Posts Tagged Work

Goodbye South Africa

Goodbye South Africa – We Will Miss You

It’s sad to say goodbye to a country that gave me a good life for many years, to all our friends and colleagues. But eventually I realised I had no choice.

I first came to South Africa as a young man on a backpacking holiday, keen to explore new places, discover new cultures, meet new friends. It’s true to say I fell in love with this country shortly after arriving.

After I finished learning my trade, I took a long break from the damp, cold weather of Yorkshire which I spent backpacking around Africa, and South Africa. I inquired about getting a job in this sunny, friendly land. The possibilities looked good. Skilled, qualified tradesmen were wanted in those days.

I went back home, worked for almost a year, but all the time I was thinking about South Africa.

I Decided to Move

It was easy in those days (early 1970’s) for a Brit to work in South Africa. I wrote to a few of the people I’d met before, and was offered a job! So, there and then I decided.

Marriage and Citizenship

My first employer was in Cape Town, and this was where I met my wife, Jen. When we decided to marry, I decided to become a South African, and applied for citizenship. Eventually, I was granted this (it took a while). I was proud to call myself a South African.

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Changing Times

Hi all.

It’s been some time since I’ve done any blogging… There have been so many changes in my life the past 9 months, and I’ve had little time to write or fish.

I was made an offer I could not refuse (sounds like a 1930’s Chicago gangster offer doesn’t it) and I am heavily involved with this new work opportunity. There were all the things to do as well; red tape, work visas for Jen and me, sell the house, the vehicles and the furniture, say good-bye to friends and neighbours… Anyone who has emigrated will know what I mean.

I am no longer in Mossel Bay, or even in South Africa any longer, and this blog is mosselbaai – not very appropriate any longer. I haven’t yet decided what I will do with it, whether I will keep it or not. I don’t see myself having much time in the near future to maintain and write new posts however.

I have asked contributors to move any articles they kindly allowed me to use for this blog to their own blogs if possible… Should I delete the blog, it would be a pity for the readers to lose some of the useful fishing information they contain…

Thank you all for following me these past couple of years – it’s been a lot of fun

Ray the Fisherman

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Know the Job

Surely a Contractor Must Know the Job?

Wouldn’t you think a contractor, or a sub-contractor must know the work in order to be awarded a contract? Evidently this is not a requirement  any more.  How can a business award contracts, then hire someone else (who previously undertook the work) to instruct the new sub-contractors how to do it? Seems to me there’s something wrong with this equation.

To my mind, the contractor knows the work. He hires workers able to undertake the tasks, and instructs the workers how to do the job. Isn’t that the way it works. Apparently not. Sub-contractors get contracts without more than a very basic level of skill. I’ve had a welding team in the past month that may be OK to knock up a set of burglar bars or a braai stand, but have no idea how to run a weld for a pressure vessel. Hell, this so called contractor doesn’t even have an argon rig… they arrive on site with a couple of oil filled AC arc boxes – those kind you buy at Game or Makro.

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The Unpleasant Tasks of the Boss

I had a really unpleasant task this morning: Telling my crew I will be moving on to hopefully greener pastures.

It’s one thing to fire a worker for an infringement, another thing altogether to have to tell them they will be out of  a job in the near future. Worse still when two of these guys have been part of a team for so many years.

It Could be Worse

Still it could be worse. They have about 4 months to find alternatives, and I have colleagues who I know will take on my long-term crewmen. Nor will they be left destitute, the two blokes who have been part of my crew for many years will have decent severance packages.

Thomas Plaaitjies could probably retire if he wanted to. Faisal is a darn good artisan, and learns fast too. The other two youngsters leave with good practical experience and on-the-job skills training.

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Do You Want a New Saltwater Angling Magazine

Please vote – multiple choice answers are permitted – choose whether you would like to be able to buy the magazine from a store, or to subscribe (Or both if you would like both options) and tell me where you live (AND FISH)

Here it is, one of my options for a new career.

Please help me to establish the potential for a new career related to my favourite occupation, FISHING by taking this survey.

Voting on this survey is totally anonymous. No personal details are collected. I will not be able to send you e-mail because your personal information is not required.

This survey is purely to provide me with an indication of the desirability of a new magazine to replace ESA Magazine (Read my post What happened to ESA Magazine).

FISHING is LIVING

Ray the Fisherman

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My Future in Industrial Contracting

Industrial Contracting
Industrial Contractor for 25 Years

I have worked in the industrial contracting sector for nigh on thirty years, first as an apprentice boiler maker and welder, later for myself as a subcontractor. The job has been good to me: I never expected to get rich, and definitely that is the case… but I have enjoyed the work, the camaraderie of fellow workers in this rough and tough industry…

I have had the opportunity to build a small succesful business, and have a core team of workers who are reliable mostly, some who have been with me a long time, one who has stayed through thick and thin  since I started out for myself.

