Aug 9, 2007

Tipping Point? Get Real

There has been discussion on recent posts about what is the "tipping point" regarding the work conditions at LANL that would finally cause individuals to leave. One comment suggested that a 1.25% raise, handed out to the top 10% of the work force would cause this particular individual to leave.

Folks, it's time to get real. LANL is facing a possible $400 million budget shortfall for this upcoming fiscal year. That could mean 1,400 pink slips would be coming shortly, and you guys are talking about getting raises?

Yikes! Talk about being disconnected from the actual, real world. Wake up to the realities of working at today's LANL!

--Gussie

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

A budget shortfall which became more certain when the latest security screwup came to light a fews days ago.

Anonymous said...

"That could mean 1,400 pink slips would be coming shortly". Truthfully I was expecting more than 1,400 to be let go with a 400M cut. I wonder how long they will continue this little trickle of people being dismissed until they announce that the "mission: is gone and we need all "new blood". I also wonder how a RIF at LANL of 1400 + employees will affect the RIF's to come at LLNL. It seems logical that if we are going to have a large 400M cut of the weapons funding at one lab we should have an equal cut at the other namely LLNL. If that does not occur I'd be asking a lot of questions to my representative back in Washington, DC. Again a cut in the weapons funding should mean an equal cut in funds at LLNL since we are "sister labs" who work on the same project.I wonder how they'll explain that.

Anonymous said...

Now come on - Mike and Terry have both said there is gonna be no RIFs! Now Mike I do not know that well, but what Terry says I believe. He is a man of his word and he got his job on his previous performance as ADSR. Remember, he got the job after an exhaustive national search - he is the best we could find. We got the best and the brightest. Terry's word is solid.

Anonymous said...

Oh did anyone see Terry on the cover of the LA Monitor today? Looooking goood!

Anonymous said...

Small reality check.

Much of the "cuts" were really non-funding of expensive things that do not exist yet, such as CMRR nuclear facility construction.

Not out of the woods by any stretch, but not as grim as portrayed.

Yet.

Anonymous said...

This year's 2% COLA on my UC retirement annuity suddenly doesn't look quite as shabby as it did when I first opened the envelop yesterday.

Anonymous said...

9:32 pm: Damn right, UC is keeping the faith. I'll bet a lot of folks who could have retired UC but chose to join LANS and TCP1 will be looking with envy and regret at what UC retirees are getting as a COLA, compared to what they are getting as a "raise." I heard a lot of people talk about how the corporate partners in LANS were "world class" and how NNSA and DOE wouldn't let LANL employees get screwed (Tyler is such a nice guy). Welcome to Reality 101. Your final exam in this course will be to explain to your spouse and family why your career and retirement went bust.

K. Boland said...

A 0% raise, and we'd still be very well paid. And some of us get to do real science! That means a lot. Most people with bachelor's degrees in science fields get stuck doing BS grunt work.
Of course, a pink slip and I'd leave LA. BFD! Been unemployed before, and will be again.

Anonymous said...

Yes there will be raises and yes there will be RIFs, we can have both. However if done right the RIFS will be a great thing as
we could get rid of 2000 people right now and the place would function far far better. We will have to see.

Anonymous said...

"I'll bet a lot of folks who could have retired UC but chose to join LANS and TCP1 will be looking with envy and regret at what UC retirees are getting as a COLA, compared to what they are getting as a "raise." "


I thought that DOE is only guaranteeing to keep the TCP2 pension funds held by UC afloat but makes no guarantees regarding COLAs.
What makes you think that they will give COLAs to TCP2 if they don't give them to TCP1 retirees ?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8/10/07 1:10 AM writes: "However if done right the RIFS will be a great thing as we could get rid of 2000 people right now and the place would function far far better. We will have to see."

Well, yes this is possible. But I think that it is quite naive to assume that the right 2000 people will be let go. If anything, the "unfunded" TSMs and TECs will be let go. Remember that people in management and support organization are ALWAYS funded by definition.

Given the history in the past 5 years, I believe that it is virtually assured that the wrong people will be RIFfed, overhead rates will increase, productivity will decrease, etc.

