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
https://images.app.goo.gl/su98oCKBHxrKd3pNA

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,
2019)
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.

Who Gets Hired And What Companies Are Looking For In Dickinson, North Dakota

As North Dakota emerges from the cold and frozen Winter, oil field service companies and construction companies in Dickinson will begin hiring people for the Spring, Summer, and Fall work season.

Employers in Dickinson like people who will fit in and get along with the people that they already have working.  There is a common expression, “People like people, who are like themselves.”

In this blog post, I am including a short video that shows what employers in Dickinson, North Dakota are looking for.  This video shows someone that employers in Dickinson would hire right on the spot.  This video also shows some of the discussion that might take place in your work environment in Dickinson.

Jobs, Employment, And Working In Dickinson, North Dakota

In many ways, the people in Dickinson are an open book.  Their behavior, actions, beliefs, and motivations are so blatant, apparent, and un-hidden, that it is almost like observing children, primitive, or low functioning people.

It might also have something to do with my age, with me having seen all of these behaviors and scenarios in Dickinson, play out before in other places.  Nevertheless, whenever I did see these types of things that occur in Dickinson in other places, I was painfully aware of the ignorance, stupidity, and backwardness of the perpetrators and accomplices.

In our private, personal, and social lives in Dickinson, we can retreat to our homes, families, and friends in order to get away from things, people, and situations that we don’t like.  However, work is a part of our lives where we are forced to deal with things, people, and situations that we would have never voluntarily been involved with.

The Biggest Point, that I wish to make in this blog post, is that many bad, ignorant, backward, malicious, and ill-intentioned people in Dickinson, use work as the opportunity to act on and fulfill their desire to cause problems for others.

I am sorry that I have not previously been able to articulate this so clearly:  There are many people in Dickinson who are uneducated, uncultured, untravelled, small minded, ignorant, close minded, bitter, hateful, malicious people.  More so than any other place that I have ever lived.  I am not saying this to be hateful, I am saying this to be truthful, honest, and accurate.

One of the reasons for the lack of education, ignorance, close mindedness, bitterness, hatefulness, and maliciousness, I believe, is the Catholic Church here in Dickinson.  One of my readers tried to explain to me, that in oil field towns, the wind-falls that some families receive, while other families receive nothing, is something that inspires bitterness, resentment, and hatred.  The families in the oil field towns that receive nothing, while their neighbors become rich, don’t feel right about taking their hatred out on local people, so they direct all of their anger, meanness, and hostility toward people from some place else.

It has been my experience in Dickinson, time after time, again and again, that local co-workers from Dickinson, have this horrible, not very hidden, intention of doing bad things to non-local co-workers.  But, to be completely honest and accurate, there is often also something wrong with the people who could not get a job anywhere in Texas, Arizona, or New York, that came all of this way in order to be able to get a job.

The third and fourth elements or factors, that makes working in Dickinson a horrible and terrible experience, time after time, is the fact that the people in Dickinson have to work more than forty hours per week, and people do not have normal home lives here.

I believe, that one of the reasons why people get up to no good at work in Dickinson, is because they are working more than forty hours per week, and spending too much time at work.  There is just too much time and opportunity for malicious, bitter, ignorant, hateful, mean people to conceive, hatch, and carry out their bad intentions towards others.  Normal people are stuck way too long at work, with people who have evil intentions towards others.

I believe, another reason why people get up to hatching and carrying out their bad intentions towards others at work in Dickinson, is because they do not have a normal home life.  There is a shortage of women in Dickinson, and a scarcity of attractive women.  Many men in Dickinson do not have anyone to look forward to seeing, talking to, spending time with, or doing activities with.  Plus, there is not a lot to do in Dickinson.  Thus, you have ignorant, uneducated, untravelled, uncultured, close minded, malicious, bitter, hateful people, who have nothing better to do than think about harming other people at work, and the opportunity to cause other people harm at work, because everyone is working too many hours.

Dishonest And Disreputable Companies In Dickinson, North Dakota

In the beginning of June I started a new job in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I thought that this was going to be a good job, with a good company.  When I arrived to work at this oil field service company at 3:45 a.m. on a Monday morning, one thing after another went wrong.  No supervisor showed up until 4:30 a.m., my supervisor was out for the week and he had left no instructions regarding me and my work.  After phone calls were made, it was determined that I was supposed to drive a crane truck to a location two hours away, but the keys were missing, the crane truck was a mess and in no condition to drive, and the equipment on it that was needed that day was broken.

My instinct and my gut feeling was that I should say right then, “Hey, I don’t want to work here.”  I could barely keep myself from telling the company that I had decided not to work there.  It appeared to be so disorganized and unprofessional, with no planning or accountability.  I needed the job, and the money, so I hung in there.

I got along with my co-worker/supervisor at the job site location two hours away.  Within a couple of days, he was letting me do all the work on my own.  His intention was that he would do the paperwork, and that I would do the physical work.  This led to my co-worker/supervisor arriving at job locations a few hours late in the morning, and leaving a few hours early in the evening, because he was only doing paperwork, and I was doing the physical work which took all day.

It was hot, dirty, and tiring physical labor, and I would have liked some help, sometimes feeling like I was close to getting heat stroke.  I was not supposed to be doing this work by myself according to the oil company safety rules.  I did the work by myself, and I operated the crane truck on days when the wind was well over 30 mph, the cut off point to stop work.  I broke these rules on many days in order to get work done.

I didn’t know that this oil field service company in Dickinson was not going to pay me.  I had to wait for the two-week pay period to end, and then wait another ten days for a pay check to be made.  On my second pay check, I was shorted 8-1/2 hours of overtime pay.  I wrote a letter to the company payroll person, listing my hours, and explaining that I was shorted 8-1/2 hours of overtime pay.

My co-worker/supervisor telephoned the payroll person while I was sitting in his truck, and he went over the hours that I was shorted.  Later that day, my co-worker/supervisor received a response from the payroll person, she said that the owner of the company had crossed out my hours, and wrote fewer hours, because he did not think that enough work was completed.

The owner of this company graduated from Dickinson State University with a degree in Business Administration, and he should know that it is illegal and unethical to not pay employees for hours worked.  This says something about the owner of this company, Dickinson, Dickinson State University, and North Dakota.  I have worked in Florida, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho, and I have never ever before had a company refuse to pay me for my work hours.

My co-worker/supervisor then had a fairly long telephone conversation with the owner of this company, and he believed that he had agreement from the company owner that everything would be taken care of, that I would be paid for the 8-1/2 hours of missing overtime pay.  Because I was expecting to be paid this money, I continued working for this company.

This past weekend I received by e-mail, a work hours summary for my third pay check, and it was 12-1/2 hours short on overtime hours!  I couldn’t believe it!  Not only was I not being paid for the 8-1/2 overtime hours that I was already missing, they were taking away another 12-1/2 hours of overtime pay!

