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- since 1996 -

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Career Discussions
Jack Rallison
Jack Rallison
12:16 May-19-2020
NDT and family life. what's the norm?

Hi everyone, I recently got interested in the field of NDT and am seriously considering training and a career in the field (in Canada). I have worked in optics for quite a while, so the NDT seemed like an interesting fit.

However, my big issue is the work-life-balance, specifically travel. I have read that many, if not most, jobs will require quite a bit of traveling, sometimes even for weeks. I don't mind travelling for a weekend or a day every once in a while, but most of the time I would like to come home at the end of the day.
I know this varies from field to field, and position to position, but how likely is it to find a job that pays well enough but still won't really require travelling?
Working in labs might go in that direction, but it is quite difficult for me to judge if the non-travel jobs are one in ten or one in a hundred. If it is almost assured that I would not be able to find a job that I can feed my family with but still allow me to come home every day, I might have to look for an alterantive.

Thus, it would be great if someone might have any opinion on this they could provide!

 
 Reply 
 
MARK NEL
Sales, Application support
Technology Design Ltd., United Kingdom, Joined Jul 2005, 60

MARK NEL

Sales, Application support
Technology Design Ltd.,
United Kingdom,
Joined Jul 2005
60
16:51 May-19-2020
Re: NDT and family life. what's the norm?
In Reply to Jack Rallison at 12:16 May-19-2020 (Opening).

Hi Jack, I'm sure there will be as many opinions as members on this forum but here's my opinion:
Firstly let me say that NDT is an exciting, fast growing/developing field that is gaining ever greater credibility and professional recognition.

If you go the Service provider technician route, chances are that you will spend a significant amount of time on the road. If you choose to work in a factory or production line environment you'll probably get to go home most days. There are pro's and cons to both: the service technician gets to work on lots of different plant and encounters many different environments and work philosophies, and consequently may get wider practical experience. The factory environment allows you to get really good at a narrower range of application but also usually affords you more stability,guidance and better opportunities (in my opinion) for career advancement through funded structured training programs in all sorts of skills, not only technical.

Sadly NDT, especially in the service industry, has an astronomical divorce rate because with money in ones pocket and all sorts of attractions available in industrial hubs, it is easy to loose sight of the important things.

No one can make the decision for you but think hard about where you want to be in 10 or 15 years and beyond while factoring any close family and career goals into the equation.

Good luck, Canada is a great place to develop your carreer.

1
 
 Reply 
 
Jack Rallison
Jack Rallison
07:48 May-22-2020
Re: NDT and family life. what's the norm?
In Reply to MARK NEL at 16:51 May-19-2020 .

Hi Mark, thanks a lot for your informative response!

After giving the matter a bit of thought, I am not sure a position where I would have to travel a lot would fit my current or future family-oriented lifestyle. I would simply want to see my wife and children regularly.
That being said, are jobs where you can actually go home every day a rarity in the field? If not, do they generally pay considerably less? While I did look at some of the current job postings, it was quite difficult for me to estimate these two things.

I would like to take up a thing you have mentioned, namely the divorce rates. This might be far-fetched and a bit of an icky subject, but I was wondering if spending weeks together with your coworkers on a project somewhere, and probably staying in the same hotel and going drinking after work there, might lead to coworkers threatening a relationship or marriage. While I think this is something that can happen in any profession and is up to every individual, I think those circumstances might generally have an effect on why the divorce rates might be so high.
Again rather far-fetched, and not central to the main question, but after you had mentioned divorce rates, I was wondering about some of the factors involved.

So far I am still quite interested in the field of NDT and hope to learn more about it!

 
 Reply 
 
MARK NEL
Sales, Application support
Technology Design Ltd., United Kingdom, Joined Jul 2005, 60

MARK NEL

Sales, Application support
Technology Design Ltd.,
United Kingdom,
Joined Jul 2005
60
11:09 May-22-2020
Re: NDT and family life. what's the norm?
In Reply to Jack Rallison at 07:48 May-22-2020 .

Jack, About the salary and availability questions, I do not feel qualified to advise on these subjects because I have not been a practising NDT Technician for some years now. As a young NDT trainee on the SASOL refinary in the 1980's, a wise old Yorkshireman once said to me; "Where there's muck, there's brass, lad". Perhaps some of our other esteemed brethren can comment on this.

As for the divorce issue, at the risk of sounding like a prude, your assessment of some of the causes is correct (my opinion). I spent much of my technician life away from home in some pretty amazing places and most if not all offered distractions that certainly were designed to relieve you of your purse, common sense and dignity. I have seen too many of my friends and colleagues fall into the trap of downright stupidity when it came to wine, women and gambling, all of which can be hugely enjoyable, but they crossed a line that changed the course of their lives and have regretted their lapse of judgement. There is nothing wrong with having a good time and blowing off some steam but it is sometimes difficult to stay focused on those real-world things when you allow yourself to be influenced too much by the herd.

Don't let me put you off though! I reiterate, NDT is a wonderfully rewarding and interesting field, with the most eclectic mix of characters you'll meet anywhere. Plan your development route and be disciplined in getting educated and certified. The various professional institutions and organisations in every country can assist you with this (CINDE in Canada, ASNT in USA, BiNDT in UK, etc.). My last word is Just Do It.

 
 Reply 
 
Michel Couture
NDT Inspector,
consultant, Canada, Joined Sep 2006, 897

Michel Couture

NDT Inspector,
consultant,
Canada,
Joined Sep 2006
897
14:50 May-23-2020
Re: NDT and family life. what's the norm?
In Reply to Jack Rallison at 12:16 May-19-2020 (Opening).

Jack,

I've been doing NDT for over 30 years. I experienced both, I mean a sedentary position where I came home every day and ones that I was away for weeks on end.

Both type of work are veery rewarding, but the big question is what do you want? This is something you have to discuss with your partner. I life, there are needs and wants, both really differents. Sure going on turn around and shut down provides a great source of income. The client wants to have the job done in minimum time and normally overtime is not a problem. During that time, you can easily make about 2 1/2 times your weekly wages. This is great, but at what price? In the early 90's, I was offered a job at a big refinery in Western Canada. I would've quadruple what I was making at the time. I turned it down. The person offering me the job told me I was crazy and asked me why? My aswer was simple. Yes the money would've been great, but if my wife and family didn't like the life where I was going and she divorced me, I would be left with the same amount of spending money that I already had after paying allimony and child support. I didn't regrat the move.

Today, things are different and I do work for those refinery out West and enjoy it. But my falmily status is different, my kids are in their 30's, I'm single and work only about 3 - 4 months a year and that is goodd for me.

I don't know where you are from, but I'm sure you could find a NDT job where you could be home on a regular basis. Look for a steel mill, an aircraft maintenance company, a steel fabricator or a HVAC inspection company. Money is not as great, because you are mostly only working 40 hours a week, but your quality of life as no price. Remember, if you're not home when you son score is first hockey goal or your daughter's first recital, they will be others, but it will never be their first and those are priceless.

 
 Reply 
 
bounatiro hatem
Algeria, Joined Aug 2019, 7

bounatiro hatem

Algeria,
Joined Aug 2019
7
00:07 May-24-2020
Re: NDT and family life. what's the norm?
In Reply to Michel Couture at 14:50 May-23-2020 .

Hi

Mr Jack, i agree with Mr Michel couture, if you have an hobbie to NDT Field, but you can not be out of time to your familly, the best thing is to find arround you manufacturing company,that gives you place in their place in quality control post
best regards

 
 Reply 
 

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