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Old 05-11-2021, 06:25 AM   #1
LlanoHunter10
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I will be starting my new job as an operator at a chemical plant in Channelview next week. Any advice yall can offer me for a person who is transitioning from working as a chief engineer offshore to a new hire operator? What can I do to make myself an asset and not a burden to others? I know first impressions mean a lot and I want to make a good impression.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:34 AM   #2
Mofo
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Listen to what the experienced operators tell you, don't interrupt or act like you already know or have heard it before. Ask questions, don't assume something.

Stay off your phone and out of the control room unless you are training on something in there.

If something is going on in another area go help, even if you aren't training or trained in that area.

Help keep the control room clean and make your you clean up after yourself, don't leave dishes out or in the sink, if the trash can is close to being full take it out and put a new bag in.

Don't brown nose or be a story topper or know someone that has done it bigger and better.

Good luck, there may be a little hazing but take it in stride, they were all in your shoes when they started.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mofo View Post
Listen to what the experienced operators tell you, don't interrupt or act like you already know or have heard it before. Ask questions, don't assume something.

Stay off your phone and out of the control room unless you are training on something in there.

If something is going on in another area go help, even if you aren't training or trained in that area.

Help keep the control room clean and make your you clean up after yourself, don't leave dishes out or in the sink, if the trash can is close to being full take it out and put a new bag in.

Don't brown nose or be a story topper or know someone that has done it bigger and better.

Good luck, there may be a little hazing but take it in stride, they were all in your shoes when they started.
Great advice here, good luck with your new career and being home each day.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:41 AM   #4
tps7742
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mofo View Post
Listen to what the experienced operators tell you, don't interrupt or act like you already know or have heard it before. Ask questions, don't assume something.

Stay off your phone and out of the control room unless you are training on something in there.

If something is going on in another area go help, even if you aren't training or trained in that area.

Help keep the control room clean and make your you clean up after yourself, don't leave dishes out or in the sink, if the trash can is close to being full take it out and put a new bag in.

Don't brown nose or be a story topper or know someone that has done it bigger and better.

Good luck, there may be a little hazing but take it in stride, they were all in your shoes when they started.
Spot on!
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:44 AM   #5
Hammerdown
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Originally Posted by LlanoHunter10 View Post
I will be starting my new job as an operator at a chemical plant in Channelview next week. Any advice yall can offer me for a person who is transitioning from working as a chief engineer offshore to a new hire operator? What can I do to make myself an asset and not a burden to others? I know first impressions mean a lot and I want to make a good impression.
I'll add one more to the list of several things we've discussed but always know which way the wind is blowing. Make a habit of looking at the steam rolling out of a stack or a wind sock you walk by on your way to the way to the unit.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:46 AM   #6
trophy8
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Study P&IDs. Learn your pipe and flows. Learn about the how and what and why. Know the place inside out. DONT BE LAZY.

Probably don’t tell em you were an engineer

If you want to be the best it takes effort and dedication.

Take any training schools they offer. Study online. There’s a lot of material for distillation columns, heaters, boilers, amine systems, etc. Idk your specific plant but there will be plenty of literature about it. Use it. Know it.

Never completely trust your instrumentation. Don’t rely on that computer. Verify levels, temps, pressures locally when available. When trouble shooting keep it stupid simple.

9/10 operators aren’t good at it. They just keep it between the ditches. Be good enough to handle any situation and remain calm and you’ll go far.

Team work is important. One man can’t run the facility by himself. Work together. Learn together. Succeed together.

I love my job and what I do. It’s a solid career. You’ll make great money and should have plenty of time off. Congrats on the new job and enjoy it!

Last edited by trophy8; 05-11-2021 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:48 AM   #7
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Operators are an easy bunch, just bring some breakfast tacos on occasion and you’ll be golden.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:56 AM   #8
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Open ears, close mouth, and no one cares how you did it where you worked before. Other than that. Best of luck!
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:57 AM   #9
tps7742
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Study P&IDs. Learn your pipe and flows. Learn about the how and what and why. Know the place inside out. DONT BE LAZY.

Probably donít tell em you were an engineer

If you want to be the best it takes effort and dedication.

Take any training schools they offer. Study online. Thereís a lot of material for distillation columns, heaters, boilers, amine systems, etc. Idk your specific plant but there will be plenty of literature about it. Use it. Know it.

9/10 operators arenít good at it. They just keep it between the ditches. Be good enough to handle any situation and remain calm and youíll go far.

Team work is important. One man canít run the facility by himself. Work together. Learn together. Succeed together.