Anonymous said...

I would like it if commenters on this blog (and the town in general) got real.

Sometimes, the comments here read like a science paper in which the methods, reference, and results sections have been deleted. All that is left is Introduction and Conclusions.

Sometimes there is one result followed by wild extrapolation.

I would like to see the methods, references, and results sections. My future depends on these sections.

Your needs may differ.

Anonymous said...

I suspect by this time next year, most will know several people whose Los Alamos homes are going into foreclosure due to layoffs. Hang on, because the ride is about to get very wild and scary.

And to 7:42 AM, stop trying to be a damn scientist all the time. Start trusting your gut and instincts a little more. Methods? References? I'm sure the wizards on Wallstreet used lots of good methods and references in their investment models which are now blowing up. Take your head out of the books and look around you for a few minute. Your eyes and ears can be very useful sensors. Start using them a little more effectively.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is the same as yours 9:25. Not all the funds are for ops, so not a straight translation into RIFs. To get a better estimate, I would suggest looking at how much LANL actually spent this year by ops, GPP, construction, etc. Maybe worthwhile enough to get more than a crude total dollar to RIF estimate.

As far as raises, assume the algorithm will spit out about 30% zero raises.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts,

Many of you out there may be very suprised if/when there are RIFs. I'm a former lab guy, who got a lot smarter about the real world after leaving. For what their worth, here's a few observations/predictions on potential RIF scenarios:

1) as noted in a previous post, a large chunk of the multi-hundred million dollar cuts are for construction, and things that don't, now won't, exist; so the total shortfall is a lot smaller.

2) I don't know what the current LANL PR story is, but based on my own circle of friends and former co-workers, it appears to me that the institution is hemorrhaging (sp?) the 30-35 year old technical staff members that are its seed corn. And the institution is not replacing them, either because they can't attract anyone, or they are holding staffing down in anticipation of a RIF. Another factor that will reduce the need for a RIF.

3) Your overhead costs, per TECHNICAL staff member, are obscene. If LANS can use a budget shortfall as the excuse, and if St. Pete doesn't intervene, look for massive cuts on the support side of the house. It has been reported here, and in other forums, that the avg. cost per staff member is something like $450 k/year. Now unless you all got incredible raises in the past few years, I would guess (conservatively high)that the average technical staff member salary is something like $100 k/year. Most big govt. contractors like Lockheed, Northrup, etc which are at the top of the food chain and generally don't scratch to compete on cost alone, live with a cost multiplier somewhere close to 2 (meaning that the cost to the government for a staff member is about 2X what the staff member actually gets paid). It looks to me like the current LANL multiplier is somewhere above 4. And that isn't primarily because of taxes, operating fees paid to LANS, or the number of LANS managers -- they all contribute, but the overriding factor is the bloated and inefficient admin functions that burn up dollars.

4) Every time a TECHNICAL staff member leaves, the institution doesn't get to use the overhead dollars that he/she would have generated for each hour they work. So the hole is getting deeper by the day on that side of the house.

5) If a RIF comes, don't look for much beyond a token amount of cuts in procurements and subcontractors. Both of these are heavily taxed to support the overhead structure. On paper it actually looks like slowing down on procurements (which in theory should be impossible anyway because you shouldn't be buying things that aren't required to meet programmatic needs)or cutting subcontractors would make sense, but in many cases it can't be done while still delivering on mission objectives, and once the overhead structure is cut to the point where it is everywhere else in the U.S., dollars for procurements and subcontractors will stretch like you wouldn't believe.

Anonymous said...

MY LANL SCENARIO:

It's likely that a budget CR will be in effect next year, but that some type of compromise will be reached by the House and Senate. Figure zero dollars for any new investments (RRW, CMR building, etc). Figure about $100 million in cuts to the weapons budget, with LANL taking the brunt, say $80 million. Thus, LANS will be in the tough position of trying to figure out if it is worth the pain to start the layoffs with this level of reduced funding. However, they will extrapolate ahead, realizing that the weapons budget is due to shrink further in the outlying years. Thus, they'll decide to go ahead and start cleaning house next year. It will be painful, but it may be the right thing to do given our current situation.

