“We usually find gas in new places with old ideas. Sometimes, also, we find gas in an old place with a new idea, but we seldom find much gas in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought that we were running out of gas, whereas actually we were only running out of ideas.” – Adapted from Parke A. Dickey by American Potential Gas Committee.
Not everyone in the course got a job. Some attendees had bad driving records—something the program should have screened for beforehand, because oil drilling companies require a clean driver’s abstract. Some failed the drug test—something the program screened, but they thought they had been off drugs long enough for it to be out of their system. Some failed the physical, which could not be pre-screened. The physical isn’t that hard, but some just couldn’t pass it.
After all was said and done, I had a job, but I also accumulated another $7,000 of debt while trying to get settled in Alberta. That was on top of my pre-existing debt load of $5,000.
Ultimately, a number of us talked about our job-hunting experience, and we all came to the same conclusion: we just got ripped off! The course really didn’t do anything we couldn’t have done on our own, but that begged the question: why didn’t we do it on our own if it was so easy?
The answer is that the right information on how to get an entry-level job in the oil industry just isn’t out there. Try it and you’ll find that Google takes you in circles. So how do you end up where you want to be without knowing where to start?
The reason for this problem, I believe, is because entry-level jobs in the oil industry start at ground zero, meaning the physical location of the oil well. People working these jobs don’t need any special education. They start as green hands, learn as they go and work their way up. And the companies that work on the oil wells are contracted out by the oil companies.
This means two things:
1) Since these jobs don’t require a special education, the companies filling these jobs can just advertise locally or not at all. Locals can just walk in off the street and submit their resume, or a friend gets them a job, or a friend of a friend, etc.
The point is: there is no need to advertise these jobs beyond the local market because there’s never any shortage of people applying from the area.
2) These entry-level jobs are typically filled through third-party firms that are contracted by the oil companies. You’re never going to visit the Shell or Imperial Oil website and find an entry-level job to run a vac truck, because the oil company has nothing do with hiring people for these positions.
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