On Thursday morning of this past week, a former supervisor telephoned me and said that he would like for me to come and work with him. He said that he could offer to pay me $25 per hour, twelve hours per day, Monday through Friday. I quickly did the math in my head, the first forty hours would be $1,000, and the next twenty hours of overtime would be about $740, so that’s $1,740 per week. For easy math, at fifty weeks per year, that’s a little over $85,000 per year.
I told him that I already had a job, that this job was going O.K., but that I would consider it, because his job offer was more money than I was currently making. My current job is not very difficult, this job offer that he was making would be a more difficult and more unpleasant job. It would involve working in an area of North Dakota where there is nothing, driving a crane truck, and working on oil wells.
I told him that I was not ready to give up my apartment in Dickinson yet, that he would need to find me a place to stay Monday night through Thursday night, just a place to sleep. He said O.K.
After I got off the phone with him, I realized that I had a cat now. What was I going to do with this cat? I decided that I would get a second litter box, a cat food dispenser, and a cat water dispenser. The cat would probably be O.K. by himself in my apartment in Dickinson Monday through Friday, but he wouldn’t like being alone. This cat was an abandoned cat that I took home from a job site, so he wasn’t having that bad of a life, living in a warm and dry apartment with food and water, though he was going to be alone. Maybe I would leave the television on for him, and find someone to check on him.
Soon I was going to have to give my current employer not much more than one week notice that I was going to work someplace else due to being offered a lot more money. I wasn’t looking forward to having to explain this to him, and causing him to have to find a replacement for me on short notice. I was also uneasy and apprehensive about giving a notice of resignation when my current job was an O.K. job that I liked, that was not difficult.
At the end of the day on Thursday last week, my former supervisor called me back, he said that everything had been worked out, the company owner had agreed to pay me $25 per hour, pay for health insurance, provide a trailer for me to stay in, that we would be working seventy to eighty hours per week. He said there was some pre-hire paperwork for me to complete, take my drug test, and did I still have my Class A Commercial Driver’s License?
I said that I never had a Commercial Driver’s License, though I had driven vehicles at work that required a Commercial Driver’s License, I didn’t have one. He said, “Oh shit, that was the whole basis of getting hired right away at $25 per hour, that you had a Class A CDL. What to do you want to do? Oh fuck it, we won’t tell him right away, you’ve got the job anyway.” I said, I don’t want anyone to have a fit when they find out that I don’t have a CDL, just tell him that I passed all of my written tests for a Class A CDL with the air brake endorsement, tanker endorsement, double and triple trailer endorsement, that I had a Class A CDL learner’s permit from Idaho, but that I let it expire before I took my driving test.
I agreed that I would call the North Dakota DMV Friday to find out what I had to do to get my Class A CDL in North Dakota. Thursday night, I looked at the North Dakota DMV website to see what the requirements were. One of the things that was going to be a problem for me, which I never encountered before in my life, was that due to this new “Real ID” or “Enhanced Driver’s License” program in North Dakota, I was going to need to provide either a valid U.S. passport or a certified Birth Certificate.
Up until August of 2017, I had a certified copy of my Birth Certificate, until Lowell Kern Jr. of Belfield stole my truck and took everything out of my truck, including my original Social Security Card and my certified Birth Certificate. How was I going to get another certified Birth Certificate from Florida where I was born 49 years ago, and how long was this going to take?
I was beginning to become angry, I don’t want a fucking Class A CDL, I don’t want to have to jump through a bunch of hoops with the North Dakota DMV. Once you have a CDL, the legal blood alcohol limit is no longer 0.08%, it drops down to 0.04%, and you have to report any traffic citations to your employer immediately.
And what is this about working seventy to eighty hours per week? This means you would be working six to seven days per week, every week, having only one or no days off per week. What would I do with my cat then, I guess I would have to get rid of him. When would I do laundry, when would I do personal errands, when would I pay my bills?
Where I was going, there are no grocery stores and there are hardly any restaurants. You end up eating horrible gas station and oil field truck stop packaged food, day after day after day.
Why would I want to live like this? Living like this there is really no reason to be alive, working every day, being tired and filthy dirty all day, being excruciatingly cold, with only horrible rotten food to eat, and only seeing fat, ugly, ham-fisted, mean nasty battle-axe North Dakota women every day. I would make $100,000 per year, but I would pay about $30,000 in income tax right off the top.
I told him that I was not currently physically or mentally able to work like this. I have done this before, like many, many people who came to North Dakota to work during the Oil Boom, and I don’t really want to do this again, it is not worth it, living like this.
I talked to a friend of mine on Friday of last week, and he said that it was good that I didn’t take this oil field job, the price of North Dakota oil is currently down to $20 per barrel. What this means is, with the price of oil this low, is that oil companies will suspend all oil field work at this time, and there will be many oil field worker layoffs very soon.
I felt very bad that I almost resigned from my O.K. job that I like, for a very miserable job that I wouldn’t be able to do for long, or wouldn’t have for very long with oil field work being shut down due to the very low price of oil.