Figure on seeing layoffs of around 500 people who work directly under LANS in FY08, much like the layoffs of '94. Of this number, about 200 will be TSMs (unfunded staff with low appraisal scores who are not in the management chain) and about 300 support (again, no one who works directly under our bloated management chain need worry). LANL likes to do these things in phases, so you will see TSMs chopped in Phase I, then support chopped in Phase II. This gives them legal cover (i.e., "we laid of the scientists, so now we don't need as much support"). You can expect to see discrimination legal suits begin shortly after the support people get laid off, and this may delay their layoffs for a while.

I don't particularly like LANS style of management, and I'm not looking forward to the RIF. However, let's be honest. Everyone knows that LANL could use some belt tightening. The biggest part of the problem is our bloated management structure, but they control the cards, so don't expect to see any cuts here. If anything, the ratio of managers to working staff may get worse. However, not all the working level TSMs who walk the hallways are worth a labor rate of $450 K per year. There is lots of dead wood that needs to be pruned, and if we start by pruning some of the deadwood this next year, perhaps we can avoid the problem of a major "forest fire" in the outlying years. The one part of this scenario that perplexes me is how will LANL can afford severance pay for laid off workers. Will they suddenly decide to change the policies to reduce this before the layoffs? Will NNSA agree to help pay some of the severance costs?

Other area that will change in the next few years will be in the perks offered at LANL. To further reduce costs, LANS will decide to reduce the amount of sick leave and vacation leave that they offer staff. They will also make workers carry a bigger portion of the financial burden for both health and life insurance. In addition to this, they will start making retirees pay significantly more for their medical coverage. None of this will be fun, but they are likely to proceed in this fashion to reduce budgetary costs and minimize additional layoffs. LANL workers have shown that they don't take the decision to leave LANL lightly, so LANS knows they can safely proceed with these reductions in perks. You will also see very small raises for many years out. Most workers at LANL will be moving backwards in terms of lifestyle. Learn to adjust to this by cutting back on your household expenses. Also, be prepared to take out your own office trash and keep extra toilet paper stocked in your office. If your office needs any repairs, don't count on seeing them get done quickly, if at all.

In summary, expect some layoffs, some further benefit cuts, a declining infrastructure, and a lot more fear and anxiety in the next few years. It won't be the end of the world, but it won't be much fun, either. If you can get a management position, then take it. That will allow you to live off the overhead and be safe from layoffs. It will also allow you to raise your salary to a much higher level so that when you do retire, you'll be much richer. Of course, lots of mice on the sinking ship will be running for the manager "life boats", so the competition for these positions will become vicious.

Anonymous said...

11:05, re 2) and 4).

I did a quick calc off the top of my head, and in my group about 8 TSMs left/retired from just before the transition until today. We have had no new hires since then.

As I recall, the Director stated that some 370 LANS Staff left this FY through June. Yet, the LANS Staff count stands at about a NET loss of 95 since the beginning of the FY, so people are getting hired. Who and where is another matter.

Anonymous said...

4:36 am:
"What makes you think that they will give COLAs to TCP2 if they don't give them to TCP1 retirees ?"

Uh - because TCP2 doesn't include a pension plan?

On the other hand, 2% COLAs for UC retirees showed up right on time in the August 1 pension checks.

Anonymous said...

LOS ALAMOS HOUSING SCENARIO:

Approximately 60% of LANL's workforce live off the Hill. If we assume a layoff of 500 workers, then about 200 of those workers live in Los Alamos County. Some of these workers have both spouses working at LANL or other income sources and won't be forced to sell their homes. Some will simply decide to go into retirement or already own their homes. Thus, we might expect to see around 100 "distressed" home sales hit the market by next summer. Of this number, maybe half (50) won't be able to sell the homes and will be forced into foreclosure. This won't completely destroy the Los Alamos home market, but will severely depress it for several years. For those who are lucky enough to have a secure job at LANL (i.e., our managers and their support staff), and who live in over-priced Santa Fe, you'll be able to pick up some very nice deals on Los Alamos housing in the near future. The low prices on Los Alamos housing will last for several years. Eventually, NNSA and Congress will decide to proceed with the Pit Factory construction at LANL and the housing market will finally recovery sometime around the year 2015.

