Tag Archives: working in Dickinson North Dakota

Doing The Right Thing In North Dakota Can Cost You Your Job

In North Dakota, doing the right thing can cost you your job.  I have seen it happen to other people, and it has happened to me too.  For instance, you can read my previous blog posts about “The Disputed Termination Of David Armendariz In Dickinson, North Dakota”.

Some of my blog posts are too long, so I want to try to get right to the point about something that happened to me this week, where I almost lost my job.

For the past year, I have worked at a site that is approximately 100 acres in size.  This week, an outside independent contractor was hired to perform some work at this site.  This contractor had four, one-ton four-wheel-drive trucks on this site.  On the second day of their work, one of these trucks got stuck in a low lying wet area.

This contractor drove up to me, to ask me if I had a tow strap, they could not find any of theirs on any of their trucks.  I had a new 30′ tow strap in my personal vehicle, and also a 30′ heavy duty rope.  I said that I would drive down behind them in my vehicle.  I already had an idea of where they got stuck.

I wanted to have the owner of this contracting company, pull his stuck work truck out from behind, because this looked like the best way.  The contracting company owner wanted to try to pull his stuck truck out from the front, so that is how I hooked the tow strap up.

The contracting company owner driving his one-ton four-wheel-drive dual rear wheel diesel Dodge truck could not pull this other one-ton four-wheel-drive truck out from the front.  I said let’s try it from the back, and if this doesn’t work, I will get the site owners to pull this truck out with their front end loader.

Luckily, this truck came out of the mud, when it was pulled from the back, but it just barely came out.  I did not want to try to get the site owners to start up their loader and bring it down, because they look at this as someone being an idiot and messing up.

In general, I was told by my employer, to always stay away from the site owners, this is how my predecessor lost his job.  However, the site owners had pulled one of my co-workers out with their front end loader last year.

When I got back to my work area after helping the independent outside contractor to get their work truck unstuck at about 3:30 p.m., I realized that the site owners were all gone, there was no one else around, there was only me.  If the independent contractor had not been able to pull their truck out using their own one-ton four-wheel-drive dually Dodge diesel truck, the only thing that would have gotten that truck out, was the front end loader.

I probably would have gotten on the loader, carefully driven it down there, pulled the truck out easily, and taken the loader back to where it was parked.  I would not have thought too much about it, I suppose, because there was nothing else to do about the situation, in my opinion.

I have worked as a laborer, foreman, superintendent, project manager, inspector, engineer, and contractor.  In my work experience, you do what you can when another contractor is in a bind, because you would hope and expect another contractor to do the same thing for you.  Also, in my work experience, it is expected by the site owner, that there is to be cooperation among contractors, you do not withhold help when it is needed.

In my work experience, I have operated a loader, backhoe, dozer, excavator, crane, lull, bucket truck, trencher, plow, and directional drill rig, without ever having an accident or damaging anything.  Would I have gotten fired for using the site owner’s front end loader to pull another contractor’s truck out?

The following day, I asked my co-worker who has been working at this site for four years, and he said, yes, the site owner would have demanded that the company that I work for, fire me immediately for using their front end loader.

I had very little to do with the work that this independent outside contractor was performing, I just happened to be the only other personnel on site when they got stuck.  It did not benefit me to help this contractor, it only benefited the site owners to help get this other work completed.

I felt bad that I came close to losing my job, by helping someone else which did not benefit me in any way.  But I would have lost my job, and this type of thing is very typical in North Dakota, completely different from anywhere else that I have worked.

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Why Dickinson, North Dakota Is So Quiet Tonight

When I got home to my apartment in downtown Dickinson, North Dakota at 6:30 p.m., on this Monday, June 18, everything was very quiet.  I opened all of the windows in my apartment, turned on my computer, checked my e-mails, looked at my Worpress blog, looked at Facebook, read the Dickinson Press Newspaper online, and everything continued to be quiet in my apartment building, the parking lot, and this downtown residential area.

I fell asleep in my lazy boy recliner chair from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and I am just now waking up.  This residential area is so quiet right now, that I can hear that there is not a single car driving on the main downtown street through Dickinson, Villard Street.  Either directly on four-lane Villard Street, or one block north of Villard Street, there are twelve bars and restaurants, and about eight gas station convenience stores.

I am listening and trying to time it, and I am not hearing even one vehicle per five minutes on Villard Street.  I have heard one car in the past fifteen minutes.  Can you imagine how quiet that is, one car in fifteen minutes on the main street through downtown, at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday night?

I know why Dickinson is this quiet, it is a combination of about four different things.  I read a newspaper article about a month ago, that said the population of North Dakota decreased from 2017 to 2018, there was a net out-migration of about 500 people.  The total population of North Dakota is only about 750,000 people.

Despite what the business owners, real estate agents, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, business associations, elected representatives, and spokespeople say, the economy in western North Dakota has been slowing down since 2015, and it continues to do so.

