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Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
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scotian Offline
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RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(10-07-2013 10:48 PM)Swearbox Wrote:  
(10-07-2013 10:28 PM)Vacancier Permanent Wrote:  Swear box, if you ever come to Edmonton, would love to have drinks with you. I'm sure you have tons of very interesting and fascinating stories to share not to mention wisdom that you have amassed throughout the years and in those war zones. Fascinating indeed!

No worries VP, once I get settled and know the time of day I'll see about making it happen. Would be great to personally thank a good few on here, yourself included, for what has been good honest advice and opinions. We'll get the lampshades swinging and I'll tell you all about some of the stunts I pulled in Saudi that, if I got caught, would have probably resulted in a diplomatic incident and I would have either been shot at dawn or stoned to death LOL...all true too.


Well done Swearbox, glad to hear that you got the gig, now you're the eldest member of the RVF Oil Sands Crew. Did you already fly out west or are you still in Ontario?

Make sure you ask the company if they will supply you with coveralls, hard hat, gloves or any other safety gear, most do but its best to ask. You;ll likely have to buy your own work boots, make sure that they're CSA approved and 6" (over the ankle). Its cold out west so bring some sweaters, long johns, wool socks, etc. Take at least one weeks worth of clothes, mostly sweat pants, tee shirts, etc. I usually just bring one pair of jeans to wear after work back at camp, bring lots of under wear and socks because if you don't get a chance to do laundry, at least those will be fresh.

Bring any meds or supplements that you need, I would take books or a lap top for down time and back at camp, you may want to buy a cheap ether net cable as not all camps have wi-fi, but most do. Of course, bring toiletries and cheap sandals to wear in the communal showers. I usually bring some kind of disinfectant spray to clean the showers before I get in.

As far as the work goes, I"m sure you'll be fine, just wake up on time and report to work fit for duty, try to learn as much as possible and ideally find a guy you get on with well and work with him. Usually companies will hire on a few labourers and give them a test run, in your case its 6, I bet that by the end of the gig, 2 or 3 of them won't be coming back, make sure you're not one of them, here's some tips:

Work safe: I've said this many times before but its a huge deal in the oil sands, participate in the morning safety meetings, always do your JSA (job safety analysis) and if you ever notice something you're not comfortable with, tell your immediate supervisor (foreman), its not only your right but your obligation to not perform a task that you're not 100% certain about safety wise. If you break one of the "golden safety rules" such as working at a height over 3 meters without a harness or entering a confined space without permission, you'll be run off site so fast your head will spin.

Be keen/don't fuck the dog: As a labourer and new hire you shouldn't be sitting around doing nothing with the senior guys, there will be times when there's nothing to do and the guys will sit around and its okay to shoot the shit with them for a bit but there's almost always something to do. If your supervisor doesn't have a job lined up then ask another senior guy (journeyman) if he needs a hand, or if he's willing, to show you his tools, what he does, etc. There's always a work truck that could use a good cleaning or something else to that effect that can keep you busy.

Network: Basically talk to everyone, introduce yourself to everyone in your company and make sure you're on first name basis with all of them. There's a fine line between being a bag licker and being the guy who the foremen, GF and superintendents remember as a keener who has potential to move up the ladder from the labour position. This gig is probably a temporary shut down and your company may not have work for you when the job ends, which could be in 2 weeks or 2 months. That is why I recommend talking to everyone, all of the trades on site, just strike up random conversations and get people's contact info, if you get laid off, a quick phone call or e-mail could get you another gig in the oil sands the day after you get laid off. Hopefully your company will keep you busy, but you never know.

There's more that I can mention and if you've read the thread then you should have already seen it but I think you'll do fine, honestly the bar is pretty low out west and I'm sure you'll be okay.

If you have any more questions just ask and if you want to send me a PM about the job details, I'll help you out, chances are I've already worked on whatever site you're going to and probably know people working there.

Congratulations and good luck!

Don’t sweat the petty things, pet the sweaty things.
10-08-2013 12:02 AM
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Messages In This Thread
Risks, opportunities, import/export - OSL - 03-16-2013, 06:58 AM
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months! - scotian - 10-08-2013 12:02 AM