The company owner had left a week earlier to go on a two-week hunting trip in South America.  This made me believe what my co-worker/supervisor and I had already suspected, that it was actually the company owner’s wife that was shaving work hours off my pay, claiming that I was not getting enough work done.  The company owner is on a two-week hunting trip in South America that probably costs $15,000 to $20,000.  The company owner’s wife is trying to steal $570 of my pay, because she thinks that I don’t deserve it.  She and her husband are better than me, and I don’t deserve to be paid.  The truth is that I have been doing all of the work by myself, and have been breaking the safety rules on many days to get the work done.

I looked the owner’s wife up on Facebook, and I saw that she attended the Catholic college in Bismarck, the University of Mary.  Not only do the Catholics not learn right from wrong in the Catholic Church, they don’t even learn basic right and wrong, ethical and unethical, legal and illegal when the go to their University!  It is illegal and unethical to not pay your employees for hours worked.

I looked on the North Dakota Department of Labor website on how to file a complaint against an employer for not paying wages.  It wasn’t too much of a shock to me, that the North Dakota Department of Labor wants for employees to “ask for your wages”, and that they will later act as a “mediator”.  The North Dakota Department of Labor should be a government regulatory agency that enforces law in North Dakota, not a mediator.  Because the North Dakota Department of Labor is so easy going toward employers, there is a huge back log of cases.  There is a recent Bismarck Tribune newspaper article that says people who filed a complaint against an employer in 2014, had to wait two years, Two Fucking Years!, for a case worker to even be assigned to their complaint.

North Dakota has got to be the most corrupt and backward state.  Of course employers are not going to pay employees wages when they know that there is a two year wait before the complaint is even looked at.  I telephoned the North Dakota Department of Labor, and there are four previous complaints for non payment of wages against the company that I work for.  In other states, this might be grounds for revocation of business licenses, but in North Dakota, the company instead gets glowing and gushing newspaper articles about them from the Dickinson Press.

Dickinson could not be more proud of this husband and wife entrepreneur couple.  The Dickinson Press newspaper has written several articles about them, how wonderful and successful they are.  They believe that they are so wonderful and successful, that they don’t even have to pay me for the hours that I worked.

I went to the courthouse in Dickinson to find out about filing a small claims civil suit against the owner of this company for nonpayment of wages.  I thought that I could win this case if the owner of this company had to personally appear in court.  However, I was told at the courthouse that in North Dakota the defendant in a small claims case is allowed to be represented by an attorney, and not even appear.

I already know what this means, an expensive attorney that has practiced law for twenty years in Dickinson will be hired, a long time colleague of every judge in Dickinson, and I am just an out of state oil field worker, nobody.  Just like my employer believes I am so insignificant that I don’t need to be paid my wages, the court judge will feel the same way in deciding between what his long time attorney colleague says, and what I say.

It has been my experience in Dickinson that the police are only successful in harassing people, not solving crime, the local courts do not work, the state courts do not work, Federal agencies like OSHA, the Department of Labor, Equal Opportunity Employment don’t even function in North Dakota.  North Dakota has got to be the most corrupt and backward state.

I am very angry about not being paid, and there is not any legal way for me to do anything about this in North Dakota.

The End Of A Work Week In Dickinson, North Dakota

If you have been reading my blog posts for the past couple of weeks, you will have read some descriptions and details about how things have been going at my new job that I started five weeks ago.  I was very let down and disappointed that what I thought was going to be a good job at a good company, turned out to be the exact opposite.

Besides complaining about the company that I started to work for, I very nearly could not work because my eyes swelled up to where I could not see due to allergies.  I made it through that, but just barely.  My co-worker/supervisor for a number of reasons, did not want to help me do the work, and began to come to work less and less, to the point that he did not come to work at all yesterday.  The company that I work for, is unaware of this, but the oil company that we are doing the work for, is aware that I have been working mostly by myself, though I am not supposed to be.

I have been working out of town, two hours away from Dickinson.  There is an even greater shortage of women, restaurants, stores, and things to do where I am working, than in Dickinson.  On the drive home to Dickinson this Friday, there is nothing that I was looking forward to in Dickinson.  There are no friends or prospective girl friends that I was looking forward to seeing, no where that I was looking forward to eating, nothing that I wanted to buy, and nothing that I wanted to do.

When I got home in Dickinson, I checked my e-mail.  There was nothing too important or alarming.  I had an e-mail that my on-line pay check record could be viewed.  I looked at my net pay check, and it was disappointingly low.  Looking at it some more, I saw that my company had shorted me 8.5 hours of overtime pay.

I wrote a letter to the company pay roll person, writing down the hours that I worked each day, and my total hours.  I planned on dropping this letter off on Saturday or Monday.  Also, there was withholding for “New Hire”, which I did not understand.

As I thought about it some more, I realized that the company was going to try to not pay me for drive time, which began to make me angry.  I have to wake up at 2:00 a.m. on Monday, to leave at 3:00 a.m., to drive two hours until 5:00 a.m., which is 6:00 a.m. in that time zone, and then work until 5:00 p.m. in that time zone, which is 6:00 p.m. in Dickinson.  In other words, I start driving at 3:00 a.m., and I don’t get done with work until 15 hours later, that’s right 15 hours later.  On my time sheet, my supervisor writes down 12 hours for Monday, but the accounting women and the owner’s wife, just assume that because it is a two hour drive, they will just go ahead and take two hours off that 12 hours.

I could inconvenience the company owner and his wife by filing a small claims suit or a complaint with the Department of Labor, for the money that I am not being paid, but I would probably lose, because this is North Dakota.  The company owner and his wife have a lot of news stories about them because they are so amazingly successful, benevolent, charitable, and run everything so well.  I am seeing and experiencing the exact opposite.

I have to weigh out what I want to do.  Saying or writing what I would really like to do, would only cause me unnecessary problems and not get me anywhere.  The only smart and rational thing for me to do, would be to find another job.

I looked at North Dakota Job Service, Indeed, and LinkedIn, to try to find another job.  There are very few jobs in Dickinson now, very, very few jobs.

I write about things like this in blog posts, because I am frustrated, but also to write what is actually happening.  If anyone came to Dickinson, they would experience the same thing, and perhaps even worse.  Most people would go to the liquor store or to the bar on a Friday evening like this.  This is why most out of state workers get a DUI in Dickinson.  It sucks here so bad, but you can’t drink, or the police will get you.

How My New Job Is Going In Dickinson, North Dakota

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about starting a new job in Dickinson, North Dakota. I thought that it was going to be one of the best jobs that I ever had, because the company was enthusiastic about my previous work experience in several different areas that they happened to be looking for.

Because I am in my late forties, have had many jobs, and have worked for about seven companies in Dickinson, I knew that there could be complications and obstacles at work. I was mentally and emotionally prepared for things to not go well at work. I was especially expecting to experience hostility and lack of cooperation from the local North Dakotan co-workers, like always.

