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Offline indoprime

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Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« on: Apr 17, 2007, 11:51 »
This post is for all the rookie nukeworkers just getting started...

I'm posting this b/c at the time i started out doing the roadtech thing, about 3 - 4yrs ago, I had no idea of what was going on, or what to do.  I just knew that I had a job to get to, a per diem check would be waiting and that I had to be there on Monday at 6am. 

The first few weeks of a job is pretty intimidating for a rookie roadtech, but here are a few things that I've learned to help you new guys (and gals!) get by.

1- Find the SUPER-WAL MART ASAP!

Can't stress that enough.  This is probably the most important thing that you can do once you get into town.  EVerything that you need for survival is here 24/7. Get essntials and CASH CHECKS!  Wal-Mart has a $1500 check cashing limit.

2- Find a branch of your bank. 

Ex. If you're with Bank of America, find a branch in that town.  If you're w/ Wells fargo, find a branch in that town....   The reason being is that once you get that first check, whether it be a P/D, a regular paycheck, or a travel check you can go to that bank and get it cashed without paying the $3 fee wal mart charges you, plus your direct deposit probably wont be set up yet. Now if your bank is closed, then see #1.

3- Get your car checked out before the road trip.

You dont want breakdowns on the road, so i suggest you change oil, get new tires if your budget allows for it, go to jiffy lube something, just get some car maintenance before you roll out.

4- Join Roomates.com

This site has saved me at least $2000 every outage season.  Why get gouged by hotels who jack up their prices for outage season, when you can rent a room out from someone, on a month to month basis?  Ex.  Staying at Motel "A" costs 300/wk...  staying w/ a roomate costs about 550/mo.  1 month = 4 weeks.  Motel "A" = 1200, roomate = 550. 

5- Wash / Drop off laundry

How's this for convience?  You have a load (or two) of clothes, you pay about 20-25 bucks (1.50/1.75 - per pound of clothes), this pays for the washing drying and detergent.  Drop off the clothes, they'll be done in about 3 hours time.  Washed, dried, and FOLDED!  Why blow your day off on washing clothes?

6- Navigation system

Once you get a few checks under your belt, it's time to invest in a navigation system for the car.  A GOOD one will run 500+, not the ones from wal-mart, go online, or go to Circuit city / Best Buy...   It's very difficult trying to find the training centers from the maps that the staffing companies provide.  Or if you want to explore the city.

7- Satellite Radio

There's really nothing better than sat radio on cross-country trips. 180+ channels of whatever you wanna listen to. Personally, i cant do country music from St. Louis to Denver and all thru Texas / Oklahoma.  Sirius or XM, doesn't really matter...just get it.

8- Laptop computer.

Leave the desktops at home.  Get a Laptop w/an internal wireless card. Most hotels are going wi-fi, and all the Flying J's have it too.  Makes life infinitely sweeter.


9- Only go drinking when you have the following day/ night off.
Self explanatory.

10- Be a GOLD member on NUKEWORKER!  Help support Mike, b/c he's deifinitely helping to support us!


Any other tips will be appreciated!
Excuses are tools of the incompetent which create monuments of nothingness, Those who specialize in their uses seldom achieve anything.

Offline Rennhack

Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #1 on: Apr 17, 2007, 02:59 »
This is a fantastic list.  Great job indo.  I'm gonna sticky this threrad.

Gonzo

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #2 on: Apr 17, 2007, 04:04 »
the most important thing to remember is to never eat from a community popcorn bowl...

DDD

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #3 on: Apr 17, 2007, 05:08 »
And leave the women where you found them

Cathy

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #4 on: Apr 17, 2007, 05:13 »
Bring your own alarm clock, preferably one that has a battery backup in case the power goes out.

Offline Rennhack

Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #5 on: Apr 17, 2007, 05:23 »
Bring your own alarm clock, preferably one that has a battery backup in case the power goes out.
I bring my own pillows, even if I'm staying at a hotel.

Offline JessJen

Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #6 on: Apr 17, 2007, 07:28 »
I bring my own pillows, even if I'm staying at a hotel.

Im allergic to tide which is what all the hotels use it seems like so I go as far as bringing my own sheets and towels when packing space allows, otherwise I check with the hotel to see if theyll launder my sheets separate with my own soap or i just drop them off at the wash n fold letting the hotel know what Ive done ofcourse. 

Dont forget a backpack or duffel bag for all your at work goodies....I always carry my steelies/workboots in my bag to prevent a hold up in the mornings if theres no where to store them on site and wear my tennis shoes in.    So whens the nukeworker duffel bags coming out?

