so few people understand the real threats to THEM that this represents?

Paranoid? Yeah, I guess I am. But that doesn’t mean they’re not out to ‘get’ me. Or you!

I Only Thought I Was Too Tired

really feel like spewing out a huge rant right now. I’m so tired I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere, but we’ll see. Fair warning!

I only fell asleep last night about 0130. Had the alarm set for 0330 so I could get up and be sure to have enough time to find my way to safety ‘training’ this morning. They said to be there by 0645, locked out if not there by 0700. I didn’t want to drive all the way up there, just to be locked out. So I made sure I’d get there plenty early.

Anyway. I spent the entire day from 0700-1600 with only a couple of 10 min breaks and a half hour for lunch going over some really basic safety stuff. Things I’ve been in control of for decades. I’ve been the one writing the JSAs, controlling the permits, writing the work procedures, testing the tanks, running the drills, writing the safety manuals, giving the safety training. Things I’ve been in charge of teaching others for decades.

WTF is all that experience completely worthless? I’ve got training certificates out the ring-yang, but not a one of them acceptable. Grrrrr…

These companies take no interest in the fact that their students know more about the subject than their teachers, if you don’t have the specific piece of paper for the specific company, it just doesn’t matter. You’re going to waste more time in ‘training’! (how do you make an ANGRY smiley face?)

Why the hell can’t they standardize their certificates so that you don’t need to get 2 dozen different ones to do the same damn thing! It’s the same offshore. No benefit to anybody except the training centers making a mint off these scams.

It pisses me off to no end to have to repeat this stuff over and over and over and over and over and over and over and especially when I’m not getting paid for it! Even more when I have to waste my money as well as my time. At least they didn’t charge me for it today. 

Or maybe it would’ve been better if they had. I would have immediately refused instead of spending all day today up there and tomorrow too. I wouldn’t be furiously steaming all afternoon about their company policies.

This all ties right in with my post from yesterday. The absolutely insane ideas people in the US have come to believe in the last couple of decades. The huge loss of freedom, individual liberty and human rights. The absolute and complete disrespect for us as individual human beings and our innate dignity.

They did spend about a half hour telling us about their company and allowing us to ask questions. That was useful. I learned a few things. Continue reading

A to Z: Politics

Today’s A to Z challenge post is: Politics. Yes, I can hear the groans already, but I hope at least a few of you will bear with me for a while.

I’m sure you know by now how passionate I am about freedom and individual liberty (check my tagline!). This leads me to also being passionate about politics.

Not because I like politicians or want to become one, or even because I’m interested in the behind the scenes action. No, not at all. The only reason I’m interested in politics is because it has insinuated itself into every little detail of our lives.

We have completely lost sight of the principles of individual liberty this country was founded on. We have forgotten what it means to be free!

Just for example, there are now hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’ on the books, most of them totally un-necessary (and unconstitutional). We started out with a fairly short and simple document. The US Constitution. That document (along with it’s amendments and the Declaration of Independence) is the basis of all law in this country. It was purposely written so that every one could understand it. It was NOT supposed to need a lawyer to interpret it!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.- Declaration of Independence

*my emphasis with the bolding!

Somehow, those simple documents have grown into a system of ‘laws’ so overwhelmingly complex that not even the brightest lawyers can figure it out. There are so many ‘laws’  that it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to get through a day without breaking at least one!

Try reading the book 3 Felonies a Day by Harvey Silverglate (some other great books in that link too). It tells the story of how this situation came to be. How special interest groups manipulated the politicians to get benefits for themselves and the hell with everybody else. How when big benefits accrue to few, they’re justified in their hard work to pass these beneficial ‘laws’. The rest of us don’t bother to fight since it’s not really that big of a deal and it’s just so much work (if we’re even lucky enough to learn what’s going on before it’s already over). It hardly makes a difference to us, so why make the effort? This is how we wind up with millions of rules and regulations!

(Not to mention the Law of Unintended Consequences!)

I get so tired of people telling me ‘there ought to be a law’! Most likely, there already is! But even if there wasn’t, please tell me why we always need to use FORCE to solve every conceivable problem?

Do we really need a law to force kids to apply for government permission to sell lemonade in the front yard now? Do we really need a law to prevent people from collecting rainwater on their own property? Do we really need a law to prevent people from choosing their preferred method of relaxation? Do we really need a law to prevent people from gardening? Do we really need a law to prevent people from feeding the homeless?

OMG how the hell did we ever survive up til now?

