Peninsular Thinking

A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
Subscribe to RSS
Back to Peninsular Thinking

Archive for the ‘Jobs’ Category

What goes on in teachers’ heads?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Did you ever wonder what teachers really think of their jobs? Why they got into the field? Why they stay in?

The Kitsap Sun in December will launch a new Teacher Feature to give readers a glimpse of the day-to-day life of teachers.
teacher1
We are looking for nominees from all districts and all grades who are willing to share honestly and openly about the joys and challenges of the job.

Parents and students are encouraged to share the names of their favorite teachers. But anyone can nominate a teacher to be profiled, including teachers themselves.

Send nominations to sunnews@kitsapsun.com and put Teacher Feature in the subject line.

For more information, contact reporter Chris Henry, chenry@kitsapsun.com or (360) 792-9219.


The accidental teleworker

Monday, March 5th, 2012

With apologies to Anne Tyler

Today through Friday is National Telework Week, supported by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council and endorsed by a resolution of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners. Last Friday, I unintentionally joined the throng of telecommuters, when big news — in the form of Congressman Norm Dicks announcing he won’t seek another term — landed in the Kitsap Sun’s inbox. Reporters who might have been first pick to do the story were otherwise occupied here and there, and although I was just about to hop in my car and come into the office, the editors instructed me to just start calling our contacts from home.

I don’t mind working from home, except when the cat sits on my computer. The last time he did this, he activated some robotic voice that gave me verbal notice of everything I already knew I was doing … “Opening new window … Checking email …” It was driving me crazy. I had to do a search to find out how to turn it off (it’s the F5 key by the way), and I found there were 13 other people who had the same problem.

The Telework Exchange — a “public-private partnership focused on demonstrating the tangible value of telework and serving the emerging educational and communication requirements of the Federal teleworker community” — reports that during last year’s Telework Week, nearly 40,000 people nationwide pledged to be involved, saving $2,730,229 on commuting costs and 148,692 hours in commuting time. Participants also saved the air from 1,818 tons of pollutants that would otherwise have accrued during 3,764,001 miles of driving.

So far this year, there are 65,816 pledges and the expected results are incrementally impressive.

In Kitsap County, a formal push for telework dates to May 2008, when the Washington State Legislature provided $150,000 in funding for the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council to conduct a Telework Kitsap Pilot Project. The project ran for 15 months, May 2008 through June 2009, with funding administered through the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Employers, IT executives, and HR executives with prior teleworking knowledge and experience were invited to serve on a panel of experts. A total of 13 organizations participated, including Microsoft, Kitsap Transit, Kitsap Regional Library, Kitsap Credit Union, Olympic College, City of Poulsbo, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Municipal Research and Services Center, Kitsap Peninsula Visitor Convention Bureau, Kitsap Homebuilders Association, Wet Apple Media, McClure Consulting, Olympic Printer Resources.

The KRCC has not tracked the number of telecommuters since the end of the pilot, but Vicky Clarke, KRCC’s telework coordinator, said anecdotal evidence suggests “telework is increasingly seen as an accepted alternative to more traditional office cultures.”

“I’m sure that research could confirm that private sector employers are farther ahead that then the public sector,” Clarke said. “New technologies are making telework easier, rapidly. Increased gas prices are an incentive for workers. Telework allows us to work anywhere, work more and be more flexible, which is a useful tool in this ‘do more with less’ moment we’re living through.”

The Telework Kitsap pilot group presented a report about what they learned to the state Legislature. Another upshot was a Telework Toolkit, with information for employers and employees on how to have a successful telework program, because let’s face it, the biggest fear may be that employees will sit around in their ‘jammies playing video games or watching soap operas.

OK, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but at least in my experience, the potential for reduced productivity — think cat on the computer or kids believing you have the day off and are there to serve their every need — is a fact of life with telecommuting.

Perhaps you weren’t aware that efforts to enhance teleworking date back to a law passed in 2000, requiring all executive agencies to establish telework policies.

President Obama signed into law the Telework Enhancement Act in December 2010. “The law requires each executive agency to establish a policy under which employees may be authorized to telework to the maximum extent possible without diminishing employee performance or agency operations,” the Telework Exchange reports.

