Tag Archives: employment in Dickinson North Dakota

How Dickinson Works, And What Is Going To Happen, Part II

Although this blog post is a continuation from Part I, here is where I begin explaining the basis for understanding how Dickinson, North Dakota works.

If anyone wants or expects to be successful in Dickinson, they must first understand how Dickinson works.  I am going to start off with the simplest, most important facts first.

Foremost, Dickinson is the regional center for shopping, supplies, and services for the geographical areas consisting of Medora, Belfield, South Heart, New Hradec, Manning, Killdeer, Halliday, Dodge, Gladstone, Taylor, Richardton, Lefor, Regent, and New England.  No matter what else happens, Dickinson being the supply center for these aforementioned towns is not likely to change for a long time.  The next largest city, Bismarck, the state capital, is 100 miles to the east.  Here is a map of the Dickinson area

Geographically, there is nothing special or unique about Dickinson.  It sits on a rolling, nearly tree-less prairie, just like all of the other towns in this area.  Dickinson got its start the same way as all of the other towns in western North Dakota, it was settled by land-grant homesteaders after the passage of the 1862 Homestead Act.  The homesteaders in the Dickinson area were primarily immigrants from Ukraine, Germany, and Scandinavia.

The fourteen towns that I mentioned earlier, Medora, Belfield, South Heart, New Hradec, Manning, Killdeer, Halliday, Dodge, Gladstone, Taylor, Richardton, Lefor, Regent, and New England, by the early 1900s each of these towns had their own general store, school house, and churches.  Before the invention and widespread use of the automobile, it took much more time to travel, it was done by horse, buggy, wagon, or on foot.  Even small communities had to have some local businesses, a school house, and churches.

Some of the factors or circumstances that caused Dickinson to grow more than the surrounding towns were:  the Northern Pacific railroad was built through Dickinson in the 1880s;  the 40-room St. Josephs Hospital was built in Dickinson in 1911;  Dickinson  State University was founded in 1918;  the Dickinson Municipal Airport began airline service in 1959;  Interstate 94 was completed through Dickinson in the 1960s.

As Dickinson grew, gained more businesses, provided more services, and its infrastructure grew, the surrounding towns began to rely more and more on Dickinson for supplies and services.  Unfortunately, as time went on, the surrounding towns began to lose many of their own local businesses and services, because of Dickinson.

For instance, the towns of Medora, Belfield, South Heart, New Hradec, Manning, Halliday, Dodge, Gladstone, Lefor, Regent, and New England no longer have a grocery store, family clothing store, appliance store, drug store, pharmacy, clinic, or doctor.  Most of the surrounding towns do not have an automobile dealer, an automobile repair shop, a tire dealer, or barber shop.

The following are the essential businesses in Dickinson, the type of businesses that this area can not go without:

Four grocery stores, five hardware stores, two farm/ranch supply stores, three building supply stores, five tire stores, nine automobile dealers, nine auto repair shops, four automobile tow companies, four pharmacies, two funeral homes, five liquor stores, and Walmart.

The following businesses in Dickinson are almost essential to this area:

Three truck stops, two tractor truck repair/parts centers, several heavy equipment/farm equipment dealer/repair/parts centers, three heavy equipment rental yards, several industrial/electrical/welding supply warehouses, three utility/livestock trailer dealer/repair centers, ten fast food restaurants, half a dozen furniture stores, and eleven banks.

These aforementioned businesses in Dickinson are either essential or very nearly essential to this area.  Because of these businesses, this is what brings people to Dickinson, brings money to Dickinson, and provides employment for people in Dickinson.  Without these businesses, there would be no people coming to Dickinson, no money coming into Dickinson, no employment in Dickinson, and very few people able to live in Dickinson.

When I start to list the essential services in Dickinson below, such as the schools and hospitals, the reader must remember, if it were not for the large number of essential businesses in Dickinson that bring people to Dickinson, there would not be enough people living in Dickinson to have schools and hospitals.  The services are here, because of the number of people here, and the number of people here, are the result of the large number of essential businesses in Dickinson.

The following are the essential services in Dickinson, the services that this area can not go without:

Two public utility companies, two public phone service companies, one ambulance service, two medium size hospitals, half a dozen medical clinics, half a dozen dentists, several optometrists, police department, sheriff department, regional jail, several fire stations, highway patrol office, city maintenance department, department of transportation office, driver’s license office, regional court house, one post office, two high schools, middle school, several elementary schools, and several veterinarians.

