Traveling as a tech has good things and bad things, both. The good things include the ability to say when, have some control over where, a little about what (shift, job description, facility type), and you can take time off between assignments.
New people and places have their attraction. Some of my friends are from assignments nearly twenty years ago– and they’re all over the country! Going new places and spending time learning a new city can be fun. And you learn so much: I can do most any kind of Histology with any equipment and solve problems sixteen different ways.
One unexpected benefit is you can remain detached from the politics & drama in the labs that have a lot of that stuff going on. That’s one thing that marks a great traveler in one who remains above the fray. And if it is a less-than-lovely environment, it is easier as you know you’re going to move on pretty soon and can simply count down the days.
Oh! Hotels and housekeeping! Don’t forget the lovelies that give us new linens, tidy up after us and vacuum once a week, usually there is a gym and a pool, so all we have to do is work and relax.
The bad things include you can’t take extra time off mid-assignment to explore: we’re there to work. Rarely is there overtime, we often do the basics like embed and cut, as that’s the most valuable use of our time.
Time away can take a toll. If you have to work without big breaks in between assignments you can lose contact with friends, and being away from family for extended periods gets old. Really old.
The money isn’t all that much different if you calculate the cost of benefits and the time off without vacation pay. Then add the total freak between assignments when it feels like there won’t be another job anytime soon!
So it’s simply a choice. Weigh the pros and cons in light of your life situation. In this economy having a full time job with stability and full benefits including vacation time is good. If you’re in-between jobs or are able to incorporate a little uncertainty into your life’s plan, maybe being a traveler is for you.
Anyone else have comments or content to add–we’d love to hear from you!