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Offline Dagon

I want to go on the road
« on: Aug 05, 2013, 11:17 »
I have been a house tech for >20 years and I think it is time to go on the road.  Is it possible to do 3 or 4 outages a year?  I really want to see the country and work at different plants. I have no ties and nothing to stay here for.  Being a senior RST must account for something in the HP world of employment.

Offline 61nomad

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #1 on: Aug 06, 2013, 08:30 »
What does RST stand for?  What type of facility are you a house tech in?

Offline RDTroja

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #2 on: Aug 07, 2013, 08:28 »
What does RST stand for?

How long have you been in this industry?

RST = RPT = HPT

Radiation Safety Technician -- and I would have a good guess about his location based on the acronym but I won't say. If he wants to tell you where he is, he will.
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

milo124

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #3 on: Aug 07, 2013, 03:30 »
How long have you been in this industry?

RST = RPT = HPT

Radiation Safety Technician -- and I would have a good guess about his location based on the acronym but I won't say. If he wants to tell you where he is, he will.

What's the average length of an outage these days? 2wks, 3wks, 4wks?  It's been awhile so I'll guess and be conservative with 24 weeks for 4 outages.  And before I get beat over the head for using RadCon math, thats assuming 4 weeks per outage (16 weeks) plus another 8 weeks in case I'm way off which means 6 months of employment (or more likely wishful thinking, especially when you take into consideration most plants these days want returnees).

Are you wanting 6 months of vacation?

Offline RDTroja

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #4 on: Aug 07, 2013, 04:25 »
There are lots of ways of doing the math and all of them are only partially right... or at least most of them are a partial guess.

Most outages run about 3-4 weeks (some longer ones are still available but they are getting more scarce.) There is usually at least a partial week of training/testing first so most techs are brought in a week in advance, some 2 weeks depending on outage preps... but those are 40 hour weeks. Some techs are let go before the 3 (or 4)  weeks is up, but some outages run over and techs are kept longer. In short it is a lot of averaging and guesstimating but average (for techs that are not routinely on the 'first out' list) is probably 3.5 weeks of long hours and one or two of 40 hours. So four outages, if you don't get in on a long one, makes 12 to 16 weeks with overtime and 4 to 8 weeks of no overtime. The overtime weeks give about 80 - 88 equivalent hours (roughly) so you get about 32 to 44 equivalent weeks. Three quarters of a year is 39 weeks, so it is like being employed for 9 months. Get recognized as someone that the utilities all want to keep around, either for work ethic or unusual skills and the length of your stay can grow.

If you live on less than your perdiem allotment and have leftovers, that can add up to another couple of weeks (or not... don't forget to claim it as income if you do!  ;)) Throw in some unemployment and (depending on the states you work) you will do OK... but not great. If your lifestyle is not too elaborate and you put your summers to good use it can be a pretty good way to live.

And to the OP -- yes, your experience is enough to do as well as or better than the average road tech. Just be open to doing things very differently than what you were always told was the only way to do them.
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

Offline GLW

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #5 on: Aug 07, 2013, 04:38 »

....Most outages run about 3-4 weeks..............and the length of your stay can grow.....


outages which run over 60 days can result in an hours cut,...YMMV,... [coffee]

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Offline RDTroja

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #6 on: Aug 07, 2013, 04:49 »
outages which run over 60 days can result in an hours cut,...YMMV,... [coffee]

Sometimes true... but then you are in outage gravy territory (or grave, if you have another outage to go to and can't get released) in which case the referenced numbers change. Sometimes better, sometimes worse.
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

milo124

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #7 on: Aug 07, 2013, 05:27 »
Much better information than I posted.  I also noticed Bartlett has several outages listed together and I'm guessing its to travel from one site to the next within the same company.  How well does that work?

Offline RDTroja

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #8 on: Aug 07, 2013, 05:56 »
Much better information than I posted.  I also noticed Bartlett has several outages listed together and I'm guessing its to travel from one site to the next within the same company.  How well does that work?

I have worked Bartlett 'circuits' before (two, three, or even 4 linked outages) and as long as you set them up right it works very well... if you can get from one place to the next quickly enough. I literally worked a 12 hour day at one site (a couple of those hours were 'body count credit' hours) on a Sunday (Superbowl Sunday as a matter of fact) and twelve hours on Monday at another plant -- that was only about 2 hours drive away. At the end of the second outage I had two days to travel about 750 miles to report at the next plant and then I had two days to get from there (Pennsylvania) to Florida for the next outage. I had to leave the PA outage before they wanted me to go and it was a bit dicey, but since it had been arranged in advance (by the contract company) it all worked... but I would not suggest trying anything that complex.

I guess the answer to 'How well does it work' is like a lot of other answers -- it depends on the plants, the timing, your tolerance of being jerked around a little, you willingness to drive a lot on short rest and with little time and how hungry you are. I got a lot of hours into one outage season that way. I would not make a routine out of what I did, but a two or possibly three outage 'chain' would probably be OK.
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

Offline Dagon

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #9 on: Aug 07, 2013, 06:36 »
61 NOmad   Radiation Safety Tech.  Power Plant.

I think I could live on 24K pretty easy.  Would teching get me there?

Offline 61nomad

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #10 on: Aug 07, 2013, 08:13 »
24k?  Damn i'm jealous!! This is the perfect job for you. You can make that working one decent outage a year and then have ten months off. Counting unemployment, you could add 10-15k to that. Choose your state carefully for max benefit.

Offline Dagon

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #11 on: Aug 07, 2013, 09:50 »
What are the best states for unemployment?  I was looking at moving to PA.

