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I need some advice... this one may be for all the marbles.(Long Post)

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Nascar Fan, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. Nascar Fan

    Nascar Fan Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    I have been looking for a state/county/town/village highway/d.p.w. job ever since i graduated from high school,but it just never happened for me.I have spent the last 10 years at my current job and I know I am secure.I may have a shot to get in to a local D.P.W.,but it will be a pay cut of about $4.00 per hour.Now with that said I made less that 34,000 for the year after 10 years at my current job,and that includes more than $2,000 in overtime .We have 401k plan that the company matches up to 66and 2/3 percent of whatever we put in.Truth is i really do not have a lot in there because on my pay I honestly i can't afford it.The benefits are getting expensive at my current job and they are much cheaper at the DPW plus they have a 25 year retirement.I have time with a different town highway plowing/and winging but it did not work there as it was a huge bunch of politics(waited for 5 years of part time service to have the superintendant hire his son full time off the street and screwed us).At the risk of sounding brash and boastful that I do not mean to sound like I can honestly say I can operate any piece of equipment that ican get my butt onto,and run it correctly without pounding it.I do have my class B c.d.l. and it is clean.I honestly can say i will work as hard as the day is long,and show up everyday to do it again, but i really need to make money doing it.Do you guys think I would be crazy to pursue my dream of heavy equipment operator/heavy truck driver or just find someone who recognizes my abilities and go for the deal I deserve while i stay at my current job.I also have a very very strong mechanical ability (and the tool bill to prove it) I have rebuilt everything from Dodge 5.2's to GM 4L60E tranny's and do a LOT of it at home on the side but don't really want to do it all day/everyday for a living , I do not have the option to do this work at my current job,I really just drive a van around and fix problems on the poles/house.(Telecommunications)Sorry for the long post i am just really in a jam here.Any Ideas anyone????? :cry:
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2005
  2. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Well, every DPW has politics, the trick is how honest the top guy is. We have a crooked DPW head- working on getting him exposed.

    If you're not licensed to operate heavy equipment you won't BE operating heavy equipment on the DPW- union rules and insurance requirements prohibit such things. They may train you and send you to be licensed, but bottom line is you need the license (and normally some experiance) to operate- those are the in demand jobs and most DPW's have more applicants than openings. You'll be ok to drive a truck, up to B class as you said you have a license for that- plowing would be covered in that, but don't worry about an equipment position- and if that's what you're hoping for I would check with the DPW in question for the details before making any decisions.

    If you're making 32K a year where you are without the OT- your dropping to 23,680 a year going to the DPW without any OT. Still look attractive to switch jobs?

    My suggestion- look into exactly what positions they want to fill and which of them you're qualified for- see about getting qualified for any higher paying ones, like getting your hydraulics license (not expensive, normally only a couple of hours) and such. Or see if you can get in writing that you will enter as a laborer and be trained to assume the position of <blank> within x months with a pay increase of $X.XX per hour.
  3. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    I know this will be a stupid question, however, what the hell is DPW?
  4. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Department of Public Works, they maintain the roads with their own equipment and also contract work out to others. Your tax dollars pay for the DPW.
  5. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    Thanks, never heard of that in Ohio. Learn something new every day, thank god.
  6. all seasons

    all seasons Member
    Messages: 61


    i have learned that you don't have to be a millionaire,you just have to find your true calling and be honest with yourself about it.however in a realistic world you also need enough money to live comfortably and maintain a balance between the two.i say do what is right for you,because at the end of the day you are the only one that you have to answer to.GOOD LUCK with whatever you decide :angel:
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Nascar Fan, this is advice from a guy who is retired at the age of 54 after 32 years in a series of government jobs of which only the last one I liked. I worked for the Veteran's Administration in helping disabled veterans to find new careers and lives consistent with their disabilities.

    Go for your dream. Get the training and get the job you want.

    Honestly, $34,000/yr is not that great and I doubt if you're going to do much better, no matter how long you work there. Pay raises tend to get eaten up by inflation. I saw it almost every day. People were locked into jobs they didn't like but couldn't get themselves to leave for something better. It's like they wanted to hold onto what they had while reaching for that prize. But it was always just out of reach. They had to let go, take a leap of faith, eat lots of macaroni and cheese (it's cheap) for awhile, to get through the training for that career that provided some satisfaction in life. Don't worry about the money. If you're doing something you really like; the money will follow.
  8. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Your not the only one,I didn't know.. I learn something new every day.