All of those are (or recently were) against the law, right here in the ‘free’ country of the USA. Public interest law firm the Institute for Justice has been fighting to correct the injustice of enforcing these ridiculous ‘laws’. They’ve even managed to win a few cases. But it never ends, they just keep piling on more and more and more and more…

Do we really need all of these ‘laws’? Do we really need ANY of these ‘laws’?

Then WHY do we have them? What is preventing us from eliminating them?

It might be well hidden, but there are costs to each and every one of them! According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the cost of the regulatory burden was a staggering $1.88 TRILLION! And growing! In 2014!

That is just the cost of complying with the regulations- “in lost productivity and higher prices”. That does not take into account the other costs involved like the loss of choices, the loss of freedom, the loss of human spirit. I can’t even imagine what that would amount to in dollars. trillions? Quadrillions? Googles?Sexagintillions? Mega-multi-quadruple-googleplexes?

According to an article I read, the Federal Register was ‘only’ 2,620 pages long. By 2012 it was 78,961 pages, and since 1993 has been growing by an average of 286 pages per day! Read the article for more interesting statistics.

HOW did we get from a country where we declared “Give me Liberty or give me death!” to one with a (mostly useless) pile of rules and regulations standing taller than the Washington Monument? WHY are so very few people concerned about the insanely large government we have now and the almost total control they’re asserting over our lives? WHEN are people going to start thinking about the loss of freedom and individual liberty that’s happened just in our own lifetimes? WHAT is it going to take for people to stand up and take back their freedoms?

WHERE can lovers of liberty go if we can’t reverse this trend in America?

Busy Tuesdays

Tuesdays are always the busiest days of the week for me. Today was no exception. I woke up early (0430). I had to leave the house by 0530 to get to the training center on time. It’s all the way up in NW Houston, it takes me about an hour and a half if there’s traffic.

I spent the morning role playing for one of the training sessions. We have more and more of these required courses every year. This one was to assess how the trainee would handle emergency situations at work.

As a role player, I act the part of one of the bridge team. Today my job was to keep track of what was done as things progressed. I had to make note of the times certain things were done, for example: what time did the incident start, what time did they call for muster, was anybody missing, who, was help called, when, were the fire pumps started, etc.

It’s actually a pretty interesting ‘job’. I enjoy it. It will definitely help me when it’s my turn to take the class.

I stopped on the way home to get rid of some of my books at the Half Price Books store. Hard to believe, but they only offered me $6 for 9 (very good condition and great to read) books! I took 2 of them back after that. I’ll donate them to the library.

I got home in time to make a few phone calls (check to see if any news on the job that was supposed to start on March 4th, figure out why the pharmacy gave me the wrong prescription yesterday, call and message about another possible job). No satisfaction on any of them, I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

I went for my daily walk. The weather is still really nice and cool. I wish it lasted longer. We’re supposed to have another cold front come through tomorrow so it might last a few days more. 🙂

I checked out my plants. My lemon tree is blooming like crazy and is already making tiny little lemons. A bunch of them got blown off in the wind today. The lime tree didn’t have so much damage, but it’s right up next to the house. I’ve got 4-5 strawberries that look like they’ll be ready for picking in a few more days. I’ll have to keep a close eye out to get them before the birds do.

Came in and tried to check my email, in between the internet dropping off every few minutes. Nothing too important in the mail (nothing about work).

Off to the weekly Campaign for Liberty meeting for our usual political discussion. Last week we had a new guy show up. He had some interesting things to say. He sounded pretty hard core socialist to me, but we did agree on a lot of things (corporations have too much power, GMO labeling, fiat money, sky high debt levels). I have to admire him for sticking around for the entire meeting and holding his own when everybody else was on the opposite side on a lot of issues. Sorry to say, he didn’t come back tonight. 😦

Too bad. We really need to work together to find a way to fix what’s wrong. We really all do agree on a lot of issues but it seems like we just can never focus on that. We always wind up fighting over the few little things we disagree on. We’ll never win the real fight if we can’t figure out that we should not be fighting each other, we need to concentrate on the real enemy.

We’re going to try again to get the word out about our weekly meetings and to inform people about some of the concerns we have. It’s hard. We’re still a very small group and everybody is always so busy. Nobody really has any time to concentrate on this stuff and we have a lot of things we’re involved in (community garden, radios, GMOs, etc).

I promised to make a Facebook page. I hope I can remember how to do that. 😉

I hope to heck I’ll be at work next Tuesday! If not, I’ll go to painting class instead of role playing, they don’t have anything else scheduled up there til April 11th. I hope I don’t have to wait that long to go to work again.