January 19, 2016 0 Comments Experience Working in Alberta's Oilfield

January Blues


Checking the price of oil

Ah, Hello 2016. The new year started with some mixed fortunes. I finally completed my training for running a combo unit, so now can advance to receiving my full salary and more consistent pay and schedule, in turn allowing me to more accurately paint my financial picture.

Without reaching into my other less liquid assets acquired before this year, I expect to hit a little north of 13K in increased cash by April end, without factoring in tax return season. It is my intention to use this towards the condo I plan to buy, and then move in somewhere around the same time, or a couple months after. My probationary period for my current employer should end in mid-february, and my home search begin around the same time as 2 paystubs are written by then to reflect the new salary income.

Now to the misfortunes- my personal life has taken a beating from fighting with family to women. The stress I already had from the mortgage, finances, work, school, and trying to plan my future (i.e. face the destruction of any realistic possibility of continuing my apprenticeship in wake of low oil prices), only made me feel worse and I eventually had a bad anxiety/panic attack and ended up personally visiting the University of Alberta hospital. I felt myself shivering and holding bad pains in my chest area, and couldn’t get myself to study at the local library. When I did try to, I’d just end up putting my head down and sometimes start shaking. I impulsively was thinking about my exes over the years and talking to some of them. I started to think about my past life in university and how my academic career came to an end because of the lack of work, family trauma, and bad ex-girlfriends at the time.

The event made me reconsider my time here in Alberta and made me think thoughts along the lines of:

Maybe if I went to school, I wouldn’t be so bitterly lonely.

Will I eventually go crazy?

When I buy the condo, I should get one close to the university in case I go crazy and end my oilfield career.

If I did go back to school, would I perish against the might of the academic elites, and all my efforts be in vein all over again?

If I did meet a woman who liked Asian men, would I lose her to the stereotypical one with a Porsche, big house, prestigious background of study funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad?

What happened to me? I could had been 20 with a Bachelor’s degree. Instead, I just ended up as a (perceivably) “dirty” trades and oilfield man.

Is it true that Asians are only meant to stay with other Asians? Am I just not a Canadian? Am I really that different, despite never living in Asia and just born and raised here all my life?

When I met some of my exes’ families, they seemed happy that I was a guy who took care of myself, worked hard, was in school, and cared about my future. Why couldn’t my own family been like that?

Will the low oil prices destroy any prospects of me continuing any apprenticeship, or getting any other? Will I be stuck running a truck all my life with little hope of advancement, and my previous competitors on their way up the corporate ladder graduated from university?

Am I just ugly, despite how many women say I am cute? Am I just doomed to be average looking, despite how I wake up at 3AM every morning to go to the gym to get my body ripped? Am I just masking my true self I grew up being- once the loser who was unsociable, unattractive, and unliked?

Should I just trade my BMW in for a newer one or a Porsche? Would that motivate me to work harder for the money?

Does having a nice car, nice body, and nice paycheque really result in “getting the ladies”? Where did this societal dream come from?

Do women actually respect a working man who takes care of himself? Or are losers in Mom’s basement either weak and scrawny or with a beer gut, but are there to play everyday the favoured breed of young men?

Even if I do craft my body in that of a model, complete my education/trade, grow a bit older and have less of a baby face, drive the nicest car, etc. will I still be replaced by a loser in Mom’s basement?

Am I just an asshole?

Am I just fucked?

Do I just expect too much?

Why do I hear whimpering and crying echoing in my head?

I was raised to be distrusting, and my experiences further reinforced the attitude. Why can’t I get rid of it? Why can’t I be friendlier?

Why don’t I greet more random people? Why am I naturally not friendly?

Why can’t I be taller (I am 5’9 approx.)? Why couldn’t I swam and played basketball more when I was younger and be half a foot taller and more “handsome”?

Was a 6-digit office job really unrealistic for me? Did I forgo that opportunity forever? Did I have the fight in me in the first place to get there? Should I had just taken my Sauder (BCOMM) acceptance years ago and chased my original corporate dream?

Today I am 22 with my Class 1,  Electrician Apprenticeship, 4th year UBC Math and Economics major status, a $83K MSRP car, and 3 years of oilfield and construction experience. I also have a body better than most in both looks and strength. Few other young men of age 22 even come close. Bad women will never completely replace me, but I can replace them. Those other young guys can only dream of being my equal. Why do I feel sad? Why do I not feel the same I was before- just striving for more and ignoring the rest? Why is this bothering me when on-paper it is clear I should not be concerned?

Why do I care about silly shit? 

Is buying my first home at age 22, trading stocks (especially penny stocks and oil) as well as keeping my second BMW running setting me for failure? Am I trapping myself into a bitter, lonely life? Should I just lived life like everyone else, be broke, but be less bitter and lonely?