Anonymous said...

I should add that the "LOS ALAMOS HOUSING SCENARIO" is an optimistic one. Other scenarios don't turn out so nice. For example, the lab really could be headed for severe and continuous cuts and Congressmen (like Udall) won't care what occurs. In that case, the number of foreclosures in Los Alamos will be much higher, as you would expect. However, looking at past history, I would argue that the odds of drastic downsizing at LANL go against the odds. The more likely scenario is some downsizing during the next few years, followed by a surge in Pit Factory jobs after the downsizing period has passed away.

I haven't a clue what is going to happen to the science done at LANL. I'll take a wild guess, though, and guess it is headed for a sizable decline due to the ultra-high labor costs of the TSM workforce. Management appears to have no strong intentions of fixing this problem. The newest fad of creating science "Institutes" at LANL appears to be more of a band-aid than a real solution. A few staff members will find relief through this route, but most will not. Reducing TSM labor costs would mean scrapping the high overhead rates which management lives on. LANL managers will never do that. It's their job protection. If anything, the effective average TSM rates may be headed higher in the next few years.

Anonymous said...

"..so people are getting hired. Who and where is another matter." 2:03 PM

As in Bechtel folks, perhaps? Word is that Bechtel is moving their people into position at LANL. Is this true? I have seen a lot of out of state plates in the parking lots, and these are not cars owned by students. These are obviously cars owned by people making a very good salary. Any one in HR know the truth of what is going on with hiring?

Anonymous said...

RIF's are dearly needed at LLNL; here why:

20% of the workforce are dead wood. They don't do anything, but surf the internet.

Another 20% of the workforce was hired because they are relatives or friends of the managers. This is a 50+ year legacy of UC management.

As long as these 40% are RIF-ed, we'll be okay. Otherwise we are doomed.

Anonymous said...

2:27
Los Alamos housing is not particularily out of line with national costs. And Santa Fe is higher. At the point that prices become depressed here, people will be willing to live here and commute.
Prices may not go up much over the next few years, (true for most of the US), but they will not go down as much as you think. If you are worried, keep your house updated.

Anonymous said...

To 11:51
Housing.

"Prices here are not out of line with national prices."

That may be true, but I do not see how is it relevant. You can't live here and commute to any of those other places. The real estate dynamics appear to be entirely local.

"You can live here and commute."

Where do you commute to? The main jobs in Santa Fe would appear to be in food service and tourism not science or engineering, not even in computer maintenance or security.

".. they will not go down as much as you think."

On what basis do you make this statement? In comparable markets under similar situations, e.g. Flint, Michigan and Lawrenceville, New Jersey, housing prices dropped 50% in two to three years and stayed at that level for decades.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Poster 8/10/07 11:51 PM makes an excellent point "If you are worried, keep your house updated."

Many of the houses on the market are absolute old crap that have not been updated ever. They look like something out of a 1960's/1970's style book (and a bad one at that- I personally enjoy the the golf green carpet with bright yellow walls). The people in this town have gotten away with being able to sell over-priced outdated homes for years and now maybe they are getting a reality check. Fix up your home before you try to sell it - this is what most of the country has to do to sell their homes at the extremely high prices of the houses in LA.

Anonymous said...

Poster 11:51 PM, I think you are being wildly optimistic. It would be far easier and financially safer for folks working in Santa Fe to live down in ABQ, where housing is much cheaper, and then commute every day on the nice, wide freeway to Santa Fe. In fact, many people already do just that. The new commuter rail will eventually be extended from ABQ to Santa Fe, which will make it even easier for those folks to do their daily commute. We are not going to see an influx of buyers come into Los Alamos County from outlying areas. There is no sense to it.