I had offered to drive my own personal truck to get to the work location two hours away. I was doing this so that the company would not have to find a truck for me, but also so that I would not be entirely at the mercy of others, at a work location two hours from Dickinson. When I arrived at work at 3:45 a.m. on a Monday morning, after waiting 45 minutes for my work manager to arrive, and he did not arrive, I was informed that he would not be in all this week.

The crane truck that was supposed to be at the work location, was here in Dickinson, and I would have to drive it. I was told the keys were in it, I was already late, to get in it and go. I got my personal work equipment bag and my hotel bag for the week out of my own truck and carried them to the crane truck.

The crane truck had spoiled food in a take-out box on the dashboard, all kinds of other garbage on the dashboard, all kinds of garbage on the seat, and on the floor boards. It was dark outside, but looking out the back window of the truck cab, I could see a metal gas can unsecured on top of the right side tool box. I got out of the crane truck and walked to the rear of the truck, on the back bumper, below the level of the rear deck, were two 35 lb buckets of grease, that would have fallen off on the highway. I was very angry about all of this.

I felt like I was being set up to get fired, by my piece of shit North Dakota co-workers, but I realized that it was more likely stupidity that caused the crane truck to be an accident waiting to happen for the next person who drove this truck. I was angry that any company would start a new employee out like this, I sure wouldn’t.

I went back in to the office to inform them that the keys were not in the crane truck. After about twenty minutes, they were able to find an employee who had the keys. As this employee was removing all of the keys that were needed from his key ring, he was saying that a major piece of equipment on the crane truck was not working, that would be needed. Some things were said by a manager along the lines of, it’s not my problem.

I had had about as much as I could take. Everything in my mind was telling me to say to this company, “Hey, that’s O.K., I don’t want to work here.” I now believed that I had made a mistake, and the best thing for me to do now, was to not spend another minute at this company. If I would have gotten in that crane truck and gone, I could have caused an accident on the highway and gotten someone hurt with all the things that were ready to fall off the truck. I didn’t know what else was wrong with this truck, was the boom locked down, was the other rigging locked down, what was my clearance height?

I had not been given any drive maps, work site location, work orders, work contacts, hotel information, fuel credit card for the crane truck, hydrogen sulfide H2S monitor, or been asked if I had all of my mandatory personal safety equipment. They just wanted me to go. I was getting a very bad impression of the company, and I believed that this is what the company was like, no thought, planning, preparation, care, concern, or accountability.

If anything went wrong, they would just blame me, and I thought that they were setting me up to fail. I wanted so bad to quit right then, to spare myself from the blame of everything going wrong, which everything would likely go wrong. If I would have known that I would have had to drive this crane truck, there was plenty of time on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for me to inspect and check this crane truck, and the equipment on this truck, when there was day light.

If the crane truck would have been low on fuel, this might have been the last straw. I considered whether I was willing to spend my own money to fuel this truck, rather than deal with the people in the office, who weren’t prepared to provide me with anything.

I left the company yard being more angry, than nervous about driving a very large truck, which I hadn’t driven anything this large for six years. At about 6:00 a.m., I telephoned my co-worker that I was supposed to meet at the work location. I could tell from his voice that he was from the South like me. I was relieved that I would not be working with a North Dakotan.

When I got to the work location at about 7:30a.m., I talked to the man who I would be working with. He was my age. He had worked in the oil field for most of his life, so had his father, and his grandfather. He was very knowledgeable about most areas of oil field work and operations. He looked at the piece of equipment on the crane truck that was broken, and he said that there was very little we could do without this piece of equipment working. He said we would take his truck back to Dickinson.

During the two hour drive back to Dickinson, I had the chance to talk to my co-worker from the South. He explained to me why the company was, the way that it was. He explained that he tries to handle everything, and take care of everything on his own. To not rely on the office in Dickinson, to handle everything himself, as much as possible. As long as work gets done, and the work makes money, he is allowed to operate on his own, without much interference. This is the only way he wants to work.

After getting parts in Dickinson, I was able to drive my own personal truck back to the work location. In the next two days, I worked in the oil field with my co-worker, who was in charge of the work because of his four or five year work relationship with the customer, and because of his many more years work experience in the oil field. On about the third day, my co-worker began leaving me on my own, to go do other things. By the end of the first week, I was working on my own for most of the day.

I was a little angry, that I was having to do all of the work by myself, I didn’t think that I was supposed to be doing everything by myself all the time. On the other hand, I was being left alone, left in charge of the work, and I was not being bothered. After a few days of working with my co-worker, I had told him that I had been a foreman, a superintendent, a project manager, an inspector, and had operated my own construction business. Because of my age, my work experience, and working with me, my co-worker believed that I did not need any supervision or help, and that he could be elsewhere, doing other things.

What my co-worker wanted, and I suppose what I want too, is to be left alone to do your work. To not get phone calls where people are quizzing you about work progress and work details. To not have people pushing you to get more work done. To not have other people trying to tell you how to do the work, what you are doing wrong, and trying to direct everything you do, like you are not capable of directing yourself.

In order to get work done, I have chosen to work on many bad weather days, rainy days, and high wind days. There is a prohibition against performing certain operations when the wind is over thirty miles per hour, but I have done it anyway, because about 30% of the time there have been high winds. This is possibly another reason why my co-worker has decided to be elsewhere doing other things. If I get caught performing certain operations when the wind is over thirty miles per hour, it is better for my co-worker and my company to deny any knowledge of this, that no one knew that I was doing this, to let me take the blame, and for me to get fired. I understand that if the work does not get completed, my company can not get paid, and my co-worker and I can not get paid unless we work every day completing the work.

There are a lot of dangerous things that I have to do many times each day, that are just part of this work. Every location that I go to has multiple surveillance cameras which are monitored at an operations center. If the customer wanted to, they could watch every step that I performed, all day long. Every location has SCADA systems, supervisory control and data acquisition systems, which monitor and send oil and gas flow rates, oil and gas pressures, oil and gas temperatures, valve positions, electric motor speeds, electric motor loading, and probably perimeter breach. Every location that I go to and begin work, causes the operations center to receive alarms for drop in flow rates, drop in pressure, stop in motor load, and stop in motor speed. The multiple alarms result in the operations center looking at the surveillance cameras for that location to determine what is going on at that location. Because each location cost many millions of dollars, I get watched at each location by the people at the operations center. Many people do not know this or think about this, but they should.

I have about two or three more weeks of out of town work, then, as far as I know, I will be working out of the Dickinson office. I don’t know how this will go, or if I can handle this or not. I don’t know if I can take the lack of cooperation, unfriendliness, and unhelpfulness that I always get from North Dakota co-workers. The past three weeks my co-worker from the South has been cordial and has let me work on my own. The customer oil company personnel have been very civil and decent so far. I don’t know if I can take what is going to happen when I go back to Dickinson.

Answering A Reader’s Questions About Employment And Catholics In Dickinson, North Dakota

A reader who lives in Dickinson, has left a couple of comments to my blog posts, and she disagrees with most of what I write about Dickinson.  This does not surprise me at all.

