Author Topic: introduction and hello  (Read 20764 times)

Offline patrick04

  • Reader
  • *
  • Posts: 5
introduction and hello
« on: January 15, 2013, 01:03:50 PM »
Hi everyone.  I'm a new forum member, and I'm interested in learning more about FSW.  I'm originally from Indiana, but am currently living way too close to the east coast....  I'll be moving my family somewhere else in the next 1-2 years, so I am starting to do some research to figure out where we should move to.  Right now Indiana is at the top of the list, but we are also looking elsewhere (e.g., Wyoming).

Philosophically, I am on the radical libertarian side of the political spectrum. A lot of the things I've read on the FSW website are appealing to me.  I really like that Wyoming passed a Firearms Freedom Act, and they recently introduced a bill to nullify the potential new federal firearms ban.

On the other hand, I am wondering if I'll have to make a major career change to find a job in Wyoming.  Unfortunately I have a PhD in engineering, which is basically useless for getting a job in the more desirable areas of the country (i.e., low population areas). I'm currently working at a university, and I had considered looking for jobs at the University of Wyoming, but it seems like most FSW members live in northeastern Wyoming?  Is that correct?  What's the reason for choosing the northeast? 

My wife is also a bit concerned that Wyoming might be a bit too rural... She likes the idea of rural living as long as it's within 1-2 hours drive of a bigger city.  From my point of view, being that close to a major city just means that the zombies will eat you first   ;D   Anyway, just how "rural" is northeast Wyoming?  I'm from a county in southern Indiana that I thought was fairly rural until I compared its population (about 30,000) to the population of counties in northeast Wyoming (about 7,000 and much bigger... about 1/30 the population density of where I grew up!).  Seems like it might be dramatically different than what I'm used to, which might be a good thing.

Anyway, I would appreciate your perspective on what it's like to be part of FSW and live in Wyoming.  Thanks!

Offline MamaLiberty

  • FSW Founding Member, In Wyoming
  • ****
  • Posts: 9,520
  • Self ownership/ personal responsibility
    • The Price of Liberty.org
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 01:49:14 PM »
Welcome! I hope you will plan to visit soon and meet as many of us as possible. As far as I know, most of us are here in the NE corner, but nobody knows for sure. We don't keep lists, records or data bases, and lots of folks don't belong to the forum... Add to that the fact that there are lots of good people already here who are not part of FSW - and many who never heard of us. :) Community is as much what you make of it as what you find.

Jobs are a big problem everywhere, and you might have to think about changing your career goals and expectations, no matter where you go. Things are changing, and fast. Being light on your feet can't hurt.

As for cities, there are two within 80-90 miles of Newcastle here. Rapid City is in South Dakota, population about 70,000. They have all the stores, theaters, etc. most anyone could want. Gillette has around 30,000 population and a fair number of stores, etc. too. So, it will depend a lot on what her definition of "major city" might be. NYC we don't have. :)

There is a wealth of information here on the forum, though some parts of it have been temporarily misplaced... sigh... so if you don't see an answer to a question, just post it and we'll try to help you figure it out. But the best way to know what's here is to be here... Do plan to visit.
It's not that people are dumber, it's that stupidity used to be more painful.

Offline manfromnevada

  • FSW Founding Member, In Wyoming
  • ****
  • Posts: 3,080
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 04:41:37 PM »
Welcome Patrick.
So you say you work for the government and you want to continue working for the government?
Is that your idea of being a libertarian minded person?

No offense, but I know a person who claims to be an anarchist but is also working as a Chicago cop enforcing the laws of the government. I guess somebody's got to crack those skulls, and heck, the pay and benefits are good, right?  >:D

Please excuse my candid response.

Mac (from the NE corner, Crook County)
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
<Edmund Burke>

Offline patrick04

  • Reader
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 08:02:03 PM »
Hi Mama and Mac, thanks for the warm (and candid) welcome. 

Mama, thanks for all the information and the encouragement to visit.  I think that's a really good idea, and obviously a good first step.  It would be long trip for us since we don't fly but I'm sure it would be a lot of fun, and we haven't taken a real vacation in forever.

