Time for a Brew

By RachaelArchibald | editorial | September 19, 2012

I am currently in my second placement as a nucleargraduate. My first was in a shiny new building, with flat screen TV’s, meeting pods, windows that automatically open when it’s hot inside and all the latest manufacturing machinery. The building is so new that we would regularly have visitors keen to see what this new place looked like. It was not just the building which was new, the organisation itself was new and therefore no staff member had been working for the company for longer than a couple of years. This was my first impression of the UK nuclear industry.

It wasn’t until I began my second secondment, that I was confronted with the ‘real’ nuclear industry. On week one it felt like I spent more time having a brew than actually working, this was my experience of life working onsite rather than in the office. The department I was in only had four members, they have jobs long over due, and holidays planned, yet nothing is a rush. There’s always time for a brew, which is and old attitude still hanging around a result of having many employees who have been working here for over 30 years. The attitude of ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’ is everywhere, so if they’ve never had to rush and it’s never been a problem that jobs are overdue then why change anything?

Once in the office this slow moving culture is still evident, just in a different form. Everyone is working all the time, busy for most of it, and brew’s are few and far between, the issue comes when jobs are taking a while to complete. There’s no worry or questions asked why, it’s just expected that jobs will drag on for longer than initially intended, ‘it’s alright that’s normal’. This is an attitude left over from when the industry wasn’t as commercialised as it now is and money was no object.

Before I worked here I had heard from others about this slow moving industry which we are working in, but hadn’t realised how it affects every part of the business. We are ‘Agents for Change’ but implementing change in culture is one of the most difficult changes to make, but one that’s going to need to be made more and more as time moves on.

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