Saturday, June 06, 2009

Abandon hope, all who enter here

I received the letter the other day. 

I've been officially transfered permanently to the Highway to Hell project and my old workgroup and job has been dissolved. 

Man, it was much easier to push myself when I thought I was only going to be there until October. 

But there are some really great things about this new position. 

The best thing is that I work with an awesome team, truly the cream of the crop. The best bit is that while each of has our "assigned" roles based on our official job descriptions, we truly work as a team because we see what needs to be done and then we divvy the work up based on who wants to do what. "River" is an E1 (engineering grade, level 1) and he's doing some E3 work. I'm an E4 and I'm doing some E1 and E2 work. I don't care, and neither does River. The same with everyone else too. (The agency does have limits on this sort of thing...since River is union, I can't force him to work "above his station" for long periods of time without extra compensation. It's very common for people to get a 6 month temporary promotion, especially in times like now when there are hiring freezes. One of the guys I used to work with was "temporarily" promoted to E3 for two straight years, until a permanent E3 position became available.)  

Besides, River is an extraordinary worker--he's talented, capable, laid-back, and an all-around nice guy. I need to be on his good side; he'll probably be my boss someday. 

This good thing is balanced by a bad thing. While my team of agency folks is incredibly flexible, the consultant people I work with really aren't. They are under the impression that working on Contract Provisions is my main focus (indeed, that was the reason I was originally brought over here for), but I'm not exaggerating too much when I say that I spend approximately 0.05 hour a week working on Contract Provisions and about 55 hours a week working on Engineering Design approval. Why? Because the five other members of my agency team are also working on Contract Provisions and no one else is working on Engineering Design approval (although River does help me out when I request it). 

You see, while Contract Provision are indescribably important (after all, it's merely the documents which tell a contractor what to build), with deadlines, the process has a built-in revision process, which extends 16 weeks after the contract has been advertised. However, engineering Design approval has a much firmer deadline (you might even call it a Deadline). If this isn't done no later than three weeks before the project is advertised, the contract doesn't get advertised at all. You see, without design approval, the construction funding won't be released, and a project without available construction funding won't be advertised. (Which makes sense. It'd be like telling someone you were going to hire them but there isn't any money to pay their salary.)

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