Besides reducing pollution, a habit of teleworking allows public agencies to weather the odd freak snowstorm or other natural disaster, supporters of the bill and local KRCC officials note.

Clarke is taking reports that 50,000 of Telework Weeks 65,000 pledging teleworkers are federal employees with a grain of salt. “It’s important to acknowledge that a lot of the Telework Exchange’s outreach and advocacy around telework is targeted primarily to public agencies and federal agencies in particular,” Clarke said. “The Federal Telework Enhancement Act was a big ramp up for agencies that did not have any telework policies or procedures in place, and those that handle a lot of secure information/personal data.”

Clearly, there are advantages for the worker and the employer. Pulling together a large complex project? A day away from the hubbub of the office can be a blessing. And in our line of work, I can’t imagine not being able to do one’s job not just from home but from the county courthouse, a city council meeting or snowy road, in short wherever the news is happening.

One main disadvantage often cited is that there is nothing that can replace face-to-face collaboration, not even a teleconference or Skype.

By now, the concept of telecommuting has become familiar. It would seem that those who are inclined (or required) to embrace it have already done so, but as Valentine’s Day is to relationships, so Telework Day serves as a chance to recommit. KRCC and the National Telework Exhange offer a host of suggestions for organizations/ companies and their employees.

For those thinking of taking the plunge, the Telework Exchange has a telework value calculator and an online eligibility gizmo among other handy tools and resources.

Do you telecommute? If so, how’s it working for you? What are the advantages and pitfalls?

If you’re a private business owner, have you encouraged telecommuting among your employees? How’s that going? Have you done a cost-benefit analysis? And does the existence of a federal telecommuting law for public agencies have any impact on your inclination toward incorporating telecommuting in your business practices?


Kitsap’s Dirtiest Jobs: A couple more involving chickens and chimneys

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Heard from John Hawkins of Seabeck in response to our latest “Kitsap at Work” installment. The subject “It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it,” brought up not so pleasant memories for John, whose email is below.

John’s recollections of work on a chicken farm reminded me of the scene from “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Do the Chickens Have Large Talons?”

If anyone else wants to talk about their dirty job, feel free to post on the story. If you or someone you know has a job you think might be worth covering as part of the ongoing series, email me at chenry@kitsapsun.com or call (360) 792-9219. On deck: Feeding Kitsap, Holiday Retail Jobs

Thanks, Chris Henry

“Chris:

I read with interest about some dirty job experiences in The Sun and wanted to share some of my own very dirty job experiences.

In 1971 at the age of 14 I took a job with some of the neighbor kids at the chicken farm down the road from my house. Out of necessity, this was a night job as it required darkness, so getting up for school the following mornings was not easy. And we actually walked about a mile to work! (No, this is not just the standard parent’s line to try to impress the kids these days). The job was truly awful. It involved entering the giant chicken houses which held up to 50,000 chickens to catch the birds and put them in wooden crates to be shipped and processed in Puyallup for eating. If you have seen commercial chicken fryer farms, you know that the environment is (or was in those times) filthy with manure, dust and feathers. Grabbing chickens in the semi darkness illuminated only by faint blue light bulbs (which kept the birds only somewhat helpless with diminished ability to see us) naturally raised a LOT of choking dust and feathers. The doomed chickens set to flapping their wings and sometimes screaming, and the birds often sat on their droppings so that their feet were not clean! After a couple hours of catching and carrying up to eight angry birds at a time, then lifting them over our heads in some cases to shove them in the creates, our arms were scratched, sometimes bleeding, and covered in you-know-what! I remember that my mother made me remove my clothes outside when I got home, no surprise!

Later in life I took a part time job as a chimney sweep. Now, soot is really, really hard to scrub off your skin, maybe even worse than chicken manure! And the company had the sweeps wear a black top hat and black turtle neck shirt to the customer’s homes. You talk about HOT on summer days cleaning fireplaces and chimneys! Both of these jobs required respirators, but there was no way to avoid inhaling some of the dust and dirt. It may have been a health risk, but hey, it put money in my pocket.

