Despite all the efforts made by oil companies to provide a comfortable life for their workers on board, it is a life that comes with its fair share of challenges. Some of these need to be fully understood and appreciated before taking on this lifestyle commitment.
Living where you Work
Perhaps the greatest challenge is the fact that you live where you work. There is no break from the monotony of the same face, the same environment for a long period and water everywhere you look. Many people thrive on the workday ending and heading back to their families but this is not possible on an oil rig. You remain right there in the middle of an ocean with the same people you spent your workday with.
The weather plays a vital role in your offshore life. Storms in the sea are common causing the ship to rock and your stomach to turn. Depending on which part of the rig you work, the temperature can be bitterly cold like at the higher levels or unbearably hot, like in the power stations. The weather will also hamper your trips back home as explained earlier in this chapter.
Time away from Family
Time away from loved ones is something that all rig workers have to tolerate. You may miss major events in the lives of your family and unless there is a dire emergency, you will not be provided an opportunity to head home. Despite getting an extended period off, it is difficult for many to spend so much time away from their families. Plus if this is your career choice, then you will have to reconcile yourself to a lifetime of missed birthdays and school events.
No matter how comfortable your room may seem, it is still a cramped living arrangement. For one, you will probably be sharing the space with someone you don’t know too well or worse don’t like. Secondly there are no windows making the space quite claustrophobic. Third, the actual size of the room and layout while efficient is extremely small adding to the ‘living in a closet’ feeling. If you need your space, this is definitely not the life for you.
Long work hours and days
Another factor to consider is your work hours and workdays. Working a 12-hour shift is not easy for everyone, and even less so when the work is manual hard labor. It is a grueling shift schedule whether onshore or off. In addition, you will have to work for a minimum of 14 days at a stretch extended to 28 days on some rigs. Working day after day without any break in between can be physically exhausting. If you are not used to it, the first week of your time off will probably be spent recovering from this exertion.
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