Monday, 29 September 2008

Work hazards

Sometimes I wonder if I really thought my choice of career path through. Actually I wonder this every single day. You know that thing called career guidance? Well it didn't exist when I was at school. They told us "Girls, get a career. Never have sex before marriage and get a career." I managed to achieve one of those and I am not saying which.

So no one told me that doing well in exams didn't neccessarily mean I can do Science, because to be a Scientist you need to have practical skills. You need to be good with your hands. There were those pesky practical thingies at university which should have given me a clue, but they were generally disastrous and I just pretended they didn't exist.

I happen to be extraordinarily clumsy, with the fine motor skills of a rhino.  And then there is the fact - I may scare off the boys now, sorry- that there are certain times of certain months when I should not be allowed to leave the house, never mind be in the same room with things like machines with acetylene flames that can explode and kill us all. 

Despite this, I am proud to say that my disaster list is remarkably bare. Most people I have worked with have had worse disasters than me. I have friends who have poured acid all over themselves, stabbed themselves with glass pippettes, and there were bits of glass and dubious red stains forever impaled to our ceiling after one young man managed to explode the pressure cooker (very important piece of lab apparatus, a pressure cooker).

Here is my disaster list:

1)Shaking a 5kg salt container without remembering to put the lid on first. Hmm, salty.

2) I once put some nasty burny and carcinogenic chemicals in the wrong tubes, and they exploded in the centrifuge (a really fast spinning thingy a bit like a washing machine). But they were really tiny tubes. It was nothing really.

3) Accidentally setting fire to a very expensive acetylene-containing machine which could have exploded and killed us all. Oops.

4) Accidentally setting fire to a very expensive acetylene-containing machine which could have exploded and killed us all. Again.

Let it be said that both times I reacted with a cool and calm head. Well, the first time I froze and screamed like a girl, but the second time I calmly put out the fire and continued as if nothing had happened. Sadly my boss found out about it because one of my wonderful colleagues wrote my name and the date on the molten piece of plastic that was once the bottom of the machine. Thanks dude.

And that is it. See, nothing bad at all. Employers you can employ me with peace of mind; hopefully there will never be pieces of my mind to pick out of the ceiling.


Being Brazen said...

HA HA HA - funny post. Im sure none of your disasters were funny in "real life" though

po said...

Not at the time, BB, but looking back... actually the salt one was quit funny.

sleepyjane said...

3 and 4 aqre HILARIOUS! I am sure that if I were ever to be allowed to play with dangerous chemicals (which I shouldn't) I would surely cause the end of the world by accident. I'm *that* clumsy.

po said...

Hey sleepyjane, I am the clumsiest of them all really. But I start the days with a little pep talk reminding me to try not end the world, and it usually works.

Tamara said...

Po, you are hilarious. And I think all scientists have those moments - I distinctly remember my highschool science teacher blowing up some expensive equipment after spending ten minutes lecturing us on the need to be careful with it because it was very delicate ;-)

po said...

Tamara it is a bit disturbing that all of the disasters including your teacher's, involve explosions. Dangerous job I tell you. We should get danger pay. Or maybe everyone else should get danger pay for working with me.

Ches said...

You weren't by any chance my school science teacher were you?

I have watched every Dexters Lab there cracks me up!

Ches said...

PS. Thanks for my first ever! ;)

po said...

Ches, gosh no, I never taught, and am hoping I am not that much older than you, but you never know :)

My teachers never exploded anything. How boring.

Miss T said...

Hey if no-one sees it didnt happen! :). Once i was working in a level three Biohazard lab with TB when I dropped a patient sample of blood. It smashed all over the floor and everyone had to "evacuate" except for me. It took me about an hour to go through the whole correct procedure to clean up and i had o write a incident report. I was mortified

I am no longer in the lab so you are all safe now :)

po said...

Miss T shit, level 3 Biohazard, I would NEVER be allowed in there, it would be not funny. I drop flasks often. It was ok in my lab because we were working with bacteria that grow in volcanoes. English floors are not prime growth conditions for them.

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

work hazard????????
there aint no hazards at your work place
You are hazardous to a safe working enviromentlol
If you were a piece of machinery
there is no way you would pass a health and safety check lol

po said...

Miss definitely: I know, I should have a hazard sign tattoed on my forehead!

ShonaVixen said...

lol...guess looking back does make it funnier than when it actually happened!!
enjoying ur blog x

po said...

Shona vixen: so true although sometimes I think, shit we could have died and then I get freaked.

Rox said...

Hehehe, classic stuff indeed.

Throughout all my jobs, I've had a few 'accidents' but luckily most of them were only a danger to my job itself, and not the world.

I did however flood the filter room when I was a seal volunteer at the aquarium back in my youth, which almost drained the seal pool... they just climbed out and chilled on the rocks til someone fixed it though, and no harm done (other than my mortification, which got me a nice mention at the end of year function, lol).

po said...

Rox you worked at the aquarium? That is my sister's dream come true.

Moe Wanchuk said...

Great Post....I have NO IDEA how my career path ended up the way it did.
Well, actually I do. It was the only job offer I got out of, I took it..and there ya go. Tadaaaa.

po said...

Thanks Moe, yip, who knows how we end up doing what we do!

Rox said...

It was one of the best jobs ever - even if much of it was as a volunteer... I got to swim with the seals, and train them, and feed them (and I even got bitten by one of them once, not hard though).