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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Monday, September 29, 2014

Brain drain

Newsline 09/26/14

Newly minted Lab machinists ready to support research

"After four years of training as machinist apprentices at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Christian Oda and Will Morton are ready to apply their trade. The two graduated Sept. 18 from the Engineering Directorate's Machinist Apprentice Program.
...
The Machinist Apprentice Program is a four-year-program that teaches entry-level machinists the technical skills and safety training they need to be certified machinists at LLNL and in the state of California. The ultra-selective program (most applicants are turned away) provides education and training in the machine tool trade, specific to the work done by LLNL researchers. That means Lab machinists are manufacturing products not built anywhere else in the world...."

Comment at bottom from
Kim Shelley,, 09-26-2014 07:04:16 AM:

"It is sad that the newly graduated apprentice, Willard Morton, has quit the Laboratory. I hope where he has gone to work is a bright career for him. He will be missed." 

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Christian Oda has just given his two week notice today. Hey LLNS keep those generous 0.25% CIP coming the out come is just fabulous.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people continue to leave or retire from LLNL.

Question: Are the best and brightest staying?

Anonymous said...

Pushing out the TCP-1 people I can understand. TCP-2 not so much.

Anonymous said...

In keeping with the baseball post season about to begin the lab is batting 0 for 2 in the retention after training.

The two will have a bright future, somewhere else. A Lab PR feel good story gone south.

Anonymous said...

Pushing out the TCP-1 people I can understand. TCP-2 not so much.

September 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM

That makes no sense. TCP1 is a closed, entirely funded pension plan. Whether you "push them out" or not makes no difference to anyone, except the potential retiree who might like to get a couple more years of service credit. Why deny it to them? The pension is funded.

Anonymous said...

TCP2 is what is really costing the lab now. Look for it to take the next cut.

Anonymous said...

"...Question: Are the best and brightest staying?..."

I would like to see TCP1 vs TCP2 employee retention data normalized for population, classification, and age.
Long term, "staying" will not include TCP1 employees electing to "hold out".

As uncomfortable as the seas might be on the "USS LLNS", TCP1 employees have their life jackets and can see the rescue boat heading their way.

This is not a criticism of TCP1 employees, it is a statement of pension value in general.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the smart ones are voting with their feet!

Anonymous said...

"...Looks like the smart ones are voting with their feet!..."

What could LLNS do to reduce the exodus and how likely is this option to occur or be effective?

Anonymous said...

If you have to tour with your rock band you must rock on

Anonymous said...

"...If you have to tour with your rock band you must rock on..."

Meaning what? LANSLLNS are "setting sun" organizations regardless of token changes?

Anonymous said...

Meaning what?

October 2, 2014 at 11:24 AM

There was no meaning. On a blog, you have to expect the occasional stream-of-consciousness type of post. California is full of aging rockers and wannabees.

Anonymous said...

TCP1 are mid career, perceived as entitled dead wood. At every All Hands it's "let's build a pipeline the top schools to get the next generation of the best and brightest."

Anonymous said...

"...At every All Hands it's "let's build a pipeline the top schools to get the next generation of the best and brightest"..."

In 2014 and beyond, can LLNS build a pipeline to attract the best and brightest? Do we still have all the required pipeline ingredients such as competitive salaries for the local cost of living, solid benefits, stable budgets, rewarding assignments, and a management structure that values your contributions?

Anonymous said...

I thought diversity was the most important, then I thought woman promotion, then I thought it was ladder safety, then I though it was goose and turkey protocol. Now I hear it's attracting the best and the brightest.

Focus, Livermore, focus.

Anonymous said...

Back on the "brain drain" topic, your "career FTE" LLNS job, despite what you may have been told at the point of hire, is no more secure than the supplemental labor employee's job at LLNS. This is not a judgement, it is just another consideration when considering opportunities outside of LLNS.

Anonymous said...

I thought diversity was the most important, then I thought woman promotion, then I thought it was ladder safety, then I though it was goose and turkey protocol. Now I hear it's attracting the best and the brightest.


There's no "best and brightest" section on any lab pie chart I've ever seen. Therefore, it's not important.


Anonymous said...

Every scientific or technical company wants to attract the "best and brightest". Only quality consistent companies will retain them. LLNS Engineering is forecast to have 10% attrition every year for the next 3 years due to age demographics.

Anonymous said...

But without old people, how will LLNL retain it's innovative culture?

Anonymous said...

"...But without old people, how will LLNL retain it's innovative culture?..."

LANSLLNS has modeled their employment benefit packages around a transportable and tether-less 401k retirement plan. In such a system, it is all about the most attractive annual salary, reasonable employment stability, and rewarding assignments. Older TCP1 employees are largely here until they reach retirement age. TCP2 employees are the wild card. Attracting new TCP2 "best and brightest" employees in LANSLLNS world will be challenging to unlikely going forward.

Anonymous said...

Taking away the "golden handcuffs" of a lucrative pension may turn out to have been a huge mistake. Employees who feel free to leave are, well, free to leave.

Anonymous said...

"...Taking away the "golden handcuffs" of a lucrative pension may turn out to have been a huge mistake. Employees who feel free to leave are, well, free to leave..."

LANSLLNS doesn't care about long term impact. They only care about their lipstick in preparation for the annual award that is right in front of them. LANSLLNS are "sole source" contractors, and are steps ahead of their NNSA field office "evaluators".

