Saturday, December 10, 2011


We've got a new ullage program on the Pimputer here at Hawsepiper's global floating HQ.
For those of you not in the know, ullage refers to the space between the top measuring point in an oil tank and the surface of the oil in the tank. It's how we measure volume. For example, at an ullage of 3' 4" my tanks are 97% full, which is enough to make anyone nervous, but not enough to set off the overfill alarm, which, appropriately enough, sounds like the end of the world (because it pretty much is).

So, with that in mind, my employers decided that our current system for load planning created too many individual quirks amongst the fleet in terms of reporting, so we've moved to a standardized calculating and reporting system that makes sense for the customers but is quite soggy and hard to light for those of us who carry multiple cargoes for multiple customers (but awesome for the lucky ducks who only carry one or two cargoes at a time). So be it. One size fits all, though a blivet may result.

Regardless, this week I got to give lessons in the new system to my right-hand man, who is not a lover of the Pimputer, nor computers in general.

The 1984 16mhz 486 Pimputer, nerve center of HAWSEPIPER's media empire.
Paint by Krylon.

At times I feel disheartened that the last three years have seen so much additional labor added to the process of pumping oil into a tank and then pumping oil out of a tank. Adminstrative jobs are expanding at an exponential rate ashore, and yet administrative tasks are increasing exponentially aboard, as well, begging the question as to what exactly on God's gray earth is the reason why more administrators are needed when the afloat staff is doing all the secretarial work?
Sadly, this is not a particularly novel question, but it does affect job satisfaction. If I wanted to be a fucking paperpusher, I'd still be a goddamned scientist. At this point, I should have saved the $80,000 and gone to secretarial school.
But, sadly, this is the future of working on the water. Being good at your job is no longer enough. It is very important to also be good at the job other people are supposed to be doing ashore, as well. Then again, you can't expect too much from the shorebound. They have bars there. Lucky pricks.
Still, I'm aware that I'm pissing uphill. I'm also not being particularly serious. I like my job. I have my beefs, and who doesn't? It still beats being a biologist. And the paperwork? Everyone's killing more trees in the name of information no one needs or wants, and that's not the fault of the folks who are trying to make a living; that's our bloated bureaucracy pissing from waaaaayyyyyy up on the top of a hill in Washington, and I'm not going to complain that the folks who are upstream from me can't shield me from all the crap that rains down. Ultimately, we're all at fault for not demanding better from the people who work for us.

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