Elise, Experimental Hall Operator (French)

"Working shifts means that I can organise my personal life out of the mainstream and it makes me feel that I have more hours in my day."
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I‘m the only woman in our nine-person team and I’m comfortable with that. I joined the ESRF in 2017 as Experimental Hall Operator (EHO) in the Safety group. It’s a technician position that combines a good mix of relational skills with technical hands-on work. Our main mission is to guarantee the safety of the people and the equipment on site and on the beamlines. We make sure the safety procedures are applied day and night and we help the users for a variety of technical problems outside regular working hours. Those demands can be very varied and there’s never what you would call a “normal” day without something unexpected happening. After 18 months on the job, I’m still confronted with new situations every week. I’m curious, love learning new things and am comfortable with change, so that suits me.  You also need to have a good memory for details and subtleties as some incidents arise very infrequently but you need to act quickly when they happen.

In the group, we communicate a lot with each other through a logbook as we all work different time slots. The 8-hour shift system is spread over a six day work period, followed by 4 days of recuperation. Mornings start at 7 am, afternoons at 3pm and nights at 11 pm. At the end of a shift, I spend at least 20 minutes briefing the EHO who will relay me for the next shift.

Working shifts means that I can organise my personal life out of the mainstream and it makes me feel that I have more hours in my day, for example I don’t waste time in traffic or supermarket queues or in waiting rooms. Sometimes it’s tempting to do too much in the time I have between shifts. With experience I’ve become disciplined: I know that it’s important to have a healthy lifestyle and get enough sleep to be able to work on a shift system.

 

 

Elise is 26. She obtained a scientific baccalaureate before starting a technical degree in physical measurements. She is also trained in vacuum systems and spent a few years working in sales where she says she learned a lot of the relational and communication skills she puts to use in her job as EHO at the ESRF.

Top image: Elise Vernier ¬©ESRF/C. Argoud