Anonymous said...

LANSLLNS are "sole source" contractors...

October 13, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Not true, there was a competitor in each case. You may be referring to the fact that in each renewal cycle, there are no competitors, but that is built into the contract that was competitively bid.

Anonymous said...

But without old people, how will LLNL retain it's innovative culture?

This is insulting. Innovative cultures, like LLNL, have time and time again been driven by those over 60. In fact, the average age of an entrepreneur who launches a start-up in Silicon Valley about 50-55, just like the ages of upper management.

Anonymous said...

"...Not true, there was a competitor in each case. You may be referring to the fact that in each renewal cycle, there are no competitors, but that is built into the contract that was competitively bid..."

A bid yes how competitive is another matter. The "sole source" is a characterization of the renewal cycle landscape at LANSLLNS where failures like NIF or WIPP are not contract termination level events.

DOE/NNSA fund LANSLLNS in a pay more get less relationship. Only "sole source" (in practice) companies have such a distorted and continuing relationship with near zero option DOE/NNSA customers.

LANSLLNS have trump cards with one side that says "keep us and pay us regardless", with the flip side that says "we are a for profit LLC with all the associated workplace privileges".

I say "sole source" is an understatement.

Anonymous said...

In fact, the average age of an entrepreneur who launches a start-up in Silicon Valley about 50-55, just like the ages of upper management.

yes, and who show a similar zest for innovation, calculated risk taking, with big salaries down the road depending on quantitative performance results.

I'm assuming the "50-55" is obvious sarcasm implying upper management is really "over the hill" when discussing innovation culture, and is quite cowardly due to salary protection which is not dependent on results.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming the "50-55" is obvious sarcasm implying upper management is really "over the hill" when discussing innovation culture, and is quite cowardly due to salary protection which is not dependent on results.

October 14, 2014 at 9:06 AM

I'm assuming your hatred for LLNS management is ingrained and knee-jerk now to the point that you are incapable of any rational discussion of related points that might be valid in the real world.

Anonymous said...

"...I'm assuming your hatred for LLNS management is ingrained and knee-jerk now to the point that you are incapable of any rational discussion of related points that might be valid in the real world..."

I am not the one that made your referenced comment, but the undisclosed salaries of LLNS managers is a valid comment and a "related point" for a "brain drain" main topic. "Hatred" was not mentioned. That was your spin.

Anonymous said...

Not hatred, but envy.

The term is "value added". Everyone should be able to describe their value added to an organization in reference to salary. Bottom line, 9-5 folks over $240k only exist at weapons labs. I think we can all name some $300ks who are 9-5.

Anonymous said...

Each leg in the old three legged "attract and retain" UC/LLNL stool of "Pension + Quality Benefits + Job Stability" has dry rot and is phasing out.

The new LANSLLNS "401k + some benefits + "at will" jobs" three legged stool is as common as sea water.

We think we can attract and retain the "best and brightest" going forward? Time to expand the badge offices because the in and out "job shop" atmosphere employee traffic is about to pick up.

Anonymous said...

Time to expand the badge offices because the in and out "job shop" atmosphere employee traffic is about to pick up.

October 16, 2014 at 8:36 AM

The DOE clearance processing system cannot handle that kind of throughput. People will decide to leave before they can be cleared to do the job they were hired for.

Anonymous said...

"...The DOE clearance processing system cannot handle that kind of throughput. People will decide to leave before they can be cleared to do the job they were hired for..."

When the rumble of employee check in/check out gets too loud who will take ownership for it at LANSLLNS? Nobody will, LANSLLNS will just form more workforce committees and splash a few new color photos on the recruiting web site and career pamphlets.

At that point, LLNSLLNS will make sure "rapid employee catch and release" is included as one of the NNSA performance metrics for their annual report cards. There is always an opportunity, you just have to look for it.

Anonymous said...

Hey look on the bright side. The solution to the clearance processing problem is obvious. LANS and LLNS will simply engage in escalating, cyclical raiding of each other's cleared employees. This will require offering ever-increasing salaries and perks to keep up the churn. Actual attrition will be low since cleared employees will have a strong incentive to never retire. Hey, it could happen!

Anonymous said...

Excessive churn is great for the network of churn processors in a "job shop" but not so great for our strategic missions at National Laboratories.

Without career FTEs all you have is a job shop. Fluctuations in project funding should largely be addressed by the supplemental labor workforce.

At LANSLLNS we are definitely on a job shop vector. There are ample career destinations outside of LANSLLNS for professionals where the package of benefits is set well above the job shop level.

Anonymous said...

Question: Are the best and brightest staying?
September 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM

By and large, from what I've seen and with some exceptions (older established pros who are hoping to hang on), no. Nor should they stay. The lab has become a wretched clock-punching place to work, and if you're not a clock-punching person you'll soon find it very tiring. I see no signs that it will ever get better.

Anonymous said...

"...tiring. I see no signs that it will ever get better..."

Perhaps if the contracts are terminated early due to poor performance, technical blunders, and the digestion of the "pay more get less" reality, we can cobble a basket of universities to run LLNL and LANL and free ourselves of LANSLLNS. A pipe dream or are the pieces falling into place? Should we just sit on our hands until all of our talent votes with their feet?

Anonymous said...

Lot of us already did vote with our feet.

Anonymous said...

Was Director Albright one of them?

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