Mac, I appreciate your candidness.  It reassures me that I've come to the right place... 

"Hello, my name is Patrick, and I work for the government."  The first step is admitting that you have a problem  ;D   

Yes, I basically for the government. No, I am not very happy about it.  I feel like I am helping to build the Death Star. What I do, in isolation, isn't objectionable, but I am basically building the Death Star...   I work for a "private" university, but I am paid through government grants (unfortunately, just like 99% of people who work at universities... not that that makes it okay, it's not).

I've had libertarian leanings for a while, but I only really became "radicalized" in grad school (I graduated 2 years ago).  That was when I began to realize that the degree I was working toward would be pretty much useless if I didn't work for the government in some manner. They don't tell you this in the nice, shiny grad school brochures, but virtually all of the major employers of engineering PhDs are either (1) Government labs (DOE-funded national labs, DoD labs, etc), or... (2) Are extensions of the government (e.g., General Electric, Raytheon, etc.), or... (3) Are located in places like the People's Republic of California (semiconductor manufacturers), or... (4)  Are nominally "private" engineering R&D firms that in reality are mostly supported by government contracts.  It's been a disappointing learning experience to say the least..

That said... and I am not making excuses... We all have to pay taxes, which means we all work for the government.  I drive my car on government roads and use government money to buy things.  I wish it weren't so but it is.  If I could change it all in an instant I would.   I would be happy to stop working for the government.  However, I am not one to make rash decisions, so I'm not yet ready to totally bail out on what I'm doing.  I need to weigh the options and figure out the best course of action.  BTW, I am happy to hear that your libertarian friend is a Chicago cop.  My wife is from Chicago and I think she will really appreciate the irony.

Well, anyway, please forgive me for being part of the "machine." I will take a look around the forum and see what I can learn about FSW.  In the meantime, I welcome more advice and suggestions.


Offline KTKEWW

  • FSW Associate
  • **
  • Posts: 299
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 09:40:39 PM »
Check out this link, it's my report from our first trip out a few months ago. Since then all we have been doing is planning how to get there permanently.

http://www.fundamentalsoffreedom.com/fswforum/index.php?topic=13642.0;wap2

(I am doing this from my phone, so if the link is not working, you'll find it in Prospective FSW...)

You are among good people here.
"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." -- Tom Paine, 1776

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -- Gandhi

"Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom" -- Frederick Douglass

Offline 300dragonflies

  • FSW Associate
  • **
  • Posts: 487
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 10:13:06 PM »
(Whispering) I also sort of work for the government. It's a small, local, non-profit, and it does good stuff - but it's government.

It's also "a job" in a state that entered double-dip recession this past fall, after never recovering from the first one, and is the only state in the region still bleeding jobs - and people, too, apparently, as the population went down over 50k this past year. I've been there 9 years now, or it will be nine years in 9 more days. Longest I've ever been any one place. Most places I worked in the past either went out of business, or were sold and brought in all new people, so this is unusually nice for me to still be somewhere after this long.

It fits into my tentative plan that I'll hit ten years about the time I am thinking of/sort of planning on  moving. We'll see what happens between now and then. The timetable might need to move up. Who knows!

One of the biggest tasks I face in the coming year is figuring out how to replace that income. I'll need enough to live on and pay some bills.

Offline manfromnevada

  • FSW Founding Member, In Wyoming
  • ****
  • Posts: 3,080
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 09:40:59 AM »
Thank you Patrick. We just need to get you into a Twelve Step Program!  >:D

You are quite right that many degrees are only employable by the government. Not only weapons, but social/climate/etc. That's why nearly EVERY "climate scientist" is a government worker, direct, or thru grants, and they know where their funding comes from.

