In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Construction Travelers

Have you ever wondered where they get the workforce to build large buildings and industrial facilities?  It's construction travelers, which are a huge group of people, with special skills, that travel around the country to the big projects and work until they're completed, or their particular skill isn't needed any longer. Some are union, some aren't. They may have a home, where they stay until another project starts, or they may live in a travel trailer they pull to each location.

Besides working these huge new construction projects, many work what are known as "turn arounds", which are maintenance, or repair projects. Usually, these last a few weeks, or months and the work schedule is twelve hour days, seven days a week. The money can be very good, but the trade is limited family time and a toll on health. Working that many hours without days off isn't sustainable. What few times I've worked those hours left me completely apathetic in less than a month.

Still, they're out there and working every chance they get. They know every day is one day closer to unemployment. It can be a hard life, but you'll find few that are slackers or not good at their trade. You have to be. If not, you're the first to go when the culling starts. If there isn't any other job in sight, it can be a sobering experience to be in a strange town, with strangers and not enough resources to move on.

So, why am I writing about these workers? They are a very important part of the work force that makes the United States happen. There's no community that requires people with their skills at any one time, so they need places to go. They're a valuable resource and their skills aren't found by searching universities or work centers. All the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. couldn't replace a dozen of these workers. They know where the jobs are, but their jobs require a vibrant economy. If attrition reduces their ranks, the time needed to replace them is too long, which requires either taking a chance on unskilled workers or filling their ranks with people from other countries. You may never notice them, but they're the reason you have plastics for your computers, gasoline for your cars and the electricity that keeps the critters away at night.

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