To summarize the indicators that the oil boom is over in Dickinson, that there is a work slow down, and that employment is way down:

  1. The busiest time for hiring in Dickinson, is March, April, and May, just before the spring, summer, and fall work season.  From Friday April 14 through the end of the day on Friday April 21, there were a total of seven new jobs posted for Dickinson on the North Dakota Job Service website.  Seven new jobs!  In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, there would have been a total of about thirty to forty new jobs posted for Dickinson on the North Dakota Job Service website during a one week period in April.  (Note:  North Dakota Job Service receives job notices from employers, and places job announcements, but, they also go and search several other job posting services and import those job advertisements into their system, to include these job announcements as well.)
  2. For the period from April 1 through the end of the day on April 21, there were only five new job listings posted for Dickinson on the website CareerBuilder.  Five new job listings, for the entire month!  In April, the busiest hiring month in Dickinson!  In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, there would have been about thirty to forty new job listings posted on the CareerBuilder website for Dickinson during the first three weeks of April.
  3. Today, I looked on the international oil industry website Rigzone.  On Rigzone, there were twenty-three job listings for Williston, six for Dickinson, and three for Killdeer.  A total of thirty-two job listings on Rigzone for all of North Dakota.  In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, there were usually sixty to eighty jobs listings on Rigzone for North Dakota in April.
  4. The job posting websites Indeed.com and Monster.com have much fewer job listings for Dickinson than they did in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.
  5. In Dickinson, during the months of March, April, and May, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, the underground utility locating company ELM would have to place repeating job advertisements every other week in order to hire and train enough underground utility locators to respond to all the construction locate requests.  This year, in March and April, I have not seen one job advertisement from ELM locating.
  6. In Dickinson, during the months of March, April, and May, in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, all the oil field service companies would place job advertisements, companies like Timberline/Liberty, Weatherford, Steier, Bob’s, Key, Titan, SM, Champ, K&R.  So far this year in March and April, I saw one job advertisement from Steier, and no job advertisements from these other oil field service companies.
  7. The three Family Fare grocery stores and WalMart in Dickinson, went from staying open 24 hours per day, to closing at night in 2015, because they no longer had enough business to stay open 24 hours per day.
  8. At the Theodore Roosevelt Airport in Dickinson, they went from having two airlines, United and Delta, each making two flights per day out of Dickinson, down to one airline, with currently only about twenty-five passengers per day out of Dickinson.  The one remaining airline, United, tried to cease operations in Dickinson in approximately 2016, but they were forced to stay by the Federal government enforcing an “essential air services” regulation.
  9. The newly completed hotels in Dickinson, went from sometimes having no vacancies in 2010 and 2011 at $180 per night, to where they now have 80% vacancy at $60 per night.

 

To explain what the Catholics have done in Dickinson:

  1. The homesteaders that settled Dickinson in the late 1800s, they were German and Ukranian Catholics.  The Catholic Church was the main cultural and societal influence in Dickinson, from the beginning.  The Catholic Church did not teach, encourage, or foster, the teachings of Jesus Christ, such as “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”, “So as you do to the least of my people, so do you unto me”, and “What profiteth a man that he gain the whole world, let lose his soul?  And, what shall he give in exchange for his soul”.  Instead, the Catholic Church taught hatred, hostility, unfriendliness, and it fostered jealousy and greed.
  2. In order to maintain its control, and in order to help its henchmen maintain control over people, the Catholic Church in Dickinson discouraged higher education, and tried to make the people in Dickinson fear and mistrust higher education.  The Catholic Church did not want people to read the Bible for themselves, interpret, and understand the Bible for themselves, lest they find out that what the Catholics were doing was evil.  With a lack of education, people in Dickinson could not get ahead, learn about other places, learn about new things, and they would continue to be trapped in Dickinson, unable and not knowing how to escape.
  3. The Catholic Church encouraged and fostered the people here to be hateful, unfriendly, uncooperative, jealous, and greedy.  When a neighbor was having difficulty, this was not taught as a time to help him, this was taught as a time to withhold help.  A neighbor failing, dying, or moving away, was the opportunity to seize his land and his possessions.
  4. Only with the one hundred years of teaching and fostering hatred and greed by the Catholic Church, would prepare these evil Catholics in Dickinson to begin raising rent and housing prices by 400% to 500%.  All Christians are supposed to help their fellow man, and do unto others as you would have them to do unto you, but in Dickinson they had been taught nothing but evil!
  5. The Catholics, the Catholic Church, and the Catholic associations in Dickinson, made plans to not allow the great abundance of vacant land in Dickinson, to be used for affordable housing, or housing for the homeless.
  6. The Catholics collude in every way possible, how to take advantage of the out of state workers.
  7. The Catholics collude in every way possible, how to manipulate, connive, and scheme to advance themselves, and hinder, undermine, and impede others.

What this local native from Dickinson wrote in her comment to my blog post, was that it was inaccurate for me to cite the few job postings on North Dakota Job Service and CareerBuilder, because the local employers weren’t posting their jobs there.

Yes!  Yes!  I have seen this before in Dickinson, North Dakota!  For employment with the City of Dickinson Police Department, and Dickinson State University, they don’t post their job opening in the local newspaper, North Dakota Job Service, CareerBuilder, Monster.com, or Indeed.com, they post it where no one can find it, except for the people that they personally tell!

Sometimes, the people who work at City offices, County offices, or State offices in Dickinson, they don’t want to post a job opening where people can see it, they don’t want to have a bunch of highly qualified applicants.  They want to tell their fellow Catholics, their brother, their uncle, their nephew, where they have hidden the job posting, so that no one else can find it and apply.  They don’t want people with relevant job experience and relevant education applying, they want their inexperienced and uneducated relative to get the job!

Decline In People, Employment, Business, And Real Estate In Dickinson, North Dakota

This last week of February 2017, I saw a decline in people, employment, business, and real estate in Dickinson, North Dakota.

In the business that I work for, there has been a very sharp decrease in work over the past year.  Early this week, I had to telephone the manager of a company here in Dickinson that I have been dealing with for a year and a half.  The owner of this business answered this manager’s cell phone and said that this manager was no longer with the company.  This was upsetting to me because this manager was very hard working, he put in many hours of overtime though he was on salary, and he had a wife and three children.  Knowing the manager, the company that he worked for, and what was going on at this company, I believe that he was let go due to a decline in business and an attempt to cut costs.  This manager and his family were not from North Dakota.  This manager was positive, upbeat, intelligent, and fun to work with.  I am sorry that he is gone.

There is a young woman in Dickinson that I like, that I had included in my blog post titled “List Of Attractive Women In Dickinson, North Dakota”.  I had not seen her for several months, and I was becoming concerned that something had happened to her too.  I have seen her father twice at the West River Community Center in the past several months, and once at an event in Dickinson, but not her.  In the past several months when I saw her father, he did not appear to be his normal self, he seemed unhappy and angry. She should have been at this event recently, because she is a human resources person at a company that was involved in the event.  This week I looked at her Linkedin.com page, and she is no longer working for this company in Dickinson, and she has moved to Montana.