Offline SloGlo

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #7 on: Apr 17, 2007, 08:42 »
iffen ya don't due cell phones, git won!  itsa weigh cheepar dan motel phone line costs 'n easier dan opening/closing accounts wit ma bell 'n associates.  iffen ya don't wanna due cells, take yer own answering machine.  use it with motel lines 'n git yer messages direct, w/o desk clerk interpretashun.  'sides, iffen sumbuddy misdials der buddies room, yule laff yer butt off at watt der saying when yer machine picks up.
use a cb radio while ona rode.  it'll save mucho bucks from donating to different state trooper associations.  plus it's a good source of entertainment at 3 am in da middle of iowa.  knot to mention a source of info on gas stations, restaurants, 'n wide spots ona side of da rode fer when ya absolutely gotta go "now" !
git a dc/ac converter to run laptop outa yer vehicle.
pak yer cents of humor.  it'll help maitain alla yer udder sensibilities.
« Last Edit: Apr 17, 2007, 08:46 by SloGlo »
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Offline hoghunter

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #8 on: Apr 18, 2007, 05:35 »
I agree with the pillow,banks and wal-mart thing. I also carry the big ben alarm clocks ( no power or batterys needed ) they will wake the dead. You will need the day and night time cold meds. for the RX-BLDG bug !!!! Find the good places to eat. Find the local hang out,but never let the women know where you stay.Allways watch who you make mad or get on the wrong side of, because they could be your next supvr. When not sure ask don't asume "all questions have an answer"
« Last Edit: Apr 18, 2007, 11:38 by RELLISON62 »
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand

Offline Rennhack

Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #9 on: Apr 18, 2007, 07:14 »
I added a bank finder, and a wal*mart finder, and a roomate finder to the facility info pages, see example here:

http://www.nukeworker.com/maps/facility/BeaverValley1.html
« Last Edit: Apr 18, 2007, 07:20 by Rennhack »

Atomic_Punk

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #10 on: Apr 18, 2007, 07:32 »
Get a credit card!  If you ever need to rent a car, they WILL NOT take a debit card.  I'm pretty sure it's the same way for plane tickets.  If you can't qualify for a real credit card, you can get a 'secured credit card' by putting some money into a "savings" account for the bank to get their money from if you default on the payments.

Offline JessJen

Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #11 on: Apr 19, 2007, 12:44 »
Get a credit card!  If you ever need to rent a car, they WILL NOT take a debit card.  I'm pretty sure it's the same way for plane tickets.  If you can't qualify for a real credit card, you can get a 'secured credit card' by putting some money into a "savings" account for the bank to get their money from if you default on the payments.

some will accept debit cards with a credit check but be preparred to have the money for the rental plus some froze in your account.  national, thrifty, and alamo are ones i know will take one right off the top of my head....ofcourse call ahead to make sure since it can vary by location.  Also for those under 25 beware of the extra charges imposed per day of the tune of 25 bucks.  Usually if you beef up the insurance theyll wave them, at least thats the case at national. 

Austria

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #12 on: Apr 19, 2007, 03:28 »
Hey, great list and a great idea to start this thread indoprime!

Another idea if you are reporting to a site you've never been to before is get there an extra day early if you can. If you start on Monday morning try to get to your hotel or wherever you're staying on Saturday, for example. This will give you plenty of time to unpack, find the Super Wal-Mart, Bank, etc. and give you time to relax and be really fresh on Monday. Also, take the time to drive the route from where you are staying to the plant or training center. This makes the drive to work on Monday much less stressful. It's really worth the extra day's rent to have all your shopping done and be settled in so you can start with a clear head and no worries about the little things.

again, great idea to start this thread. Karma to ya.  8)

LaFeet

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #13 on: Apr 19, 2007, 05:04 »
Paperwork..... documentation.

Get a Passport ASAP. 
Keep copies of your quals (it does not always help, but it works out great when the prior plant fails to update PADS)

Keep a small filing cabinet (plastic box for files) for expenses and tax forms and such.

Find the local restaurants that appeal to your tastes.

Get to know the local liquor store owners....  Its always nice when I can get me beer delivered.

Find the quickest route to/from the plant.  And find an alternate too.

Offline Rennhack

Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #14 on: Apr 19, 2007, 10:35 »
LaFeet mentioning paperwork reminded me of this, important footnote:

Document the exact dates (I get it off my resume) and address of every place you stay, and the contact information of someone that can verify it, a landlord will do.  Also record who you worked for and the name and contact information of your boss.

You will need this for a security clearance, and it's easier to do it as you go, rather than trying to remember it all 10 to 18 years later.

Also, keep multiple copies of it (and not all on one computer).  Put a copy on your computer, one on a CD, and print one out.  Keep the CD in a lock box, or at a relative‚Äôs house, in case you have a fire, or other disaster.

Offline stormgoalie

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #15 on: Apr 19, 2007, 02:28 »
Just to add an international flavor to this thread if you are coming up to Canada as a contractor you will need to have your documentation in order. A passport will be required shortly I am sure. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions at the border when being issued your work visa. Also have a contact name and phone number for your employer in Canada. Your security clearance etc. will be handled by your employer in a similar fashion as the US plants.


