Boy, You Done Pissed Off an Oilfield Wife

Boy, You Done Pissed Off an Oilfield WifeMr. Tankersley,

I regret to inform you that you, unfortunately, have infuriated an Oilfield Wife. You’ve happened to catch me on a bad day, and I happen to have an outlet. The keyboard is blaring fire beneath my fingertips and while I plan on staying classy, I can almost guarantee my emotions will take over soon enough. Normally, I’d apologize for such an instance, but not today, good sir.

You see, my husband, an oilfield worker, and I are facing layoff straight in its deep, dark, ugly face right now, and it’s very unsettling. While I appreciate your take on what is happening in the oilfield, I have to tell you I disagree completely with how you went about doing so. Before I go any further, thank you for bringing these issues into the spotlight for fellow Americans to read. I’ll admit, The Washington Post is a tough contender, and it’ll be tough for me to get my point across to as many people as you have, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try. So, here it goes.

First and foremost, I bet you’re thinking I’m writing this in a large, lavish home somewhere down south or in the west. Neither are true. I’m writing to you from a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, split-level, old (yet sturdy) home in Northeastern Pennsylvania where people don’t remember why they came here to begin with. The name of the town is irrelevant, as it’s guaranteed no one has heard of it anyway. I drive a secondhand car big enough for a car seat and a stroller that is certain to get us to our destination. However, leather seats and GPS aren’t even thought of. We certainly can’t afford it, as you might think we can.

Your introductory paragraph left a bad taste in my mouth. Oilfield workers, despite the image, do not spend their money on big houses and fancy trucks. And what’s more, if they have, they deserve it! Good for them! Oilfield workers support their families primarily, anything after that is simply a pleasure for a job well done.

Moving on to the second paragraph, you compared a job in the oilfield to an “economic lottery ticket”. Yes, you’re absolutely right in the sense that the Oilfield pays exceptionally well. Do you know WHY the oilfield pays so well? Allow me to enlighten you: LOTS of time away from home and loved ones, HARSH working conditions, excruciating, back-breaking work from sun up ‘til sun down, extreme amounts of pressure to perform in exhausting settings, expertise and knowledge in machines and engines you’ve never even heard of, and DANGEROUS environments. It isn’t pleasant. Each and every penny an oilfield worker gets is more than earned. It’s hard, honest work. Hardly a few lucky numbers and a payout in the end. Far, far from it, my friend. I bet my husband felt the wealth of that lottery when he missed his baby girl’s first words.

Furthermore, also noted in paragraph two (as well as subsequent paragraphs) you mentioned that the gentleman featured in the article doesn’t have an education past high school. Later on you wrote, “More than 9 out of 10 oil and gas jobs are held by men without college degrees. Their median earnings topped out at $65,000 a year in 2013, according to Census Bureau data, double what similarly educated men make in the overall economy.” Forgive me if I’m wrong, but are you saying that these men aren’t deserving of the money they earned because they lack education?!?! Reading on you stated, “Only a few other sectors pay that well for men with such little education…” …Such little education.

Enter an exhausted, husband-deprived, mother of a toddler, Lego in my foot, emotionally-drained woman…my emotions I spoke about earlier are about to come out. Class has gone out the window, and boy, you done pissed off an oilfield wife. I literally cannot wrap my head around how to go about writing what I want to say. I myself am an educated woman. I expect you anticipate me to use words like “ain’t” and “nuthin”…seeing as people view me as uneducated “oilfield trash”. I hold a PA state license in beauty, a Bachelor’s Degree in business, a minor in Spanish, and a Master’s Degree in education (with a 4.0). I can tell you right here, right now, that I could NEVER know and do what my husband does on that rig. Ever. Even if I were working in my given field, with a Master’s Degree, I would be making less than half of what my husband brings home. Degrees do not equal worthiness.

My husband may not have the pieces of paper to declare why he is smart, but oh my, is he ever smart! He’s incredible! He earned his high school diploma, also PA certified in Auto Mechanics, and he’s a United States Marine. HE IS WORTHY. I don’t give a damn what degrees these men do or do not hold…it is 100% irrelevant to the work they do. As a matter of fact, who in the hell would work 2-3 jobs to make comparable income when you could take an oilfield job? Sounds pretty intelligent to me! Do not underestimate the intelligence of oilfield workers!

Do you care to know what keeps my husband up at night? What haunts his “non-educated” mind? It isn’t how he’s going to pay for that expensive truck you began your ill-written material with. He worries about how he’ll find a job now that will keep his wife home with our special needs child that needs her mother. He worries about how we’ll manage keeping the house and the cars needed to make countless appointments. He worries about the electric and water bills, not mansion mortgage payments.

Oilfield families don’t need data, judgment, ridicule, and the ignorant opinions of their peers. You remain just that, someone on the outside looking in to a world you won’t understand until you’ve lived it. In a way I feel bad for people that look down upon the amazing oilfield workers I speak of. You don’t know the strength of the oilfield family we’ve created here…and you never will. We’ll get through this; I have no doubt in my mind.

A struggling, stronger than you can imagine, Oilfield Wife

Our thoughts and prayers go out to ALL of the oilfield families struggling though this very difficult time! We’re going to be okay!


Article this post is in reference to:

About ashley

Ashley and her husband, Ryan, have been married for 4 years. They became an oilfield family in March of 2011. They live in Northeastern Pennsylvania with their 2 year old daughter, Anistyn, and two fur-children: Kora (the manic Australian Cattle Dog) and Jaxx (your typical lazy house cat). Ashley traded in her various degrees and certifications to take on her ultimate dream job of fulltime mommy and wife. When not throwing over-the-top toddler dance parties and reading the same storybook 104 times in a row she enjoys reading her own books, baking, writing, meeting new friends, trying new things, and saving every animal in need on the planet!


  1. Here is what I wrote to him:

    I cannot speak for Ashley and her family however I can give you insight into mine down in south Texas, in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale.

    My husband is an educated man. He graduated from Texas State University. He was a teacher and a coach for many years all over the state of Texas. He left that job to move back home to be close to his sick grandmother and was able to be picked up by a local oilfield company with whom have kids he grew up with.

    Fact – most men in the industry are educated. They may not have college degrees which is the education measure you used however they have to get certifications and special training to be able to properly and safely perform their jobs. Being educated doesn’t mean you have to have a college degree. Just like Ashley stated in her article, she is a very educated woman by your college standards however I feel the same way in the sense that I do not know if I could perform my husband’s job to his level of professionalism and accuracy and I too carry a BBA in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Real Estate from the University of North Texas.

    Working in the oilfield is not a lottery ticket. I do not even understand that term nor have I ever heard it. Just because you can claim you have a job in the oilfield doesn’t mean that you all of a sudden are raking in the money.

    My husband is not on the drilling side which is where the majority of the mass amounts of money is, which is also the side of the industry that your subject of your article was on. The service companies took a big hit, as did the drilling side when the rigs started to get stacked. My husband is on the completions side. A very different aspect to the oilfield that most do not think about. He is still working for a very large and prominent coil tubing company. Yet again, as Ashley stated in your article, we are facing tough times and keep our fingers crossed that we make it through any more layoffs.

    If I could just say that your article seemed one-sided and degrading to the wives of educated (college degree or not) oilfield workers who continue to bust their butts regardless of the industry’s current standings. We are not oilfield trash as many people call us.

    If I could ask where you got your stats on the education level of oilfield workers that you mention? “More than 9 out of 10 oil and gas jobs are held by men without college degrees.”

  2. William mooney says:

    Lots of love and respect from our oil field family to yours .. Hang in there , its going to get better .. The mooney family …

Speak Your Mind