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post #1 of 36 Old 02-23-2015, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NW MO
Posts: 5,340
Tell Us About Your Job

Got this idea from another forum: thought it was pretty interesting.

I work as a Corrections Officer in a Medium/Maximum security prison. I've worked there for 13 years and have always been a Housing Unit Officer, which means I'm assigned to the buildings/dorms/"houses" where the inmates actually live. I worked in the Max area for 12 years, but now work in the Medium area.

Most days are pretty mundane doing the same thing over and over: counting twice on our shift to make sure they're all still there, searching inmates, their cells and common areas for contraband, dealing with any interpersonal issues that come up, making sure they're going to work, cleaning, whatever.

Back in the 1970's America shifted away from institutional mental facilities and as a result of that a lot of mentally ill people wind up in prison so you have to deal with them and whatever they've got going on. I'm no psychiatrist, so it's a learned art. The onus is to just keep them stable and from doing something they'll regret until you can get them in to see a mental health counselor.

You just try to keep an eye on everything and hope you can resolve any issues before it breaks out into a full-blown fight. I usually have an entire floor with 4 wings of 50 inmates each and you can't be everywhere at once, so once in awhile you have to respond to a disturbance or fight. Sometimes they'll fight in front of you because they know you'll be there to stop it, sometimes they wait until you're gone so you won't interfere.

All we have is our wits, a can of pepper spray, a pair of handcuffs and a radio, so we rely on fellow workers coming to help us out if something happens we can't handle on our own.

We can get pulled to work anywhere, so some days I have to transport inmates halfway across the state to medical or dental appointments, or transport inmates moving from one institution to another. Sometimes we have to sit on inmates that are at the local hospital for serious medical issues or take them to the ER after an assault or a fight.

It's actually a pretty interesting job. I seem to have the right demeanor for it, but it's not for everybody. The key, as in life itself, is to treat people with
dignity. It's usually referred to as "respect," but really it's "dignity." I don't care why they're there or what they did. To me, they're just inmates. You can't concern yourself with why they're there.

Some of my coworkers have a hard time and we have a really high turnover rate with employees. It's all in your attitude. When you deal with an inmate, they already know by your body language and expression what's going to come out of your mouth and whether you're going to be fair with them or not. Whether you're laid back or hardcore, it's important to be the same way every day whether you're having a bad day or not. They accept the fact that some CO's are hell-bent on the rules while others let some things slide: you just have to be the same way every day.

Humour and "rapport" with the inmates is every important and I'm pretty good at that. They're definitely not your friends, but they're not your enemies, either.

Since part of our institution is also medium security and a lot of guys are released from there, I run into a lot of them on the street once they're out. I've never had any issues with them. They'll usually either ignore me or pretend they don't see me or I've had some of them approach me and introduce their entire family to me.

It's a job unlike any other I've ever had. Like most, I just kind of stumbled into it and don't understand anybody that would actively choose it as a career. It seems like you've either got what it takes or you don't. It's kind of a "paramilitary" organization with a rank structure, but I've never chosen to promote because as you rise in the ranks, you have to routinely switch shifts and I'm not into that.

Pay's not that great, but the benefits and retirement aren't bad. I could retire in 7 more years, but figure I'll try to work 13 more years until I'm at least 65. There's a wide variety of employees, male and female from 20 years old to 70 and I enjoy interacting with them. Variety is the spice of life.

So, what do you do at work every day?

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post #2 of 36 Old 02-23-2015, 08:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Oliver Springs TN
Posts: 762
I gave up work. I didn't like it so I don't do it anymore. Had my fill of it.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens
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post #3 of 36 Old 02-23-2015, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
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Originally Posted by Toney View Post
I gave up work. I didn't like it so I don't do it anymore. Had my fill of it.
How old are you?

