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Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:11 AM

Should I join the Dark Empire?

As I get ready for another graveyard shift as a cashier I find myself facing a very tough decision. I was offered a job in Alaska for a major oil company. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why they would want me. I am basically an unskilled, damaged, 51 year old financial loser. The job is pretty much cleanup crew and maintenance, which is about all I'm qualified for. The schedule is 16 hour days, 3 weeks on, 2 weeks off. 10k per month!

I've never flown in an airplane in my life, yet this job would require me to fly 4 times a month. The corporation does not allow any workers to hang out at the compound during the 2 week off period.

Weighing the pros and cons of such a move hasn't been easy for me. My cashier job is really starting to suck, mainly because they hired me for drunken troll control as the store is situated right next to a nightclub. So when they come in drooling nacho cheese sauce and slushy juice all over and puke on the floor, I know where I stand in the world. Excuse me while I get the mop bucket again.

My other part time job is depressing, but interesting, where I cut and sandblast headstones then install them in graveyards. So when I get off work from the cashier job I will come home, change clothes, and go on headstone deliveries. I've been poor my whole life. Should I take this job in Alaska? Would I be sacrificing my principles to do so? I would greatly appreciate any comments or criticisms.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Should I join the Dark Empire? (Original post)
nilesobek Jul 2014 OP
bravenak Jul 2014 #1
NYC_SKP Jul 2014 #2
Harmony Blue Jul 2014 #3
nilesobek Jul 2014 #4
User_Friendly Jul 2014 #8
Threedifferentones Jul 2014 #20
Harmony Blue Jul 2014 #30
stage left Jul 2014 #5
laundry_queen Jul 2014 #7
steve2470 Jul 2014 #6
catbyte Jul 2014 #9
csziggy Jul 2014 #10
SamKnause Jul 2014 #11
Warpy Jul 2014 #12
Warren DeMontague Jul 2014 #14
Warren DeMontague Jul 2014 #13
nilesobek Jul 2014 #31
BainsBane Jul 2014 #15
Bosonic Jul 2014 #16
JI7 Jul 2014 #17
newfie11 Jul 2014 #18
hack89 Jul 2014 #19
KentuckyWoman Jul 2014 #21
FSogol Jul 2014 #22
aikoaiko Jul 2014 #23
Bucky Jul 2014 #25
Bucky Jul 2014 #24
cerveza_gratis Jul 2014 #26
nilesobek Jul 2014 #28
nilesobek Jul 2014 #29
RKP5637 Jul 2014 #27

Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:13 AM

1. Yes.

 

I would do it. I live in anchorage. It's nice and the money on the slope is excellent. Not everybody can afford to pass up that opportunity.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:18 AM

2. Does it require a pilot's license?

 

A gratuitous question cuz I would consider that job if I don't need to pilot plane!

Seriously, taking that job makes you and US stronger, by what you learn you add to our expertise.

Better that one of us has that job that might otherwise go to some freeper.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:22 AM

3. No

I think you shouldn't do it.

P&G industry have offered me several jobs in Alaska and N. Dakota and I have turned them down a few times. It is not just the principles for me, but you have to take into consideration if you can handle such a stress filled work load. Pay is indeed good though so you must decide if it is best for you.

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Response to Harmony Blue (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:25 AM

4. Physically I'm able to handle high workloads.

I'm quite apprehensive about the air travel, however.

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Response to nilesobek (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:39 AM

8. You literally only have to sit...

 

For the love of everything that is holy...

Go !

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Response to nilesobek (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 06:42 AM

20. More than likely it will be like riding in a car after the first couple times.

Your first flight, however, may be quite thrilling to you, and yes maybe even frightening. But, if you don't do this, will you EVER fly on a plane? I say give it a try!

If it's terrible then you have to survive some hellish weeks, but the large paycheck will cover you while you look for another job back home. If it isn't so bad then you are making real money and can save some away!

