Want to make a lot of money and have at least two weeks off every month? Then the offshore lifestyle on a drilling rig might be for you. But before you get on that helicopter to go to work you’ve got to be certain that all is well at home.
I’ve worked offshore and overseas and will never go back to a “regular” job again. Salaries offshore are much higher than anything I could earn inland and the extended time off between “hitches” is very attractive. But it’s not for everyone. Young children, pets, and relationship issues all must be dealt with before considering offshore or remote international employment.
So before you begin that search for an offshore job here are some things to consider:
When you’re out there, you’re out there
You go to work offshore with the understanding that unless you or a family member has a serious medical emergency, you are going to be there for your entire work period, usually 14 to 28 days. Transportation is weather dependent and delays are common so you will occasionally get home a few days late.
You are there to work
Although most rigs have comfortable living quarters and lots of good food, they are not cruise ships. They are highly-complex industrial workplaces. You will be working at least 12 hours a day on either the day or night shift. There are recreation facilities and workout rooms but after your shift you’re expected to get your needed rest so you’ll be ready for work again in 12 hours.
You must be a people person
It is important that every person on the rig gets along with everyone else. You’ll be living and working with people from all over the world so any dislikes or prejudices are not tolerated and must be left onshore. A positive attitude is essential and complaints about the work or living conditions are not appreciated.
Be prepared to start at the bottom
Unless you have an advanced engineering degree you will start working offshore at the bottom of the ladder. Most of the people working offshore started out this way and worked their way up. You will be expected to do the same.
Prepare your family and friends
Whatever happens while you are out there (car breakdowns, financial problems, appliance failures), your spouse (or significant other) must be able and willing to deal with it. (My sons got my wife a tool kit so she could fix things around the house when I first started going offshore). Make sure that the people you leave behind can get along without you for a period of time.