Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Offshore Experience

Fancy the movie star lifestyle of an overseas oil worker? Who wouldn't? Here are some things you can do at home to simulate that offshore experience. Try them out for yourself and then ask yourself "how much should they pay me to put up with this?"

The Ride Out

If you are lucky you will be on a helicopter. Find four of you largest friends and stuff yourself into the back of an Austin Mini. Make sure that the engine of said mini has no exhaust manifold. The noise and smell are essential to the experience. Get the driver to randomly swerve or brake the vehicle. Remain in your cramped position for approximately 2 hours. For the extreme simulation nobody is allowed to shower for at least 24 hours prior to departure and a diet of brussel sprouts and kidney beans is mandatory.

The Offshore Office

For this simulation you will need a space slightly larger than a closet. You will be spending 12 hours or more per day in here so it’s important to get the ergonomics right. Your workspace should not allow you to stand completely upright if you are over 5' tall. Air conditioning should be one of two types; artic or non-existent. The ambient noise can be simulated by installing several vacuum cleaners inside your workspace and switching them all on. Next, find a 50's style loudspeaker, set it to full volume, disable the volume control, and place the speaker approximately 15 cm from where your head will be. The speaker can be connected to a microphone located somewhere else in the house. At random intervals have you wife, girlfriend or significant others scream into the microphone that the mud weight is now 9.7. Even better if they can randomly operate an impact drill for several minutes at a time or just beat a hammer against a piece of pipe repeatedly. Need to use the toilet? No problem. Just go up and down eight flights of stairs each time you need to go. Alternately you can walk 5 times around your house. Before you leave your "workshop" however you need to put on a hard hat, steel toed boots, safety glasses,earplugs and gloves. Remove these items upon entering the toilet area and put them back on when you leave.

Your Accommodation

Sometimes the rig accommodation can be quite nice. Single rooms Television sets, internet connections, and the like. Those sorts of accommodations are reserved exclusively for oil company personnel and senior members of the rig crew. As a service hand you will never ever see these rooms. Expect to be sharing your room with at least 3 others and your bathroom with at least 7 others. Guaranteed there will be at least one who snores like a freight train and another who has some sort of annoying idiosyncrasy such as hawking up their phlegm or continuously flossing.

Your Job

To simulate this find someone someone to follow you around and record in minute detail every moment of your workday. These daily reports get collated at the end of the well into thick reports complete with pie charts and process diagrams that illustrate with a clarity only hindsight can provide where you supposedly departed from the critical path of your job and why the oil company should withhold payment for the 3 minutes of non-productive rig time that you spent re-booting windows or using the toilet. At a million dollars rig charges per day it’s easy to find people who are this anal. Wellsite witnesses make a living by trying to demonstrate your incompetence to Oil Companies - if you must deal with them use either simplistic language suitable for 2 year olds or overwhelm them with technical jargon as to the possible reasons why the induction tool response is not following its expected profile. Information imparted freely to customers will generally be used against you so keep it mum - less said the better.

The Return Trip

Part of the fun of working offshore for a service company is that you never really know when you will be going back. Could be a day. Could be a week, or even a month or two. The usual case will be that the company man decides at the last minute that he needs the bed space and will tell you to drop tools and get on the chopper that is arriving in 5 minutes. You scramble like wildebeests trying to simultaneously pack your things, finish your job and leave your workspace in some semblance of order for the next guy coming out. Typically you realize, while stuffed into the chopper halfway home, that your watch is still sitting quite comfortably in the rig accommodation  just waiting to be nicked by the first bloke who happens along.

If this is the sort of dream existence that makes your heart beat a little faster then by all means get into the oil business. Prices are going up (at the moment) and the panic layoffs of 6 months ago are slowly turning in to the where-do-we-find-people mindset that is furrowing my boss’s forehead as I write. Otherwise I suggest that you get a normal job and remain blissfully ignorant of the hoops we in the patch jump through to keep gas in your tank.

Friday, January 1, 2010

You Can't Please Everyone

Political correctness ad absurdium.

Borrowed from Carl Parkes's Blog.
I thought this was kind of funny. Some folks have great imaginations.

On a personal note baiting the HR department can be great fun!

Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: December 1, 2009

RE: Gala Christmas Party

I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We’ll have a small band playing traditional carols… feel free to sing along. And don’t be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 PM. Exchanges of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone’s pockets. This gathering is only for employees!

Our CEO will make a special announcement at that time!

Merry Christmas to you and your family,



Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: December 2, 2009

RE: Gala Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on, we’re calling it our “Holiday Party.” The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians and to those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols will be sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.

Happy now?

Happy Holidays to you and your family,



Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: December 3, 2009

RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, you didn’t sign your name..

I’m happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, “AA Only”, you wouldn’t be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?

Somebody? And sorry, but forget about the gift exchange, no gifts are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and the executives believe $10.00 is a little chintzy.



Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

To: All Employees

DATE: December 4, 2009

RE: Generic Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees’ beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party or else package everything for you to take it home in little foil doggy baggy. Will that work?

Meanwhile, I’ve arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet, and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, each group will have their own table.

Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men’s table.

To the person asking permission to cross dress, the Grill House asks that no cross-dressing be allowed, apparently because of concerns about confusion in the restrooms. Sorry.

We will have booster seats for short people.

Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet.

I am sorry to report that we cannot control the amount of salt used in the food . The Grill House suggests that people with high blood pressure taste a bite first.

There will be fresh “low sugar” fruits as dessert for diabetics, but the restaurant cannot supply “no sugar” desserts. Sorry!

Did I miss anything?!?!?



Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

 TO: All Fucking Employees

DATE: December 5, 2009

RE: The Fucking Holiday Party

I’ve had it with you vegetarian pricks!!! We’re going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the “grill of death,” as you so quaintly put it, and you’ll get your f*%^ing salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I’ve heard them scream. I’m hearing them scream right NOW!

The rest of you fucking wierdos can kiss my ass. I hope you all have a rotten holiday!

Drive drunk and die,

The Bitch from Hell!!!


Company Memo

FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director

DATE: December 6, 2009

RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her recent nervous breakdown and I’ll continue to forward your cards to her at the asylum. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Whatever!