Home » Gate Guarding » Do What You Like – Like What You Do

Do What You Like – Like What You Do


The pictures on the front of the Life is Good t-shirts vary but their trademark philosophy is always same: Do what you like. Like what you do. Optimism can take you anywhere.

As I mentioned in my last post, there are actually quite a variety of jobs you could be assigned as gate guards. Some you might like better than others. These are the most common ones:

  • Jobs where you live right on the site and work safety, wear flame retardant clothing. and keep track of where everyone is at all times. I don’t see myself ever doing that but I’m guessing some folks like it.

OK, this is one of our guys, but can you imagine an already hot-flashing 55-year-old woman suiting up in 100+ degree temps? Me, either! I’m pretty sure I’d become the safety issue on the rig! 😉

  • Jobs where you work just FRAC (tons of traffic) and follow a FRAC crew. This involves moving every 6-10 days. The gate guards I’ve talked to that do this, love it. I have no idea why? We have way too much HUAD for that one!

  • Jobs where you start with the drilling rig and stay on site through FRAC and completion.

  • Jobs where you stay at a production site (we have friends who did this for over a year). They had all their meals catered and locked the gate at 10 each night and opened at 6 every morning while making the same pay we all make on a 24 hour gate. I wouldn’t hold my breath hoping to get one of these.

  • Jobs with multiple active holes where you make a little extra for each drilling hole if someone is living at each site.

  • Jobs with unfortunate placement. We worked a gate by the highway where the traffic for 6 sites stopped by us on their way to: our rig, or the FRAC (which had their own gg), or the construction of our second pad, or the production plant, or the pipe line, or the 2nd well (which also had their own gg )… It wasn’t a big deal, but it was really busy. We were sort of like the traffic cops in the middle of the street and blow whistles and point a lot. 😀

I’m sure there are other industry related gate guard jobs, but the majority work in one of these areas, or like Heidi and I, follow a drilling rig. With the 2 brief exceptions noted in my last post, following a rig is all that we’ve done and we like it quite a lot. The kind of experience you have following a rig depends on a lot of things – chemistry mostly. Sometimes you click and sometimes you clash. We’ve been very fortunate to always click.
We loved our year with our previous gig, and we’ll never forget those guys! It was quite an introduction to gate guarding! It’s hard to forget people who bring you tarantulas in a crock pot or rattlesnakes slithering around in their truck bed or the snare wild hogs right outside your window at night! We were so sad for us and happy for them when the rig got called back to their home state of Louisiana.
There are many, many nice people to work for and with in this business and, I’m told, some that aren’t as nice. This isn’t a glamor job (clearly) 😉 and attitudes toward gate guards vary. The Texas Railroad Commission requires gate guards, so to some companies the position is just a necessary evil and to others, it’s a part of their team that they value.
We’ve been fortunate to make the team for the second time. We’ve struck gold with this company and drilling rig. We’ve enjoyed every day (well almost every day ;)) of the 5 months we’ve been with them. We’ll be taking a few weeks off in a few weeks with the repeated assurance that when we return, they expect us back because we’re “family” now.
That’s really nice. You can see from the photo below, we practically live on the pad.
You certainly can find something wrong with any job. This one is hot and dusty. It’s a long way from home no matter where you live, even if you live in Texas!
The pay, before taxes, comes to $5.21 an hour. The only thing that makes this job financially viable is that we work 24 hrs a day(no napping on the job since we always try to be out the door in under 10 seconds). That, of course, means we work every weekend and every holiday. As year-rounders following a rig, we work 100 or 200 or 300 days straight. It helps to take a couple of weeks off about every 6-8 months.
What it comes down to mostly is your outlook. It’s like the Life is Good shirts. Do what you like. Like what you do. We focus on what we like about what we do. Like right now, it’s 2 in the morning and I can do my job well and still blog (when the internet is favorable) and watch the pre-recorded Olympics in between trucks. There’s virtually no stress or conflicts to resolve since no one cares what we think because we don’t know anything about whatever the problem is!
As for the last part of the Life is Good philosophy: Optimism can take you anywhere, be careful with that one. I’ve always been pretty optimistic and look where that took me! 😉

21 thoughts on “Do What You Like – Like What You Do

  1. I’m so glad that you like what you do, Debbie! 🙂 I’m sure that gracious attitude is reflected and appreciated wherever you are, whatever you do!
    love and hugs!