I love my job and what I do. Itís a solid career. Youíll make great money and should have plenty of time off. Congrats on the new job and enjoy it!
Great advice Trophy. I agree with you on allot of the operators take so much for granted in this field. When things go wrong it happens very quickly. Know your processes and procedures, you will not regret it in the long run. The plants are dangerous and donít take things for granted. They pay well for that very reason. You can earn a very good living at these professions for you and your family. I spent almost 36 years (34 in one company). Retired in my mid 50s. Good luck at your new endeavors.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:00 AM   #10
Jcjohnson
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Great thread with very good advice already. Try to know it it all but never feel/act like you do.

Last edited by Jcjohnson; 05-11-2021 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by trophy8 View Post
Study P&IDs. Learn your pipe and flows. Learn about the how and what and why. Know the place inside out. DONT BE LAZY.

Probably don’t tell em you were an engineer

If you want to be the best it takes effort and dedication.

Take any training schools they offer. Study online. There’s a lot of material for distillation columns, heaters, boilers, amine systems, etc. Idk your specific plant but there will be plenty of literature about it. Use it. Know it.

Never completely trust your instrumentation. Don’t rely on that computer. Verify levels, temps, pressures locally when available. When trouble shooting keep it stupid simple.

9/10 operators aren’t good at it. They just keep it between the ditches. Be good enough to handle any situation and remain calm and you’ll go far.

Team work is important. One man can’t run the facility by himself. Work together. Learn together. Succeed together.

I love my job and what I do. It’s a solid career. You’ll make great money and should have plenty of time off. Congrats on the new job and enjoy it!
You sir, sound like a great asset. To whom ever you work for.

Last edited by Jcjohnson; 05-11-2021 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:07 AM   #12
steve corn
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A lot of good advice above. Learn everything you can about your plant even if it's not in your job description. Don't be the guy who just wants to get a check.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:09 AM   #13
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I've shared this with the OP through PM but I figured I'd share it here as well. It might help someone.
-God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth. Do more listening than talking.
-No one cares how you used to do it at your last job. So keep those stories to a minimum.
-During your training if an operator gets up to go do somethings make sure you're in his back pocket.
-Get in good with the Old hands. Retain their knowledge, it's worth more than and procedure out there.
-Never stand there and let anyone open or close a long winded valve without your help.
-Utilize your downtime while training. Walk the unit, read a procedure, roll up hoses, etc etc.
-You'll see a lot of people sleeping but make sure you don't start sleeping or playing on your phone for at least the first year and/or until your qualified on a job.
I could go on and on.
But it's like I was told 13 years ago when I got in the industry.
"You can be a dumb but hardworking operator or a smart but lazy operator but you can't be dumb and lazy."

Last edited by Hammerdown; 05-11-2021 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:12 AM   #14
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Great stuff above...and maybe i missed it..BE On TIME even a little early...Nobody likes a chronic late relief...Sure everybody has a late day now and then with good reason and everyone understand ...Best of Luck its a great life...they like DONUTS too!!!!!!
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:12 AM   #15
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Sounds like food is a big deal and clean up after everyone. Good luck with your new job

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Old 05-11-2021, 07:28 AM   #16
trophy8
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Great stuff above...and maybe i missed it..BE On TIME even a little early...Nobody likes a chronic late relief...Sure everybody has a late day now and then with good reason and everyone understand ...Best of Luck its a great life...they like DONUTS too!!!!!!
Ohhhhh yes. If shift change is at 6, be there at 530-545. Nobody likes that when that one guy rolls in a 5:59 every day lol
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:37 AM   #17
slayr
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Lots of great advice already. I’ll add to always think twice before opening/closing a valve. Think about what is behind the walls of the pipes and what is going to happen if it’s released. I see evidence of complacency everyday and it scares the **** out of me.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:04 AM   #18
RLHoward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mofo View Post
Listen to what the experienced operators tell you, don't interrupt or act like you already know or have heard it before. Ask questions, don't assume something.

Stay off your phone and out of the control room unless you are training on something in there.

If something is going on in another area go help, even if you aren't training or trained in that area.

Help keep the control room clean and make your you clean up after yourself, don't leave dishes out or in the sink, if the trash can is close to being full take it out and put a new bag in.

Don't brown nose or be a story topper or know someone that has done it bigger and better.

Good luck, there may be a little hazing but take it in stride, they were all in your shoes when they started.
This is spot on !! I retired 2 years ago after 32 years as a operator. If even half of the new hires would follow this . I might have made a few more years !!!!
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:10 AM   #19
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Back when I started in 2013, in the lab, @Arrowed C told me there was an unwritten rule that if you worked OT you were responsible for bring in (2) 1/2 gallons of Blue Bell ice cream for everyone to enjoy. If you didn't have time to get the ice cream you were responsible for breakfast or dinner for your crew.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:28 AM   #20
stickemhard3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trophy8 View Post
Study P&IDs. Learn your pipe and flows. Learn about the how and what and why. Know the place inside out. DONT BE LAZY.