The following services in Dickinson are very nearly essential to this area:

One regional airport with private airplane and commercial airline service, one bus service, several car rental services, half a dozen taxi services, a dozen motels/hotels, many beauticians and barbers, two dozen attorneys, a dozen CPAs, many residential and commercial contractors in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, home construction, concrete, and excavation.

I spent some time trying to specifically identify the essential businesses and essential services in Dickinson, to make everyone completely aware, that many of the other types of businesses and services in Dickinson are just supplemental, they are not critical.

Some of the supplemental, non-critical types of businesses and services in Dickinson are:

Traditional restaurants, pizza delivery, ice cream parlors, coffee shops, bars, sports bars, bicycle shops, guns stores, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, motorcycle dealers, snow mobile dealers, UTV dealers, travel trailer dealers, tattoo parlors, vehicle accessory dealers, jewelry stores, dance studios, fitness centers, tanning salons, pawn shops, daycare centers, insurance agencies, real estate agencies.

Lastly, I need to name some of the large companies that operate in Dickinson, that have not been covered yet because they are not an essential business or service in Dickinson, but they do employ many people in Dickinson.  These are companies that perform work or sell products outside of the Dickinson area:

Halliburton, Schlumberger, BJ Services, Marathon Oil, Continental Resources, Philips Conoco, Whiting Petroleum, Key Energy, MBI, Nuverra, Lufkin, Fisher Industries, General Steel, Medora Corporation, Steffes, TMI cabinets, Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing, Martin Construction, Northern Improvement, Baranko Brothers, Tooz Construction, and Winn Construction.

There are several reasons why I separated the businesses and services in Dickinson into separate categories. One reason was to provide clarity on what types of businesses and services there are in Dickinson; Second, I wanted to differentiate between essential/non-essential businesses and services; and Third, I wanted to be able to show how the end of the oil boom in Dickinson is going to affect businesses, services, and employment in Dickinson based on the role of the business or service in the economy.

The most recent oil boom in North Dakota lasted from 2007 through 2015.  Due to the price of oil dropping from over $100 per barrel to less than $50 per barrel in 2015, the oil companies decreased drilling operations.

The number of operating oil drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 200 to less than 50 currently.  Less drilling meant less well sites being developed, less drill rigs operating, less drill rigs being transported, less hydraulic fracturing, less sand and water hauling, less work-over rig completions, less pump jacks being installed, less cranes being rented, less tractor truck and hot shot transportation of material and equipment to the oil field.

The number of workers employed in the oil field decreased.  Many of the oil field workers who lost their job left the Dickinson area.  Consequently, there were fewer purchases and less money spent at local businesses such as auto dealers, auto repair shops, tire stores, furniture stores, grocery stores, hardware stores, restaurants, bars, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, etcetera.

Many workers leaving Dickinson caused there to be a decreased demand for housing.  The number of new and existing homes and apartments available for occupancy, exceeded the demand.  This was a signal that new homes, new apartments, new businesses, new shopping centers, new roads, and new infrastructure might not need to be constructed.

The residential and commercial construction industries slowed down in the Dickinson area.  This meant even more unemployed workers leaving the Dickinson area.  Less heavy equipment was being purchased, less heavy equipment was being rented, less building supplies were being purchased, local businesses had fewer customers and fewer purchases, less services were being used, more homes and apartments became vacated.

Near the beginning of March 2020, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and Russia did not agree to reduce the amount of oil that they were producing.  This caused an oversupply of oil on the World market, and the price of oil in the U.S. dropped to $31 per barrel after the first week of March.  This oil price drop is predicted to start a whole new oil industry slow down, with even less oil well sites being developed and drilled.

The oil field work in Dickinson is expected to decrease even further now, with more oil field workers losing their jobs and leaving Dickinson.  There will be even fewer customers and less money spent at local businesses and services in Dickinson.

The essential businesses in Dickinson, such as grocery stores, hardware stores, automobile dealers, and tire stores, they will have fewer customers, they will be less busy, and some of these businesses will reduce their number of employees.

The nearly essential business such as heavy equipment dealers, heavy equipment repair, trailer dealers, furniture stores, and banks will reduce their number of employees.

The essential service providers such as medical clinics and schools will eventually reduce some of their staff as there are fewer people in Dickinson.

The nearly essential service providers such as beauticians, attorneys, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC will have less work.

Supplemental non-critical businesses and services in Dickinson that will have less work, and require fewer workers are restaurants, coffee shops, tattoo parlors, recreational vehicle dealers, daycare centers, insurance agencies, and real estate agencies.

