I first came to work in Dickinson, North Dakota in 2011. I went to work in Texas in 2012, and then I came back to work in Dickinson in 2013. I have been here for the past five years.
I have had ups, downs, and very bad times with employment in Dickinson, North Dakota. My friends and acquaintances have had a worse time than I have had, many of them have had to leave Dickinson and North Dakota.
My problems with employment in Dickinson have never been about the hourly wage rate that I was paid. So I want job seekers in Dickinson to keep in mind, not to focus solely on what wage rates a company is offering, but to pay attention to other things about the company.
Year 2017, was one of my worst years of employment in Dickinson, North Dakota. The problems that I faced, are something that job seekers in Dickinson should know about.
I have been employed with the same small company in Dickinson for the past four years. Sometimes this company pays very, very well when it has a project that I can work on. Sometimes this company does not have a project that I can work on, so I go look for other jobs at other companies that I can do part time or full time.
I want to emphasize several reasons why I continue to work for this small company in Dickinson, that does not always have work for me. One, sometimes it pays very, very well, like as much as $8,000 per month. Two, the owner of the company leaves everyone alone, it is totally up to the employee to do their job, the owner does not check on the employees, the employees are on their own. Three, I like this type of work very much. Four, due to the nature of the work, the company owner, and the other employees, there are usually no work conflicts of any kind. Five, I have usually been able to find a 2nd or 3rd job outside of this job when necessary, to make enough money.
The reason why I had such a bad year in 2017, was because the small company that I was working for did not have a project to put me on at the start of the year, and two of the other companies that I went to work for in 2017, were very bad companies.
The first new company that I went to work for in 2017, as far as I had heard, it was a good company, they had a lot of work, and they were branching out into different areas. On my very first day of work, when I got to work at 4:30 a.m., right away it turned out to be the most disorganized, mismanaged company that I had ever worked for. My gut instinct was to walk away from this company right then, and I might have been better off if I had done just that, and found a job with a different company.
The biggest problem with this company, turned out to be, that they didn’t pay all the wages that were owed. I was missing a lot of money out of my second, and my third pay check. I found out that there were already about four complaints with the Department of Labor against this company for non-payment of wages.
After the fact, I found out that if I would have asked other people working in the oil field, I would have heard not to go to work for this company. Don’t believe what you read in the Dickinson Press newspaper about companies in Dickinson, what they write is sometimes almost the same thing as a paid for advertisement, rather than the truth.
What I learned, is that prospective employees should probably call the North Dakota Department of Labor to see how many complaints there are against a company. Also, prospective employees should look the company owner and the company managers up on the North Dakota Court Repository website to see what lawsuits have been filed against them, and what criminal records they have.
The second new company that I went to work for in Dickinson in 2017, was a very long established company in Dickinson. Some of my co-workers were agreeable, and some of my co-workers were unfriendly. It turned out, that many of this company’s work projects were being completed, and as Winter was approaching, all of the workers were worried about being laid off. Each worker was worried about being let go, though they wanted to stay on as long as possible, maybe even being one of the few people who kept their job through the Winter. This was one of the reasons why some workers were uncooperative with each other, Winter lay offs were coming.
This second new company for me in 2017, due to a mistake, they shorted me a couple hundred dollars on several pay checks, and I quit because I was so angry about it. But one of the reasons why I was so angry, was the day that I found out that I had been shorted so much money on my pay checks, a foreman who was not my foreman, was giving me a hard time, and there were several reasons why this was wrong.
It was a while after I quit, before I thought to look up on the internet who this foreman was. This foreman had been charged in Arizona with 1st degree murder, armed robbery, drug charges, fleeing the police, and DUI, in multiple different cases. On his company job application where it asked, “Have you ever been charged or convicted of any crime?”, I wonder if he wrote down “Yes, 1st degree murder, armed robbery, fleeing and eluding police, DUI, possession of drugs and paraphernalia.”
I then looked up other foremen at this company on the North Dakota Court Repository, and some of them had pretty bad criminal records, and always drug charges. It then kind of fell into place, like the pieces of a puzzle, the way that people behaved, and the things that they did, that it was kind of a criminal and drug culture at this company. So again I recommend to prospective employees, to look up the company owners and managers on the internet, and on the North Dakota Court Repository website to see what lawsuits and criminal charges they have had.
Just as it was becoming Winter in 2017, I was being hired at a company in New Town, North Dakota, which is about 100 miles north of Dickinson. I had made this drive before on Hwy 22 going north to New Town for work, and it is not an easy drive. You have to go through the Killdeer Mountains through an area called “The Breaks”, up steep hills, down steep hills, and around corners through the mountains.
I thought that this job paid $17 per hour, for about 12 hours per day, which is $204 per day. It didn’t, it paid $15 per hour, for 8 hours per day, which is only $120 per day. I was in trouble. I was willing to drive the 100 miles up to New Town, and probably having to drive back each day, to work 12 hours and make $204 each day. But I couldn’t afford to do this for only $120 per day. After taxes were taken out, and paying for gas, I would only have about $65 per day left, not enough to pay all of my bills.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. Jobs get scarce in North Dakota once it becomes Winter. I was thinking that I was going to have to sleep in my pickup truck in New Town, I couldn’t afford the $35 in gas each day to drive up from Dickinson and back. It costs $10 to take shower at the truck stop in New Town, but where was I going to park and sleep in my truck without getting chased off?
When I was trying to figure out what I was going to do, the owner of the small company that I had been working for, for the past four years called, and he asked me if I wanted to, or would I be able to work 48 hours per week on a project, and I said that yes I would.
Out of nowhere, just by chance, I got a pretty good paying work assignment. Not long after that, I had been stalling paying my Year 2016 income taxes by filing an extension, and I found out that I owed $2,000 in income taxes. Plus I had vehicle insurance, homeowners insurance, and property taxes back in Idaho all due at about that time.
I hadn’t known how bad of a financial position I was in, I had been trying not to think about it. I had not made much money at the first and the second new company that I went to work for in Dickinson, and the third company in New Town was a fail too. I was really lucky that the company owner where I had been working called me to ask me if I could work on a project.
One of the reasons why I wrote this blog post, is to tell job seekers in Dickinson, that you can really get yourself into financial trouble in Dickinson by going to work for the wrong company. A company in Dickinson may offer an attractive hourly wage rate, but this will mean nothing if you can’t work at that company for very long. Beware, a human resources person or the person hiring you may lead you to believe that you can work for their company year round, in order to get you to take the job, however they may lay off most of their workers in October and November.
Remember, the first company that I went to work for in 2017, not only was it a horribly run company, they shorted me a couple of hundred dollars on each pay check. It took me a while to get a job at a second company in 2017, and again this company shorted me a couple of hundred dollars on each pay check. It took me a while to get a job with a third company in 2017, but this job didn’t pay nearly enough due to the number of hours per day and the long commute distance. Having three bad jobs in a row like this, can lead to financial ruin.
What one of my readers pointed out to me in a comment, was that I would have been better off if I had just gone to work at WalMart in Dickinson for $15 per hour. She was right, I would have been better off just going to work at WalMart.