A career in resources can take you around the world – or deep into your favorite local forest. Just ask Tyler, a production contract operator whose oil and gas field starts just 20 minutes from home.
Q: Tell us how you got into the mining industry and what you do?
A: I got my start in the service sector of the oil and gas industry when I went to work for a trucking company. I started as a shop hand, sweeping floors and cleaning out crude oil tanks.
After a few months I got a chance to drive and operate a steamer unit. I soon got my Class 3 drivers’ license and moved up again to driving a tandem axle tank truck, hauling produced water and crude oil. I did this for two years, but work got really slow one summer and I had an opportunity to cover a weekend shift for my father who worked for an operations and maintenance contractor.
After the weekend shift I was given a full-time job on one of the maintenance trucks. My duties included pipefitting in oil wellheads to the flow lines, pigging out pipelines and new well start-ups.
After a year the oil company sold out and the new company terminated the contractor’s contract. The new company then offered me a position as a production contract operator – and almost eight years later I'm still doing the same thing.
Q: Did you always want to work in the industry?
A: Growing up I never once thought about working in the industry. Wanting a change, I just decided to give it a go one day.
Q: Did you study anything in particular at school or university/college that helped you get into the industry?
A: I actually dropped out of high school after grade ten. But nowadays most companies require you to have at least a high school diploma for what I do. That's the reason I'm still contracting my services. They won't hire me as an employee. Some even want post education. I've been fortunate.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: In my area, all of my well sites are surrounded by forest. And it's just me out there, driving around in my truck from site to site. It's nice and quiet (for the most part – haha!) That's my favorite part.
Q: What's the most challenging part?
A: Meeting the demands of head office and all of their policies, while trying to make sure their 60 oil and gas wells and compressor sites stay operational and producing. It gets tough to juggle sometimes.
Q: Is it a good job in terms of work/life balance with your family?
A: I'm one of the fortunate ones who’s are able to be home every night. The oil and gas field I work in starts only a 20-minute drive from home. I work eight days on then get six days off (10-hour days guarantied with overtime if needed). I couldn't be happier with the balance between work and home life.
Q: Do you have any advice for others hoping to get into the mining, oil and gas industry?
A: If you get hired in any sector of the industry, work your ass off! Period. Hard workers are very hard to come by these days so you will get noticed.
If you work in mining, oil or gas, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us your story...