Some of the large employers in Dickinson who will have less work, and could reduce their workforce are:  Halliburton, Schlumberger, BJ Services, Marathon Oil, Continental Resources, Conoco Philips, Whiting Petroleum, MBI, Nuverra, Lufkin, Steffes, Martin Construction, Northern Improvement, Baranko Brothers, Tooz Construction, and Winn Construction.

Once essential businesses, essential service providers, supplemental business and services, and some of the largest employers in Dickinson have let some of their workers go, these unemployed workers and their families may have to leave the Dickinson area.  This in turn will make Dickinson even smaller, with even less consumers.

Dickinson will continue to be the regional supplier of goods and services for this area, because there are fourteen smaller towns surrounding Dickinson that rely on it.  I estimate that the population of Dickinson right now is approximately 24,000 people.  By the year 2022, I believe that the population of Dickinson will have decreased to about 21,000 people.

The reason for the expected decline in population, is because of the reduced work in the oil field.  Unemployed oil field workers will leave Dickinson, local businesses and services will become less busy, these local businesses and services will lay off some of their workers.  These unemployed workers and their families will leave Dickinson.

Lack Of Understanding Of Law, Makes North Dakota A Bad Place To Live

The lack of understanding of law, makes North Dakota a bad place to live.

Recently, I looked at an employment application that was given to two friends of mine.  Three of the questions on this application were very troubling, but I will discuss just two of these questions:

“Have you been convicted of any charge as a juvenile, that you would have been convicted of if you were an adult?”  If yes, explain.

“Have you ever received disciplinary action, or a complaint?”  If yes, explain.

And, “I hereby swear that all of the answers on this application are true and complete.  I understand that failure to answer these questions or untrue answers are grounds for immediate dismissal.”

Addressing the question about convictions as a juvenile, first of all, in most states, juvenile records are sealed and not available to the public.  Second, in most states after a period of time juvenile records are destroyed and “must be treated as if it never occurred“.

Let me just cite the North Dakota Century Code:

27-20-51. Inspection of court files and records.
1. Except as provided in this section, all files and records of the juvenile court, whether in the office of the clerk of district court or juvenile court, of a proceeding under this chapter are closed to the public. Juvenile court files and records are open to inspection only by: ……(long list of court officials)

27-20-54. Destruction of juvenile court records. (Effective through December 31,
1. Except as otherwise required under section 25-03.3-04, all juvenile court records must be retained and disposed of pursuant to rules and policies established by the North Dakota supreme court.
2. Upon the final destruction of a file or record, the proceeding must be treated as if it never occurred.

When are juvenile court records destroyed in North Dakota?  According to the North Dakota Supreme Court Administrative Rule 19:

Juvenile Delinquency (94) – 500419  Retain for 10 years after expiration of final order, or age 18, whichever is later. Dispose by shredding.

The summary of the North Dakota law on criminal offenses committed as a juvenile, is that these records are sealed to the public, and after ten years these records are destroyed, and must be treated as if it never occurred.

So why would an employer in North Dakota be asking an employee to disclose information which North Dakota law says that it should be treated “as if it never occurred”?  Some answers are, that the employer is an asshole, the employer is ignorant of the law, the employer does not care about the law, the employer doesn’t care about violating the law, or, this is North Dakota.

The second question on this application which is troubling, “have you ever received disciplinary action or a complaint?”  What, disciplinary action or a complaint from a parent, teacher, spouse, child, neighbor, co-worker, bystander, bartender, police, court, IRS, or employer?  This employer would probably answer “Yes”.

To the reader who would respond with the statement, well you don’t have to work for this employer if you don’t like this application.  The problem is, this application was for employment in a position like a nurse, engineer, firefighter, or pilot where there is education, training, certification, or a degree, and this application could bar you from employment in your occupation or field as a nurse, engineer, firefighter, etc.

My recommendation would be, that an employee not disclose personal information to an employer that could bar them from employment or cause problems, if this information has been sealed from the public, expunged, destroyed, or is private and unlikely to ever be disclosed.

In an ideal World, a more fair World, an employee would have the right to give an employer an “Employer Application” with equally absurd questions, and to conduct a bi-annual “Employer Review” where suggestions could be made for improvement, or notification could be given that the employer was not meeting expectations.

Ups, Downs, And Very Bad Times With Employment In Dickinson, North Dakota

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.