Probably donít tell em you were an engineer

If you want to be the best it takes effort and dedication.

Take any training schools they offer. Study online. Thereís a lot of material for distillation columns, heaters, boilers, amine systems, etc. Idk your specific plant but there will be plenty of literature about it. Use it. Know it.

Never completely trust your instrumentation. Donít rely on that computer. Verify levels, temps, pressures locally when available. When trouble shooting keep it stupid simple.

9/10 operators arenít good at it. They just keep it between the ditches. Be good enough to handle any situation and remain calm and youíll go far.

Team work is important. One man canít run the facility by himself. Work together. Learn together. Succeed together.

I love my job and what I do. Itís a solid career. Youíll make great money and should have plenty of time off. Congrats on the new job and enjoy it!
Solid advice. Know your P&ID's forward and backward IN THE FIELD PHYSICALLY and on paper.

Understand that HYSYS or other simulation software just give you a basis or a predictor. Trust the lab results and your own eyes over the software.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:37 AM   #21
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:40 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
Operators are an easy bunch, just bring some breakfast tacos on occasion and youíll be golden.
😂👍
Help the old guys, they will appreciate it.
Donít be lazy
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:56 AM   #23
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If youre an engineer, you may like a book called Petrochemicals in Nontechnical Language to read at home and answer questions from the day. Im assuming youre doing PetChem in Channelview. He also has Refineries, Pipelines, and Production.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:19 AM   #24
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Get your rest. Make sure you have a dark and quiet room to get your sleep. Make sure your family understands your schedule and that you are going to be missing holidays, birthdays, parties, kids sporting events and on and on. Good luck on your new job.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:27 AM   #25
ttaxidermy
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Pretty much everything you need to know has been stated above. If you spend anytime at all in this field you will meet every character in the book, some good and a few bad and some that you never knew existed. I've been an operator for 30 years and when I think I've seen them all here comes another clown..

Whatever you do do not be one of those that are going to "fake it until you make it".. Plenty do and some will even tell you that's what they are doing(no shame it pays the same)..Those types of operators are dangerous.. Plants are not candy factories and you can get hurt or die quickly and usually it's from someone else screwing up.
LEARN YOUR JOB because your supervisor may not know anything.(Been there)... Do not be afraid of learning board jobs. A lot of guys do not want the responsibility that a board job carries so they avoid them and work outside their entire careers. Some places it is mandatory you learn a board job and some it is not. Why that is I will never understand.
Good luck.

Last edited by ttaxidermy; 05-11-2021 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:47 AM   #26
eaglegolfj
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Do not use channel locks to beat on electrical stuff.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:57 AM   #27
Hammerdown
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Do not use channel locks to beat on electrical stuff.
False! Always beat instruments with your channel locks. The I&E techs love it when you do this. This is one way an operator provides them with job security.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:01 AM   #28
ttaxidermy
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Do not use channel locks to beat on electrical stuff.
Do not leave the control room without channel locks.. They come in handy in a pinch!!
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:04 AM   #29
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Trust your I&E techs.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:06 AM   #30
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False! Always beat instruments with your channel locks. The I&E techs love it when you do this. This is one way an operator provides them with job security.
That’s not true. If you get the urge to bang on a instrument with your channel locks, take a step back and call a professional.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:11 AM   #31
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Do not use channel locks to beat on electrical stuff.

Use a valve wrench instead


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Old 05-11-2021, 10:29 AM   #32
tps7742
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Do not use channel locks to beat on electrical stuff.
Know how to use channel locks period. You laugh but before I retired in 2015 they had to implement a small tools training program. It was due to a couple of major burns due to injuries that occurred and this was the root cause they said.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:40 AM   #33
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Use a valve wrench instead


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Youíd be a shift supervisor for sure in my unit.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:57 AM   #34
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Youíd be a shift supervisor for sure in my unit.

Negative ghost rider, ainít happening.


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Old 05-11-2021, 11:38 AM   #35
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Lol...channel locks...aka 440 calibration
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:56 AM   #36
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Every good instrument tech knows that a 10Ē crescent or 420 channelocks have repaired many an instrument. And if you canít fix it, break it so no one else can fix it and make you look bad😄👍👍
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:57 AM   #37
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Use a valve wrench instead


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Yep, its called percussive maintenance.
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Old 05-11-2021, 12:11 PM   #38
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Thanks for all the advice above gentlemen. Hammerdown has been REALLY helpful to me in preparation for this job and I appreciate his and all yalls advice so far. Looking forward to this next chapter in my life. You're all good people.
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:22 PM   #39
ram04
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Maintain a good diet and make sure you get sufficient sleep, make it a priority. Shiftwork is already bad for you and if you eat terrible and don't get enough rest it'll make it worse. Especially if your working the control room. Many a man work 30+ years shiftwork and kill over dead within a year after retirement. The other main thing some one already mentioned is follow the work, no matter the area.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:50 PM   #40
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Suck azz, bring movies and a crock pot and you'll be golden! Bahaaaaaa
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:27 PM   #41
be12hunt
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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
Youíd be a shift supervisor for sure in my unit.
ďIím not sure what happened. It just came into alarm and we called yíallĒ.


