It has been almost five months since I made the jump from being a craftsman to an operations technician. I must say: I enjoy it. I still get to troubleshoot problems within my unit and work with a wide variety of maintenance personnel. I get to work with hand tools, PPE (personal protective equipment), and I get to deal with all types of inclement weather.
The past few months have been a strict focus on learning my process, EHS (Environmental Health and Safety), and learning the unit in which I am working. Although every company has different training techniques, I was impressed with how much emphasis is put on safety. I have heard of companies and foremen who just talk safety, but here we practice what we preach. If a job cannot be done safely, then it is time to step back and rethink the job.
When dealing with maintenance personnel, there is a permit system that spotlights all the safety aspects of a job. This hazard analysis looks at what chemicals or processes one may have to encounter, ergonomics, and what type of safety hazards one may have to deal with (e.g. elevated heights, electrical, thermal, etc).
As far as work-life balance, I would have to say that I enjoy it, but it is definitely not for everybody. I work what is called a “DuPont schedule”. To keep it short and simple, investing in some dark shades for your windows and having some earplugs can definitely help you sleep through the day. Although we are on shift, and going from days to nights can be rough at times, it definitely has its upside. A week off every month is hard to say no to.
Nevertheless, I am close to getting certified within my unit, and I am ready to take my learning and experience to a whole new level.