As far as Los Alamos housing prices, I don't think we'll see anything like the declines in the former "boom" areas like inland CA and Florida because Los Alamos prices have increased only a moderate amount over the last 5 years ( ~7% per year). In most parts of the US, housing went up much faster. Our low housing appreciation is largely a function of the continuous problems that have occurred at LANL over these last 5 years. Lack of pricing inflation in Los Alamos will help moderate any further pricing declines. I would guess that listed prices may go down around 15% in Los Alamos in the next two years. This is nothing like the 30% to 40% declines that are going to hit areas like inland CA and FL.

Still, if you lose your job, hold a large mortgage, and can't sell you home at any price your only option in the end is to mail the keys back to the bank. We'll soon be seeing some foreclosures on the Hill, which is something that is very rare for Los Alamos. We may not see an exceptionally large increase in the number of homes for sale in the county, but those that are listed will sit for a long, long time before they are bought. The safest housing bets will be old duplexes and quads, which are still affordable and allow a few moderate income families in the Valley and Santa Fe to get their kids into the Los Alamos school district.

BTW, the latest Santa Fe Reporter magazine is still running LANB ads hawking "stated income", "interest only" loans (aka "Alt-A" loans). I think LANB must be getting desperate for new customers. The "Alt-A" loan market has now shut down due to the the subprime fiasco. LANB won't be making any more "Alt-A" loans. In fact, they won't be making many home loans of any type for quite a while, as even the rate for Jumbo loans (required for housing loans over $417 k) is now well over 7% and quickly rising.

Anonymous said...

...I should add that while listed prices in Los Alamos may go down about 15% over the next 2 years, the actual buying price could well be down by about 20% from the peak of the local market. Buyers will be low-balling offers on the listed prices and some sellers will be desperate enough to bite at low-ball offers.

Anonymous said...

My LA faves are the homes that have bathrooms that look like they were tiled with left-overs from the local swimming pool! And I wnat to have $400K for the house, Sir!

Anonymous said...

LOL, 9:41. I've seen some winners.

I cannot imagine buying a house unless I was a manager or very sure of having my job over the next several years. Even after the FY08 budget is settled, I speculate the uncertainty will continue for awhile. Who knows, maybe LA will start its own Zozobra festival. These days, I would have to see what I believe is relative funding stability going forward for several years before I would consider buying.

Asking prices for resales is way out of line with rents, which appear to be falling. No real pain or fear yet as far as I can tell.

Another thing I'm seeing since I work with some older staff is people buying houses elsewhere for their retirement. They have not yet put their LA houses on the market.

Anonymous said...

11:51 PM sounds like a Los Alamos realtor or the spouse of one. People will be flocking to Los Alamos to buy homes? Right.

The denial appears to have set it. It will take the events of this next year to change some minds. If you plan on making money betting on the real estate market in Los Alamos, you are probably making a very bad bet. When I walk around my neighborhood and pick up some of the flyers in front of "For Sale" homes, I'm usually shocked by the prices these people think they'll get. And those flyers seem to be sitting outside of these homes for month after month after month.

I haven't seen a single house sell within four blocks of my home since the early Spring. The stats for the summer selling season will be out soon enough. I suspect they'll set a new record for lack of sales during the summer season. Real estate dealers will then "re-list" the homes to make the local stats look better, but it won't help. The housing bust is now here in full force and will only get worse as the year progresses.

Anonymous said...

"In comparable markets under similar situations, e.g. Flint, Michigan and Lawrenceville, New Jersey, housing prices dropped 50% in two to three years and stayed at that level for decades." ( 8:08 AM)

Hey, Flint, Michigan! That's a Dingell-Stupak state! Those two dim-witted Dems have done such a wonderful job supporting the industry in their own burned-out backyard that they now want to "spread the wealth" to Los Alamos, I suppose.

And Tom Udall? He wants to help them do it. Go figure?

Anonymous said...

You guys are worried about real estate?
You should also be worried about your bank blowing up. I bet a lot of people have over the FDIC insured amount at LANB. If
RE goes bad in LA, LANB could be in trouble, and you could loose if you are over the FDIC limit. This has been happening all over the country this week, so be carefull.

Anonymous said...

This just in from Friday's LA Monitor...

