My Blog

Let’s go find a job…..

My employment continues until sometime in January, but I really want to find another job as soon as possible.  Now that we’ve killed the refinery, my abilities are no longer needed.  Almost everything is shut down – we’re going through the process of decontaminating pipe and vessels in preparation for a complete shutdown – likely followed up by the removal of big parts of the plant to other locations or dismantlement (is that a word?) by the big hydraulic claw.

I’m a supervisor at the plant.  Until recently, I worked with my shift team to keep the refinery running safely, within our environmental limits and to meet our production and quality goals.  The refinery is a big place – any one of thousands of things could go wrong.  Most of the time, problems were solved without my involvement – I work with a great team.  My greatest challenges were refinery-wide emergencies – often simply a shortage of a vital utility and sometimes as serious as a big fire.  I was able to use my knowledge of the refinery and the capabilities of my team members  to get the refinery past these emergencies and into a stable operating mode.  We solved numerous problems, guiding this big ship of a refinery through some stormy waters.  We learned a little more every time we did it.  After over eleven years in this position, I was able to walk through the gate every day with a bit of a swagger and the confidence that my team could handle anything that the day could throw at us.

Our refinery is dead now.  The power plant is still generating the steam necessary for us to clean out equipment, but everything else is shut down.  My detailed knowledge of how this place works, and (more importantly) how the people worked, is now pretty useless.  For the next few weeks, through the holidays, I am simply the authority figure on the night shift.

There’s a reluctance to believe that our refinery is closing.  It’s been here over 50 years – my father worked here – starting in his twenties and retiring with 40 years of service.  I have over thirty years.  One hears whispers of the refinery being purchased by this company or that company.  People are hanging on the faintest shred of hope, not realizing that Valero would have sold this place if they could have.  The company will now have to spend millions on the clean-up of the property – something that they could have avoided with a sale.  I sincerely hope that they’re right and that we’ll come in on Monday morning and find out that we’re working for someone else – but I’m not placing any bets on that.  I’ve got to get out there and find someplace to work.  I feel really sorry for the younger folks with kids and big mortgages.  This has got to be brutal for them.

I’ve been checking different job boards on the internet.  I’ve put my resume out to a few things that I thought were within my abilities and interests.  I received one reply from a company that wants to teach me to sell insurance products to the elderly.  What the heck in my resume (feel free to pass that along) would lead someone to think that I could sell insurance????

I do not believe that it is possible to find a job just by answering messages on job boards and posting a resume.  Refining is a dying industry.  Right now, the US has a declining demand for our products.  It’s likely that other refineries  (especially on the east coast)  will be shutting down, so I’m going to have to stretch a little and move out of my comfort zone.  I’m looking hard – I wish that this weekend was over, so I could talk to some real people instead of just replying to internet ads.

Monday’s coming.

I’ve got work to do.







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