Nov. 20, 2006 - A Day in the Life
Hello again everyone. Yes, I know itís been awhile. Honestly though, the length of time since the last newsletter has been due to circumstances beyond my control. Mainly, my computer is in the process of being Ďfixedí. Plus, work has been, and continues to be, piling up pretty high. Besides, itís not like I have some designated writer, or an assistant to come in and just plop down a couple of paragraphs, and call it a newsletter. My standards are a little higher than that. Also, I havenít heard from ONE person (including employees) complaining about a lack of a newsletter! I have been told that there are actually live human beings (if only a precious few) that DO read this newsletter, so, with them in mind, Iíll now proceed to other business (ahhh, now I feel better). Oh, if youíre wondering about the title of this piece, itís actually directed to those people who could possibly be future employees. I hope to give you a little insight into what actually happens on a day-to-day basis, in a generalized way, but first, an update on current employees.
Starting in the west, Greg S., Thor C. and Todd D. are all in Louisiana, working on two projects. One of the projects is for AEP (power utility). Greg and Thor are in Shreeeeeeeeeeeeeveport (yes, you have to say it like that), while Todd is in BaTON Rouge. They have been in Louisiana for awhile now, but, sometimes itís like that with these projects. They may last for several months, or they may only last for a few days. There are some projects that only take a few days, but FEEL as if they lasted several months. Moving onward and eastward, VentureSum East and VentureSum South are combining temporarily in order to work on a project involving Duke Energy and Embarq (think Sprint). This project covers a significant portion of the north-central part of North Carolina. It runs from the Hickory area in the west, in a swath with Virginia as the north border, and Asheboro on the southern side, to Durham in the east. This project involves John C. (VentureSum East), Joey J. (The Big Kahuna), Tom E. and Joel C. (current project manager). This project will take several months AND will feel like it. Last, but not at all least, VentureSum North continues steadfastly in and around several towns and cities in the central New Hampshire area. They are all working on a project for NHEC (power utility). If you donít remember, VentureSum North is headed up by young Ryan S., and includes Ron D. and Jeff B. and now includes (drum roll please) our newest employee, Noah Sager. Letís have a round of applause to congratulate Noah for being able to survive the stringent standards we demand at VentureSum (itís why we stay so busy). Welcome aboard Noah.
Now, speaking of surviving, previous newsletters have mentioned something about whatís expected from our employees. The following is a generalized description of what we, the field auditors, do and how we live on a day-to-day basis (should any current employees disagree with this description, there is a thing called a phone, use it).
Monday morning Ė This will vary depending on whether youíre single or married. Single employees just have to be able to wake up, load their vehicles, and get out at a decent time after a Singleís weekend. Married employees must wake up, load up and avoid those circumstances that slow you down and tend to be a part of married life (especially if kids are involved). After getting on the road, and typically driving for 1 to 4 hours (in your company-supplied truck or jeep - rookies don't get a choice) to where the project area is, you arrive, set up your vehicle, turn on and set up your computer, and start working, or, if the drive has been long enough, meet your co-workers for lunch and decide which hotel youíll be staying in for the week (something decent, but not expensive). You work the rest of the day, in your vehicle, gathering info, getting in and out of your truck as needed, sometimes in good areas, sometimes not, and dealing constantly with traffic if youíre in a civilized area, and above all, making sure your work is accurate, all the while your truck is moving. When it starts to get dark, you drive to meet your co-workers and then, the most important decision of the day must be made by your group; ĎWhere Will You Eat Supper?í Don't worry, the company pays for your meals. After supper (thatís a good southern term), itís back to the hotel where you turn on your computer again and prepare for tomorrow. Before sleeping, you may watch a little T.V., or, talk to somebody you know long distance on your company-supplied cell phone, or maybe write newsletters.
