January 26, 2016 0 Comments Experience Working in Alberta's Oilfield, Thoughts and Feelings Working in Alberta

Self-Competitive Analysis

Rise and shine! At 2:40AM, my day begins at jumping out of bed, consuming some pre-workout, then relaxing for 30 minutes before my morning workout as I daydream about my life and how I stand.

Today I am 22, and as I mentioned in my last post somewhere that I have:

~3 years of oilfield and construction experience

~3.5 years of university (current 4th year UBC Math and Economics standing)

1st year Electrician apprentice status, with school scheduled to be completed next month

Class 1 (trucking) license

My 3rd vehicle (2nd BMW)

A condo sometime in the next couple to few months

One of the better physiques

I always get told by my family:

Watch out, as while you are working, ensure you make every day count, as every day you spend in the oilfield, your competitors in university are graduating, finding jobs, and beginning their ascent on the social ladder. You do not want to be in your mid to late 20s with no future and (completed) education, while everyone else is already on their way.

I was never the best at one singular aspect, but I’d imagine few have a similar combination of traits on-paper. Overall I should be further, but the people who pose a concern are:

(1) The elite academic Asians and other similar elite academics from wealthy families

Head-to-head in academic battle, given a similar degree of ambition and effort, I would lose to them, as they come from an academic upbringing and a background  with abundant financial and emotional resources that would shame me in academics. They are the type to pick a school like UBC as a last resort, while more regular people like myself would struggle just to perform moderately above average. And then, the very few in the top percentile are the ones who will find the careers in elite firms and get up somewhere that you and I could only dream about.

They don’t need the oilfield or trades to make money- their families have it together with connections and other resources to aid.

Not only is their superior resourcefulness a concern, but their competitive attitude. They way to outcompete others; be better than you, and will come at you at full force. They would love to see you perish in the academic world beneath their might and take away the job you’ve always wanted. They don’t pick a life because of a genuine passion; they pick it to make their families and friends happy and run you into the ground in the process. They will compete with you with mommy and daddy’s money to get their piece of real estate and drive you out of the market.  They stick to their own kind and you will always be an outsider. 

It is impossible for myself to compete at a equal level, so my hopes in reaching a similar position on the social ladder are dependent heavily on my performance in the trades and the oilfield- and investing appropriately with the proceeds. This is where I have an advantage, as spoiled people from resourceful families usually lack a similar degree of ambition, risk-taking attitude, and strength- they are too used to the silver spoon and do not know what it means to work and face their fears.

It is through only blood, sweat, and tears that I will compete adequately, and this is a matter that motivates me to stand on my 2 feet every morning to go to the gym at 3:10AM and work and get dirty for 12-15 hours in the freezing cold or scorching heat after. Then, to make the correct financial decisions and have the psychological mindset and discipline to endure the rigours of risky investing. “Not a step back” is my motto.

(2) Others who know people

“It’s not about what you know, but who you know” is a common quote heard in almost any industry, and it holds its merit. I’ve met many people throughout my journeys, but few I could relate to a personal level- so my immediate social circle is rather small. To find work and advance, often I must fight much harder as I do not have networking assistance. On the bright side, this has improved my “hustle” dramatically over the years, as I always was forced to find the money myself instead of relying on others. My foot slipping in this regard is clearly evident in my struggle to find electrical work to continue my apprenticeship, as kids smoking weed in their moms’ basements already have an edge, despite some of them being idiots. Why? Because they all know each other. And, especially in a world of $29/barrel oil, this will continue to be one of my greatest struggles.

Now you may ask:

How does this guy get along with people at work then, if he’s always just trying to better himself?

Yes, I have a little concern over people trying to take my job in a downturn, especially with the glut of more experienced workers. But, many of our goals are different. Others want to feed their families or their toys and lifestyles. Others have families and spouses to care for, so they cannot work as much as and where I can. They have more financial and emotional liabilities and cannot maneuver as much. Perhaps most importantly, we all work together as a team to get our paycheques, which then fund our various goals in life. At that point in time, we are colleagues, not competitors. We are not compared against each other on a team, but told to work together to perform the job best as a company. It is advantageous for colleagues to work together to get the job done so we can move along with our lives.

My colleagues don’t care whether their car is nicer than mine, whether they make more than me, whether their education is more prestigious than mine, whether they’re studying more than me so they can weed me out of the academic world… They  help me get to where I want in life, so for that I have the uttermost respect for them and love to help them in return.