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WARNING: Translation of author's random thoughts may have resulted in the unintended introduction of grammatical errors, typos, technical inaccuracies, lies, propaganda, rhetoric, or blasphemy.

looneynuke

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #16 on: Apr 19, 2007, 05:04 »
Just to add my two cents to this.......hopefully you'll make some good contacts along the way that will also lead to more jobs cause word of mouth is everything in this biz. If nothing else maybe you'll make some great friends in your travels.

LaFeet

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #17 on: Apr 20, 2007, 04:40 »
Good one Looney.....  keep that address book or cell phone handy for contacts... I also like collecting business cards.

jowlman

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #18 on: Apr 20, 2007, 02:19 »
Get yourself lots of Rubbermade type of containers. Keep all your work stuff packed in them. It makes packing for your jobs much easier, you don't have to worry about remembering what to pack. :) I also keep a list of my landlord's phone numbers, when going back to the same plant its a lot easier to call ahead to arrange your home on the road. :)

allforthenukie

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #19 on: Apr 20, 2007, 04:46 »
One of my favorite things to have on the road was a 12 volt electric beer cooler. I think the brand name is "Igloo". It can be powered by the cigarette lighter in your vehicle when you're driving. Be sure to get the AC outlet adapter for the in motel room. The cooler is the same size as a conventional ice cooler and I was amazed at how great the thing worked. Keeps your beer and soda or whatever you like to drink frosty cold and has a tray for the top for your lunch meat or whatever. Basicly you have a portable electric refrigerator that only weighs what a cooler would weigh but you don't have to buy ice every other day and deal with the mess of draining and refilling the thing. Was nice to be able to enjoy a few cold ones after work. The AC adapter gets pretty hot when it's running so I always would set it on a ceramic plate instead of the carpet and make sure it's away from the curtains. I've seen rebuild kits for these coolers at truck stops so if the thing wears out you can fix it and get it going again. Really improved my quality of life on the road. One of the BEST things I ever bought! If you're going to spend half the year living in cheap motel rooms you gotta get one of these! 

LaFeet

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2007, 09:15 »
Get a Gramin nuvi 360 or other type of GPS receiver.  Great for directions, finding hotels, resturants & places to shop.  Best toy I have gotten in years.

 Good choice, although I have yet to find a place with the GPS unit that I could not plot correctly with the lapyop in advance.......  yoys is toys  and you really can have too few... more beer here though

Offline hamsamich

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2007, 03:31 »
I wouldn't consider a GPS a toy, it isn't absolutely nesc. but man does it help out!  You will probably save the money in gas that the GPS costs when this thing figures out a better way to get there or keeps you from getting lost.  And it automatically tells you all the FOOD/SHOPPING/STORES in a 50 mile radius. I didn't realize they did this until I got one.  It is so handy!  You need the nearest grocery store from the exact spot you are it will tell you within seconds...pretty cool.

Cathy

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2007, 10:33 »
Our GPS also finds the nearest hotel and gives you a phone number. We call to verify there is a room available before wasting time getting off the highway and walking in to check.
And, my DH is just thrilled, NOT, that just by typing in a name of a favorite shopping spot it reurns every one within many miles!!!

jowlman

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2007, 10:59 »
About getting a GPS, I haven't had a chance to test it yet but I just got software and a reciever at BestBuy. You download it to your laptop and plug the reciever into a USB port and your laptop is now a GPS. It was on sale for $50 which is alot cheaper than any GPS unit you'll find and most road tech already have the laptop. Another plus for those of us that aren't as young as we use to be, you have that big laptop display instead of the tiny ones on the GPS units.

Offline Evilpixie

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Re: Things that rookie nukeworkers should know
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2007, 02:00 »
You could get an DC to AC inverter and plug your laptop into your cigarette lighter with it... use the GPS that way.  Or you oculd map out your route beforehand and save it locally to the laptop and refer to it while driving.  They have inverters at stores like Napa or Kragen auto parts.  Or you can get one at a truckstop.  They usually have a pretty large selection of them at the big truckstops (Like Little America or Flying Js, Pilot, etc) that I fondly refer to as "Meccas of trashy trinkets"... they are so great to stop at when you're getting a little dazed from the road- some of the things they have are so stupid, they're hilarious!  Skull piggybanks, magnet mail box covers that make it look like it's a bird house, or metal yard ornaments of a dog silhouette poo-ing that has the option of engraving your family's name on it... course sometimes they have things that are invaluable like a remote controlled fart machine- and it was an RF remote so you could put it somewhere and then hide and let it rip.  So to speak. 

Books on tape are always great for traveling long distances... and those big truckstops sometimes have a club called Audio Adventures where you can check them out, listen to 'em and return them somewhere else that has Audio Adventures or you can mail them back to them with a prepaid envelope they'll give you (if asked). 
Change is bad, especially Canadian pennies

 


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