These were definitely character-building jobs!

John Hawkins
Seabeck”


Reporters have dirty jobs, too

Monday, September 5th, 2011

One of the first days our newest reporter, Amy Phan, was on the job, we had her out in a small outboard motorboat crowded with shrimp pots … in the wind and driving rain. Did you know they use cat food for bait?

Once we found out what good sport Amy was, we stuck her with … uh, assigned her to our “dirty jobs” project. It was up to Amy to videotape people on the job doing mold inspection, sewer plant operation and pet waste composting.

At the pet waste plant, Amy had to get up on a ladder and point her camera down into a churning hopper of dog and cat poop. She nearly gagged.

Then she caught the “product,” still ripe and unprocessed, being fed into a giant drum, where it would slowly turn and “cook” into usable garden compost.

Here’s Amy taping the final product coming out of the bin. By now it’s not so smelly. She even dared put her hand on the bin. Hint to rest of staff … do NOT use that camera.


It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Don’t mind getting your hands (and other parts of your anatomy) dirty? Then you might be a candidate for our upcoming story on Kitsap’s Dirtiest Jobs.

So far, we’ve met a couple who services portable toilets and a pest control worker who crawls under houses among all sorts of creepy crawlies.

Tell us about your dirty job. E-mail chenry@kitsapsun.com, or call (360) 792-9219.

The dirty jobs story is part of an occasional series launched in May, called Kitsap Goes to Work.

We want to hear about what you for a living, and why it matters. We hope to find out how workers have evolved to find jobs, or simply hold onto positions in a world transformed by economic factors, natural disasters and burgeoning technological changes.

We’re looking for a broad range of workers, including those who just entered the job market and those in emerging industries. We’re also looking for readers whose jobs fall into the following categories: Life’s clones (those who make a living doing the everyday life tasks the time-crunched don’t have time for), bean counters, jobs that didn’t exist before the Internet, green jobs, military, feeding Kitsap and “new on the job.”

Even if your job doesn’t fit into a category, tell us about what you do to make a living and why it matters. Email chenry@kitsapsun.com or call (360) 792-9219. Remember to leave your contact information.

Join a continuous conversation about the series on the Kitsap Sun’s Facebook page and right here at the Peninsular Thinking blog at http://pugetsoundblogs.com/peninsular-thinking.


Tell us about your job and why it matters

Monday, May 16th, 2011

In today’s Kitsap Sun, we are launching a series on the post-recession workplace. It’s not only about where people are working — and why — it’s about how each of us feels about the work we do day in day out.

We’re looking for plenty of reader involvement, and we have a few themes in mind:

Kitsap’s Dirtiest Jobs (the portable toilet business is just the beginning — one pest company owner told me he doesn’t do lice anymore)

New on the Job (first “real” jobs and new careers)

Life’s Clones (making a living off those of us too busy to cover the basics)

Feeding Kitsap (food services routinely ranks among the top five of Kitsap industries)

Bean Counters (with the recession we have developed a heightened respect for those adept with numbers)

New Beasts (jobs that didn’t exist before the Internet)

Green Jobs (turning out to be underwhelming according to one local jobs expert)

The Military Connection (no way could we ignore this category)

Even if your job doesn’t fit into a category, tell us about what you do to make a living and why it matters. Find us on Facebook and at the Kitsap Sun’s Peninsular Thinking blog, email chenry@kitsapsun.com or call (360) 792-9219. Remember to leave your contact information.

Thanks, Chris Henry, reporter


Video of a day in a sheltered workshop for the disabled now up

Monday, May 9th, 2011

The video that went with today’s story about Kitsap Applied Technologies was inadvertently omitted from the web page. The video is now attached. Hope you’ll check it out.

County funding for the nonprofit company, which provides employment for severely disabled adults, is in jeopardy, because KAT did not measure up on a multifaceted evaluation, conducted by the Kitsap County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board.

Chris Henry reporter


So you want to be a journalist?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

8:30 a.m. Thursday:
I’m here at the Marcus Whitman Junior High School Career Fair. The students have a lot of questions for me. How did you get into journalism? Why did you get into journalism? Is your job physically demanding? What kinds of stories do you write? What have you learned about yourself from being a journalist?

