This winter I was working very few hours for a company in Dickinson where I had been employed for the past three years. I looked at all of the internet job posting websites several times each week for job openings in Dickinson all winter.
I wrote several blog posts about very few job openings being advertised for Dickinson, North Dakota. I began looking for job openings in Williston and Watford City. There were very few job openings in Williston and Watford City.
I applied for about six jobs, for work that I had done in the past. I received no response. For one job that I applied for, I had the highest level of State of North Dakota certification that you can get, and a very good work record in that field. I contacted the human resources department of the company, and they couldn’t explain why they would not hire me.
Finally, I applied for a job, for work that I had done before, and both the first interviewer and the second interviewer were very complimentary and enthusiastic about my resume, my work experience, and what I could do at their company. I was very happy to get some acknowledgement. I was hired last week at this company.
I had to buy about $310 of fire resistant clothing, because it was required, and I only had four FR shirts, and no FR pants. I had to go to an all day oil field safety training class, and later that night do some on-line orientation and tests. I was told to show up at 5:00 a.m. Friday for my first day of work.
When I showed up for work at 5: 00 a.m. Friday, I was asked by a manager if I was willing to go work in New Town, two hours drive to the north. I could stay at the Four Bears Casino resort. I said that I could do this. The manager said that the crew truck was already up there, but they would try to find me a truck to drive up there.
In order to not cause the company any trouble, and to have a way to get away if I needed to, I offered to drive my own truck. This was fine with the manager, and it was fine with me. I was told to arrive at the office at 4:00 a.m. Monday morning.
When I arrived at the office at 3:45 a.m. on Monday, there was no one around. Shortly after 4:00 a.m., there were a few work crews loading their trucks, but none of them were going to New Town.
At about 4:30 a.m., a manager arrived, and this manager told me, that the manager that I had talked to on Friday would not be in all this week. I didn’t like this, it looked like things were turning bad. The manager that was present, telephoned the manager that was absent, to ask what was going on. The new instructions were, that I was to drive a very large crane truck from the company yard, up to New Town. They were mad that I was already late. I was mad because I was there at 3:45 a.m.
If I had known that I would have to drive a very large crane truck, I would have gone through this truck on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It is very dangerous to get in and drive a large crane truck, without checking everything. You need to check the tires, the engine oil, if the boom is locked down, are the outriggers up, what is your height clearance, check the side mirrors, clean the windshield, make sure all the tool compartment doors are closed, make sure all the rigging and equipment is secured. You could get someone killed if everything on the truck is not locked down. The managers just wanted me to get in it and go.
When I got in the crane truck, there was week old spoiled food in a take out box on the dashboard. There were about five other pieces of garbage on the dashboard along with ten other things that should not have been there. The seat was so full of garbage and debris, that I could hardly sit down. There was garbage on the floor boards. Looking out the rear window, I could see an unsecured metal gas can on the top of a side tool box. When I climbed up on to the rear bed, I found two five gallon buckets of grease, on the very back ledge, that would have fallen off on the highway.
I was very, very angry. No company should allow employees to leave a company vehicle like this. I had thought that I was going to work for a good company, but it was obvious that this was a terrible company. They wanted me to just get in this truck and go. There were no keys in the ignition, and I could not find keys anywhere in this truck.
I went back inside the office, and I said that the keys were not inside the truck. The manager had to think a while who might have the keys, and who he could call. I wanted so much to say, “Hey, I don’t want to work here, this place is a mess.”
I had never worked for a company as bad as this. I did not have a company credit card to pay for fuel for this truck. I did not have any drive directions, contact information on who I was meeting and where, and I did not have a hydrogen sulfide H2S monitor which is absolutely mandatory in the oil field.
When I was asking the manager these things, he was kind of irritated. When a young man was found who had the keys, this young man had included the six keys for this truck and its tool boxes, with his personal keys. As this young man was fishing through all the keys that he had, and trying to separate the ones for this truck, he was informing us that a major piece of equipment on this truck that would be required for work in New Town, was not working.
I had to sign an agreement that I would be liable for the multi gas meter that was issued to me, that cost $750. I had already signed an agreement that if I quit prior to six months, I would be liable for the cost of my all day oil field safety class, and the cost of my pre-employment drug test. I had already spent $310 on FR clothing. I never felt so bad about going to work for a company, so disgusted, disappointed, angry, and tricked.
Within about one hour of driving this truck, I had to go through the mountain switchbacks north of Killdeer called “the breaks”. With this type of truck with air brakes, the air brakes alone are not enough to slow you down on steep down hills. Before you start going down hill, you have to shift into a lower gear. If you don’t get the shifter into a lower gear while you are still going slow, and you start to speed up, you never will be able to get into a lower gear, it is too late. It is a good thing that I knew this, because I found that the brakes were not enough to slow this truck down on the steep down hills.
When I made it to New Town, the experienced oil field worker that I would be working with, said that there was no work assignment that we could complete with the piece of equipment on the truck being broken. Phone calls were made to try to get some parts. The client who was expecting work to be completed that day, had to be informed why work could not be completed today. We had to drive a different truck back to Dickinson, to try to get parts.
The experienced oil field worker that I would be working with, he was from the South, like me. He was very knowledgeable and easy to get along with, so I thought that I would try to stick it out a while longer, at least long enough to pay for my oil field safety class and my pre-employment drug test.