Gilles Garnodon

Control Room Operator

I studied chemistry, then carpentry before arriving in the ESRF Control Room as an operator. I work shifts on a 3x8h rota and I enjoy the freedom of being out of the mainstream. Sometimes that means I’m not around for my family at weekends or in the evenings, but also that I can be free at alternative times during the week when most people are in the office. As an operator, I’m in charge of what goes on in the Control Room. My job involves controlling the injection of the beam and surveying all the equipment in the storage ring tunnel. I organise the interventions and coordinate the experts if there is an equipment failure. I also answer and manage any requests that come to the red emergency telephones for personnel safety onsite. I enjoy that autonomy and the fact that every day can hold surprises and unexpected turns. For me, the most important aspect is making the right diagnostic in case of a failure. You have to stay calm, analyse the situation, then act, not the other way round. Every minute counts when the beam is down and an error in the diagnostic is probably the most time-consuming mistake. When the machine is running well and it’s quiet in the Control Room, I turn to MOOC courses to improve my skills, mainly in computer science that I can use in the job. I enjoy learning and a few years ago, I started to play electric guitar.   I practice every day.  I thrive on playing well-known pieces and composing my own rock instrumentals and it helps me to wind down after a busy day."

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