Tuesday Ė Get up after a hotel wake-up call. You probably donít eat breakfast, although most hotels do provide you that option. Drive 10 to 30 minutes to your work area. Drive slowly in your truck, accurately gathering info on your computer, getting in and out when necessary, regardless of weather usually, until time to meet for lunch. After lunch, drive stop-and-go in your truck for the rest of the day, seeing parts of a city you never knew existed, occasionally dealing with back-property, and/or dogs and/or people who want their trees trimmed, or, their cable T.V. hooked back up, or, want to know Ďthe name of the particular individual you must be looking forí since you keep looking around with your binoculars (the use of binoculars MAY not be necessary in all of the project area of New Hampshire). Darkness falls and you go to meet co-workers at a restaurant (a different one every night and not fast-food), and discuss the events of the day. There may be a need to revise some part of the overall project strategy. You find out a ĎQuality CheckĒ is to be performed in your work area, and you hope the Project Manager or Company Owner doesnít find too many errors, because, after your probation period is over, if you fail 3 consecutive ĎQCísí, you get to find another job. Generally, you DO eat pretty well. Then, itís back to the hotel for some bad television programming and a nightís sleep on a decent bed.
Wednesday Ė Get up and repeat basic activities that you did on Monday and Tuesday (accurately). Your office scenery does change every day and you get to wear a golf shirt (if warm) or flannel (if cold) and blue jeans as your work uniform. You get to listen to CDís and/or radio all day and pretty much, as loud as you can stand it. Repeat Mondayís and Tuesdayís eating rituals.
Thursday Ė Repeat basic work activities, that is, get up, drive and gather info (again, accurately), slowly and carefully, but, not too slowly, or else you wonít pay for your expenses, which include hotel, food, gas, vehicle payments, maintenance and insurance, employee incurred company cost, salary, health insurance, cell phone, computer, etc. If you donít pay for your expenses with your work production, you get to find another job. Meet co-workers, eat, work accurately some more and call it a day at sunset. Eat, relax in hotel room, sleep, then T.G.I.F.
Friday Ė Get up, pack up your stuff and check out of hotel after making reservations for next week. Work (safely and accurately), meet and eat lunch. At some point during Friday, you should hit the 40 hour mark for the week. Contact Project Manager and let him know youíve hit the end of your work week (unless you're working production, but thatís another story). Drive 1 to 4 hours back home, and start catching up on all the home chores you didnít get to do because you were gone all week.
Epilog - We donít ALWAYS travel away from home, but it is that way most of the time. It depends on project location. Now, I donít want to scare away prospective employees, but the wash-out rate is fairly high. As mentioned in previous newsletters, it takes a particular type of person to be able to do this type of work. If you make it past the initial first months, then you can probably make it longterm. You can make pretty good money, especially the longer you stay with the company. There are numerous perks that come with the job, perks that you wonít find in other jobs. There's also a certain amount of pride involved in doing a job well, without supervision. This type of work requires a 'self-starter' kind of person who believes in honor, since you are alone in your truck a lot of the time. You may have noticed the term "accurately" used several times during the daily description. This is an absolute critical part of our work and cannot be over-emphasized. NOBODY matches us for accurate information. There is good fellowship within our work-groups and youíll also become part of a somewhat elite group of people who do a specific type of work better than anybody else in the country (itís why weíre so busy). I donít mean to sound arrogant, itís just an observation Iíve made based on years of experience (I have been told that I CAN be somewhat direct and abrasive, but in a good way). This company basically consists of a group of people who are not drinkers, or smokers, or users of profanity, or party animals who go out at night to strip joints. We are not a religious cult, but we do try to live and do right, according to most Christian moral guidelines. We are made up of both conservatives AND a liberal. O.K., enough public relations and descriptions. Iím worn out, and all I did was TALK you through a week. Iím sure I left out some stuff, or somebody will remind me about something I forgot, so, Iíll collect all that stuff, and try to remember to put it in that next exciting newsletter. As a bonus for this newsletter however, the first employee to call me and let me know their thoughts on this, or any, newsletter will win a special surprise. That prize is the super-secret number to the Bat-phone (inside joke). Till then, be safe. See ya.
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