Oct 11, 2009

Comment of the Week

An anonymous commenter on the Referrals post was anxiously anticipating the release of the results from the LANS Morale Survey, hoping for a large negative showing. That prompted a response from another anonymous blogger, which will be our COW for this week.

--Doug


Click to enlarge


I wouldn't bet on the feedback being overwhelmingly negative, 12:29. Think about it: only staff who have been around since before 2004 have any first-hand knowledge about how LANL used to be. Back in 2004, there were approximately 14, 000 employees at LANL. Now there are less than 8,000. In 2005 alone 3,000 staff left.

I suspect that most of today's staff at LANL are too young and ignorant to realize how fucked up LANL has become. Some of the newer staff probably even think Anastasio is doing a swell job.

A lot of institutional knowledge has been lost during the past five years, and this seems to be exactly what NNSA, DOE, and our fine New Mexico politicians wanted.


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

What an incredibly arrogant prick this commenter is. I don't know anyone who doesn't realize how fucked up LANL is. Some people just prefer to focus on things they can change rather than sitting around whining and crying about how great it used to be. Which, as any one us old- timers know, has been a prime past-time at Los Alamos, at least since I came in the late 70s.

Anonymous said...

I'm someone who left about three years ago with not quite 20 years there. The thing that really sticks with me is how few people can realize how great a place LANL once was. I cannot think of a better place to have been a young professional. LANL encouraged me to learn, grow and constantly improve. It made me who I am today and I was blessed to have worked there. It is even more stark when I realized that it was even greater before I arrived.

LANL was once a great place, its been destroyed person-by-person, and its greatness is now a thing from a time past. Its something I quietly and privately mourn. Given how good LANL was, it became impossible to work there because my expectations for LANL were too high to be met. Those who are happy with LANL today simply have low expectations that are being met by the mediocrity that LANS provides. Excellence is a relic of LANL's past.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, 3:17. There are few safer bets than wageing on the collective stupidity of your fellow human. I personally know any number of current LANL employees who happen to think LANS is doing a crackerjack job. Yet another reason that I am glad I no longer work there.

Anonymous said...

Give a twenty or young thirty something a decent salary to pay the monthly loan on a really nice sports car and to purchase a high end mountain bike and little more will be asked for by them. Most of the incoming flood of newbies are too young to be concerned about things like a pension and retirement some 30 years down the road. Many don't have the responsibilities of kids or even a spouse to worry about. They can leave whenever they finally tire of LANL. Until then, many of them seem ready to fall in line and enjoy the ride. Given their situation, can you really blame them?

The glorious past at LANL is gone. It's not coming back anytime soon. LANS new motto, if they dared to print it, would read something like this:

"It's just a JOB! Get what you can out of it while you can."

Anonymous said...

A lot of institutional knowledge has been lost during the past five years, and this seems to be exactly what NNSA, DOE, and our fine New Mexico politicians wanted.


Fuck em! Many of us still remember and we are the so-called trouble makers who never shut up!

Anonymous said...

Give a twenty or young thirty something a decent salary to pay the monthly loan on a really nice sports car and to purchase a high end mountain bike and little more will be asked for by them.

Chemistry Division is full of these Audi-owners. Many go out for hours on their bikes to do the tour-de-france at lunch time, 11-2 pm. They even encourage hard-working new TSMs and even PDs to stop working so hard. Mary Neu and Gene Petersen have turned Al Sattelberger's thriving internationally recognized chemistry effort into nothing more than a lack-luster wanna-be effort than is now trailing behind the likes of Argonne, INEEL, and LBL. Sad, but true.

Anonymous said...

7:23,

Yeah, well talk is cheap.

Anonymous said...

3:17 pm: "What an incredibly arrogant prick this commenter is."

Either you are not the old-timer you claim to be, or you have failed utterly to gain any reasoned perspective with all your years here. Plus, you are obviously headed for a stroke or heart attack, with that attitude. If you came in the "late 70s" you could probably, and definitely should, retire. Even if you retired from UC and took TCP2 and are double-dipping with your same salary, you really shoud consider what good you are now doing. Hint: poisoning the atmosphere around you is not good. Some of us have work to do.

Anonymous said...

Some of us have work to do.

10/11/09 8:19 PM

So, why are you wasting time here?

Anonymous said...

To impress us with how "important" he is.

Anonymous said...

The premise that young staff members somehow think LANL is well run is utterly inaccurate. Where did that come from? Go talk to young staff members in your group.

We the "new guys" actually have fresh memories of our previous places of employment. And let me tell you: I believe scientists are treated here worse than at any other natl lab or university. Not an exaggeration. Any.

Most young staff members in my division have been duped to come here, just like me. The hiring sponsors usually misrepresent the full extent of the Lunacy that goes on at LANL. What's worse is that things keep getting worse, with no turning point in sight.