I would agree that fossil fuels are bad, but IMO poor folks have to go where they can make a living. If our country would invest in clean energy, then there would be decent jobs to be had in clean energy. Since we don't do enough of that, there are still decent jobs to be had in fossil fuels. Maybe that's just a rationalization, but it may be how you need to look at things.

Just my thoughts, the other decision is certainly not wrong...

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Response to nilesobek (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 11:28 AM

30. Flying is the least of the problems you should be concerned about

it is the burn out that you have to worry about. If you can do it then you have to decide if it is best for you. My belief is that there are always options or other paths you can take in life because I believe it limits yourself if you feel that there is only one way forward. But you have to weight the pros and cons and decide from there.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:25 AM

5. Yes.

I lived in Anchorage for a short time long ago. It's a beautiful place. And it will be an adventure.Take the job and support the things you believe in with any extra you have. That's what I would do.

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Response to stage left (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:28 AM

7. This ^

Use the extra money and use it to put it towards good causes (ie frequent local shops, farmer's markets, donate more etc).

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:26 AM

6. 112 hour weeks, for 3 weeks ? nvm I see you already addressed this nt

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:41 AM

9. If you can handle it physically, go for it. I would rather you get the job than some bagger.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:51 AM

10. I've known two people who worked similar jobs

One, long ago when I was in college. A co-worker (we both worked part time student jobs at the university library for very little money) was offered a job identical to what you are talking about in Alaska when the oil fields there were being opened in the 1970s. I ran into him a couple of years later. He'd done the job for 12-18 months and had enough money in the bank to finish his BS and his Masters without working any part time job. But he'd been offered a graduate student teaching position and expected to finish his Masters and have enough money still to put a large down payment on a house.

Another friend took a unskilled job on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Same deal - 2-3 weeks on, two weeks off He was stupid with his money and spent a lot of it partying during his weeks off. Then he got caught smuggling drugs into the country - I think there was some deal with them being brought onto the rigs then carried into the country on the helicopters flying the men back and forth. Any money he'd put aside was spent on lawyers but it didn't keep him out of prison. Not the fault of the job - the guy was an idiot.

Both men told me that the work is very hard - and they were young at the time they took them, though maybe not all that fit before they went. It was a challenge for the young men to put aside money - their co-workers tended to party full time on their off weeks and it was hard to say no to them.

I suspect you would be more like the first guy and end up with a nice nest egg. I'd check on the living expenses during your down time and be very conscientious about setting aside as much as possible.

Whatever you decide, good luck!

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 01:26 AM

11. Yes

You did not destroy the job market in this country.

You are not responsible because the U.S. would not switch to clean energy decades ago.

Your are not responsible for stagnant, or falling wages.

Your poverty is not your fault.

If you think you can do the job, take it with a clear conscience.

I wish you all the luck and prosperity in the world.

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Response to SamKnause (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:01 AM

12. This ^^^

The farther down the ladder you are, the fewer your real choices.

Just think very carefully about the hard physical labor 16 hours a day. That is going to take a heavy toll on your body. If you think you can manage it for a few months before your body tells you to knock it off, you could have a nice cushion for when you retire on social security.

Whatever you decide to do is fine.

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Response to SamKnause (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:13 AM

14. Pretty much.

Good answer.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:11 AM

13. Are you talking about ethically, b/c it's an oil company?

I mean, look, you should do what your heart and your gut tell you to do, but in the meantime, do you drive a car? Do you do other things dependent upon petroleum?

I'm willing to bet you, like most of us, do.

Fossil Fuels aren't inherently "good", or "evil", they're the power source which has driven a tremendous amount of human advancement over the past 100+ years, that also come with a hefty environmental price tag. As a species, we clearly need to develop other ways to power our civilization. If and when that comes, I feel fairly sure energy corporations, at least the forward looking ones, will be a part of that equation.

