You Should Have Known

You Should Have KnownYou should’ve known what you were getting into when you married an oilfield man.  This seems to be a popular sentiment with oilfield wives.  It is a response to other women’s cries of difficulty and frustration at times over this lifestyle.  In fact, it has become so popular of a comment that both Ashley and I wrote about the same subject.  You can read her take on it here.

We do this thing when viewing others.  We take things and filter them through our own set of experiences and divvy out the advice.  The problem is, sometimes we are wrong.  We are wrong because other people have lived completely different lives than our own.  When the experiences are drastically different, the advice or comments don’t always fit.

When people say things like “you should’ve known” about oilfield life, I would like to ask how exactly?  This oil boom didn’t just happen to people who had worked in the oilfield forever.  This boom brought people out from all walks of life and different career paths.  I do not recall a welcoming class to the oilfield lifestyle and there is no instructional manual.  There is no way to prepare people for this work schedule when they have never done it before.  I have no family members in oil (most of us work in real estate).  We live in the technology capital of Texas, where most people work at Dell (not Halliburton).

Everyone’s significant other does different jobs in the field.  Some people have a spouse on call.  Some people have been on the same schedule years.  Some people have schedules that change regularly.  Some people see their spouse every day, some periodically, and some not at all for months at a time.  We each have a different perspective and experience when it comes to the oilfield lifestyle and our pre-oilfield life.

My husband joined the oilfield after we were married.  There was no way for me to know what the oilfield lifestyle was like before marrying him because he worked in construction.  Like a lot of people, we got into this industry because we needed the money.  I had no idea that when you sign up for a job in the field that you sign up for a lifestyle.  I didn’t know that the service company my husband would start with was woefully understaffed.  I had no way to know that he would have almost no scheduled days off for over a year and half.  I assumed he would be on a schedule.  How would I have known that there were times that Oilman would spend DAYS at a well without relief?  At one point, a coworker (and his relief) fell asleep at the wheel, veered into oncoming traffic, hit an eighteen wheeler, and was almost killed.  The service company never sent a replacement.  How do you prepare for this type of experience?

When someone says something like, “you should’ve known what you were getting into.”  It does a nice job of making the other person feel bad.  As if her feelings and thoughts aren’t valid.  It essentially closes the door on real communication between women.   These are women who suck it up and deal with this life year after year.  Sometimes we stumble.  Sometimes life gets difficult for us.  Maybe our marriage is faltering or someone we love has health issues.  Maybe we are struggling through parenthood.  Maybe an unexpected curve ball just slammed into our face.  Sometimes we need to open up and be authentic about our lives without someone telling us “we knew what we were getting into”.  Even the things that I have researched, planned, and organized have had a way of taking on a completely different direction.  Life has a funny way of turning into something we never expected.

This lifestyle is not for the faint of heart.  It is not for the woman who is afraid to live her life without a man home every day.  Regardless of whether or not we knew what we were getting into, there are some instances where we need to change our perspective from the negative to the positive. There is a time to stop complaining and deal with whatever life brings us.  There is also a time where it is good and beautiful to say to each other that life is hard and that we are hurting.  To become vulnerable with each other is how real relationships are formed.  It is also good to remember that what seems clear and obvious to us isn’t the same way to others.  For each of us our background, age, upbringing, education, jobs, and life experiences bring a different outlook.  When we are judging things based on what we think we know, we may just be wrong.

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. Totally agree with you. My husband and I both work oilfield….I work at the main office of one company and he is out in the field with another. I am such a planner that it has been hard to get used to his every changing schedule. I usually don’t know where he is at until he calls from location. With the slow down really affecting the Eagle Ford Shale here in South Texas I have also gotten the “you shouldn’t have been living above your means” talk when we started getting worried about our income. That chaps my ass more than anything because we don’t.

    • Thank you Andrea and I completely understand. My husband is also in the Eagle Ford Shale, so we are right there with you! Best of luck to you and your husband during this time.

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