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Behind the Scenes as an Oilrig Worker

I read this post a few days ago, and it got me thinking about how workers out in the field cope with being away from their loved ones for an extended period of time. We know they have to deal with some extreme weather conditions and safety and health risks, but what about the mental battle of being away from family, friends, and the familiar surroundings of home life?
For the most part, we already know they love to pass time with song and dance, but for Sam, aside from having dinner with coworkers he’s clicked with, he tries not to think of home too much. And he can’t speak for everyone, but he does get energized just knowing that he’s closer to the end of the workweek before he gets to go back home. “You work harder and can go home with the money you made and morale is good.”
And with the advancements in technology, he uses his laptop and phone to stay in touch daily with his loved ones and friends back home.
Sam is an oilrig worker in Northern Canada, and he mostly drives to each job site, as opposed to flying. “My car is like a mobile office. I have memorabilia, knick knacks, CDs, and books as common reminders of home.” Plus, he gets the added bonus of driving through some of Canada’s most gorgeous attractions and cities.
When Sam is on location, the oil and gas company, big or small, takes care of him and the other workers by making them as comfortable as possible. Accommodations are taken care of through a Living Out Allowance (LOA), where workers are given a cash allowance to find their own housing and food. The alternative to LOA is on-site lodging, “where the oil and gas companies pay for room and board, but no cash allowances are given.” The perks of choosing lodging are the amenities, like squash courts, golf-simulator, pool, food, and a clean bed.
But it’s not all fun and games, per se. Safety is a top priority with oil and gas companies, so horseplay may not be tolerated. He’s constantly learning, since “complacency is a scary thing. You can get hurt and there’s always new equipment being introduced.” And he does his best to familiarize himself with his environment, more so when he changes location. But Sam does know of some more experienced workers “riding the young guys, and send them for tools that don’t exist, like the Sky Hook.”

Example of getting a young guy to do something that doesn’t exist.
And speaking of more experienced workers, Sam encourages everyone who works in the field to network and connect with someone who will mentor you because “he is gold to you in the industry. But there are some older guys to avoid who will impose the rules they were told to obey and don’t want to give the keystone because they didn’t get a handout.”

Carol Carol Liu
Carol Liu is a Marketing Manager of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.