Mac
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
<Edmund Burke>

Offline Paul Bonneau

  • Member, In Wyoming
  • Administrative Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,480
    • Wyoming Liberty Index
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 11:58:23 AM »
Quote
That was when I began to realize that the degree I was working toward would be pretty much useless if I didn't work for the government in some manner. They don't tell you this in the nice, shiny grad school brochures, but virtually all of the major employers of engineering PhDs are either (1) Government labs (DOE-funded national labs, DoD labs, etc), or... (2) Are extensions of the government (e.g., General Electric, Raytheon, etc.), or... (3) Are located in places like the People's Republic of California (semiconductor manufacturers), or... (4)  Are nominally "private" engineering R&D firms that in reality are mostly supported by government contracts.  It's been a disappointing learning experience to say the least..

I too was in graduate school in the '70's and came to exactly the same realization (it also means living in big cities your entire life). I bailed and became a test technician in a high tech company (later an engineer with no engineering degree). I occasionally wonder what my life would have been had I remained, but I am glad of one thing - I can look at myself in the mirror every morning. I also wonder what a life as a cowboy would have been like.  :)

One part of this process is to dispense with the usual hierarchy of jobs. It's just as impressive keeping a small business or a farm profitable and in good shape, as it is to be a lawyer or doctor. Try running a farm and you will find that out!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 12:00:12 PM by Paul Bonneau »
Laws turn men into slaves.

Offline patrick04

  • Reader
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2013, 11:25:22 AM »
KTKEWW - Thanks for the link to your Wyoming trip report!  That's very helpful, it gives me a better sense for how things are out there.

300dragonflies - Very nice of you to admit to being a government employ!  ;D  When you say you're planning on moving, do you mean to somewhere else within Wyoming?  Or out of state?  Also, I checked the US Census figures on Wikipedia and they say that the WY population has increased by about 13,000 between 2010 and 2012 (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_growth_rate).  Not sure if that's accurate or not.  Where did you get your numbers on population and job decline?

manfromnevada - I am moving on to Step #2   ;D

Paul Bonneau - I am 100% ready to dispense with the job hierarchy.  I'm wondering if any companies out there in WY would consider hiring me for entry-level type engineering jobs.  I've seen several postings for various engineering jobs that I think I could do.   Eventually I would consider transitioning into owning my own business, doing small-scale farming, etc, but to get started I would prefer (but do not necessarily require) a steady income and group health insurance.  If I were single I might take a bigger risk and switch fields entirely (I saw some interesting ads for apprenticeships in various trades - carpentry, plumbing, etc....) but with a wife and 1-year old daughter, with more kids planned in the near future, I should probably be a bit more conventional and practical.  However, my wife thinks that me switching into something like carpentry might have more upside for getting my own business going sooner than later, even if it would be a major pay cut up front.  She's actually more enthusiastic about that job path than she is about me taking an entry level engineering gig!  Really, I'm open to almost anything. I would prefer it to be more hands-on, so that I'm closer to the fruits of my labor than I currently am in my academic research position.  Somehow, publishing articles in subscription-only academic journals isn't as satisfying as I thought it would be a few years ago    :(

Offline Paul Bonneau

  • Member, In Wyoming
  • Administrative Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,480
    • Wyoming Liberty Index
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2013, 12:14:54 PM »
 :)

There are engineering jobs in the mining sector, although that has tapered off lately.

The best health insurance is an outside job and healthy home-cooked food.  ;)  Income in Wyoming tends to be less than steady <sigh>. If you work hard and are flexible, able to wear many hats, you should do well. Can you weld, change a tire on a rim, gut a deer, paint a house? The more skills under your belt, the better.
Laws turn men into slaves.

Offline 300dragonflies

  • FSW Associate
  • **
  • Posts: 487
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2013, 11:19:47 PM »
I'm actually in New Mexico, not Wyoming. We're the only state in the region that is losing jobs and people right now. Also one of the few blue states in the region - that couldn't be the cause, could it? Nah.....

The "move" in about a year would be to someplace like Wyoming or Montana, or perhaps some other state I haven't looked at seriously yet.

(Looks longingly at that list of skills Paul mentions...noting that most are "guy-skills" and remembering how the school wouldn't let her take shop in junior high because that was a boy's class. Sigh.)