What I Mean By Bullshit Sales Jobs

In my previous blog post, I wrote about what jobs were listed this month of April for Dickinson, North Dakota, on the North Dakota Job Services website, and the Indeed.com website.  I categorized some of these job listings as “bullshit sales jobs”, where you are led to believe that you can make a certain amount in sales commissions, but you never receive these commissions.

I have had only a few jobs where part of my pay was supposed to come from sales commissions, but several long time friends of mine have had more experience with this.  It is true, that some sales professionals who represent industrial companies that have $50 million or more in annual sales, these sales representatives can and do sometimes make $200,000 per year.

I will try to explain what many or most sales jobs truly are.  A company that provides a product or service, can advertise in newspapers, magazines, trade journals, on television, radio, the internet, through mailings, and at trade shows.  But another important way to reach customers, is to have an individual sales representative telephone and meet prospective customers in person.

Companies hire very experienced sales people, who likely have a background and education in business and marketing, to be their sales manager, or part of the company management team.  The sales manager, or the company management team, know that having sales representatives is not just about making sales, but it is about marketing, advertising, publicity, and creating an interest and familiarity with the product line or services.

The sales manager, or the management team, are interested in recruiting sales representatives not just to make sales, but to perform marketing, advertising, product education, and customer support, whether the sales representatives know this or not.

Companies like to hire young, idealistic, ambitious, hard working, articulate, and nice looking college graduates for sales representative positions, in order to make a good impression with the public.  They hire older professional people too, who fit this description.  The base salary may only be $12 per hour, which is about $24,000 per year.

A young college graduate, or an older professional person, would not even consider taking a $24,000 per year job, they wouldn’t even apply for a job like this, they would keep looking for a job that paid at least $40,000 per year.

Companies inform job seekers that the base pay is $24,000 per year, but typically a sales representative with their company earns about $50,000 per year through their sales commissions, some sales representatives with their company make $70,000 or $80,000.

Newly hired sales representatives may be given the option to drive their own personal vehicle and be reimbursed for mileage, or they may be provided with a company vehicle.  It will all be explained what their sales territory is, whether this is an exclusive territory, or if they share it with other company sales representatives.  Or, it will be explained what accounts or customers the sales representative is assigned, and what the expectations are for new customers.

A new sales representative, after making all of the cold calls, following up on leads, driving to all the customers on his route, and meeting new customers in his territory, may find that he makes no sales or few sales in his first month.  The sales manager may give the new sales representative a pep talk, about how everyone starts out slow, or about getting customers into the pipeline.

The second and the third month may not be much different, no sales or few sales.  However, by this time, the new sales representative may start to catch on to what is happening.  The news sale rep may learn, that all of the major existing customers in the territory such as a public school system, hospital chain, automobile dealership line, or heavy equipment line, these accounts and orders are all being serviced by the sales manager.

Next, the new sales rep may learn, that having discussed the product or service with a customer or business in his territory, the customer or business has telephoned the company he represents, and is now dealing with the sales manager or someone else at the company.  Customers and businesses sometimes enjoy speaking to the “owner, the people in charge, the people at headquarters, someone more important”, because they think that this is just better.

At about the third or fourth month at a bullshit sales job, it will begin to dawn on a new sales rep, that all they are doing, is driving around, telephoning, and talking to the few prospective customers that the company does not already have, just trying to comb through what has already been picked, for possible crumbs.  What they really are, is an unwitting marketing, advertising, public relations, and customer service rep who is only being paid $12 per hour.

Furthermore, how did the sales manager end up with the public school system account, the hospital chain account, the automobile manufacturer dealership account, the heavy equipment manufacturer account? How many sales representatives have there been before, what happened to them, and how long did they work here?

In the end, a new sales rep will discover that each sales rep before him, lasted three months to one year.  As each new sales rep realized that they had been lied to and were being cheated, they left, and the sales manager scooped up for himself, whatever business or accounts the most recently departed sales rep had discovered.

In summary, many or most of the sales jobs listed, are bullshit sales jobs, where the salesmen will never be paid the commissions they are told are typical.  The true purpose of these sales positions is marketing, advertising, public relations, customer service, and finding a few remaining crumbs in a sales territory that has already been picked.  Inevitably, the sales manager will receive the benefit of whatever new business or customers that a new sales rep discovers.

One way to discover that what I am describing is true, look at the local job listings in your area, and make note of the sales rep job listings.  When you see a company advertising for sales reps, every three months, for year after year, you have got to wonder why do their sales reps keep quitting after three or four months?