In the Spring of 2018, there were newspaper articles and advertisements, radio announcements and advertisements, television reports and advertisements, trade journal articles and advertisements, telling people about the great need for workers in western North Dakota.  The truth is, that all of these reports and advertisements about the need for workers in western North Dakota, did not match the reality of the actual number of job openings posted on North Dakota Job Services, the Dickinson Press newspaper, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn.com, etcetera.

Yes, there was a need every week for a few CDL licensed drivers, experienced heavy equipment mechanics, electricians, experienced hydraulic fracturing operators, and laborers, but just a few, not a huge amount.  Many of these job openings did not represent company growth or an expansion in business operations, but were job vacancies created by workers who quit and left North Dakota.

The truth is, that workers who are already living here or who come here, who can prove that they have experience welding, fabricating, operating heavy equipment, operating fracturing equipment, working on a drill rig, with a CDL license, or are a certified mechanic, they can probably find a job if they are in good health and have a clean driving record.  But there is not a huge demand for workers.

I know experienced oil field workers living here in western North Dakota who have had difficulty in finding a job, and the jobs that they eventually accept are lower pay, sometimes much lower, than what they used to get paid.  I know people over 50 years of age who have work experience in the oil field and in construction, who have a lot of difficulty in finding a job in western North Dakota.

In the past several years, I have seen many people with some college education, business experience, technical experience, construction experience, and oil field experience, decide to leave North Dakota, because of the combination of not very high pay, poor working conditions, cold weather, and overall unpleasant environment here.  The people who have remained here in Dickinson after the oil boom ended in 2015, are mostly blue-collar trades people.

As I previously stated up above, there was an attempt this Spring by business owners, real estate agents, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, and government spokespeople, to entice and lure people here to North Dakota using announcements, news stories, and advertisements.  Most of the people who responded to this and came to western North Dakota, were no-skilled, low-skilled, inexperienced, poor, uneducated, illegal drug users from cities in Washington State and California.

Initially, in this Spring of 2018 in downtown Dickinson, it was noisy and chaotic.  The poor white-trash and poor blacks who recently arrived from the inner-cities of Washington State and California ran around and got into everything like insects that had recently hatched.  In expectation of getting a high paying oil field job, these no-skilled, low-skilled uneducated inner-city people rented apartments, and behaved like they did where they came from.

These new arrivals from the inner-cities continued to use illegal drugs, sell illegal drugs, get high, get drunk, and drive recklessly around Dickinson.  Little by little, bit by bit, the Dickinson Police arrested these new arrivals for possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, and DUI.

Once these no-skilled, low-skilled, uneducated inner-city people with criminal records and bad driving records found that they were unable to get a job working in the oil field, they began doing what they did in the inner-cities where they came from, sell drugs, steal, commit burglaries, and robberies.

Little by little, bit by bit, these inner-city people who arrived in Dickinson, most of them have either been stopped by the Dickinson Police multiple times, or they have been arrested.  They are in jail awaiting trial, have posted bail and have fled the state, have calmed down because they don’t want to get stopped by the Police anymore, or they have moved away because of the Police and they can’t get a job.

What is very funny to me, is at the apartment building where I live in downtown Dickinson tonight, it is so quiet, such a contrast to the months of April, May, and the beginning of June.  There is no one driving recklessly through the residential streets, there is no vehicle in the apartment building parking lot playing ghetto music, there is no one stopping by the apartment building to buy illegal drugs, there are no drug addicts wandering through the parking lot or the hallways.

The people all throughout this downtown neighborhood tonight, they have got their jobs to go to in the morning, they were all in for the night by 7:00 p.m., they had dinner, watched television, and went to bed.  The people from Washington State and California, are mostly back where they came from, or locked in their jail cell.

Financial Problems And Taxes Working In The Oil Field Of North Dakota

In 2016, this was about my fourth year of working in Dickinson, North Dakota.  The oil boom was over in North Dakota by the end of 2015, but I continued to stay in Dickinson because I could make more money here, than I could back at my home in Idaho.  I have always planned on, and looked forward to, moving back to my home in Idaho once I have made enough money.

Just like most years in North Dakota, I had very little work and very little income in January 2016, February 2016, and December 2016.  Even if you plan on working in the Winter in North Dakota, so many projects get shut down due to the cold, and frozen ground, that there is a ripple effect of a slow down or shut down through other occupations.

In 2016, I was lucky to get a work project at the end of February, and later in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, I had two jobs at the same time.  Though I had very little income in January, February, and December of 2016, I still made about $47,000 that year.  This was much, much more money than I could have made in Idaho.

In Idaho, even though I have a B.S. in mechanical engineering, I would be very, very lucky to find a job paying even $30,000 per year.  There are a few large manufacturers of agricultural equipment that might have a job advertisement for an engineer that pays a fixed salary of $45,000 per year, but you would be required to do the work of two to three people, taking work home with you every week night, and working Saturday and Sunday too, for an employer who would act like they didn’t know any better, but would actually be thinking that  “they were getting their money’s worth”.