This young woman who was a human resources person with a company here in Dickinson, I can’t believe that she isn’t working there any more.  I thought that she was very happy there and was well liked.  She was very pleasant, positive, intelligent, and funny.  I thought that she made that company better for being there, and made people want to work there.  She graduated from Dickinson State University a couple of years ago, and she has many friends in Dickinson.  Her family is not from North Dakota, her father came to Dickinson to work when the oil boom started.  Her mother, father, and younger sister are still living here, I can’t believe that she left.  I don’t think that she would have left Dickinson unless she lost her job, and I could only see that happening due to the company she worked for downsizing due to reduced work.

This morning I saw another young woman that I liked, that I hadn’t seen for several months.  I met her in 2014 where she worked.  She was a sophomore at Dickinson State University then.  She wasn’t from Dickinson, but she came to Dickinson because there was an oil boom, and she could work and go to school.  She recently completed her degree at Dickinson State University.  I asked her what she had been doing, and she told me that she was moving to Colorado next week.  I talked to her for a while, one of the things that I said was that I couldn’t believe that human resources young woman that we both knew, moved to Montana a couple of months ago.  This young woman that was moving to Colorado told me that she was so looking forward to getting out of Dickinson.  A woman that we know, asked her if her boyfriend was moving to Colorado with her, and she said no, he moved back to the state where he came from several months ago.

I was sad that she was leaving, I like her.  I felt bad for her that she had been living, working, and going to school in Dickinson for the past four or five years and now she is leaving her friends and everyone she knows, to go someplace where she doesn’t know anyone.  It is normal for people to leave and go someplace else when they graduate from college, but for the past eight years, Dickinson was a place that people from all over the United States tried to get to because of the many job openings and higher rate of pay.

Several times this week, I looked at job posting websites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, and North Dakota Job Service for job listings in Dickinson.  There were not very many job listings in Dickinson, and the jobs that were listed were not very good jobs as far as desirability, pay, job security, or job longevity.

On Sunday I read the Dickinson Press Newspaper.  In the classified section under housing, there was a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom house for rent for $600 per month, and one bedroom apartments for rent for $425 per month.  Three years ago, this house rental listing would have been $2,500 per month, and this apartment rental listing would have been $1,500 per month.

This Sunday edition of the Dickinson Press Newspaper came with a Home And Land Company Real Estate Guide.  This real estate guide from the Home And Land Company, had as many homes listed for sale now, as the whole entire Real Estate Guide for all the realtors in Dickinson used to have a couple of years ago.  There were many very nice homes for sale, some of the nicest homes in Dickinson, that must have belonged to the highest paid people in Dickinson.  It appears that many of the highest paid people in Dickinson must have lost their jobs, or had their business income greatly reduced in order to have to sell such nice homes.  There are plenty of working class people homes for sale too.

These people that I know losing their jobs or leaving Dickinson, the lack of very many good jobs posted in Dickinson, the greatly reduced rent of rental housing, and the greatly increased number of homes for sale, show that work and business has slowed down in Dickinson.

Getting Treated Like Shit, in Dickinson, North Dakota, Part I

I will begin this story, in the middle of my stay in Dickinson, North Dakota, in 2014.  I had applied for a government job in Dickinson.  This would be my second job working for the government.  The application was very long, approximately twenty pages.  Employment history, education history, special qualification history, criminal history/disqualifiers.

I turned in my application.  I would be required to take an exam the following week, and undergo further testing after that.  On Thursday at approximately 4:00 p.m., an e-mail was sent from the human resources person in Dickinson, stating that I needed to provide my high school transcripts by the following Monday.  I happened to check my e-mail on Thursday at 6:00 p.m., and my reaction was,”What the fuck!  God damn it!  How the fuck am I going to get my high school transcripts by Monday?  I have one business day, I graduated from high school over twenty-five years ago, 2,000 miles away, I don’t even know if they still have my transcripts.”  I cursed some more, this was the Dickinson human resource’s way of disqualifying me from this job, by me being unable to submit all required paper work by Monday.  From my application they knew when and where I graduated, they knew it would be impossible for me to get my transcripts by Monday.

I graduated from a state in the Southeast, twenty five years ago.  I telephoned my high school at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning, Dickinson time, it was 9:00 a.m. back East.  My high school said that I needed to telephone the county archive office.  I listened to the county archivist phone recording which gave their website address.  I looked at the county archives website.  I understood the instructions about the request for records process, but they needed to receive a payment by check or money order by mail to complete the process.  I called the archive office back, and left a polite but desperate voice mail, quickly explaining my situation.  I sent a polite but desperate e-mail with my completed application for high school transcripts.  About one million people live in the county that I was dealing with.  The archivist woman had to go out to a warehouse, locate the high school records, find my high school, find my year of graduation, find my records, go scan them, e-mail them to me, without receiving any payment.

The human resources lady in Dickinson, was trying to disqualify me from the job because I was from out-of-state.  There was no chance that I was going to get my high school transcripts from twenty-five years ago, in one day.  The archivist lady back where I was from, dropped what she was doing, dug out my records, scanned them, and e-mailed them to me by 1:00 p.m., breaking the rules, without receiving payment.  They do things like that in the South.

I was grateful that I got my transcripts on Friday, in plenty of time to deliver them.  But I was surprised at what I got, I got about thirteen pages.  I don’t know if this was supposed to happen, but I got everything.  The first three pages were grade reports, but I had never seen them in this format.  Rather than reporting grades by quarter, they were reported by course and final grade for the year.  9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, every course was an “A”.  There was an official stamp, “Rank 1 out of 290“.  Mother fucker!  I was the salutatorian, I gave the salutatorian speech at graduation.  They lied to me!  I was actually the valedictorian, well how about that.  They fucked me out of that, oh well.

What were these other ten pages?  They were a psychological assessment and evaluation.  In 10th grade, the school system did a personal evaluation, which I somewhat remember.  There were test results, explanation and interpretation of results, scores plotted on a chart.  The first two types of intelligence testing, my IQ was 124, 125.  The third type of intelligence testing, verbal/vocabulary, my IQ was 134.  The fourth type, awareness/socialization, my IQ was 118.  The last, I believe was math, my IQ was 125.  My overall IQ was 126.  The assessment explained that 126 IQ was classified as “highly intelligent”, that 130 IQ was classified as “gifted”.  The concluding recommendation was that I should be taken out of advanced classes, and placed in the “gifted” program.

Well, that explained a lot.  I had read when I was about thirty years of age, that in order to be an engineer, you needed to have an IQ of more than 130.  No wonder that I had had such a hard time passing my engineering classes, I didn’t have a high enough IQ.  It also explained why I wasn’t working as an engineer, I found it tedious, frustrating, and difficult.  It explained why I wound up in Dickinson.  If I had my wish, if I would have been able to make enough money, I would have liked to have lived in a home on the water in Florida.  I did not have a high enough IQ, hence, I am in Dickinson.

