Life as an Oilfield Tanker

My job consists of hauling a tanker to a well location and pulling fluid (water or slop oil) and then driving to a battery (usually anywhere from 2-3 miles away to 10 miles). This job is pretty easy by oilfield standards.

However, with the "easy" part comes the bad:

1. Short hauls means more outdoor time. This might sound good to some folks but when you're geared up in a layer of clothes, fire-proof coveralls, steel toed boots, safety glasses and a hard hat - and its 35 above (Celsius)...its not so fun. Same goes when its -45 or -50 with the wind.

2. Getting stuck! When you're spending most of your wheel time driving in and out of "leases" (wellsites), there's times of the year your gonna get stuck. Snow storms, ice, deep mud, everything.

The oilpatch NEVER stops...and neither can we. If the tanks fill up with oil/water and the well has to shut down...all hell can break loose.

Because of that, you will learn to chain and/or try get unstuck while waiting (sometimes a few hours) for a tractor.

You're thinking..well...guess if I gotta wait a few hours for a tractor it makes my day easier. Just sit in the truck and get paid by the hour! NOPE!! Now you've sat for a few hours and still gotta get all these loads done today or the tanks will fill up.

3. Family time. This is one of the hardest parts of my job. It is hard to schedule things and harder to make random events that happen like band concerts. Schedules tend to be pretty set in stone..soo if things happen to fall on a work day, hopefully someone will be nice enough to cover your shift. But don't count on it.

4. Calling in sick to work usually isn't an option. Got a stomach flu? Head for the ditch with a roll of TP. Headcold? Too bad.

5. Feast or famine. Some months are ridiculously crazy. You'll work 15-16 hour days or more. Get home, shower, eat, and catch a few hours sleep and do it again. Seems like all you do is work. And it can have a serious effect on relationships..which is the main reason divorce rates in oil towns are so high.

Then comes the other times. During an oil boom it doesn't happen much but there are times where it slows down to a crawl and nobody is getting any hours. You can go from making $8000 a month to $2000 or $3000 or less even.

And, unfortunately, in the oilfield everyone seems to spend money faster than they make it. So those famine times really hurt.

There's a lot more that goes with my job but I want to mention that I really enjoy what I do.

Once you get good at it and learn the "lay of the land", you get a little more productive and find yourself working a few less hours a month but still making good money.

Some good points:
- if you're a new driver its a great place to learn to drive quickly.
- if you're single its a great place to work hard and make decent money most of the time
- if you're divorced with kids...its a good job to be able to afford alimony and child

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