Oilfield Life in 2015

Oilfield Life in '15 #realoilfieldwivesThe last couple of hitches had been rough for me.  I was hesitant to share it because there are so many oilfield families looking for work.  I knew that people would think that I should be grateful my husband has a job.  I am grateful, but that doesn’t mean that my life is perfect.  Being an oilfield wife is just hard sometimes.

Let’s be honest, in the last few months the climate in the oilfield has changed dramatically.  Price drops, subsequent slowing of production, and layoffs have changed the attitude in a lot of us.

To the oilfield families who have lost jobs this year, I think of you often.  First, because I know how it feels to have your loved one laid off.  You can read about how I handled our job loss here. Secondly, there is a strong chance I will be joining your ranks later on this year.

I can remember after Oilman got laid off previously, a lot of his friends from work avoided him like he was an Ebola carrier.  It was hurtful.  I think they didn’t know what to say and maybe felt guilty that they still had jobs and he didn’t.  Based on my own experience, people may say that everything is fine after their husband gets laid off, but they need your extra support.  Some families are probably prepared and equipped to handle the storm financially, but everyone gets a little bit worried when the checks stop coming in.  Money stresses seem to amplify other problems in life.  Let’s be sensitive to that and support our fellow oilfield families.

I feel very fortunate that Oilman is currently still working, but like I said earlier, the climate has changed.  Half of the men Oilman worked alongside have been laid off.  This week I heard snippets of phone conversations as Oilman talked to his friends who were struggling and looking for work.  In this type of work environment Oilman does what he does best, which is rise to the occasion.  This means if you need to work 28 days instead of 20, you do it.  It means that if you are enjoying your 10 days off after that 28 days and your boss calls you in a day early, you do it.  It means if you have to work hitch after hitch after hitch all on nights, you do it.  You do it without complaint, you keep your head down, and you work.

I didn’t even realize how much the whole situation had been wearing me down until he came home.  The 28 days on was rougher than usual.  Oilman was all on nights, which translates to less sleep, which equals a less patient husband.  Less patient husband was paired with a busy and working wife plus tax season and the IRS.  That was not an equation that equaled lovey-dovey text messages, it encouraged arguments.  We had several.   It got better towards the end of his hitch, but I found myself more emotional and needy during days off.  My husband has to deal with an emotional wife sometimes.  He wipes her tears and loves her even when she is being selfish, filled with a PMS rage, and/or illogical.  She loves him when he is tired, grumpy, and loses his patience 18 days into a hitch.

It’s put me into a funk you guys and I’m slowly pulling myself out.

To all of the oilfield families who are looking for work, my prayers and thoughts are with you.  To all of the oilfield wives/girlfriends who are coming out of a tough winter and are emotionally beat down, I’m with you in solidarity.  To all of the oilfield wives/girlfriends who do this life year after year without complaint and with style, when I grow up I want to be you.

Oilman just left for another hitch.  The sun is shining and spring is upon us here in Texas.  I don’t know how many hitches we will get this year, but in the words of Oilman, “let’s give ‘em hell”.

About LC

Howdy! LC and her Oilman live in the ‘burbs north of Austin, TX. She is a real estate broker, but you won’t find her face on a bus bench and she doesn't drive a Cadillac. Oilman works in Texas as a Completions Consultant. Don’t worry, most people don’t know what that title means either. LC calls him frac guru, for short. She may be the only woman in America that hated both "Twilight" AND "50 Shades of Grey". Oilman and LC like wine, good music, their two dogs, and cervezas in Central America. Follow the adventures of LC and Oilman at: www.LivingOilfieldLife.com or on Instagram at: living_oilfield_life

Comments

  1. So many of the things you said, are relatable to me. My husband has been gone since Jan, and in that span of time he was changed from salary with bonus to hourly. Hourly wouldn’t be so bad, but he has since been told to sit and wait for a call. Our home is on the opposite side of the country, and he usually comes home once a month. It’s hard enough having him away, but when the cashflow is nil, it makes it even harder. He is basically waiting there for a phone call. We don’t want to spend money to bring him home and we also don’t want to chance missing any potential work either. “Emotional & needy” has been the state of my existence for the last 3 months. I think the worst is not knowing when we will see each other next, and what to tell our little boys. I never really thought of myself as an oilfield wife until lately… but it definitely is a different way of life. Thanks for sharing your story and helping others who are in the same boat, not feel so alone. 🙂

    • You are very welcome JW. I’m so sorry that things have been rough this year. Hopefully things will start to look up.

  2. Thank you for writing something so lovely and timely.You and your family are in our prayers. I can say that because we are on the other side. It seemed worse while we were waiting for the other shoe to fall. It did, and we are still alive. Yes, we’ve had to scale back. Yes, I had to get a job (okay two). But we are using this as a chance to ground ourselves. My hubs is using the opportunity to go to truck driving school because that will help us get through, and will be an added skill for when we can get back into the oilfield. I wonder what the landscape of the oilfield will be after this “great shift change”.

    • You are very welcome Marti. I agree with you and wonder myself what the next few years will look like. I love your optimism despite the obvious struggles you have had this year.

  3. Shannan Sowder Pfeifer says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! It really spoke to my heart. I just came across this site today after looking for some type of “oilfield wife support group.” My husband has a job (for the time being) and as you expressed, we are so grateful for that. But I can also relate to what you are going through. I have a one year old at home and am currently 12 weeks pregnant (surprise!) and it has been very rough on me to be alone. I am blaming the raging hormones and not a lack of self-sufficiency! Ha! Anyway, thank you for helping me feel less alone.

  4. Rayna Vance says:

    Very well written. At this point, I’d almost rather just have the shoe drop and him get laid off. If he gets the next pay cut they are talking about it would no longer even be worth him going for two weeks at a time. I guess we’ll see. No matter what, I’m on his side, and that is the most important thing!

  5. Thanks so much for your post. To be honest, I didn’t even know the lives of Oilmen and their families were as emotionally taxing as they are. My nephew is about to start work in Texas at an oilfield; I’ll definitely keep your blog in mind as a resource on family life in the context of the oil industry. Best wishes!

  6. Hey, this is a great post that has really good insights. I had always thought when prices drop, it’s a win for everyone but there is another side of the story that we never hear about. Most people don’t know that workers are getting laid off and families are hurting. Thanks for sharing your story. I wish you luck.

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