I turned in the grade reports only, to the human resources department in Dickinson on Friday.  The following Monday, I took the exams and got an 82%, 93%, and 93%.  I only needed to get 70%, 70%, and 70% to pass and be eligible.  I thought that I did really well at the interview, there were four interviewers.  I did not get the job.  I decided, fuck them, that is the last time I will ever apply to any government job in Dickinson.

About four months later, I applied to a job at Dickinson State University.  The job did not pay that well, but I was very much looking forward to being eligible to take tuition-free, or reduced-tuition classes at Dickinson State University.  DSU had had my completed application for more than a month, when the human resources lady sent me an e-mail requesting that I send them my resume before Monday.  The DSU human resources lady waited until the end of the day on Thursday to send this request by e-mail.  I was furious when I checked my e-mail on Saturday.  I had been working on a construction site out of town.  When I tried to send my resume first thing Monday morning, I already had an e-mail in my in-box from DSU, stating that the position I had applied to, had now been filled.

The point of this blog post is this: When someone from out-of-state applies to a job in Dickinson, these local people here will do whatever it takes to try to make sure that you don’t get the job.  Both of the employment examples that I have given in this post, these two jobs were not advertised very well, they were practically hidden.  Both of theses jobs were not advertised in the newspaper, North Dakota Job Services, Indeed, CareerBuilder, or Monster.com.  Both of these jobs were advertised for a very short period of time.  The local people here in Dickinson, they wanted to tell their friends, tell their relatives about a job opening in the government or Dickinson State University, and make sure that there would not be any competition from better qualified candidates from out-of-state.  When an out-of-state person did apply, the human resources people tried to wait until the last minute to request additional paper work, so that the applicant would be unable to submit the required paper work in time, and be disqualified.  I later met the individual that was hired for the position that I had applied to at Dickinson State University.  He had far less qualifications than I did in both education and experience, but he was from Dickinson.

I stated in a previous post, that I wanted to beat the Chamber of Commerce in Dickinson, North Dakota, that I wanted to tell people the truth about Dickinson.  I want to tell people from out-of-state, that though the Chamber of Commerce wants to paint a pretty picture of Dickinson, if you come here, you will be treated like shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pros and Cons for Staying in Dickinson, North Dakota

For those of you who have not read my blog before, I am not from Dickinson.  I have lived in Dickinson for about three and a half years now.

I write this blog to provide useful, truthful, helpful information about Dickinson, North Dakota, primarily for people from out-of-state.  I sincerely recommend that you do not come to Dickinson at this time.

I want to warn people from out-of-state, do not use the last of your money to get here, thinking that you will get a job, and things will be O.K.  There is no homeless shelter.  The people who live here were not very hospitable to begin with, and they are especially not hospitable now, because they have grown tired of out-of-state oil field workers and construction workers.

If you are not from here, have no money, and have a hard-luck story, the people here will have no sympathy for you.  You can freeze to death in your vehicle, and they would not care.  If you are down-and-out, have no money, you will very likely not get a job in Dickinson because people will look at you like a bum, a vagrant, an undesirable.  Everyone here is sick and tired of people showing up and wanting help.  The economy in Dickinson is not doing well right now, there are many people who are from here who are struggling now.

If you are from out-of-state, and have enough money to travel to Dickinson, rent an apartment, and look for work, I want to warn you that you might be better off remaining where you are, or doing more research on other areas of the country.  I want to point out some things that you will experience, that you are probably unaware of.

The population of Dickinson right now is probably about 25,000 people.  Most of the residents are from here, they went to high school here, and they have a lot of family members here.  The residents here don’t really like people from out-of-state.  They are suspicious, resentful, jealous, and hateful to people from out-of-state.  There are some values and cultural differences, different beliefs, and different educational levels.  This is about the third time I am saying it in this blog, if you want to know what Dickinson is like, you need to watch the movies “Grapes of Wrath”, “Deliverance”, and “Planet of the Apes”.

I had to go back and edit this blog post, I have so many stories about interviewing and working for companies in Dickinson, what a nightmare, it was taking up the entire blog.  I have to leave out my examples for the time being, about what living and working in Dickinson is like.  It is also literally painful and angering, to write about, and re-live my experiences in Dickinson, it is like writing about what it is like to be in prison.

I am going to switch now, and tell you the reasons why I stay in Dickinson.  I look at the internet job advertisement sites “Indeed.com”, “Careerbuilder.com”, and “Monster.com”.  I search for jobs in the state where I have a home, and I find very few jobs.  I find very few jobs, and low paying jobs.  It refreshes my memory about how ridiculously low the pay is back there, and what it is like to run out of money.  I would be stupid to think that I could go back there now.

I have lived and worked in seven different states.  I have been paid well in large cities, but I can’t stand living there.  The several areas that I loved living in, I could not make any money.  I listen to people’s experiences, advice, and recommendations about where to live.  I read news articles about living in different areas.  Most of what is published about good places to live, is a bunch of shit, because it is contradictory to what I experienced there and contradictory to what other people who actually live there describe.  In short, I can not find any valid information that indicates there is any good place to live in the United States at this time.

In Dickinson, I have my “job, job”, where I am not very busy right now.  Then I have my “self-employment job”, where I am not very busy right now.  And now, I have my “third job”, which I am just starting.  At least I have three jobs.  I am better off here, than the state where I came from.

 

Economic Information for Dickinson, North Dakota

In several of my recent blog posts, I mentioned where I got some of my information to explain the current economic situation in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I think that my best source was the website titled “A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota”, because this site did not present the website creator’s opinion, instead it was a collection of newspaper articles from North Dakota newspapers going back sixty-five years that recorded events after they had just happened.  Another good source that I found was an article submitted by “Oilman2” to the website “RuralPioneer”, that explained among other things, that North Dakota oil is relatively difficult and expensive to extract, it requires deep drilling, horizontal drilling, fracturing, and can only be produced when the price of oil is high.  The first source that I mentioned above, clearly showed that there had been a boom-to-bust cycle in North Dakota in the 1950s, and the 1970s, it gave all the reasons why, what the growth was like, and what the decline was like.  The second source that I mentioned above, explained why there is always a boom-to-bust cycle whenever and wherever oil production occurs.

The two sources of information that I mentioned above, gave information that did not lead to a good economic outlook for western North Dakota.  In many of my earlier blog posts, I based some of what I wrote on information contained in the “Dickinson Press” newspaper, “The Drill” newspaper, and “The Bakken” magazine.  Though the information in these three publications has been accurate, these publications have most often tried to not say anything too negative, because they rely on revenue from advertisement sales, and they have tried to be a supporter of the western North Dakota economy.  All the businesses and business owners in western North Dakota thought that the best thing for them to do, was to keep a positive outlook going.

