Do What You Like – Like What You Do

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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! πŸ˜‰

  • 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. πŸ˜€

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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.
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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.
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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) πŸ˜‰ 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.
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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.
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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!
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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:Β Optimism can take you anywhere, be careful with that one. I’ve always been pretty optimistic and look where that took me! πŸ˜‰
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Smile and Nod

All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.Β  ~J R.R. Tolkien

I’ll try to finish up the story of how we got into gate guarding tonight soon (lately, the internet has been evaporating after 10). In the interim, I thought I post a couple of short conversational recaps, just for fun.

Some leave little option but to smile and nod. πŸ˜€

I used to have a Life is Good t-shirt that had the second portion of Tolkien’s quote Not all who wander are lost on it. I loved that shirt. I decided it was my lucky t-shirt the day I caught the almost 6 pound bass when wearing it as pictured in: In A Land Far, Far Away.

Then, one day last summer, I got overzealous and added too many quarters to the dryer in the already steaming hot laundry mat in Nixon and transformed it into a 4T.

Still, Tolkien was right. Not all who wander are lost. And neither are all who ask for directions. Variations of this conversation have happened several times (no kidding)!

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Trucker: Are y’all familiar with this area?

Sorry, no I’m not.

Trucker: Aren’t y’all from around here?

No, Iowa.

Trucker: Well then, that explains your Canadian accent!Β 

?Β  (smile and nod)

Trucker continues: I was going to ask you for directions.

I have a Texas map, would you like to look at it?

Trucker: No, that’s OK, I’m from around here.

(smile and nod some more)

I’ve quit dressing like Johnny Cash. Now its blue jeans and I’ve traded in my Steve Jobs black forΒ  white t-shirts – the absolute thinnest they sell at Walmart – to wear under my not as cool as one might hope, jailhouse orange security vest.

But Heidi, who unlike me, no longer feels like it’s 127 degrees when it’s really only 107, mostly wears Life is Good T’s. We both love the company and the are happy to advertise the optimism.

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I threw Heidi’s t-shirt over a pillow. She’s long asleep by now, which is why it’s headless! I did dress it up in my vest, so you could get the full colorful effect! πŸ˜€

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Today a delivery guy made an interesting comment on Heidi’s optimistic Life is Good t-shirt:

Delivery Guy: Hey, cool shirt!

Heidi: Thanks!

Delivery Guy: Just like the Army!

Heidi: (smile and nod…)

Heidi thought the exchange was funny. She had no idea what he was talking about but we’ve kind of gotten used to that since arriving in Texas. πŸ˜€

I’m guessing that he was thinking of the Marine motto Simper Fi –Β  Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful / Always Loyal).

Simplify and Semper Fi – two great concepts for the job and for life! That and smiling and nodding…

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Life is Good! πŸ˜€