Do Not Get Over Excited About Moving To North Dakota In 2018

In the past several years, I have written many blog posts where I try to get the information out there, that there are false rumors and misinformation being spread about the need for workers in North Dakota, in order to lure people here.

Business people in North Dakota habitually try to talk up the economy, making broad exaggerations, making things up, and sometimes lying.  Business people, politicians, news media, and ordinary citizens, repeat back to each other, what they have heard, but very few people hardly ever take the time to see if what they are saying is true.

It is so frustrating to me, the reality of what is going on in Dickinson, North Dakota, versus what people in Dickinson are saying and talking about.

Since the oil boom ended in North Dakota in 2015, I have seen a net decrease in the amount of businesses in Dickinson, a net decrease in the number of residents, an increase in homes for sale, an increase in apartments for rent, an increase in trailer park vacancies, an increase in vacancies in commercial and retail buildings, real estate prices have gone down, people have been unable to sell their homes, rent prices have gone down, and there are fewer job advertisements.

Just a few highlights are, Delta airlines ceased operations at the Dickinson airport due to lack of customers and lack of profitability, and United airlines tried to cease operations at the Dickinson airport due to lack of customers and lack of profitability.  The government prevented United airlines from leaving the Dickinson airport due to an “essential air services” rule.

Sears has closed, JC Penny has closed, Herbergers department store is closing soon, and the Prairie Hills mall has recently been sold.  The two largest stores in the Prairie Hills mall were JC Penny and Herbergers.  For the stores like Sears, JC Penny, Herbergers, Hobby Artz, and Radio Shack that have closed, there have not been any new or different stores to open to replace these stores.

A few other businesses that have closed in Dickinson were Total Workforce Solutions staffing company, Evolution Gym, Pita Pit restaurant, Wildcat Pizza, several small business in the downtown business district, and more than several local construction and contracting companies.  The Elks Lodge was forced to downsize, they sold the upstairs to their own building, and moved into the basement of their building.

Even though the population of Dickinson has decreased, many businesses have closed and not been replaced by new or different businesses, many local companies have closed and not been replaced by new or different companies, there are many vacancies in residential and commercial properties, and there are fewer job advertisement listings, the people in Dickinson walk around talking about how things are taking off.

I looked at the North Dakota Job Services job listings for Dickinson today.  I counted about thirty-two job listings posted in the month of April so far up until today, April 23.  Of these thirty-two job listings for Dickinson, twelve of these job listings were for certified medical professionals like nurses, mammography technicians, and radiology technicians.  This leaves twenty non-medical job listings for the month of April in Dickinson.  Eight of these remaining jobs were low paying retail type jobs.

I then went and looked at the job listings for Dickinson, North Dakota on the website Indeed.com.  On Indeed.com, there were roughly twice as many job listings, as what North Dakota Job Services had.  There were roughly fifty to sixty job listings posted in the month of April so far, on Indeed.com.  Approximately ten of these jobs were low paying such as customer service, retail, and food service workers.  Approximately ten of these jobs were part time or seasonal.  Approximately ten of these jobs were sales type jobs where an applicant is led to believe that there is potential to earn good pay, but it never works out that way.  (You might not know what I mean about bullshit sales jobs unless you or your friends have done these jobs, where you never receive sales commissions.)

On Indeed.com, there were about fifteen jobs posted for Dickinson, North Dakota, in the month of April, that were good paying oil field, trades person, or professional type jobs.  However, these fifteen good paying jobs, required specialized experience, knowledge, or education, such as a commercial driver’s license, degree as an engineer or engineering technician, or being an experienced heavy equipment operator.

My point in writing this blog post, is not just to explain why I am annoyed that people in Dickinson persist in repeating information that is not true about things in Dickinson taking off, I want to explain that this luring people here by telling them that there is a huge need for workers, is going to cause problems and hardship for people.

As I explained about the job listings posted for the month of April on Indeed.com, there were about fifteen jobs that were good paying jobs, but they required specialized experience, knowledge, or education.  What are people in Dickinson trying to do, what are people in North Dakota trying to do, telling the world that there is a great need for workers, and high paying jobs, when this is not the case?

People are going to move to North Dakota, possibly bringing their families with them, because they heard about all of the jobs, and the high paying jobs.  When they get here, and can’t get a job, or can only get a low paying job, what is going to happen, what are they going to do, what are they supposed to do?  You don’t really care, or give a shit, do you?  You just like talking every day about how things are really booming in Dickinson.