Seriously OP. I would not stress too much about it. There is already lots of good advice.
The things that I would add or repeat are to focus on really learning the plant. Donít try to memorize everything, try to learn everything. Figure out the why so when things get abnormal you will have an understanding of why and how to correct. Most operators wonít learn it to that level of detail and when it comes down around their ears they will be the first ones to hide out in the bathroom. If you get assigned a trainer/mentor and they get on their phone for awhile, that should not be an invitation for you to do the same. Take those breaks as an opportunity to trace lines or study.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:08 AM   #42
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Max out your 401K if you have one and OT is for extras. Budget off of base pay. Really good advise listed above.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:17 AM   #43
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Take out the trash @ 0430 every morning . Clean the frig when ask to do so
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:28 AM   #44
ttaxidermy
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Max out your 401K if you have one and OT is for extras. Budget off of base pay. Really good advise listed above.
^^^^this^^^^^ don't try to keep up with the Jones... Retire early and wave at them on their way to work...
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:21 AM   #45
diamonde40
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Luling, Texas
Hunt In: Fife, Texas
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Ask your colleagues every now and then "How am I doing?" "Is there something that I need to do better?" You can't improve if you don't know what to improve on.
You would like to do this throughout your career in anything you do. You don't want to find out for the 1st time that your team feels that you are slacking or lacking something when it's time for your Annual Performance Review with your Leader.
And I have followed these three rules to make it 33 years and counting.
Never forget where you came from.
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Talk to people the way you want to be talked too.
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:19 AM   #46
RMW
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Location: Burr
Hunt In: Down South
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Don’t call in sick first week of work, lol. Heck make it atleast a year
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:44 AM   #47
Duval_Santarita
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Anyone know of any opportunity’s in the corpus area
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:53 AM   #48
ttaxidermy
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Brazoria county
Hunt In: Brady,McCulloch Cnty, Brazoria cnty, South Africa, Namibia Nebraska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMW View Post
Donít call in sick first week of work, lol. Heck make it atleast a year
And don't go out for "COVID exposure" 4 or 5 times!!! That's a d&$k move. It happens..
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:21 AM   #49
Bubba
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Driftwood TX
Hunt In: Sutton County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerdown View Post
I've shared this with the OP through PM but I figured I'd share it here as well. It might help someone.
-God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth. Do more listening than talking.
-No one cares how you used to do it at your last job. So keep those stories to a minimum.
-During your training if an operator gets up to go do somethings make sure you're in his back pocket.
-Get in good with the Old hands. Retain their knowledge, it's worth more than and procedure out there.
-Never stand there and let anyone open or close a long winded valve without your help.
-Utilize your downtime while training. Walk the unit, read a procedure, roll up hoses, etc etc.
-You'll see a lot of people sleeping but make sure you don't start sleeping or playing on your phone for at least the first year and/or until your qualified on a job.
I could go on and on.
But it's like I was told 13 years ago when I got in the industry.
"You can be a dumb but hardworking operator or a smart but lazy operator but you can't be dumb and lazy."
[B]Follow this advice its solid.
There's no dumb questions.Do your home work.Most will help you out if you are putting in the effort.It maybe over whelming at first but the sooner you know your unit the better off you'll be.
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Old 05-12-2021, 01:00 PM   #50
M.E.B.
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: TX
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Trophy8 advice was great.

Don’t be like us old farts who thought we were bullet proof when we were young. Use the respirators even if the ppm says it’s lower than you have too.

Just because you pass the test and are qualified go out and retrace lines.

It’s easy to forget stuff in the dark, in the smoke when you’re stressed.

Learn the emergency procedures. Make hard copies for when the power goes out.

Make it a habit to tell someone when you leave the control room. Let them know where are are going and what you are doing.

Encourage your coworkers to do the same. If someone has been outside longer than you believe they should check on them.

And the speech I gave all the younger guys

This is not your High school job. You will work with these guys for 20-30 or more years. You will see them date their wife. Marry her. Have kids. Maybe divorce and remarry. You will see their kids grow up. Go to school and college. You will see them bury their parents. So of them will get sick. Die. You will not be in a position to separate from them like you can a spouse.

Get along. You will be spending more waking hours with them then your family. Take care of each other.

Last edited by M.E.B.; 05-12-2021 at 01:02 PM.
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