    Had a guy working for me, said she knew every thing about plowing snow, I told him I learn new stuff all the time about plowing and other things, and i'm older then you. He would have been good to keep a round if I needed a dozer guy.
  9. alittle1

    alittle1 Member
    Messages: 35


    They also call them City or County Workers, but that is an oxy-moron! I would take the 34K a year, plow some on the side, holiday in the winter and the summer and not worry about a DPW job. DPW jobs are overrated. More jobs are going to the private sector because of the high cost of benifits, inflated salaries, and lack of productivity. (Now, I'm going to get calls.) But the truth is, it's a daisy chain effect, worker needs more money to afford a way of life, taxes go up to take care of his needs and pay him more money. Some people say thet lived better when they were paid a buck an hour. You could buy 4 packages of cigarettes for a buck, beer was 6 for a buck and a half, could buy 4 gallons of gas and drive to work for a week on it. And we call this progress!!!

    I consider myself very lucky, the harder I work the luckier I get.
  10. brunosplace

    brunosplace Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    From one telcom guy to another, I Have a few questions for you. I am going to say you probably work for VZ. Are you top craft there, or are you lower? Around here top craft in telcom base pay is over 50k per year. Are you in a union? Any chance for advancement if you aren't top craft yet? You have to pay for your health, dental, & vision insurance? If you want you can PM me regarding this.
  11. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    I retired from Ohio Bell (Ameritech) as a mgmt employee. Worked there for 28 years. We used to call it Chasing the Carrot. They pay you enough for you to stay, promise more to keep you there, and your lucky to break even. Ohio Bell was a fantastic place to work, when they ripped off the Ohio Bell name and replaced it with Ameritech, it got real UGLY real fast. Now as SBC it is even uglier, my next door neighbor is a few years younger than I and got caught in the Nafta deal and is still working, he is a splicing Mgr. He will never retire with the same money as he would have got prior to Nafta. I retired with no health care costs, never paid for them for 28 years, and now what I have to pay is real ugly, my neighbor who is still working pays the same. Of course we are supplimenting the Union employees who pay nothing because of their contract. Good for them but why screw me? I say get out while the getting is good, it's not going to get any better only worse. Go after your dream, work for yourself. Dont be the best worker in the crew for 30 years and make the same money as the guy that doens't do anything and if he does its probably wrong and you get to go out and fix it. I wish I would have left years before I did, however I got caught in the carrot chasing, and then you have so many years invested, that you have to stay to get whatever benefits you can get. PM me and we can talk.
  12. Nascar Fan

    Nascar Fan Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Brunosplace...and everyone else....

    No I do not work for Verizon.I work for Time Warner and yes we offer Telephone (Voip).I know about the carrot chasing syndrome.I was/am doing the work of the senior guys and when one thier jobs opened up they told me i wasn't qualified----but then asked me to keep on the on call rotation so i would not get "left behind" in the qualifcations.Time Warner has whats called "career path" It's more of a dead end as i did take and graduate from 3 of the possible 7 courses already,and unless you already are say a grade 8 then you can't even apply for a job from say a grade 6 or 7 and the job you are bidding that you need to be the 8 for is only a grade 8 or 9(defeats the whole pupose of moving ahead let alone career path doesn't it?)We are not union so that probably does not help---not that it would either.My yearly evaluation is always at least a 4 out of 5. I used two sick days last year and recieved a .26 cent raise for the year,it's just that Time Warner considers themselves a learning company of sorts and not a "profession" company.If i were to get a senior job it would only have raised me maybe $1.00 to $2.00 per hour but then i would be about topped out in grade.One of our best senior guys has been there 21 years and makes around $20.00 per hour,so i do not think im am going to go anywhere where i am.I know in my heart the DPW is what i want to do with no question,I just wonder if i should keep looking for more money without bieng greedy(Now that sounds redundant!).I know i am a very good equipment operator and i have many friends i have helped along the way who will tell anyone so at anytime but i learn something new everyday.Everyone so far THANK YOU!!! !!Wife says she is tired and ready to boot me in the butt to go and will always be here--just wants to see me happy."anything worth doing is worth doing well"and if you can't wait to get out of bed in the morning to get to work you will just be that much better at.Thanks again everyone!!!
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2005
  13. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Go for what you are going to be happy doing everyday. DPW always hire from within to move up. Once you get in you wont stay at the same position. I say go for it.