Once I got hired and had a chance to see for myself what's going on, I feel like a guy who boarded the wrong train. The main question in my mind now is: What's the next stop, how soon can I get off?

Anonymous said...

LANS and BECHTEL suck ass for $80M a year. What a sad and outrageous ripoff

Anonymous said...

Some of us have work to do.

10/11/09 8:19 PM

So, why are you wasting time here?

10/11/09 8:49 PM

Because it's Sunday night and I'm relaxing and enjoying my family. What are you doing? See, I have prioriies.

Anonymous said...

LANS and BECHTEL suck ass for $80M a year. What a sad and outrageous ripoff

10/11/09 9:19 PM

What would you do for $80M a year?

Frank Young said...

I know of a "Young" person who doesn't think LANL is well run.

Anonymous said...

"What would you do for $80M a year?"

Gee, maybe bring back UC and keep the change? There are other options as well.

Anonymous said...

No, UC lost the contract fair and square. Batelle, maybe, but never UC again.

Anonymous said...

Ok, 9:17. If you're so young and smart and hip to the fact that LANS is utterly incompetent, how do you explain the "thousands" of loyal LANL staff who showed up to support LANS at the annual picnic this year?

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:01 PM,

9:17 PM here. Can't answer your question, sorry, I wasn't at the picnic. The thought simply never crossed my mind.

Have no idea how many people were there. Were there really "thousands"? Why? Who are they? And were you there to observe and count them? Again, why?

Anonymous said...

"how do you explain the "thousands" of loyal LANL staff who showed up to support LANS at the annual picnic this year?

10/11/09 10:01 PM"

Just who are these people? Well most of the managers I know went. Some students and postdocs went for the food. I know a lot of HR people went.
Yep that could give thousands.

Anonymous said...

I've yet to see any photographic evidence that "thousands" turned up for the recent LANS love fest. It looks more like a few hundred, at best. From the photos posted by LANL on the web, most attendees seemed to be either lab managers or foreign nationals.

Anonymous said...

Hey, maybe Mikey should subcontract Battelle for $10 million a year to run LANL, pocket the other $70 million per year for LANS partners Bechtel and BWXT and then LANS could leave LANL alone.

Sounds like a win-win, no?

Anonymous said...

A lot of people seem to go to the picnic because it's a kid-friendly place to spend an afternoon. I heard glowing reports from the parents-of-under-10-year-olds set.

(Must... resist... temptation... to make Nazi Germany comparisons here).

Anonymous said...

I don't know of a single person under 30 who thinks LANS is a great place to work. As a group, they don't have TCP1, and can carry their 401k anywhere they want to go in the future. They seem to take the collective attitude that if this place doesn't improve, they can just move on down the road without much trouble. Right now, many of them are doing just that along with many other LANS employees. Los Alamos has become a sort of National Laboratory puppy mill.

Anonymous said...

The good ol' days. No questions asked back then. We got money by the tanker full, and we didn't have to account for none of it! White male butt-heads and cowboys in charge (as should be). No going-Rogue pussies tolerated in our midst (as should be). The cover of UC to give us an air of academic odeur. Placed on pedestals by everyone who knew better. Legends in our own minds of course. We were truly the best and brightest and damn well knew it! Boy oh boy, those WERE the good ol' days.

Anonymous said...

I nominate 9:08 for COTW.

Doug Roberts said...

I second the nomination.

Anonymous said...

Poster's 9:08 AM's recollection of the "good ol' days" were of the days a long, long time ago.

LANL started on its current path back in the early 90's, beginning with the '94 RIF. The only thing that has changed with the LANS take-over of the lab since '06 is that (a) the slope of the downward path has begun to steepen rapidly and (b) the vultures are circling to start tearing away at pieces of what's left of LANL's work. At least you can count on the Pit Factory always remaining at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the results of the survey are, I speculate they will not be released without a senior mgt meeting involving a highly paid spin consultant or two.

Anonymous said...

I can hear it now...

* "Employees provided a wide diversity of opinions about LANS management."

Translation: They hate our guts!


* "Morale is good."

Translation: Beef-up Mikey's security detail!!


* "Employees had some questions about where LANL is headed."

Translation: Most staff are looking for some way to exit the lab ASAP!!!

Anonymous said...

I love those funny "de-motivator" posters like the one posted at the top of this COW.

However, you know things are getting pretty bad when you start seeing the original "motivator" type posters spring up in manager offices all around the work place.... and they are!

Anonymous said...

The buttheads were forced to take down the demotivator posters at DARHT. In their place, a bunch of poorly written LANS PR with out of focus photos was slapped up. The message? Welcome to DARHT, our pictures suck, but we sure can talk a line of BS while ignoring the worker morale.

Anonymous said...

6:51: "The buttheads were forced to take down the demotivator posters at DARHT."

I've seen the same thing happen at many locations throughout LANL since LANS took over. They don't like any of this stuff. No sense of humor.