Offline pedro wyomiing

  • FSW Member, In Wyoming
  • ****
  • Posts: 242
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2013, 07:08:23 AM »
Every man i know is either a rancher, welder, or roughneck.  While these men have other occupations, they each have a backup plan.  Paul is correct in that many hats keep one employed.  In 15 years that i have lived in Wyo, i have worked as a carpenter, electrician, plumber, heavy equipment operator, diver, roughneck and field chemist (mud engineer for local folks). Most of these jobs have NOT been fun considering the environment here.  Diving in the winter is not a chore i would wish on anyone.  However, considering the boom and bust cycles here, it is easy to make money while the gettin is good and pack it away for tough times.

Dragonflies, the cleaning ladies at the rigs are fetching 100usD/house.  It is a competitive businesss and i am charging 75usd for the same service.  It takes two skilled scrub brush operators about 45-60 min to clean a house.
THen there are power washer operations that charge 150usD/hour and other roustabout operations in the same price range.  If one is willing to commute, then the options get better.

pW

Offline patrick04

  • Reader
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2013, 10:31:50 AM »
I can weld!  I took a few welding classes from the local community college during summer breaks after high school... Obviously that is not enough experience to get a real welding job. I've never gutted a deer though, and never painted a house.  How many thousands of acres does it take to run a successful ranching operation?

Are these type of jobs and boom-bust cycles that you mention mostly in the rural areas of Wyoming?  Or does this all apply in Casper and Cheyenne as well?  Also... I assume that Casper would be a relatively good place to live, but I get the impression that Cheyenne is not so good?

Offline 300dragonflies

  • FSW Associate
  • **
  • Posts: 487
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2013, 11:42:49 AM »
Well, I *have* painted a house! Mostly inside, lately, though as a teen I did the outside when my choice of "yellow with white trim" was the winning combo my parents chose. I think Dad helped on the weekends, but I did most of it over the course of a week or two during the summer.

I guess I just need to take a look at what I *can* do (or learn to do, or get in shape to do) versus what I've done in the past, job-wise. I guess I can clean stuff, even though the only "cleaning" job I've ever had involved cleaning and sterilizing surgical instruments at the local hospital. That was the summer after high school, and grew out of my work there as a volunteer.

I just need to sell enough stuff and/or save up enough money to pay for a move and some living expenses till the paychecks start arriving.

Offline pedro wyomiing

  • FSW Member, In Wyoming
  • ****
  • Posts: 242
Re: introduction and hello
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 06:37:52 AM »
I can weld!  I took a few welding classes from the local community college during summer breaks after high school... Obviously that is not enough experience to get a real welding job. I've never gutted a deer though, and never painted a house.  How many thousands of acres does it take to run a successful ranching operation?

Contact local welding shops about employment in that field when you get here.  Acreage for ranching depends on a few variables...species, number of head, rainfall, elevation and how many of your neighbours have fenced you out of their sagebrush.  Wyo is a fence out state and your rancher neighbours will graze your place to the ground if you do not fence. 

Are these type of jobs and boom-bust cycles that you mention mostly in the rural areas of Wyoming?  Or does this all apply in Casper and Cheyenne as well?  Also... I assume that Casper would be a relatively good place to live, but I get the impression that Cheyenne is not so good?
Every business is affected by the boom and bust cycle, even in small satellite towns.  When the drilling slows, so do all the other businesses that would do business with the roughnecks.  This includes food, sports, clothing and vehicle sales.  In NoDak, the burger flippers are getting 15 usD/hour to start.   "Great place to live" is rather subjective about Casper.  It depends on what you want living in the city.  I lived in Casper, off and on, for a dozen years.  I had no complaints, but i did not have children in schools or expect the city to provide me with round the clock entertainment or food.
Cheyenne has turned into "Denver North" and is something of an anomally regarding Wyo economy.  I have not lived there in several years so local folk would be better advocates for there.


pW
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 06:45:36 AM by pedro wyomiing »