Accused Armed Robbers in Dickinson

Alleged Armed Robbery In Dickinson Committed By The Gorilla Gang

On Saturday April 14, 2018, an armed robbery was allegedly committed in Dickinson, North Dakota at an apartment on the 400 block of East 2nd Street.  Four suspects entered an apartment with firearms, and they took cash and marijuana from three occupants.

You can read more about this alleged armed robbery in the Dickinson Press newspaper online, or you can watch North Dakota television news reports online.  Three of the suspects were ages 18 to 19, so the Dickinson Police Department released their names and Police arrest photographs.  This is the photo that I used for this blog post headline.

I have been writing blog posts about criminal people moving to Dickinson from bad neighborhoods in large cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, and Spokane.  I am against news services, energy industry representatives, and North Dakota Job Services representatives making announcements that “North Dakota needs many, many workers for high paying jobs here in North Dakota”, because they are creating a problem.

Poor, unemployed people, who have very little or no job skills, very little or no work experience, who have been making money in the poor inner cities by stealing and dealing drugs, hear that North Dakota needs workers for high paying jobs, so they come to Dickinson.

They did not know, that companies in Dickinson might be able to hire someone with a commercial driver’s license, an experienced welder, electrician, plumber, heavy equipment operator, certified mechanic, or experienced oil field worker, but not someone with no job experience from the inner city.  With no job experience, they would be even less likely to get hired if they had a criminal record, or did not graduate from high school.

The people who arrive in Dickinson from poor inner cities with very little or no job skills, very little or no work experience, possibly a criminal record, possibly without a high school diploma, with the expectation of getting a high paying job like they heard about or saw on TV, they came a long way to get here, and they can’t just turn around and go home when they can’t get a job.  They see that some people have money and are making money from the expensive trucks that they drive, their snow mobiles, their four wheelers, and the RVs parked in their yards.

They can’t get a job, have difficulty getting a job, or see that they can only get a low paying job in fast food or retail.  They need money, and the way that they know how to get money or get what they want, is to deal drugs, steal, and commit crimes.

The three adults whose names the Dickinson Police Department released, I began doing a Google search to try to find out where these alleged armed robbers came from.  I didn’t get very far, before I found a YouTube video, and a YouTube channel, called the Gorilla Gang, where these three individuals had uploaded videos that they had made.  Here is one of their videos from YouTube:

You can watch a few other YouTube videos that they made, on the Gorilla Gang channel.

Update On Employment And Living In Dickinson, North Dakota

I want to give everyone in the United States current and correct information on what employment and living in Dickinson, North Dakota is like, so that people do not experience hardship or make a mistake in coming here.

In April, some news services, energy industry representatives, and North Dakota Job Service representatives made announcements stating that there is a great need for workers in North Dakota.  From what I see, this is not true, and I want to explain how things really are.

For unskilled, low skilled, and non able-bodied workers, there are a few job openings that come up in fast food, convenience store, and retail stores.  These jobs are not very high paying jobs.

You might be asking or saying, why can’t I work in the oil field, or I plan on working in the oil field.  I will explain about the oil field in a minute.

For unskilled or low skilled workers that are able-bodied, there are a few job openings for construction laborers beginning in the Spring, and these jobs usually last through the Fall.  Once it becomes Winter in North Dakota, many construction companies shut down and lay off workers.  The way that the unemployment compensation eligibility formulas are designed in North Dakota, if you do not work in the Winter months, and have high income in the Summer months, you very likely will be determined to not be eligible to receive unemployment compensation during a Winter lay off.

Working In The Oil Field

I am going to try to explain some misconceptions about working in the oil field, which everyone in the United States should know about.  This is going to be pretty thorough and detailed, because I want to explain once and for all, not just how things really are in the oil field, but why things are this way, so that people quit falling for lies and bullshit that are not true.

Working For An Oil Company.  In North Dakota, some of the oil companies that do business here are Continental, Marathon, Whiting, Hess, and Tesoro.  One of the most common jobs for these oil companies is called “pumper”.  A pumper will be assigned a company pick up truck, and about twenty oil field locations, more or less.

The pumper’s job each day, is to drive to each oil field location, observe the condition of the site, look for any leaks in pumps, piping, or tanks, inspect the pump, inspect the tanks, and record information such as pressures, flow rates, and tank levels.

What the oil companies are looking for in a pumper, is someone who is completely reliable, and completely trustworthy.  They must very rarely ever call in sick, and almost never be late.  They must have an almost completely perfect driving record, with no accidents and no DUIs.  They must have an employment history that shows steady, long term employment with other companies, as evidence of reliability and trustworthiness.