Times Changing, Time to Change

I work mainly for a few prime contractors, one of whom provides about 80% of my work. It’s been a good arrangement, they procure the work, manage part-time workers, and take care of much work I would otherwise have to do – and spending time negotiating for contracts is time out of earning a living.

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It’s Been a While

fishing rodIt has been nearly 2 months since I wrote anything for this blog. I haven’t given up the keyboard though, nor have I given up fishing… I have just been busy with work, away for a fishing trip, and giving my future a lot of deep thought.

Working the Shutdown

I’m an industrial maintenance contractor (sub-contractor) so December and January is traditionally  a busy period: Factory staff often have leave this time of year, and a lot of industries shut parts of their plants for maintenance. So this is a busy time of the year for the us.

Fishing the North Coast

Into the second last week of January, work had become slow as always, so Jen and I took the opportunity to take a needed three week holiday in KZN. I have lot’s to tell about this in the coming months; hot weather, fishing, travel, sightseeing, more fishing.

Other things undertaken during this trip included a number of discussions with other fishermen, over braaivleis and beer about some possible work ideas related to fishing

My Future Career

When I started writing this blog, one of my first posts mentioned I had my sights set on a change in direction. I am now well into my fourties, and the time has come to decide how I want to spend the next 20 years of my working life.

I don’t see myself continuing much longer in the sub-contracting game. I take a too hands-on approach to sit back and become a desk-jockey, and would find that terribly boring. So I have had to do some very careful thinking about what I want to do, what I can do, and what opportunities exist.

With this in mind, after Jen returned to her office job, I spent more time travelling, ending up in Gauteng for nearly 2 weeks, discussing an idea I had come up with – (Jen jokingly suggested I take this path), with another keen fisherman…

Read my next few articles to see why I want to change, and what I am thinking about doing…

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Big Work Provider

Petrosa Plant in Mossel Bay

Petrosa: One of the Largest Work Providers in Mossel Bay

If anyone is wondering why I have not posted recently, the answer is simple: Three weeks of solid work have taken every minute of my time. I haven’t had a line in the water since the beginning of the month. Jen is wondering if she’ll ever get to have a meal with me again…

Such is my working life; days, weeks sometimes even a month or two with no work whatsoever, followed by non-stop 7 day weeks. This time it was one of the spin-off industries that developed from Mosgas/Petrosa. When I first arrived in Mossel Bay, there was not much in the way of large industry. Much of the industrial activity revolved around commercial fishing and the port.

How things have changed. The natural gas industry developed in the mid to late 1970’s becoming one of the largest employers and contributors to the local economy. These days it seems most of the work I do is in some way related to this industry.

Time now to visit the rocks, throw a few baits before picking up the good-lady at 16hoo (And trying to convince her to spend the evening with a rod in her hands!)

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Back Home

Yes, I’m back home. We got back a few hours ago after a weekend of hard fishing. Jen and I decided to stay over last night “because we could”, and have last day here in Cape St Francis. I would have liked to spend another day or 2, but I have to meet a client tomorrow. The things we have to do so we can fish!

I left home on Friday morning with an intention to update this blog daily. Instead I only churned out a single post on Saturday on the borrowed laptop. Since then I have been fishing almost continuously. I really am fortunate to be partnered to a woman who not only encourages me, she also enjoys joining in, even in the unpleasantly windy conditions these past few days.

Sunday was fair, weather wise. The wind dropped to a mere ‘strong breeze’, rather than the near gale blowing on Saturday, hence the hard hours of non-work. I have a few fishing stories to share over the next days as well as some more general subjects; not the least of which is Jen falling in love with a piece of land.

Right now though I’m thinking about the morning. The weather forecast is for light wind and partly sunny early on. I have quite a stock of fresh squid to try, and a few other things from Commercial Marine in St Francis Bay. My meeting is for late morning, so there will be ample time to ‘wet a line’. So I’m going to say goodnight, finish unpacking the bakkie, and get things sorted out, ready for an early start.

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End of Another Day

At last the evening arrives. No chance to fish today, only finished the daily grind and got home after 7pm.

Spent most of today around large industrial machinery. Filthy, dusty, and in real need of a shower. My crew had to replace a damaged boiler unit with a rebuilt unit. The engineer who inspected the old one decided it needed more work than could be done on site in the time permitted, as the plant wanted it back online as soon as possible. So out with the faulty unit, and the replacement boiler installed.  Read the rest of this entry »

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