    Is a guy in McHenry running for County Road Comm. Has been there a while. Started driving a truck then has been foreman for 10 years. I feel he has worked at it and prolly knows more than the guy running against him. The guy running against him? The currant Road Commissioners son. You know who I am voting for.

    Kinda out there but I imagine this guy kinda like you. Wanted to do something he liked. Did it and did it well and now,hopefully, will reap the fruits of his labor.

    Whatever you do. Make sure you like do'ing it and don't go home at night asking what if.
  14. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Same as Ohio Public Works Commision. http://www.pwc.state.oh.us/Page1.htm
  15. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    Nascar fan i would go for it. Get a job with the DPW so you dont think about it everyday wishing you had. It should take long for you to move up and/or get the training you need to be able to operate heavy equipment. Or after some training you could hold a shovel up, like 2 or 3 other guys standing around, watching one work. :) If you wait to change your career it will become harder, since people dont like change. Good luck and let us know what you choose to do.
  16. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    It's not the MONEY, it's the BENEFITS!!!

    The last 20 years have completely changed the old ideals of working in America. There's no more 30 years and a gold watch.
    If this job with the DPW will be secure and provide good benefits and retirement, then I strongly advise you to take it. The pay cut will initially be tough, but over time you'll find it was worth it. The way things are right now, the safest place you can be is in municipal employment. Sure, I know the politics are a detractor, but if you can keep your mouth shut, do your job and get a pension out of it, then DO IT!!!
    I took a pay cut several years ago to become a plumber's apprentice. I went from $11.55/hr with 3 weeks paid vacation, 10 paid holidays, 6 paid sick days, health insurance and a 401K plan to to $7.50/hr with ZERO benefits, no insurance and straight pay for Saturdays and on-call. It was very tough at first, but I stuck it out and by my 4th year I was up to $14/hr, but still no bennies. Then, I got into the union and things REALLY changed. As a 5th year union apprentice I was making $24/hr with medical, dental, pension and annuity.
    I've been a Journeyman now for 5 years and make about $37/hr. But, guess what. Things have slowed WAY down around here during the last 2 years. The Big Dig and 3 huge power plants are done and all of a sudden there's no work. Where I used to call the hall and have my choice of which of a half dozen jobs I could go to, now there are none at all. I haven't worked since last September and I'm really getting sick of it, not to mention broke.
    My point is that when I work, sure I make a very high wage and it's great, but what good is it if you only work 5 months out of a year? I have no job security. When things slow down, guys start cutting other guy's throats left and right to keep from being laid off. You see the politics, deadbeats still working because of who they know while you're on the bench, knowing full well you are a capable and dependable worker. It sucks.
    So, if you can get on that DPW and be a "lifer" there, TAKE IT!!! You can always plow on the side and do whatever else you have to for extra money. Tend bar, drive a cab, whatever. But a nice secure job with good benefits and a retirement package is worth it's weight in gold. Don't let it pass you by, or one day you'll look back and regret it.
  17. Stang977

    Stang977 Junior Member
    Messages: 15


    I have 22 years under my belt in DPW. I Started as a laborer, took tests and moved up. You won't become a millionare, but you will have security. You'll have plenty of time to hustle on the side. I run equipment on the weekends. Everyone has a side job. you can pick and choose how much you want to work on the side. There is a lot to be said for job security and benifits.

    I say go for it.

  18. mikelawtown

    mikelawtown Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 429

    Take it from someone who is still trying to get in the DPW, it's been a long road and is politics :gunsfiring: ...I have alot of pull here in my city and i am having a hell of a time getting in, i also will lose $ when or if i get in but in the long run you WILL get it back. I have friends in and you will make great on OT in the winters. alot of work when u start but in the long run it's well worth it...GO FOR IT.. :drinkup:
  19. brunosplace

    brunosplace Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I agree with the rest of the fellas, follow your heart and go with it. Itook a leap like it 13 years ago, Left a job as a high rise welder living out of a suitcase but I was making damn good money. I took an 80% pay cut and started over at the bottom. But now I have the benefits, 401k, and all that. It was definatly worth it. I am home every night now (except when plowing :drinkup: )
  20. 85F150

    85F150 Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    Yep i would also jump on it. The paycut sucks but the job security and Benefits are just awesome. My dad was in the same scenario about 10 years ago, he was a millwright making the big cash but he had left like 5 diff factories because they closed up. Now my uncle just got a job at the county also because he wanted the benefits, he made a ton of cash with his own repair shop but insurance cost were WAY to high. I have worked there for the past couple years, i love it..