Offline 61nomad

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #12 on: Aug 07, 2013, 10:13 »
It goes by the state you work in, not the one in which you have a permanent residence. Permanent residence is a whole different topic, but you need one in order to get per diem. It has to be further than commuting distance from where you work.
Without googling it, PA is one of the handful of better states.

Fermi2

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #13 on: Aug 07, 2013, 10:58 »
Ok I am about to go on the road as a contract instructor. When a contract ends in a state I take it one can file for Unemployment?

Offline hamsamich

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #14 on: Aug 07, 2013, 11:30 »
You might have to file in the state you just quit your job in.  Depends on how long your contract is at the next job site so you can get some "mature" quarters to file off of in your new job state.  Some states have "alternative filing", so this might not apply.  But if the state you just quit your job in has a higher weekly unemp wage, it should be a no brainer, just file in that one.  You have to file in a state you have "good" quarters in (last 5 quarters not including the one you're in, but this varies slightly by state).

Fermi2

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #15 on: Aug 08, 2013, 12:01 »
Ok I'll have some questions

Offline Radwraith

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #16 on: Aug 08, 2013, 12:41 »
You might have to file in the state you just quit your job in.  Depends on how long your contract is at the next job site so you can get some "mature" quarters to file off of in your new job state.  Some states have "alternative filing", so this might not apply.  But if the state you just quit your job in has a higher weekly unemp wage, it should be a no brainer, just file in that one.  You have to file in a state you have "good" quarters in (last 5 quarters not including the one you're in, but this varies slightly by state).
This is not quite accurate. You must have earned wages in the state you wish to file. You then file what's called a "combined state wage claim" which totals all wages from the last 4 or 5 quarters in the state you are filing against thus maximizing your potential benefit. States to make sure you work in include: WA; MA; and NJ off the top of my head. As long as you have wages in one of these states you're looking at a max benefit of $600.00 a week or more. Hope this helps!  :)
Remember the seven P's: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

Offline RDTroja

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #17 on: Aug 08, 2013, 08:16 »
PA is a very good state to file in and has a good payout. When I last filed there (many years ago so YMMV) you could file if you worked there, lived there or even if you lived in a bordering state.
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

nukewood

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #18 on: Aug 08, 2013, 01:05 »
I have been doing contract HP work fulltime since the economy tanked 5 years ago on my hardwood flooring business. I have found that if you show up for outages with a "can do" attitude and keep your nose clean, many plants will find projects to bring you in early and keep you beyond the outage. You must be flexible. Bartlett has kept me employed 9-11 months per year for the past 5 years. I have been able to collect an avg. $600/wk in Wash.,Pa, or NJ.  FYI

Offline hamsamich

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #19 on: Aug 08, 2013, 09:16 »
What wasn't accurate Wraith??, I will correct it and file it away in my brain.

Content1

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #20 on: Aug 09, 2013, 09:37 »
I have been a house tech for >20 years and I think it is time to go on the road.  Is it possible to do 3 or 4 outages a year?  I really want to see the country and work at different plants. I have no ties and nothing to stay here for.  Being a senior RST must account for something in the HP world of employment.

If you have a permanent job in this horrible economy and health benefits that would be something to stay for.  If you are close to retirement, early retire first then go.  You make the traveling sound glamorous. It is not.  You really don't have time to see anything except the highway.  How can a person have no ties after living at a place for 20 years?  The road is a lonely place unless you have family you are working for and going back to when a job finishes.

Offline RDTroja

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #21 on: Aug 09, 2013, 10:25 »
If you have a permanent job in this horrible economy and health benefits that would be something to stay for.  If you are close to retirement, early retire first then go.  You make the traveling sound glamorous. It is not.  You really don't have time to see anything except the highway.  How can a person have no ties after living at a place for 20 years?  The road is a lonely place unless you have family you are working for and going back to when a job finishes.

You are taking your opinions and feelings and assuming they are true for everyone.

I know the OP (I was not sure of that at first, but we have been in contact) and the situation and understand the desire to go do something different. The road can be a very interesting place for exactly the reasons you consider it to be a bad idea. It is not for everybody nor for every time of a person's life. But is can be a way to see different places, get away from places you no longer want to be (or that just no longer provide you with enough value) and it can be a far less lonely place than where you are... it is all a very personal decision made for very personal (and widely varied) reasons. Don't assume that your feelings are universal.

The road can be a liberating place to be depending on your circumstances. If you have no reason to be in a particular place at a given time you have a lot of opportunities to stick around the places you go and actually see the areas you work in. If you have a family to go home to, you lose that ability and end up with an outlook on the road similar to yours.
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

Offline Rennhack

Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #22 on: Aug 09, 2013, 12:04 »
You are taking your opinions and feelings and assuming they are true for everyone.

Well said RDT

Chimera

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #23 on: Aug 09, 2013, 12:05 »
You are taking your opinions and feelings and assuming they are true for everyone.

I know the OP (I was not sure of that at first, but we have been in contact) and the situation and understand the desire to go do something different. The road can be a very interesting place for exactly the reasons you consider it to be a bad idea. It is not for everybody nor for every time of a person's life. But is can be a way to see different places, get away from places you no longer want to be (or that just no longer provide you with enough value) and it can be a far less lonely place than where you are... it is all a very personal decision made for very personal (and widely varied) reasons. Don't assume that your feelings are universal.

The road can be a liberating place to be depending on your circumstances. If you have no reason to be in a particular place at a given time you have a lot of opportunities to stick around the places you go and actually see the areas you work in. If you have a family to go home to, you lose that ability and end up with an outlook on the road similar to yours.

KUDOS!  That is probably the best explanation I've ever read describing the "lure of the road".

Offline hamsamich

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Re: I want to go on the road
« Reply #24 on: Aug 09, 2013, 02:10 »
Yeah really, I've had 2 house jobs and prefer the road by far!! 

 


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