SANTA FE - Los Alamos National Laboratory expects to spend $750 million on contracted goods and services next year, $172 million less than this year. For northern New Mexico, that means a reduction of about $30 million, according to Kevin Chalmers, who heads the lab's Acquisition Services Management Division.

---

We already cut back very tightly this year, so if we are cutting back even more for next year you know the funding situation is going to be very tight. Looks like Tom Udall's brilliant plan to help destroy the economic vitality of Northern New Mexico is working. Way to go, Tom! I'm sure the business owners of Santa Fe and their workers who depend upon this commerce with LANL will be very happy with your performance. Don't worry, though, as I'm sure the Los Alamos Study Group can help make up for the large loss of campaign lobbying money you'll be losing next year. As for me, I decided to switch parties from Republican to Democrat just so I can have the pleasure of voting against Tom in the upcoming primaries. We don't need losers like Tom Udall representing our district.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Tom is such a jerk. Continually leaking classified information. Continually mismanaging the lab. Continually doing a lousy job with science at a extortionate FTE rate.

That bastard. Every problem can be directly traced to him.

Anonymous said...

I get it: sarcasm.

The real problem is the Hispanics in the post above.

[More sarcasm]

Anonymous said...

9:19 is right on. Here is where some of that 20% of deadwood at LLNL (former LANL deadwood) is headed. Wonder who he knew at Texas A&M?

July 16, 2007
Juzaitis to head nuclear engineering division

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Dr. Raymond J. Juzaitis has been named head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and holder of the Sallie and Don Davis '61 Professorship in Engineering at Texas A&M University. This will be effective on August 15, 2007.

He will also serve as director for the Nuclear Engineering Division of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station as well as hold a joint appointment as a visiting professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Juzaitis comes to Texas A&M Engineering from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where he has served as associate director for Nonproliferation, Homeland and International Security (NHI) since 2004.

"Providing leadership for the largest and fastest growing nuclear engineering department in the nation requires an exceptionally talented individual and Dr. Juzaitis is ideal to serve as the leader of our program," said Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. "Dr. Juzaitis is a seasoned nuclear engineer whose significant contributions in nuclear weapons research will strengthen our nuclear engineering program, particularly in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation and national security and defense. He will be a tremendous resource for our faculty, staff and students and we look forward to welcoming him to campus this fall."

A nuclear and chemical engineer with extensive experience in weapons and computational physics, Juzaitis has 28 years of experience in the management and execution of national security research and development programs at the Department of Energy National Laboratories. His early focus in computational physics paved the way for a broad-based technical career that included nuclear weapons design, development, testing and evaluation.

Prior to joining LLNL's nonproliferation program in 2004, Juzaitis was at Los Alamos National Laboratory, first as a doctoral researcher, then as a staff scientist in the weapons program, and later holding various senior management positions, most recently as associate director for Weapons Physics. During his Los Alamos tenure, he also held several senior advisory positions on assignment, including senior technical advisor for the Department of Energy Office of Defense Programs and special scientific advisor to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy.

Dr. Juzaitis is a member of the American Nuclear Society and Sigma Xi and has received several prestigious awards from the Department of Energy.

Juzaitis holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and master's and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Ray J is a good guy - I have worked with him and hold him no ill will. If anything, his lack of political acumen, combined with a desire to just do good science, did him in at LAML (and apparently at LLNL). I wish him the best.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the subject of personal "tipping points", mine will come after the lab introduces daily anal probe searches, salaries are reduced by 30%, medical coverage is abolished, and minor infractions cause a total loss of your future pension benefits. Till then, I'm staying and nobody can force me to leave. The work is too easy and the pay is too good. It's much tougher out there in the real world, so enjoy the ride while it lasts. Let's all ride this little Golden Goose right into the ground. Yee-haaaaaw!!!!

( PS: For those with a sarcasm disability, please note: this was sarcasm. )

Anonymous said...

