I have been in Watford City, North Dakota for two weeks. Watford City is approximately seventy miles north of Dickinson. I am here for work. Watford City is more of a boom town than Dickinson. It seems like about eighty percent of the people in Watford City are out-of-state workers. Most of the license plates in Watford City are Idaho license plates, many license plates from Texas, Minnesota, Washington, and California. There appears to be a much greater shortage of housing in Watford City than in Dickinson. There is no mistaking that the people in Watford City are here to work, there is absolutely no other reason to be in Watford City.
I am pretty sure that there is no movie theater in Watford City, there is no shopping mall, and no recreation center. I do not think that there is any car dealer or taxi service. There is a Tractor Supply hardware store and a Cash Wise grocery store. There is a pizza restaurant, a Subway, a Chinese restaurant, a Japanese steakhouse, and I hear that there is a Taco Johns. There are several bars. There is an Anytime Fitness, next to the Subway, which is right next to Teddy’s Hotel and the Little Missouri Hotel where I am staying. Too bad I quit my membership with Anytime Fitness in Dickinson about six months ago.
I have heard that the true oil-field jobs in North Dakota are primarily centered in Williston, and I have believed that. Watford City is approximately forty-five miles south of Williston, and the work here seems to be a lot more focused on oil-field work than in Dickinson. The workers here that have steady employment all have new $40K plus trucks. The workers who just got here have old ratty cars with out-of-state license plates and all of their clothes piled up to the windows in the back seat.
Because of the amount of money involved in the oil-field project that I am working on, the company that I am working for has each of us in our own hotel room, each room is $1,300 per week. I worked 84 hours my first week, and 84 hours my second week. With the overtime and per-diem pay, this will be the most money I have ever made per week. I have spoken to some of the electricians on this project, and some of them are making $4,000 per week with overtime and per-diem pay. This work may last eight more months.
At first, I thought that the women working in Watford City were the wives and girlfriends of out-of-state oil-field workers. This is partly true. It also appears to be the case, that young women from places like Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Oklahoma, etc., have come to Watford City to work in restaurant and hospitality jobs. I think that these young women came here because they could get a job right away, and these service, restaurant, and hospitality jobs pay much better than in the states where they came from. Unlike Dickinson, these women seem to like men. At first, I incorrectly assumed that in a boom town, there are a lot more men than women, and the women are tired of getting hit-on and asked out. In Watford City, there are so many young unattached women that have come here to work, that these women actually want to meet men. I think that another reason why these young unattached women are interested in men in Watford City is because they found out that a lot of these men are making $4,000 per week.
I think that it might be easier right now to get a higher paying oil-field job in Watford City than in Dickinson, but I think that it is much harder to find a place to live, you might have to stay in a hotel, and the hotels are expensive. The kinds of jobs that appear to be available in Watford City are truck driving, heavy equipment operating, welding, electrician, heavy-equipment mechanic, metal fabricator.