Other qualifications that a pumper must have, is a demonstrateable knowledge of mechanics, controls, instrumentation, and equipment.  Acceptable proof of aptitude would be employment history working as a heavy equipment mechanic, working in automation or controls, or previous work history in the oil field installing and maintaining pump jacks, working on a drill rig, a work over rig, or fracturing.

Most of the oil company pumpers are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, and worked for more than five years in the oil field before they ever became a pumper.

Working for Oil Refineries, Oil Pipelines, and Gas Pipelines.  In North Dakota, some of the companies that own and operate oil refineries and pipelines are Tesoro, Plains All American, and Dakota Access Pipeline.  Just like the oil companies, the refinery and pipeline owners and operators are looking for people that are absolutely reliable and absolutely trustworthy.

What I did not explain about the oil companies, which also applies to the refineries and pipeline owners, is that they just will not and can not hire personnel who are unqualified or questionable in any way.  There are too many people’s lives at stake, too much money at risk, too much environmental damage possible, and too much liability to hire or allow anyone to work who is questionable in any way.

They must exclude from employment, people with DUIs, people with criminal charges, people with drug charges, people with domestic abuse charges, people with mental illness, people with poor work histories, or people with vehicle accidents.  Though they will not come out and say it, they try to screen out people who have extreme views whether social, religious, or political, people with bad tempers, people with depression or bi-polar, people who are too young or too old.

I wanted to describe in detail who the oil companies, refineries, and pipeline owners hire, so that people would not mistakenly believe that they could just move to North Dakota and get a job with an oil company, without understanding how selective and strict these companies are in hiring.

Working for Drilling, Work Over, and Casing Companies.  In North Dakota, some of the companies that operate oil drilling rigs, workover rigs, and perform casing installation are Nabors, Patterson, H&P, Key, Big Sky, and Wyoming Casing.  Unlike the oil companies, refineries, and pipeline owner companies, who are concerned primarily with employees being completely reliable and completely trustworthy, the drilling, work over, and casing companies are primarily concerned with hiring people that can physically handle the work.

The drilling, work over, and casing companies perform the most dangerous and most physically demanding work.  There are very few people who are physically capable of doing these jobs, and very few people who would be willing to do these jobs because they are so difficult and dangerous.

On an oil drilling rig, the floor hands on the drilling platform typically have to work a twelve hour shift each day, for fourteen days in a row, then they receive seven days off.  During each twelve hour shift on the drill rig platform, the floor hands may be required to continuously stand at the drill pipe and make connections, they may be required to continually climb up and down fifty stair steps carrying heavy tools and equipment that weigh 100 lbs or more, they may be required to climb the twelve story tall drill derek.  The weather could be 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or it could be -40 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill.

On a drill rig, there is no faking work, pretending to work, slacking off, getting out of work, or getting someone else to do your work for you.  It is nothing but work, all the time, the drilling has to proceed non-stop.  If you have any kind of physical defect or weakness such as a bad foot, bad ankle, bad knee, bad hip, bad back, bad shoulder, or are weak, out of shape, or get tired, you will be worked to failure to where you can not physically continue and that is the end of your job.

The drilling, work over, and casing companies do not want to waste time hiring anyone that they can already tell are not going to be physically able to do the work.  They do not want to waste time and money in hiring and training the wrong people, who will not be able to last one day or one week on the job.  What these companies are looking for, and who they screen out, they are not going to come out and say it because they don’t want any legal trouble, but I will explain it.

These companies are looking for men who are between the ages of twenty to thirty years old, who have a background in farming, construction, or military field duty, who are accustomed to harsh outdoor conditions, dangerous work conditions, and hard physical work.  Any person who appears to be physically week, lethargic, lacking energy, lacking stamina, severely overweight, underweight, too physically small, too old, or appears to be a female, these companies don’t even want to waste their time considering these people for employment, because they have found again, and again, and again that any person who has physical weakness is just not going to be able to do the work.

The work over rig companies sometimes have employees work 14 to 16 hours per day.  The casing companies sometimes have employees work up to 30 hours continuously, or until the job is completed.

Working for Directional Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Wireline Companies.  Some of the directional drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and wireline companies that operate in North Dakota are Halliburton, BJ Services, and Keane.  These companies seek to hire people who are reliable and trustworthy like the oil companies do, but are just slightly less strict, and they seek to hire people who are physically capable of doing hard work like the drilling companies, but they are slightly less demanding.