In my writing, I wanted to tell what I saw going on.  I got some of my facts from the two newspapers and the magazine mentioned above, but I tried to make an independent conclusion.  I discussed my thoughts on what was happening, with other people in Dickinson, many of them were long time residents of Dickinson, some had lived and worked in other states.  My goal was to provide useful and truthful information about what living in Dickinson, North Dakota was like.

In some of my recent reading, I found an economic forecaster named William Bonner, who founded a company named Agora Inc.  William Bonner founded Agora Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland in 1978.  His company does economic research and forecasting, and their findings are presented in a newsletter that is provided to 2.4 million paid subscribers.  Supposedly, his newsletter is read by more people than the Wall Street Journal.  His writing is very clear, direct, to-the-point, and unambiguous.

I have a lot of time to read because I am not busy in my two jobs in Dickinson right now.  I need to get a third job because the economy is so slow in Dickinson now.  In reading William Bonner’s forecasts recently, I found something which I believe is very important, that William Bonner is very emphatic about.  He explains in much more detail than I can repeat in this post, that there was very nearly a sudden catastrophic economic collapse in the United States in the past ten years that some very high level people knew about, that 99% of people never knew about.  There is no benefit to William Bonner in explaining it, he just believes that people should know about it, it may be inevitable that it will happen again.

As brief as possible:  All U.S. banks have lent out money in the form of loans, mortgages, and credit cards.  On banking records, individuals and businesses owe billions of dollars to the banks due to loans, mortgages, and credit card debt.  Banks have deposit holders who have placed money in the banks and have bank accounts.  We have all probably been told and have heard, that if all the deposit holders showed up at a bank on the same day and wanted to take all of their money out, they couldn’t, because it is not all there, it has been loaned out.

Before you jump to any conclusions about what I am going to say next, don’t jump to a conclusion yet, because I am not going to talk about a “bank run”, where everybody panics and runs to the bank at the same time to get their money out and it is not all there.  I am going to explain a different type of United States bank failure that nearly happened, that did not involve a “bank run”.

William Bonner writes, I believe that he said it was 2008, that some people, and some large deposit holders, were uneasy, and believed that they needed to get their cash money out of the banks, and they did.  On a particular day, the individual banks, the United States government, and the Federal Reserve realized that there was not enough actual cash on hand in the banks to complete all the pending transactions.  There was not a run on the banks, the banks were not insolvent, there was not a panic, the banks just did not have enough cash on hand to complete all the pending transactions.  99% of people never knew that this happened on a particular date in 2008.  William Bonner said that due to the emergency, the government had to make billions of dollars of cash available to the banks.  ( I don’t know if this was freshly printed money, or if there was cash held in reserve somewhere.)  A few government and Federal Reserve officials have commented and made statements about this incident, a few years after it happened, acknowledging that on a particular day, the United States nearly had a catastrophic banking failure.

What almost happened, was that people who were at the banks presenting any kind of check, business, personal, or government, they would not have been able to cash them.  Deposit checks into accounts, yes, get cash back, no.  ATM machines would have run out of cash within a day.  Many individuals and businesses would have had difficulty conducting transactions.  Once word spread that many people were unable to get cash at the bank or ATMs, panic and looting probably would have occurred.  Once stores and businesses are looted, they do not re-stock or re-open until order is restored.  The United States would have been in chaos.

To be clear about what happened, if most of the individuals and businesses with loans, mortgages, and credit card debt continued to make their monthly payments to the banks, and individuals and businesses continued to make deposits to their accounts in banks, there would have been enough cash money on hand for some individuals and some businesses to take cash out.  There would have been enough cash on hand at the banks to stock the local ATM machines.  However, there was a trend and a suspicion that the banks were not a good place for money at that time, some individuals and some large deposit holders made cash withdrawals to remove all of their money, and there became a cash shortage in the banking system.  There was not enough physical cash on hand in the banking system to continue making normal, day-to-day transactions.

William Bonner explained that there were several reasons why there became such a shortage of physical cash in the banking system.  Across the United States, many individuals were hoarding large amounts of cash at their homes or in safety deposit boxes. Individuals and businesses had moved actual physical cash dollars to locations overseas.  I will add here, that drug cartels in Mexico probably had billions of dollars in actual physical cash, probably so did China.

If there would have been some type of authoritarian referee at every bank in every town, that could have forced some people who were hoarding cash at home to make their business loan payment or mortgage payment in cash not check, and also not allow account holders to withdraw all of their money in cash at that time, there would have been enough cash on hand in the banking system to continue making all the normal day-to-day transactions.  But there is no such referee, the physical cash shortage can happen again, it probably will.

In addition to writing about the low price of oil, and how this affects the economy in North Dakota, I wanted to explain another mechanism that could cause an economic collapse.  It is believed that as the economy in the United States continues to decline for a variety of reasons, as people become more fearful, a trend to remove cash from banks could cause there to be a shortage of cash on hand at banks and cause them to be unable to function.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Want To Beat The Chamber of Commerce In Dickinson, North Dakota

I want to beat the Chamber of Commerce in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I want to get to you, before they do.  I want to tell you the truth, rather than have you listen to lies and bullshit.

The individuals in the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce may not be bad people, but they have a job to do, and that job is to lie to you about Dickinson.

When I first wrote this blog post in November of 2015, the housing prices in Dickinson were very, very high.  Extremely high.  This was the result of greed, lack of human decency, and stupidity.  There was this lie going around that everybody in the oil field was making $100,000 per year.  In the five years that I have lived in Dickinson, I have only ever met three people who made over $100,000 per year in the oil field.

The Oil Boom was over in western North Dakota by the end of 2015, due to the price of oil falling from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel.  Many oil field jobs went away, and many out of state workers returned to the states where they came from.  Once the apartments, manufactured home parks, and trailer parks in Dickinson became less than half occupied, the rents throughout Dickinson dropped greatly.

During the Oil Boom, the people in Dickinson were not friendly, not helpful, and not cooperative.  Now that the Oil Boom is over, the people in Dickinson are even meaner, in part due to increased competition for fewer jobs, and also because they want people to leave Dickinson.

The people in Dickinson dislike people who are from someplace else, and they also dislike each other.  Anything you say to people in Dickinson, will probably make them dislike you more.  If you arrive in Dickinson now, you are better off staying away from people.  Remain in your hotel, or your home, there isn’t anything to do or anywhere to go anyway, and you will likely be followed and stopped by the Dickinson Police.

There is a shortage of women in Dickinson, and a lack of attractive women.  The ratio of men to women in Dickinson is probably 3:1.  The Dickinson Police Department try as hard as they can to not allow prostitution in Dickinson, though it is needed.  The Dickinson Police create fake advertisement for women wanting to have sex, and then arrest people when they show up.

You can not safely go out to bars or restaurants in Dickinson at night, because the Dickinson Police try as hard as they can to arrest people for DUI.  In Dickinson, the Police are so eager to arrest people for DUI or other charges, that they will follow you and stop you for any reason that they can think of.  The Police try to encourage people to leave Dickinson.

