Stink Bugs: 1 Me: 15 and counting
A few weeks ago I shared with you guys my run in with a stink bug. I mentioned then that I was on a mission to kill every single one I encounter. I stand by that and on one night this swing I killed about ten. Not counting a wasp and a few cockroaches. I never realised that all these creatures come out in full force once the sun sets! During the day last swing I had to deal with at least 20 dragonflies in one small area (who knew there could be that many in one small spot, I most definitely didn’t). This week I was inundated by bugs and mosquitoes. I used to be scared of things that go bump in the night – more along the lines of ghosts and other supernatural beings – don’t laugh, it is so much part of the culture I grew up with it’s practically embedded in my brain, here’s proof http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_mythical_creatures. On night shift, these beings take second fiddle to stink bugs and all other creepy crawlies I have to face. I think my mission will continue strongly into the next few months. I hope the bug situation gets better as the year goes on or I am going to turn into a stink bug serial killer.
Being only my second swing on nights, it was still pretty hard to get used to sleeping during the day. Having been a bit unwell during the swing also didn’t help but having the cleaner wake me up on both her cleaning days made the swing a bit more painful. Being woken up by the sound of running water next door or of the bed being dragged at 11.30am really isn’t ideal. Some days its easier to get back to sleep than others. On one particular day I couldn’t manage to get back to sleep so I left for work with only three hours sleep under my belt. That was after having to listen to a bobcat until about 8.30am then the cleaner a few hours later. Yes, I am whining. Yes, I could wear ear plugs but I hate wearing ear plugs at the best of times and struggle to sleep with them on. Should I have to though? If there’s a noise curfew during the night, shouldn’t there be a noise curfew during the day for those who work night shift? I am not sure how it is with everyone else but I find that I need a couple more hours of sleep after night shift. I understand that shift work is one of the things that I have to learn to cope with in this new world of mine. However, based on my understanding of respect and common courtesy, there really shouldn’t be anything such as bed dragging at midday after night shift especially when fitness for work is such a big thing. Three hours sleep = not fit for work in my books.
Where I work now is under transition from construction to operations and the cleaner situation is a product of this transition. Due to the fact that there aren’t very many available rooms in camp, not only are we operators motelling but we are also randomly distributed throughout the camp. For example in my case I am the only one who does night shift in my block hence my regular encounters with the cleaner when I am trying to sleep during the day. For my sanity and to meet the legal requirement of presenting myself fit for work I really hope the right department within our organisation sorts out our rooming situation. Fingers and toes crossed that I don’t have another discussion with the cleaner on the next night shift. I am hopeful…
I find that night shift provides a great opportunity to contemplate and assess or reassess things. Maybe it’s because there isn’t as many people on site. It’s just us in the processing plant – just a bit over 20 of us plus a few contractors. The construction mob don’t work nights (as far as I’m aware seeing that I haven’t seen them around on either night swings I have done) which means there are no EWP’s, cranes, and other bits and bobs to look out for. Walking around is pretty peaceful albeit a bit freaky (I am scared of the dark remember). The crew also seems to be a lot more fun during night shift. I think this is again a product of the fact that its only us. And because there aren’t any other fitters or sparkies around, the two shift sparkies and three shift fitters actually end up as part of the core crew. On day shift, its not as cohesive as they have their own crews to hang around with. I owe the fitters and sparkies on the crew a big thank you for all the help they gave me last week – they were very little things that only a green operator would harass them about. They were great and gave me all the assistance I required, they saved the day a few times along with my crew.
I am pretty sure I have mentioned this previously but I really enjoy the camaraderie of the crew. On night shift it gets amplified a bit because we have the fitters and sparkies as well. It makes for a good time at work which makes a ton of difference. What I like the most about it is everyone takes as much crap as they give, which in my opinion makes for fun times. You definitely need thick skin to survive in this environment. However, the more I think about it, the more I realise that this whole brouhaha about the mining environment being too male dominated and not entirely female friendly is all a matter of perception. I put my hand on my heart and confidently say- it is not bad at all. I had a couple of niggly issues to start with but I guess that was to be expected. The guys who have been in this industry for years probably haven’t come across an office worker who decided to be an operator. The way I look at the whole being female in a male dominated industry is akin to joining a sports team. If you joined a basketball team, would you learn the rules or get everyone who has been part of the team and the league change their ways to meet your expectations? I think that’s what it boils down to. And working with a group of guys, is really not bad. The guys who have daughter’s my age sometimes flinch or blush when they accidentally swear in front of me or whatever it is that they usually wouldn’t do in front of a female. If you ask me though, the biggest compliment is when someone lets slip something they wouldn’t normally say or do in front of a female because they forgot I was there. That to me means I have blended in successfully. I don’t expect these guys to tiptoe around me or make exceptions for me – although admittedly I need their muscles more often than I would ideally like to admit!