Friday, June 4, 2010

I am oriented!

What a week. Woof. We got geared up and learned all about safety procedures, protocol, and the lifestyle we are about to be submerged in. Talk about overload.

We started every day by getting on the bus at 6:30 (except that first day...) and we ended at 5(ish...) and then went to eat dinner with the recruiters. Our days basically didn't end until 9 or 1o pm. We've spent considerable amounts of time on the three shuttle buses contracted out to cart our sorry little hind-ends around and we've spent even more time listening to PowerPoint presentations about things like lifting with your legs and not your back or only driving for a maximum of 10 hours in a 24 hour period (but never between 11 pm and 5 am!).

Don't get me wrong, it's been pretty fun. Our dinners include an open bar (can you say drunk interns?) because the company culture boils down to "work hard" (SO hard) "and play harder" (no kidding). We also do have very minute times to ourselves (between shuttle bus rides) in which we can roam the mall or take a much needed nap. We have started to get to know one another (at least as much as possible between listening to talks about coveralls when there are 76 interns...) and we are "gelling" well. Seriously, I have never seen such a large group of people our age that fit together so nicely. There aren't really cliques (yet) and even when there seems to have formed a conversation group, we all are pretty comfortable joining in. It's kinda weird. I like it. I've made friends with people from Alaska, New York, California, Michigan, Tennessee, and West Virginia (to name just a few) and I've only had to endure two Dorothy jokes so far.

And then there's the SWAG (easy trigger, I mean Stuff We All Get)! I am now the proud (yes proud--I mean that) owner of two sets of blue Tyvek suits (for those of you who may not know: flame resistant coveralls in a perfectly smurf-y hue), a green hardhat (also excited about that), Red Wing boots, prescription safety goggles (they look HOT), and a sweet duffel bag to keep it all in. I have yet to don them all at once but I assure you that when I do, there will be photographic evidence. I'll probably fall in line and start referring to all of this as my PPE (personal protective equipment) as is the trend, so heads up on that one.

We are treated not so much as interns as prospective employees so they aren't sugar coating anything. This job can eat people alive. The hours are crazy (they OWN you for the first three to five years) and the work is DEMANDING (physically, mentally, emotionally...). I may spend several days on site and that means sleeping in a truck whenever I can catch a few minutes and peeing outside (no proper potty on an oil platform). As a woman I've been prepared to be treated as somewhat of an oddity and talked to as if these "roughnecks" (not people from our company but the actual work horses of an oil platform) had never seen a girl before. Should I chose to adopt this lifestyle as my career, and should I last for those first three to five years, I could be moved and placed in virtually any job, in any country in the world. I could become a sales rep, recruiter, or design engineer in France, Chad, or Venezuela. They work with you, and try to accommodate you as much as possible, but the facts are that for those first years when you are earning your keep you don't get scheduled vacation and no more than perhaps four or five days at a time. Family, if I stay with these folks, I may not see you for quite a while. It's INTENSE. The purpose of this internship program is to see if this is for me. I may very well not be. We shall see.

In the end we are geared up and oriented. We have flown back to Tulsa and we have the weekend to ourselves before we start training in Kellyville. It'll be partly classroom learning, and partly hands-on practical work. I'm kind of excited for this part.

Tomorrow I'll buy groceries, and I'll return to write more about the effects of the oil spill in the gulf. As for tonight, I'm exhausted and I'm going to bed.

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