In the meantime, if the job sounds like something you wouldn't mind doing and the numbers add up, I'd say take it.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 10:32 AM

31. Yes, definitely ethics. I will feel that I can be bought

because I won't like what I'm contributing to, but I will love that money. After all the wars over oil and they are killing people for it. My family could use some good paydays so I'll probably take this job. I've got 3 weeks to decide.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:15 AM

15. yes

You need a good job. Principles are fine if you can afford it. You can't. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. Besides, everyone here uses oil.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:48 AM

16. Make hay while the sun shines

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:59 AM

17. take the job from the oil company, continue to support good causes

 

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 06:25 AM

18. Yes

You never know what this might lead too and I don't mean in the oil industry.

This is a door opening take
It.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 06:27 AM

19. Yes

Take care of yourself and your family.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 06:49 AM

21. Take a candle.

One corporation or another hardly makes that much difference. May as well make 10 grand a month instead of 1000.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 07:43 AM

22. Take it. Alaska is beautiful and you might find an even better job there. n/t

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 07:55 AM

23. If you use petroleum prodcucts your ethical horse has left the barn.


Go make some money while you can.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 08:01 AM

25. the ethical horse never leaves the barn

Making money is okay. Living without petroleum products isn't really a viable option in America, but then again taking a job with the companies that drill, pump, or process oil doesn't really contribute to the problems. The solution is in have a government policy that limits the harms and encourages better long term solutions. Individual action on the consumer end is sometimes possible, but fixing things on the production end can only work on the level of government regulation.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 07:57 AM

24. The work sched & fee scale tell me this is a stressful crappy job. Ride it for as long as you can.

Probably at 51 you'll be able to endure what a lot of the whippersnappers you'll be working with can't. Watch that attrition rate. Having a 3 wks on, crappy job with then 2 weeks off with nothing to do will create a LOT of potential for your coworkers to get drunk, get arrested, get injured doing stupid stuff (notice I'm assuming Alaska is one big slushy frontier town), so your experience and relative stability compared to the other guys taking this work will help you hang on longer.

But it probably won't last. So, yes, go for it, for as long as you can hold onto this bronco, and store as much of your paycheck away as you can. Save up for something nice, write poetry or the great American novel or go paint nudes furniture on your weeks off. At our age (I'm 51 in October), having a routine makes life beautiful and serene. Maybe spend some of that time networking around the community and see if you can find a better job, or get to know people who can help you when you can't take it anymore or get fired for pissing off some punk ass 28 year old with a clipboard and an MBA who thinks his shit don't stink.

I guarantee you there'll be some asshole on that job (either that MBA or some ex-Marine DI who thinks yelling at people is "motivating" who will make the job harder than it needs to be. Take up meditation and get all the healthcare benefits out of this job that you can--glasses, dental, viagra... whatever they offer, take advantage while it's there. They're using you, you might as well use them. Then have a great time soaking up the 90% of Alaska that's still unspoiled beauty. This sounds like a great opportunity. Love it.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 08:30 AM

26. saving is key

If you do can do this for 3-4 years, and spend little, you could save something like $250,000. That kind of cushion would make a big difference in your life afterwards. On the other hand, 3-4 years is a pretty long grind.

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Response to cerveza_gratis (Reply #26)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 09:59 AM

28. Yeah a pretty long grind but I'm not getting any younger.

I just got back from the cashier gig and am on my way to the monument shop.

I want to thank everyone for their input and will respond in kind this evening.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 10:01 AM

29. I heard guys were blowing their paychecks on booze and hookers

in Fairbanks. I've been married for 29 years and would like to come home to Idaho during the 2 weeks off. Not sure about actually living in Alaska, but who knows, I might love it.

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Response to nilesobek (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 08:34 AM

27. I would go if it's a legitimate job. It might open new opportunities for you. Anyway,

the jobs you have now sound like they suck. Air travel, no big deal, I flew for years and years, I'm still here. Sometimes one has to take some risk for a better life/job. Just, please, make sure it's a legitimate job and not some scam or some other weird sh**.

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