Whew!

I appreciate their enthusiasm. I’ve got to say it’s charged my batteries.

The students were interested to hear about how members of the public can post their own stories, photos and videos on the Kitsap Sun website. If anyone needs help with this or more information, contact me at chenry@kitsapsun.com or (360) 792-9219.

I had a few questions of my own for the students. Here’s what some of them had to say about journalism and the prospect of entering this rapidly changing field.

(Since I had the kids typing on my laptop, before long, my area began to look just like the Kitsap Sun newsroom. Well, you know what they say, “Messy desk = a busy mind.” You should see Chris Dunagan’s.)

Reasons I might want to be a journalist …

Writing, exploring all kinds of things you never would of thought of doing. It draws me getting to write about all kinds of different things. Being able to put your own voice in things as well as give out useful information to other people. What an exciting kind of job. — Andee Morgan

Reasons why I might want to be a journalist is to share with people about everything that is happening in our school, town, state, maybe even country. Also, to be heard be people, to share my voice, and to let everyone know what is really happening in the world around them. — Anna Lind

I’m here at Marcus Whitman Junior High, and I’m involved with the journalism class. In the class, we get to go around and interview people, write about the top news in our own words, and even do surveys. I would want to get into this field because I was very interested in being in the class. I would want to go further into the journalist training. I would want to share my thoughts about things and tell them my ideas. It’s something that I want to go into further consideration with. — Gabe Loch

I came here with no interests in journalism and now I have decided to reconsider. I might be interested in writing about the community in general with the crimes and our very own hometown heroes. There’s always a good story somewhere to write about! — Mandy Martin and Kendyl Delacruz

My view on journalism is that it’s a way for you to tell your friends, family, neighbors or just about anyone about current news or events that could help them in many ways either helpful or not. It could be important for them, like the traffic or if someone dangerous is about so they could be aware of that, etc., but its just a fun way to express yourself. —Alec Friend

I might want to be a journalist because I can express my own feeling in a creative way. I am already a creative writer, and I have found out that I love making my stories fun and I want to make my readers laugh. But also get a point across. — Bailey Arnett

Bailey Arnett types a blog entry for the Kitsap Sun, Feb. 3, 2011.


The reasons to be a journalist are endless. Listening to people, different stories, and finding out things that you were clueless about just adds to the knowledge you can gain by choosing this for a career. Not only can you express your creativity but you can also have a good time(: — Kenzie Blowers

A main reason to be a journalist is not only to inform the public of events around them but also to learn about the environment yourself. It’s a great way to enjoy writing for all aspiring authors while serving people with your talents. — Emily Beyl

One of the main reasons I want to be a writer is it’s a fun way to express yourself. —Hailee Dombrosky

Me again …

I also heard from die-hard newspaper lover, Laurie Beitel, a paraeducator at the school. Beitel’s no technophobe, but she just prefers the paper version of the “newspaper.”

“I like reading the paper and having it in bed with a cup of coffee,” she said.

On the future of journalism, she said, “I think journalism is super important, and I think it’s important to have reliable newscasters and reliable reporters.” With the volume of information on the Internet, she said, it’s important to have someone to “synthesize that.”

Disclaimer: I did not ask these folks to say positive things about journalism, and all I had to bribe them with were Kitsap Sun pencils and refrigerator magnets.

As for the student’s questions, many were similar to those I answered at last year’s career fair.

The one about what I’ve learned about myself as a journalist was a new one, however. I had to think about it a few minutes. I responded that the industry has changed dramatically over the past five years. It’s been dicey and exciting and exhausting all at once. What I’ve learned about myself is that I’m capable of change. Not only that, I enjoy change. I like the novelty of ever the changing landscape of our coverage area (that’s really the core of journalism). I also appreciate the new ways we have of disseminating information and interacting on a daily basis with our readers. I’m also able to roll with changes in my own life better as a result of responding to changes in the industry.

And no one had to bribe me with pencils to say that.

Chris Henry, reporter


Super Bowl XLIX

Archives