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Mining jobs: The bad and down sides

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Here is a comment posted on this blog today.  It is posted to the section onAbout Me and the Blog.  That is a pretty obscure posting, although some do look at it to check if I am genuine.

I post the comment  here with a few edits as this comment struck me as a story of tragedy, of the worst face of mining, or of employment in any industry for that matter.  The writing has so strong a ring of truth, that I credit this story.

I do not know the folks involved.  Maybe you can contact them if you go to the original comment.

My comment is that this is the bad face of mining employment.  But this happens, sadly, in all industries.   I myself have been run off a site for political reasons—someday I will tell the story.  Maybe we should see this not as a story about the bad parts of working in mining, but as about the bad parts of working.  For I was run off a DOE site for proposing the best solution that, however, did not accord with the best interests of the vested interests.  Well after I was gone, logic prevailed and they did what got me fired.  By then I had moved on, sad, tired, and newly enlightened as to the venial aspects of human nature.

To this father and son all I can say is this: shit happens; some people are not worth working with; some companies are not worth working for; be prepared to move on; and forget the past.  I have moved many times.  I have been a citizen of three countries.  I have lived and worked in seven US states.  I have been employed by five companies.  Some places, companies, and bosses were better than others.  As I have noted, I was fired, I was laid off because of lack of work, I have moved to keep billable and paid.  The only constant is change.  Be prepared to deal with it.  Luck comes only to those who are prepared.  I have been very lucky.

Here is the comment.

This is the experience of my son and his mining career.

He took a mine job in the construction of a mine, to get his foot in the door. He is an excellent carpenter. He was a tool cribber and was astonished at the conditions he walked into. His mentor drove him around the mine property they were working on. He then did a walk around to see what needed to be done first, which was everything. He found electrical and pneumatic tools, laying all over the place, some even left in puddles. He gathered them all up, repaired them and all of the cords. His work shop was a place of art, all itemized and tagged to make inventory easier. They did permit him to run the bobcat, not ticketed so had to stay on their site. There were sharp pieces of metal sticking out of the ground, kneecap high. The site was perfection. He built a movable roof so, equipment could be worked on outside out of the weather. That was a big hit. He repaired steel doors, they were just going to junk. One supervisor ran around and asked everyone if they needed my son for the next day. He built the guy a good sturdy tool box, for the back of his truck.

His mentor was becoming very snippy towards my son. It was found out my son was a flawless painter. One of the big cheese in the mine, called them to bring him a copier from another building as his had broken down. My son is actually an Electronic Engineering Technologist. He didn’t stop to think. He said he would have a look at the copier and was able to repair it on the spot. He caught the look on his mentor’s face and he was livid. He realized he had screwed up. After that his life was hell.

A few days later a lady came from the mine. She said, I want you and you, and you, and who is Greg? He thought, oh hell I’m in for it now. He had actually been headhunted to work in the mine its self. It was supposed to be on the end of a broom job. Until someone said, he was an Engineer. They put him in the lab. He did another walk-a-round. He saw smoke coming out of one of the piles. He asked the haul truck driver if he had noticed the smoke? And, did he have a respirator? He said he did but, didn’t know if it worked. My son also has his Applied Sciences, so he left the equation up on the computer, pertaining to the smoke coming out of the piles. The other guys said he had to have worked in a lab before this. He said, he had his Applied Sciences and he had studied the books they had in the lab.

The Engineering Supervisor wanted Greg in the Engineering Instrumentation works. The lab wanted to keep him in their department.

A week or so later, many of them were laid off. The guys fought like hell, to keep my son there. However, he was laid off anyway and he had quit his other job.

We now see, they have posted more jobs in the same mine. He had updated his resume and sent that off to the mine. No luck so far.

I thought perhaps he had come across as a know it all, leaving the equation up on the computer regarding the smoking piles.

My son has call backs from other mines saying he is their best candidate. That seems as far as it ever goes.

PS.  Then this came from the concerned father:

 It just struck me so oddly. How do you go from, the best candidate they had ever had, to being laid off and left with no prospects of being called back. This was done to many of the other workers as well.

One of the guys, was going to move his family closer to his job site. His wife and kids drove to the city to pick him up. Winter roads can be very treacherous in the North. He thanked the lord, he didn’t get the time to move his family.

In my day. You were laid off with a call back and/or being laid off with no prospects of being called back. At least you knew, where you stood and the reason for the lay-off. However, my sons lay-off is a total puzzler. It shocked everyone he worked with. They were in disbelief.

The legend of this story is? Do not move your family closer to your mining job? Tomorrow, you may have no job.

This article appears courtesy of I Think Mining. To read more of the mining blog, click here.

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