April 21, 2014 0 Comments Experience Working in Alberta's Oilfield

Short-term Goals/tasks (April 16)

ImageI feel I have too many things to do at once. Being only 20, sometimes the stress can be rather overwhelming. But advancing in life is hard, otherwise everyone would be flying. The alternative is to sit at home and be stuck at the same position in my life.

(1) Finish my Class 1 License, or at least Class 3

Given my current experience and academic background (3 years of university and Oilsands and Service Rig experience), to make the maximum amount of money in the short-run, it seems my best bet is to work my current construction role in the city during the spring and summer when the oilfield is slow. Then during the busy winter season, revert back to oilfield work. Getting my trucking license would make it easier to find well-paying work (for a young guy like me anyways), since I then wouldn’t be forced to look for only rig work. I also could then get a camp job up north without resorting to general labour work, as it doesn’t tend to pay very well.

Suppose a 14/7 rotation, at $30/hr, every 2 weeks I’d gross $6240. If I could get half a year of trucking work, this would equate to somewhere around $55,000. Currently every pay period I get about $2700-3200; $35k-41,600 for half a year. Take the average- $38,300. This would put me at roughly $93k/yr. Some companies make you work more than 14/7, so if I get lucky during a busy season then that figure could surpass $100k. It is a reassuring feeling to break the 6-figures mark at age 20-21 🙂

According to this, on average I’d put about $2200 in the bank every month after all my expenses. This may seem like a low amount, but I have $850/month of debt payments as well as a gym expense.

If I can find a camp role up north, even better, as then I could reduce my non-bill living expenses significantly and there is no Spring Breakup in the oilsands. In that scenario I may be able to work the whole year even and be able to bank considerably more money.


(2) Re-open my trading account

For 2 months now I’ve been trying to re-open my Questrade account, but for various repeated reasons they denied my ID- such as a legal name issue and address changes. Eventually I discovered TD Waterhouse has been having a $9.99/trade promotion with no min. balance requirement, so now I’ve been trying to get an account with them. My intention is to invest any spare income I have. Unfortunately I will be limited to smaller-cap investments if I am to seek significant gains because of my limited starting capital, but I must try.


(3) Find suitable investments

Investing can be daunting, as there is such a large spectrum of stock and derivatives to choose from, and hundreds of ways to gain money as well as lose it. Reading financial statements, paying attention to technicals, and researching different industries/sectors can only do so much, and then you realize that making money, just like working in the oil patch, is a risky business.


(4) Begin the CFA

I originally planned to begin my CFA as soon as I started Year 4 of university. Unfortunately my time in Fort McMurray caused me to suffer heavy financial losses, so I am now one year behind schedule. Now I plan to study for my Level 1 and work at the same time. Working 12 hour days and studying at the same time will take a toll, but I cannot put my education back too long, for next thing I know I’m going to be in my late 20s and still not have the career I like.


(5) Finish furnishing my room

It’s been now roughly 3-4 weeks since I’ve moved to Edmonton. Still I have not purchased a bed, and then I’ll have to decide whether to buy another set of drawers or a desk. I am only holding back because I am not sure how long I will stay here for- will I have to relocate for a new job? I also took a tremendous financial hit from moving here, as it took me some time staying in hotels and eating out before I found a place to rent and settle down. This month alone my credit card bills have been around $2500, wiping out any extra income I made.

– Bed: $300 from an online wholesale furniture broker, $500 if I opt for a storage bed to store my belongings.

– Desk and shelf set: $300-500



(6) Skin surgery consultation

I suddenly had a severe acne issue when I first started post-secondary studies. For a while I did not know what was causing it, and then eventually tried cutting out milk as I noticed my stomach would react painfully to eating large amounts of ice cream, which did not happen before. Surely enough, sudden lactose intolerance was the culprit, and a few months later after removing lactose products from my meals, the acne subsided and I was left with permanent scars from repeated blemishes.

Previous visits to other skin consultants resulted in direct injections in the scars to flatten them, which worked- but did not remove them. I was told that there was no cure for these type of permanent scarring aside from injections to keep them flattened.


 (7) Proper financial and interpersonal plan for the summer

It was nearing the 1-year mark I’ve left BC to “make some money in Alberta and go back to school”. For some reason I’m still here, but I realize that I must make my time worthwhile.

(8) Determine my vehicle situation

I was suckered in to believing that you absolutely need a truck in Alberta, so I bought a new one. Then I realized that it was more of a social status/acceptance thing rather than practical. Now I am in somewhat of a negative equity position and stuck with something large and impractical for daily use, not to mention extremely expensive to run, not fun to drive, and difficult to park.

(9) Finish dieting down

I started dieting down at 186.8lb, and at the time of writing this, was about 150lb. I look significantly leaner, but still have the “skinny fat” image. My goal was to diet down until I looked shredded. Beginning sign of abs were appearing, but I still had a while to go.

(10) Get tanned, and tattoos possibly

Cosmetic motives.

(11) Rid of unnecessary belongings

I have a tendency to move a lot, and the more stuff I have, the more of a nuisance excessive belongings become. I also have many clothes that I do not wear that perhaps should be donated.

(12) Figure out what to do with my life

And this is something that we should all figure out eventually.