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #4 of 36 Old 02-23-2015, 10:04 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Seattle
Posts: 113
I work as a diesel mechanic for the railroad. Sometimes it's interesting, some days it's boring as hell. Mostly it's just like working on any other diesel engine, except everything is bigger. V16 engines mostly, but each cylinder is 710 C.I. I just finished changing a waterpump, took a crane to lift it out and put the new one in. Makes for a drastic change when I work on the klr.
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post #5 of 36 Old 02-23-2015, 10:25 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Indiana/ Michigan line at the Lake
Posts: 1,585
Took a leap of faith and left the foundry after 17 years.

I loved my job as lab rat and machinst, but foundry guys tend
to have really short retirements similar to that of coal miners (silicosis).

Tried out a few things last two years and landed in a great spot.
I'm now in a bread n' bun bakery (huge) and don't cough up black
crap at the end of every shift now. We have the Burger King and Cisco
contracts from the Rockies to the east coast. We ship them flash frozen
right out of the oven except the local grocery stores and restaraunts n'
such. That's what I meant by huge. 3/4 million lbs of product monthly.

It's also union and I make more $$ than the foundry with only 6 months on the
job so far. In fact it's the most money I've ever earned. Luckily the perishable
food biz is not likely to be outsourced to China.

Fondling buns and getting paid for it,

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God
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post #6 of 36 Old 02-24-2015, 07:49 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Lately (10+ years) I'm being paid to play with computers and networks. Sort of semi-retired after being a plant manager at a manufacturing facility. Thinking of retiring this August. Quality of life is important to me and my current boss isn't that great to work for.
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post #7 of 36 Old 02-24-2015, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,063
Done with work... Well, Maybe!

Planalp: Good attitude, You probably help some of those people, which is a good thing.

As for me, I've worked in the electronics industry since I left high school.
Not a super brain, had to study hard to just remember stuff, but seem to have ability to work things out somehow. Started as an electronics technician after high school. Self study electronics night courses, correspondence courses, and just studying everything I could, related to electronics, for many years.
Worked my way up in a Packaging Machine company to supervisor of their small electronics department. Eventually I was designing stuff for their packaging machines. Mechanical packaging, and circuit stuff. Gee' whizz! Now I'm an engineer!

Left there, and got a job doing more technician work, Another supervisor job, and back to a company that made machines that created a "super-dry" environment to do sealing small products. ( like the devices that fire your air bags in cars, electronics components that require a real dry atmosphere before their sealed up.

Retired from there back in 2000, and have been enjoying my retirement working around my property. ( 18 acres, some woods, some field. )
Between keeping up with mowing, yard work, and just general (wife-projects) I've managed to keep busy.

My training in packaging electronics equipment has given me the ability to design, and make a bunch of stuff for my bikes over the years. I really enjoy that.
Some where along the way, I started learning computers, and find enjoyment in photography, and video editing.

Oh' Ya... Lot's of riding. Life is good!

Ageing Gracefully

2017 Yamaha XT250
1990 Honda NX250 (Green/White)
2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 (Orange & White )

My KLR Page..

Mod's to KLR:
Power socket, L.E.D. Battery Indicator, Camera bag holder
Custom Saddlebag frames .
Louder horns, Firstgear Onyx tail bag.
Custom Aluminum Skid Plate.
Cut down seat with Custom pad.
Go Pro Camera mount.
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post #8 of 36 Old 02-24-2015, 09:21 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Oliver Springs TN
Posts: 762
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
How old are you?
53 years and counting

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens
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post #9 of 36 Old 02-24-2015, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 5,545
I'm just a wonderin', is your Large Torque Multiplier about the size of the KLR engine? LOL. 710 C.I. for each cylinder, wow!

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #10 of 36 Old 02-24-2015, 12:08 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Seattle
Posts: 113
Well for most things a normal 30-150 ftlb torgue wrench works. Some stuff reguires "Bettie" which is our 4ft long 100-400 ftlb torgue wrench. For the really big stuff we get "Bertha". It's an electric torgue wrench capable of going up to 4000 ftlb. I should take a few pictures. The size of some of the components on those things is mind blowing.
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