12.18.2013

the Field

Today is Slice's last day pumping at Newfield.  He's trunky like you wouldn't believe.  It's been almost 2.5 years since he ventured into the oil & gas industry, and we (I) have learned a few things along the way.

First, you should know that I was prejudiced against the oilfield since my family moved to Roosevelt twelve years ago.  (Twelve years?!)  Throughout high school I heard all about the "oilfield trash" who dropped out of school to make money and never looked back.  Like the mines in October Sky - once you go in, you'll never get out.  It's a career in quicksand.
As the daughter of two college graduates surely bound for greatness, I couldn't imagine anything worse.

So when things changed for us at the Roos golf course, oilfield was a last resort.  We held out for EIGHT MONTHS hoping for something else to turn up.  It never did.  We had a new mortgage, a 9-month-old, and a baby on the way.  Many applications and interviews and phone calls later, we were fortunate to get a work opportunity.

Here's what I've learned since then.

1. It's who you know.  This industry, this community and especially our experiences have shown us this.  I'll be forever grateful for the good relationships Slice formed with people from all walks of life while he was working at the golf course.  He's a people person, and I love that about him.  Never underestimate what people might do for you if you treat them well.  (Relatedly .... don't burn your bridges. Ha!)

2. "Oilfield trash" are people too. With wives, children, church callings - and often brilliant minds.  Many of them haven't completed a college education, but that doesn't mean they aren't creating and contributing to society in their own ways. They might be the ones to roll up their sleeves and get things done while the "educated" ones are still deciding how to do it best.  Just an observation. (And a really fascinating article which I welcome any thoughts/discussion on.)

3. Money is nice to have. I just said that out loud! Contrary to the fluff I picked up over the years about self-actualization and personal fulfillment through career choice, a good-paying job that involves some physical labor isn't the worst thing in the world.  Easy for me to say, because Slice is the one out doing it..... but seriously, ask him.

4. College isn't for everyone. I truly believe this. Education is still supremely important to me BUT with the realities of living and paying for things in today's world, we know that a college degree is far from a guarantee for a good sustainable career.  Further: our economic system pays its workers according to their supposed contribution to society.  Who are you to judge someone for making good money, if he/she is producing something you use vast amounts of on a daily basis?  Oilfield workers are out in the field come rain, shine, or negative temps and blizzard conditions on Christmas Day.  The oilfield never sleeps.  That's why they make the big bucks.


5. Don't be afraid of work.  I've yet to come across someone who snubbed their nose at the oilfield in the last few years, but I'll preach it to anyone who is unemployed and unwilling to look "below" their level.  Take it from Ashton Kutcher, man, no job is beneath you.  You're never above work.  Do whatever it takes. And then see where you end up.

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