I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I got an email from the manager of transport for Cypress Mountain.  Apparently he is still under the impression I am working up there.   Included in the email is my schedule for working on the mountain for the next three weeks.  I send a reply telling him I am not working on the mountain anymore.  Then I take a good look at the schedule.  Krikey!  He has me down for seven - twelve hour days in a row, one day off, and then eight days.  But that's not what has me shaking my head - I do work in film after all so that's not such a big deal.  A couple of times he has me working from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm and then starting the next day at 6am.  What??  Is he kidding?  Another sheet tells me to allow an hour to get from downtown Vancouver to Cypress on the buses provided.  And it's a 20 minute walk from the drop off to where I will be working.  And I am to show up for work 20 minutes early.  So that's an hour and forty minutes already and I haven't accounted for the drive into Vancouver.  Add an hour and a half for that, at least.  So that means three hours and ten minutes to get to work.  Say two hours to get home, and that's being conservative.   That leaves me three and a bit hours to sleep and get ready to go back - so basically two hours sleep, as I would need time to shower etc. and make and eat breakfast as they said today that we should arrive with a full tummy (and well rested?!?).  Really?  Has this guy ever heard of the term 'turn around'?  Or don't labour laws apply to the Olympics.  And if not, is it really a good idea to expect someone who is working around really big moving vehicles all day to be safe with that little sleep?

I can't TELL you how glad I am to not be working on that mountain.

I went out last night into Vancouver to go hear Prairie Dance Club with a friend from film.  They are such a good band.  I really hope that the right person hears them soon and gets them the exposure they need to become as famous as they deserve to be.

I don't get home and into bed until around 1 a.m. and the alarm is set for 7:45.  I have to be out of the door by 9 to be at training by 10.

I leave right on time and it takes me about 40 minutes to get to BCIT.  It takes me another 10 to figure out where on the huge campus I am supposed to be.  I finally spot a couple of security guys and they point me in the right direction.

When I get parked, and follow some people, I end up in a portable construction trailer that is empty of any furnishings but has about 40 people inside.  Apparently the desks, equipment, and a couple of large screen TV's will show up in a day or two.

People arrive late throughout the first hour of this training session.  How is that okay?  It doesn't bode well, I think, for them arriving on time for work.

We stand for the next two hours as a woman goes over what exactly happens at this location.  There are two separate areas; one for Whistler Olympic Park and the other for Whistler Sliding Center.  I have no idea yet which area I will be working at or exactly what I will be doing.  At each area there are three separate teams.  One is parking.  They will direct people coming to catch the buses as to where to park.  The other two teams are in charge of the buses.  One team, called the 'Staging Crew' will work with the buses lined up waiting for their turn to move ahead to the loading area staffed by the 'Spectator Systems Crew' - the third team.  On the giant accreditation placard I am wearing around my neck, it says I am a 'Staging Supervisor'.  The email I received to tell me to show up for training today said I am a 'Spectator Systems Supervisor'.  So who knows.

All I know is, by the time I have stood for two hours listening to the instructions from the parking manager, half of which don't apply to those of us with the buses, then walk around the parking lot in the drizzling rain for another hour to where the Sliding Center area is, and back again, and then listen to the manager for us bus bunch talk for another half an hour (out in the elements) about what parts we should ignore from earlier and, instead, what we need to know - I am feeling a bit underwhelmed.

When the agency informed me that the job I was initially hired for, RA Supervisor, was no longer being staffed by them and that I would be working at a 'Staging Area', I had some questions.  Namely, what would my job description be?  I was told that I would be overseeing a crew and mostly be doing scheduling and be responsible for keeping their spirits up.  Not exactly accurate information.  Scheduling is being done by the agency.   I am outside the whole 12 hours of my shift, working alongside the crew.  There's a long list I was given as to what my responsibilities are (if I end up being a 'Staging Supervisor').  None of it says 'keep up the spirits of the crew'.  Rather it says stuff like: sign out equipment; check in drivers that have to go directly to staging area - complete drivers log with name, bus number, mobile number, spot time and start time;  confirm assigned bus route with driver; brief driver of competition schedule, peak population movements, special movements, and possible break window; make sure route signs are properly placed in bus windows; communicate via walkie with System Supervisor to advance buses from staging to loading areas.   And this puzzling missive: Help coordinate Driver Seat Slide when it occurs in staging area.  Alrighty then.

If I work on the staging side of things, I will start my shift at 4 am, which is great because I will miss rush hour going in.  If I work on the loading side, I will start at 6 am which isn't so great because rush hour will have just started when I leave the house.  Or I will leave later in the day (better) for the unloading stage of the day - when everyone gets back from Whistler tired and cranky and can't find their car.   It's all a big mystery at this point as to what exactly I will be doing but I could be starting to do it as early as Thursday because we also bus staff up to the venues and they start going up this week to start their training.

I learned that I should have been at a classroom session that dealt with how to do most of my job, but I never got that memo from the agency so not only did I miss out on a whole bunch of important stuff I should know, I missed out on getting paid for it as well.  Speaking of which....

I was told that my rate would be $15 an hour as a supervisor, with one dollar of that being held back until I completed the contract.  If I was a manager (this is back when I thought I would be the RA Supervisor or Manage the Supervisors) it would be one dollar more.  Now I am informed that my rate is $12.44 an hour.  HUH?  Can they do that? 

And they told me that I would be working for two months, through the Paralympics.  Well that's not true.  I was told today that this 'Staging Area' is only operating for the Olympics and after February 28th, I am out of a job.

I am beginning to think that the people at the agency are all either super incompetent or way out of their league here.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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