And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On the Road Again

From a recent Yahoo report: WASHINGTON – The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that the pace of layoffs has not slowed.
Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level in a month and overshadowed a report that showed consumer prices remain essentially flat.
The rise in jobless claims highlighted concerns about the economic rebound — especially after a report earlier this week said home construction plunged in May after government tax credits expired.
If layoffs persist, there's a concern that the June employment numbers may show a decline in private-sector jobs after five straight months of gains, said Jennifer Lee, an economist with BMO Capital Markets.
"We've definitely seen the economic recovery hit a wall," Lee said.

With Yuma’s 28% unemployment rate it has been virtually impossible for us to find any jobs of note; the lone exception being that I was offered the remodel at WalMart for a period that might run about eight weeks but not starting until about mid-July and both Marc and I were offered a workamping job at Bryce Canyon National Park for what would have been a four month stint if we wanted to do housekeeping, or "guest room attendant" as its now called.

There’s been an interesting thread running through our Escapees discussion forum for years regarding the work done by gas leak detection techs. These are people trained to walk a designated route and neighborhoods with a leak sniffer machine which detects gas line leaks. All gas companies in the US are required by the federal government to provide details on such checks and any leaks in a yearly report. A few third party vendors have evolved to provide qualified technicians to the gas companies for them to accomplish this. So…we applied.

The third party companies have static jobs available in the larger cities but they also have traveler positions. The premise goes that basically once you are trained, they send you via your RV to an assigned area where you complete a contract for an hourly wage and a per diem. They pay for your travel between destinations. They obviously have other requirements beyond the RV; each technician must have a spotless driving record, their own vehicle, pass some tests, be capable of walking up to six miles a day, and they must have the ability to go from job to job rather than job to home than another job. In other words, you could be a long time before seeing home again. But in our case, it should work out since Yuma is now “home” and we virtually have nothing here that can’t be locked up and left for an indefinite period of time as we have done so many times in the past.

We like the fact that we will be working together, not always in close proximity to one another, but at least the same days, same shift. We will work fairly independently with only occasional direct supervision. In severe weather when we can’t work, we are guaranteed a set amount of hours per week regardless. The per diem should adequately cover the cost of our RV space, utilities and maintenance. We will get mileage anytime they require us to switch locations, which can be as quickly as two weeks or up to eight months in duration.

We’ll be on our way around July 7th or 8th. We’ll button Yuma up and be off to Salt Lake City for two-three weeks of paid training then (hopefully) get to pick our first assignment from what is available at that time.

Just a few short weeks ago, who would have thought?

You will most definitely want to keep up with the blog now because you will never know where it will come from next! Be aware that updates may not be consistent since internet may be sketchy for a time until we work out what we are going to do. Many parks now have WIFI but not all by any means. We’ll be a work in progress.