    • Deb –
      You know that old saying “Smile and the world smiles with you…”
      Down here it’s “Smile and people are do a double take.”
      I don’t mean Texas in general – just life in the oil patch.
      Most (not all) smile back… eventually…
      Tell Aub I saw a giant cicada tonight and thought of her! 😀

  2. Adventures are a big part of all of this. I’m glad you enjoy discovering and experiencing new things. So often our contentment is only in things remaining the same which does not seem to be a part of gate guarding. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey.

  3. Attitude is everything and u my dear friends, got it right! Heart Hugs

    From your home in Oregon 🙂

    • Sue –
      We miss you like crazy and yes, Oregon will always be our favorite spot on earth, wherever we are!
      Heart Hugs to you, too!
      Debbie (and Heidi)

  4. Well, I definitely like “life is good”–and with the caveat, “at the beach”, that’s just perfection here on earth, seriously. Yep, optimism is not a luxury, but a necessity on Planet Life. I dare say it would be insufficient for me, however, suited up like “that guy” in 100-plus temps–I’d have folded up, swooned, and less printable phrases, surely; and been invited to hang up my orange vest and “don’t look back” as I head for I-5 North. God bless y’all–I’ll keep a cool one waitin’ for ya! love, sis Caddo

    • Vicky –
      I hope I covered all the main jobs?
      You and I both know, this certainly isn’t for everyone!
      But your attitude does go a ways toward making it click or clash.
      I have to say that Heidi and I have been so blessed with really great rigs to follow.
      Positive attitude or not, I wouldn’t have survived 6 months like John and Linley, washing my clothes with a plunger in a bucket, no internet, no TV – I’m not sure but maybe no phones.
      I’m just not tough enough for that rough!
      Been thinking about you and Bob and your journey and keep you in my prayers,

    • Hello Susie!
      Thanks for the link. Great words! “Contentment is something that has to be learned. It can not be earned.”
      I think it’s a lesson that’s learned only by those who really seek it.
      Your take on the buffer zone is picture perfect! 😉
      God bless you, too!

  5. Oh Andrea, now i’m worried! Maybe you guys can wear those little gas-mask thingys. I’m sure the tough guys will “click” with your new look. Food for thought, though.

    How long will you do this? What IS next for the two adventurers!? I hope you don’t have to dig too far into your savings. I assume you guys are living simply. 🙂 xoxo Melis

    • Mel –
      Don’t worry. Be happy! 😉
      There are gate guards that spend most of their time outside, either because they just like to or their job (like FRAC) has too much traffic to go in and out. We spend all of our time inside (too hot and too dusty outside for us) which is why we bought an RV that has great insulation and is very comfortable. We run in and out dozens of times a day, but that’s the only exercise we get, so it’s good!
      We think that we’ll do this full time for another 4-5 years until we’re both debt free. Then probably about half time after that, until we get too old :D, so that we can afford to spend our other 6 months visiting our family and friends. So you and Jen can keep an eye out for us in 2017! 😉

      • Cool. we’ll be lookin’ for ya. In 2017, maybe you’ll find ME in Denver or San Fran, or Seattle, or heaven forbid Detroit suburbs. D has a good job lead (FAR FETCHED) lead. xo mel

  6. My concern is you putting that dust into your lungs……

    As a nurse I watched the miners die horrible deaths after breathing in coal dust. Both kinds of dust coat your lungs.

    Please be aware.

    • Andrea –
      How kind of you to write and thank you for being concerned. One of the perks to following a rig is that we’ve been able to stay inside most of the time. We go in and out a lot, but we don’t stay out (too hot ant too dusty). We still have a fine layer of caliche inside every day. I was just asking H yesterday whether she thought there’d be studies down the road on the dust that the guys on the rig are exposed to? The particular group tries hard to keep the pad and road watered down, but it Texas, so it’s a challenge. Thanks again for such a thoughtful comment.
      P.S. This group also makes us a pea gravel pad each time instead of just plopping us in the dirt. We’re really grateful. It’s made a huge difference!
      Thank again for your comment!

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