Directional drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and wireline companies are looking for employees who have almost perfect driving records, with no accidents, and no DUIs.  They want employees who have a commercial driver’s license.  These companies may be unwilling or unable to hire people with criminal records, especially with theft or assault charges.

They are looking for employees with a work history showing reliability, and having performed work in farming, construction, heavy equipment, military trades classification, or military field duty.  They want people who are accustomed to working in harsh outdoor conditions, dangerous work conditions, working around heavy equipment, performing hard labor, and working long hours.

These companies will not come out and tell you who they screen out, because they do not want any legal problems, but these companies do not want to waste time and money hiring and training people who are not going to be able to physically do the work, who will only last one day or one week on the job.  Typically, who they might screen out would be people who appear to be physically weak, lethargic, lacking energy, lack stamina, severely overweight, under weight, too old, erratic, unbalanced, or have bad judgement.  They will hire women who meet their hiring requirements.

Working for Oil Field Service Companies.  Some of the oil field service companies who operate in North Dakota are GE Lufkin, Weatherford, Stallion, Titan, Steier, SM Fencing, Bob’s.  These companies have more flexibility in hiring.  They are still looking for people with very clean driving records, no accidents, no DUIs, and a commercial driver’s license, but they are sometime willing to overlook a fault in one area, by an applicant having a recognized specialty in another area, such as being a certified mechanic, certified welder, certified welding inspector, certified crane operator, or journeyman electrician.

Oil field service companies are sometimes willing to hire one inexperienced younger worker at a time, if this worker appears to have good judgement, good common sense, a positive attitude, willingness to listen and follow instructions, if this worker can be placed with an older experienced worker.

Oil field service companies are sometime willing to hire older experienced oil field workers who have made a mistake, had an accident, had an injury, suffered an illness, or have a physical disability which can be accommodated.

Even though oil field service companies have more flexibility in hiring, they are still looking for people who have a background in farming, construction, or military field duty.  People who are accustomed to working in harsh outdoor conditions, dangerous conditions, performing physical labor, working around equipment, operating equipment, and working long hours.

Oil field service companies are the easiest entry point into gaining work experience in the oil industry, but even so, news organizations and the oil industry have misled people across the United States into believing that entry into a high paying oil field job is as easy as working at McDonalds one day, then working for an oil company the next day.

If this were true, all of the experienced oil field service company workers who are paid at the mid-level, would go get a “high paying” oil company job tomorrow.  Why would experienced oil field service company workers continue to work at mid-level pay for years and years, if it was so easy for anyone to get a high paying job for an oil company?

Working for Construction Companies in Dickinson.  Some of the construction companies in Dickinson are Winn Construction, Baranko Brothers, Northern Improvement, and Tooz Construction.  These construction companies would like to hire people with clean driving records and commercial driver’s licenses, but they will hire experienced construction workers who do not have a driver’s license.  The experience that they are looking for is experience in operating heavy equipment such as loaders, dozer, excavator, skid steer, boom truck, lull, or experience in concrete form work, concrete finishing, steel building erection, and paving.

If you do not have prior work experience in construction, doing some of the work that I have described above, do not be mis-led by news services or North Dakota Job Service into believing that you can come to Dickinson and easily get a job in construction.  The construction companies can sometimes hire people with not very much job experience to work as laborers, but it is impractical and undesirable for construction companies to hire more than just a few inexperienced workers at one time.

Summary for Working in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I want for everyone in the United States to know and understand that oil companies are very strict and demanding with their background and experience requirements in hiring, drilling companies are very strict and demanding with their physical strength and endurance requirements in hiring, and oil field service companies try to hire people with relevant work experience.

There are some job openings with construction companies for low skilled laborers, but these jobs usually only last from April through October, seven months, and that you will likely not be eligible to receive unemployment compensation during a Winter lay-off.

There are some job openings in fast food, convenience stores, and retail stores, but these jobs are not high paying.

When news services, energy industry representatives, and North Dakota Job Service representatives make announcement that many workers are needed in North Dakota, I am skeptical and I don’t believe this.  Many people that I know who are intelligent and skilled, have had to leave North Dakota in the past several years because they have not been able to find employment.  Also, I know people who are currently living in Dickinson, who are unable to find employment.

I believe that business people in North Dakota are trying to lure people to North Dakota using false information, so that they can grow the economy, fill in vacancies in housing, and drop the wage rate that employers have to pay by creating a surplus of workers.