There was no one tipping point -- just a continuous stream of little gems of stupidity from our management, my peers, DOE, NNSA, and all the other idiots who've augered this place into the ground. My last day is in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

My tipping point will come when they hand me a pink slip sometime during the next few years. I think this probably the only valid tipping point for the majority of the employees now left at LANL.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11.47 AM. I have been through 29 years at the Lab. I have dealt with change, with controversy etc. etc. I was a double dipper for about 14 months but decided to quit a few weeks ago. I will be fine financially but I am giveing up about 100K a year now, because I can no longer take the stupidity at the Lab. In my opinion the Lab got too "stupid" to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a trend is starting. Leaving LANL at the end of this summer, as I just couldn't stand it any longer. The lab is no longer a fun and exciting place to work. The hallways are filled with nothing but gallows humor and long faces. LANS has severely damaged what was left of LANL.

Good luck to all those who stay on. It looks like you're certainly going to need it.

Anonymous said...

11:47 again here. It's sad, isn't it? I'm taking a pay cut in my new job. But, quite honestly, there was a point where I had to say "is dealing with this worth that extra $30k?". No. Heck - even $30k less than what I make at the lab, I'm going to be making a pretty damn comfortable paycheck. But, it will be a paycheck that I can be proud of. It took me three years to realize that I wasn't proud of the work I was doing to bring home my bacon -- I had become an intellectual whore for the morons running the lab. No more. I've chipped away enough of my soul, thank you very much. Sad though -- I loved Los Alamos during the good years. Still do -- I get a reminder of what once was every time I walk through the now empty admin building in TA-3. Walking through those now empty halls, I can hear the ghosts of colloquia at the auditorium, the activity outside S-7, and the people milling about. It's empty now. That shell of a building represents, to me, the shell of the lab that remains today. (and no, I'm not an old fart at the lab - I've been a labbie since only the 90s.)

Anonymous said...

This is my tipping POINT:

I have brought forth to LANL upper management problems I have seen on my systems for 4 years NOW. So much so that it was two TSM's and on contractor. There were security breaches and security problems. What happened? Nothing happened to them, but I was retaliated against and my funding was cut BY GROUP/TEAM LEADER(WHORES) and their colleagues. Luckily I had other funds to cover it. So whats my tipping point. I am no longer going to report anything to the LAB, I will simply brush it under the rug. Hey, If our managers can do it so can I! It will be a Momentary Lapse of Reason or simply put I don't know what happened! So there you go LANL, thats my tipping Point!

Anonymous said...

7:07, since I don't know the person mentioned, I will only comment on the actions.

1) Leaves LANL before new contract, presumably for higher salary at LLNL and obtains an additional 1 yr 4 mos UC service credit over staying at LANL. Presumably, he also liquidated his NM RE.

2) Leaves LLNL as new contractor transitions in, for what appears to be a tenured position at a good school as head of the department. Locks up UC retirement, sells CA RE, and moves to a location with a much lower cost of living.

If he's deadwood, at least he doesn't appear to be dumb deadwood.

Anonymous said...

I've met some of the best and brightest deadwood at LANL.

Grown a few bad branches myself over the years. Fortunately, I have a decent manager who helps keep them trimmed back for me.

Anonymous said...

RayJ is not deadwood, or a dummy. He suffered under the reign of Nanos as well. He voted with his feet in leaving LANL, and it was a difficult choice for him to do so. LLNL were morons to push him out. I hope things work well for him in TX.

Anonymous said...

The losing bid named Ray Jay as Director. He kind of had to find a new job.

Good on him, I bet he'll be having more fun than the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

8:19 AM - amen, brother! No more reporting. If you report at LANL, you lose! Go ask the PDs who used to work for the agua regia TSM (nobody does anymore). P.S. I liked Ray J and it looks like he "won" in the end.

Anonymous said...

9:55 am, re: "nobody does anymore." As K Boland pointed out, no amount of wishful thinking can make this statement true.

Anonymous said...

Never heard anything bad about Ray J., either, until earlier posts, which were probably correctly contradicted by other earlier posts.

What was Steve Girrens's tipping point? It was noted in the Los Alamos Monitor recently that he was working for ARES, after 27 years at the Lab. It was not too long ago that he became a Division Leader.