One of the reasons why engineers in places like Idaho and North Dakota, get treated like shit, get hired on a fixed yearly salary, have to do the work of two to three people, and take work home with them, is because there are so few job openings, that if you want to work as an engineer that bad, this is what you get stuck doing.

So for me, I feel a lot better getting paid for every hour that I work, especially when I end up making more money than I would have working as an engineer.

But let me get back to what I wanted to talk about, the financial problems and taxes.  I had no problem with my employers withholding from my paychecks, federal income taxes, North Dakota state income taxes, medicare, and social security.  In fact, I only claimed one withholding allowance on my employee tax withholding forms, when I could have claimed two withholding allowances.

Because I had two different jobs at the same time, each employer withheld tax money from my paychecks at the correct percentage for the money that I was being paid by that employer.  However, because of my combined income from two jobs, and making $47,000 overall, I ended up being in a higher tax bracket, the 25% tax bracket instead of the 15% tax bracket.  With just one withholding allowance, most people would have received a federal income tax refund for overpaying, but not me, I owed more money in federal income taxes.

What pushed me into owing more federal income taxes, was the “Obamacare Tax Penalty” of $850.  Let me get this straight, I worked two jobs at the same time, I had one income tax withholding allowance, and now I owe additional money in federal income taxes, because I did not have health insurance, and you want me to pay for other people’s health insurance?

This keeps getting worse.  I didn’t have hardly any income in December 2016, January 2017, February 2017, March 2017, and April 2017.  I didn’t have the money to pay all of my taxes in April, and the CPA who has done my taxes for years, customarily files an extension for me because he is busy, so I didn’t pay on time.

When I did finally pay my income taxes before the end of my income tax filing extension deadline, I owed additional federal income taxes, $1,700 in Idaho State income taxes, and $450 Idaho State income tax penalty.

From my paychecks, the State of North Dakota was receiving all of the state income taxes that they were owed, which I believe was 2% of my gross pay on each paycheck.  However, I didn’t have any withholding from my paychecks for the State of Idaho, where I claim residency, and their state income tax rate is about 7% I believe.

Why, why would I pay state income tax to both North Dakota, and to Idaho?  Because I work in North Dakota, I don’t care that they withhold about 2% from the gross pay on each of my paychecks.  I would rather North Dakota just take the 2%, rather than argue with the state of North Dakota about my residency, which I would probably lose this argument with them anyway.

I wrote a whole blog post titled “Losing Your Home In A Lawsuit Judgement”, where I explain that it is very important legally, to make sure that your home is counted under the law as “Your Primary Residence”, and not an investment property.  Legal proof for me that my home in Idaho is my “Primary Residence”, and not an investment property,  would be such things as me having an Idaho driver’s license, not renting out my home, not owning a second home elsewhere that I claim as my primary residence, having most of my vehicles registered in Idaho, and especially, claiming myself to be a resident of Idaho on my federal income tax return, which unfortunately means paying something like 7% of my income in taxes to the State of Idaho.

Here is what the amount of my income that I paid in Year 2016 taxes looks like:

  • Federal income tax                  16% (bracket was 25%, but 16% was the effective rate)
  • Soc. Sec. & Medicare                7.6%
  • Obamacare Penalty                  1.8%
  • North Dakota income tax          2%
  • Idaho income tax                        7%
  • Idaho income tax penalty          1%
  • Idaho property tax                     1.7%
  • Sales tax                                         6%
  • Tax preparation                          0.75%

Total of my income paid in taxes     43.85%

I wrote this blog post today, because I am considering what to do.  What can I do?  If I sold my house back in Idaho, I would have to pay 6% to a real estate company, and then pay capital gains tax on the amount of gain over what I originally purchased this house for, at about a 25% tax rate on the gain.  Or if I put all of the sale money into a house in Dickinson, I wouldn’t owe any capital gains taxes, but I would be putting this money into a depreciating property, as prices in Dickinson are still inflated.

I don’t want to sell my house in Idaho, I had planned on going home one day.  What would I do with all of my personal property, furniture, trailers, equipment, and vehicles?  I would be eaten alive in storage rental fees, if I didn’t have my own property.  Even if I could fit all of my furniture, personal belongings, tools, equipment, and maybe one vehicle into a storage unit for $250 per month, this equals $3,000 per year, this is the exact amount of money that I am trying not to pay to the state of Idaho in the first place.  Selling my home to avoid paying about $3,000 per year to the state of Idaho in income taxes and property taxes, would result in me paying $3,000 per year in rent for a storage unit.

How or why would I drag all of my property to Dickinson, and buy a home here?  There is a tremendous shortage of women, the local people are very unfriendly, the town is being transformed by all of the drug people and criminals that are currently moving here, and the economy may continue to decline in Dickinson.

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.

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.