In Dickinson, all of the restaurants have employees and servers that don’t like their jobs.  All of the restaurant employees think that everyone else is making over $100,000 per year, and they aren’t, and they are mad about it.  The servers are disappointed and can’t understand why people don’t spend $50 per meal and leave them a $20 tip, like they all heard about.  How are they ever going to make $300 a night at Applebees like they planned?

There is not a lot to do in Dickinson.  It is cold and grey from about October through April, at least seven months of cold weather.

The oil field work has been reduced by about 80% over the past several years.  Most of the oil field workers who lost their jobs went back to the states where they came from because housing prices were so high here, the people are unfriendly, there is a shortage of women, you can’t go out to bars or restaurants at night, the restaurants have terrible service, there is not a lot to do, the Police encourage people to leave Dickinson, and it is cold for at least seven months of the year.

The people in Dickinson, and the employers in Dickinson, hate people with an education.  The employers in Dickinson would much rather hire someone with several felony convictions, than someone with a college degree.  In Dickinson, your supervisors and co-workers will be people convicted of robbery, theft, assault, and drug charges.  Perform a Google search and look up your company owners, managers, and personnel on www.ndcourts.gov/publicsearch/default.html before you accept a job with a company in Dickinson.

What do I want?  I want the truth to be known.  I had thought that Dickinson could change, but once the Oil Boom was over, the local people in Dickinson became ever meaner.  I had not realized that the local people in Dickinson were on their best behavior during the Oil Boom.  All I can do now is warn people what Dickinson is like.

Oil Field Speculation in Dickinson, Part II

I hope that you have read “Oil Field Speculation in Dickinson, Part I”, but it is not absolutely necessary to be able to follow along with this “Oil Field Speculation in Dickinson, Part II”.

In 2011, I met here in Dickinson a truck driver who had grown up in Gillette, Wyoming.  I will use the initials “SA” for this individual to protect his identity.  When “SA” was a kid, there was an oil and gas drilling boom in Gillette, Wyoming.  He said he remembered new apartment buildings being built and new manufactured homes being brought in.  He remembered people buying new trucks, motorcycles, boat, and RVs.  “SA” remembered his father standing around with other people, and they were all agreeing,”…this economy here in Gillette is so big now, it can’t fail, it’s big enough now to go on its own, it doesn’t depend on those oil field jobs, we got so many people living here now…”.  Within a few years, the trucks, motorcycles, boats, and RVs were being repossessed.  Whole apartment buildings became vacant or were never completed.  The oil and gas drilling had stopped.

Here in Dickinson, there appears to be the belief that there are so many people in Dickinson, that the economy is big enough to not be dependent on the oil drilling.  As an example of this belief, look at the new apartment buildings that have been constructed in 2012, 2013, and 2014.  There are approximately eighty new units at the south end of State Avenue, approximately two hundred new units at the north end of State Avenue, approximately eighty new units near the new Menards, approximately one hundred fifty new units north of the North Park RV Park.  Just to the west of Tooz Construction there are about one hundred new units.  I have probably left out some of the new apartment buildings.  The North Park RV Park, the Heart River RV Park, and the South Park Trailer Park have probably doubled in size.  There are about four new large “Extended Stay” hotels.

I partly want to find fault with the real estate developers/investors, and then again I don’t.  It is good that there are more places to live in Dickinson, it was necessary to have more places to live.  If you have read my previous blogs, you can’t stay at WalMart, the truck stops, or Patterson Lake anymore.  You can’t live in a tent in someone’s backyard for $700 a month anymore.  However, I don’t know how much longer the new housing units are going to be needed.  The real estate developers/investors and new home buyers have got to be thinking that the oil drilling is going to continue for more than several years, either that, or they think that the economy is so big in Dickinson now that it is not entirely dependent on oil drilling.

An indication that the real estate developers/investors have seen the possibility of the oil drilling not lasting more than several years, is the extremely high rent prices. You might have read in my previous blogs that a one bedroom apartment will be at least $1,500 per month, and that a two or three bedroom apartment will be $2,000 to $3,000 per month.  The high rent, I believe, is in part due to the real estate developers/investors realizing that the oil drilling could stop, and that they need to get back the money they invested as soon as possible, while they still can.

My point in this particular blog, is again, to look at what has happened in the past.  In Gillette, Wyoming, there was an oil and gas drilling boom, many new housing units were created, with the expectation that the economy would not fail.  When the drilling stopped, apartment buildings became vacant or were never completed.  Be aware of what could happen, and plan accordingly.

Oil Field Speculation in Dickinson, Part I

I arrived in Dickinson, North Dakota, in May of 2011, stayed for eight months, then came back in May of 2013, and have been here since.  I have become friends or acquaintances of several long time residents who are now in their 60s, “DS”, “IB”, and “CL”.  I have to use these initials to protect their identities.  Each of these individuals had business and social dealings with each other, so I have been able to cross check what each of them has told me.

In approximately the mid 1980s, there was an oil boom in Dickinson.  Many local people were making a great deal of money.  “CL” was about thirty years old, and at this time he bought a new truck, a new car, and a manufactured home in a twelve month period.  His friends and acquaintances did the same thing.  Within a few years, “CL” had to move back in with his parents, and had to go to work at a grocery store, because that was the only job he could get.  The same thing happened to his friends, they went from having their own homes and new cars, to living in apartments and driving beaters.  The oil field jobs went away, and it was hard to find even a low paying job in Dickinson.

Within a couple of years of the oil field jobs going away, property prices had fallen tremendously in Dickinson.  “IB” and a business partner were able to scrape enough money together to buy some warehouses on several acres of land for about $6,000 each, even though it was very hard to earn money in Dickinson at that time.  “IB” and his business partner had worked in the oil field and they strongly believed that eventually the oil drilling would have to come back to Dickinson.  “DS” was about forty years old, and he was able to buy 30 acres of land that nobody wanted for about $20,000.

When I got here in 2011, “IB” and his business partner were getting about $30,000  per month in rent from the different warehouse buildings that they had bought, I was told.  Once I found out which warehouse buildings they were, and what they were charging for rent, that dollar amount was approximately correct.  “DS” had his property for sale for about $3 million.

Both “IB” and “DS” were stressed individuals.  They had had to go through a lot to buy their properties when money was scarce, and hold onto their properties through bad economic times, over about twenty years.  Nobody knew when or if the oil drilling would come back.  If it would have been a sure thing, real estate prices would not have gone down, and everybody would have bought property.

Rather than this being a lesson in investment, I want this to be a warning.  The oil drilling came to Dickinson in the past, everybody was making money for a few years, and then the oil drilling went away, leaving many people broke.  Many people spent the money they had made very quickly because they thought that their jobs would last longer than they did, and that they would have the chance to pay off everything that was bought on credit: cars, motorcycles, boats, homes.  Keep in mind also that real estate prices dropped tremendously within a few years.  There were very few jobs in Dickinson then, and the jobs were low pay.  Do not fail to understand the lessons of the past, please try to remember what has happened before and plan accordingly.