Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More respect to them!

From Anonymous:

Folks, in the last Nanos all-hands, after he turned off the recording, he told the story of him taking a third star to retire in order to secure his Navy pension to support his elderly mother and invalid wife. As much as most of us, uh, dislike, Nanos, I think it was one of the few things that he said that he actually meant: do what you have to do, and I respect you for it.

I think those near but not yet 50 may be the biggest "losers" in the rebid. Those hovering around 40 could probably take a hit; those close enough to 55 could probably retire. But those around 50: what to do?

With that said, I must say that I did not come here for the pension. Pension is a dying animal. Most Americans do not get a pension. Many large corporations are foregoing pension in lieu of matching contributions to the 401(k). You ought to be maxing out on the 403(b) instead of counting on a pension. Once that's taken care of, I don't waste time thinking about the pension at all.

I've known lots of people that have retired this year. I do not begrudge their desire to safeguard their pension. Many of these people have also said, however, that it's not just the contract: they are fed up with Nanos and with what's happening at the Lab, and they didn't want to bother with it anymore. More respect to them!

Finally, it's a popular belief that we are "owed" a pension because we cannot publish our work (and therefore we perish). I hope to never become so mediocre as to believe that someone owes me a job and a pension because of my particular career choices. I hope I will have the guts to move on, like so many of those that have retired before their time, when I've exhausted my usefulness, and not cling on until I turn 60 just to get "the pension that I am entitled to".

Comments:
There is one fundamental problem with your argument about pensions. That is simply that the UC faculty participate in the same pension program that we do are NOT being compensated for their inability to publish. They are receiving that pension for being an employee of the UC system. And many employees of other state university systems receive the same benefit.
 
When I joined the lab I could not even imagine retiring. I planned to sit at my 4014 and do design til I fell over dead. Things changed. By the time I retired, not yet 55 I was desperate to get out and was scared to death the idiots in charge would find a way to crush me before I got out the door. Thank God for the pension. I could not have waited for age 59.5 to tap my 403b. I don't know if we felt entitled to a pension because we did classified work, but it was definitely implied this was a part of the deal when we signed on.
 
When I joined the lab I could not even imagine retiring. I planned to sit at my 4014 and do design til I fell over dead. Things changed. By the time I retired, not yet 55 I was desperate to get out and was scared to death the idiots in charge would find a way to crush me before I got out the door. Thank God for the pension. I could not have waited for age 59.5 to tap my 403b. I don't know if we felt entitled to a pension because we did classified work, but it was definitely implied this was a part of the deal when we signed on.
 
"...it was definitely implied this was a part of the deal when we signed on."

Yes! When I signed my name on the employment contract, I agreed to work for LANL, to follow certain rules, and to hand over (to my chagrin) certain intellectual property rights to DOE/LANL/UC. In return, this contract promised me a specific salary and benefits package, including the UCRP pension plan. That was the agreement. That is why I am entitled to my pension. I signed a legal contract, pure and simple. No, a pension is not the be-all and end-all of why I work for LANL, but when I sign a contract, I expect both parties to abide by it.

I have upheld my end of the agreement. Why do some people consider it such a radical idea that the employer should uphold its end?
 
As previously stated, I am just a tec in the trenches and not making some huge salary or am a highly valued scientist, or have my entire family working at LANL. I worked my way up the hard way. Been here 20 years and I really do not want to go out at 55 and look for another job. YES, I feel LANL/UC owes me plenty and I plan on getting it. However, if it looks as if I am going to get screwed or worse I will cash in and move on. Hopefully I will not have to but it could be bye bye very soon.
 
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