Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: welding sucks

Turning Points in My Life

As I was reading through an article on Toms Hardware about the greatest video cards of all time, I caught myself looking at the dates on the video cards, and then comparing those dates to things that were happening in my life.

Between 1996 – late 1999 were a great time in my life. My third son had been born in 1994, my daughter had been born in 1996, I had a steady job with good benefits, a little overtime here and there.

Then there were the video games such as Diablo, Quake, Red Alert, and the camping trips into Orangefield Texas in the mid 1990s.

The early Quakecons were a blast. Driving to Dallas, staying with my buddy “Acid Breath” and his wife for the weekend, those were good times.

Around August 1999 all of that fell apart when I was laid off from Allied Fabrication in Rose City. The company had recently lost a lot of money, I had missed time due to my drinking. When it came time to reduce cost, I and a couple of other people were let go.

In all honesty, I loved working at Allied Fabrication. They were a great group of people that I really liked working for.

Regardless of how much I liked the job, all good things must come to an end.

Hard work does not always equal success

survivalistWhile writing the article why do we miss the past, I kept thinking about the time and effort people put into working at the welding shops in southeast Texas. The more I thought about the working conditions, the lack of proper benefits and how the workers were exploited, the more irritated I became.

There was once a time when working in a welding shop equaled a good living. There was once a time the hard work was recognized, appreciated and rewarded. But those times are long gone.

Working Conditions

You think its hot outside in July and August? Try crawling inside a piece of pipe that has been heated to 350 – 400 degrees so you can weld on it. Certain types of metal, such as chrome, require the metal to be preheated before you can weld on it. If the metal is not heated to a certain temperature before you weld on it, the weld can crack.

You think the dust in your house makes you sneeze? How would you like to blow your nose, and the rag be black? The dust from the grinding and gouging collects in your nose. Just think what its doing to your lungs.

Some companies act like worker safety plays second place to production. There were places I worked where we did not have fans to blow fresh air into sections of pipe we were working inside of. There were times when my lungs felt like they were being choked from the welding fumes. Times when the grinding dust made my lungs hurt for days.

Related Articles

Why do we miss the past

survivalistWhy do we miss the past so much? Why do we look back and say “those were good times”, even if the times were not “that” great?

Career Path

I grew up in a little town in southeast Texas called Bridge City. My parents moved to Bridge City sometime around 1976. After I graduated high school I got married and bought a home.

Fast forward 14 years, my wife and I divorced and I moved to the Conroe / Montgomery area for a few years.

In 2003 my new wife and I moved back the Bridge City area.

After I finished high school I went to work for a welding shop. Between 1986 – 1999 and 2003 – 2004 I collected around 15 years experience in the fabrication of ASME certified pressure vessels and heat exchangers.

During that 15 years I learned a lot (not all) of the welding shops in southeast Texas take joy in paying low wages and exploiting workers. The low pay was one reason why I had to leave the Bridge City area. To those fab shop owners that get some kind of sick kick out of exploiting their employees, screw you. There is a special place in hell for greedy bastards like you.

Even with 15 years experience working in various welding shops for around 15 years, the wage I was earning did not allow my wife and I to buy a home. The home prices were so inflated that the average middle income wage earner could not afford to buy. In the end the lack of decent wages and bloated housing market drove my wife and I out of the Bridge City area.

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