Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Hardest Part of My Job is Remembering All of the Acronyms

The summer that has passed feels like both an entire year and only few days, depending on how I think about it. Of all of the summer adventures, the most significant was starting my job as an environmental scientist.
     It began with two days of training to detail how the company is structured and the different safety standards in place, and has continued with bits and pieces (and large chunks) of training ever since. As it turns out, working for an environmental consulting firm means you have to be familiarized with--and certified in--a lot of areas, and even cleared with homeland security.

Among other courses this summer, I took the 40 HAZWOPER (HAardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) course.

Here I am in HAZWOPER training doning type A protective equipment…minus gloves.

Not only did I learn about different chemical hazards, transportation standards, and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but I also discovered that the best way for me to remain attentive throughout a day long course is to doodle mehndi type designs. 

After the first day I decided I might as well make cards.

So look out, they may be coming to a mailbox near you.

Though some of the training can be monotonous, it is really nice to know our company puts such a priority on our safety. Also, both on site and within the office my coworkers and my supervisor have been simply splendid. I often feel as though I am on a semester abroad or on an internship because everyone puts in such effort to explain the things I have not encountered before, and is so patient with my shortcomings.

Green 360 cones ensure we inspect our vehicles all the way around before driving away.

For the first couple of months I worked mostly in the office, and now I’ve been working about 2/3 of the time on a particular project out in the field. Initially, my primary task was to do paperwork in our temporary little office. (And between the paperwork I have been reading lots of books, some of which I will later recommend for a post-summer reading list.)

I do paperwork with gloves on, yes siree.

During the more than two months we have been working on this site I have also been learning some about project management, making budgets (BIG budgets) and submitting proposals to clients. As you can see our PPE in this area is pretty basic (no type A suits or Nomex gear), which has been nice considering the heat of up to 102°F (real degrees, not just the “feels like”), though it has for the most part been only 96 or 98°F.

As an additional benefit, we get to see cows…

I wave to  them and say hello every morning.
They really are pleasant. 
If I could I would serenade them like these fellows do.

(Lucy gets the credit for finding this video and knowing how much I would enjoy it.)

The site also has alligators and water moccasins, but the cows are more fun.

So what's been keeping you busy?
What new twists and turns has your life been taking lately?

1 comment:

  1. I am SUCH a doodler-to-help-me-pay-attention!! I love finding other people with this quirk. Most people think I'm NOT paying attention when I'm doodling, but it really does help - it occupies the bored parts of my mind so that I can fully utilize the interested parts without the bored parts picking on them!!

    However, your doodles are FAR superior to mine. Love them!!


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