August 8, 2017 0 Comments Experience Working in Alberta's Oilfield

August: Working for up to 16 hours/day, for 2 Companies

img_9926The summer days pass by bathing in my own sweat beneath 2-3 sweater thick coveralls under the scorching Alberta sun, and inside a vacuum or tanker truck where neither the air conditioners or fans work, and you’re lucky if the thing even drives in a straight line. Bent over smashing 4-inch diameter vacuum truck hoses that are so beat that they no longer connect, crawling into crude-oil-contaiminated truck tanks, shovelling asphalt out of grinding machine paths, and cursing wildly at stupid Edmonton drivers while doing city work, these days I pain not only to pay my bills, but maintain adequate cashflow to be on-schedule for my asset, career, and business growth timelines. I often question if fate itself is punishing me with these pains and misfortunes for failing to out-compete the elite academics and career ladder desirables bred from the Old Money and Wealthy Foreigner and Immigrant Money back in Vancouver.

The summer is occupied with doing work for two companies- one road construction, one environmental services. When it’s busy, we work up to 16 hours a day, albeit when it slows, we sometimes work 30 hours in a whole week- that is when I pick up the phone, and go work at the other company. Sometimes in the same day- one day last week for instance, I will start work at 5AM and finish at 12PM with the construction company, and then continue to finish my day off at the environmental services one. As I was offered a 1 week vacation, my first reaction was to pick up the phone and perform work for the other company without hesitation.

Unfortunately both June and July have been extremely disappointing, with the latter being in the red- roughly $800 loss in cash, despite my desperate efforts to shore up cashflow to cushion losses. The road construction business is facing increased competition compared to previous years- both in jobs and business, as an increasing number of companies getting into the same business is taking away work, and the spillover of unemployed oilfield workers and truckers are looking for work and accepting mediocre wages. My decision to become partly self-employed, do shit work, and work shit hours for multiple companies at the same time, just happened to be my saving graces.

These days I feel I am running out of time- as I only have less than 5 months to produce a yearly income of $110,000, and about 16 months to pay down my debts by another $40,000- to close on my new property once it is done being built. I’ve received other offers or referrals of work since my last time of writing, but jumping ship is always a risk- especially in the wet weather here lately (rain and mud renders  some oilfield work in the bush not possible as trucks and equipment get stuck, and concrete and paving products cannot be poured in the wet).