What I learned from working in an oil and gas service company

Share the article:

I used to dream about working in an oil and gas company during college years. Firstly, oil and gas industry statistically gives the highest amount of salary for fresh graduate engineers. Secondly, oil and gas company offers enticing employee training program that mostly overseas. Lastly, I thought that I can apply my knowledge gained from engineering course into the real industry. In conclusion, oil and gas offers a very competitive package and growth stimulating yet challenging work environment. A dream job for almost all engineering students.

Joining in ‘not so good’ time for the industry

I joined a renowned oil and gas service company. It is said as a second biggest service company in the world, as known as the Reds. The Reds once tried to merged with a fellow American oil service company, but in 2016 the merger plan fell through. You may guess which company I am talking about.

It was kind of sad on my early year there. November 2014 should be commemorate as my first month, but more remembered as the month when oil price stumbled. The downward trends continued further until oil price reaching the lowest in 20 years, followed by slowdown in the industry that leads to mass lay-offs. I consider myself lucky to enter the industry right before it stumbled. I get to know much about the industry which I know nothing about before. What a lucky coincidence… What an unfortunate scenario…

What salary can get you

People works for a myriad of purposes. Some works so they can eat for the day, while the others works to fulfill their lifestyle. As a young adult who just entered the real life, those are the things I can observed on.

I was excited when earning my first salary. The excitement then continue to reappear once a month on payment day. Truthfully, it was the only things that keep me doing my job. Working in a drilling rig is harsh. Remote area, high working hour, laborous works, high social pressure, high client pressure are several hardships of working in the drilling field. Beyond that, the compensation payment in oil and gas service company is rewarding. Uncle Ben once said that with great salary comes great responsibility. That is why salary sometimes said as a compensation benefit, meaning to compensate all of your hardship you’ve endured on that month. In the oil and gas service industry, you must prepared to sacrifice some of your life including your time with your family.

I met a lot of people. Some had a price tag of $911 a day, where others labouring to earn $400 a month. Some people have to climb the career stairs by drudging in the rig floor, flexing their body muscle connecting drill pipes for 5 years so they can be a driller or toolpusher. Some people by their privilege does not need to pass through the labouring and physical works. They are the engineers who graduate from university, I belong to this group.

I saw the difference between the $911 a day and $ 500 a month man, their lifestyle. Apart from the lifestyle they pursue, there was nothing significant. I notice most man pursue their lifestyle based on their salary. Higher salary means more sumptuous lifestlye. The 500 dollars man are living modestly with proper life standard. They satisfied with their life. In the contrary, 911 dollars man tend to live happier but with great dissatisfaction. In a rare case, I found some of them did not really enjoy the life. They keep chasing more money to get, no matter how much they already had. Surely he can live a humble life with the money, but it is not the usual case.

I used to think that having much money will lead to happiness, but now it seems to be invalid. Our satisfaction of life merely based on how high we set our lifestyle.

* Thank you for all people I met on the rig site, I learned much about life from you guys.

It was such a small world, the oil and gas industry

Oil and gas industry is small, workers have very specific skills here. Turn over rate is high in the industry, so you may meet your ex co-workers in other company in the future. It is important to keep good relations with all people in such a small industry. I am not an amiable people, it is difficult for me to engage with new people. However in the industry, I was forced to meet and working together with new people. Some of them were hard to handle with, but fortunately I met more good people back there. Works with an annoying and bossy person is such a pain in the ass, because our work environment is very small and restricted. Becoming a nice co-worker is very important in oil service company. We have enough stress from the environment, we want no more addition of irritating co-worker. At least be nice in the work site even if you cannot be nice outside works.

The conclusions

Working in oil and gas service company is very demanding, that is why they pay you hefty salary. I believe salary will equal to your compensation you deserve on the job. If you decide to starting a career in the industry, you have to be ready to survive in a volatile and specific industry. On a bad business time, many laid-off employee have struggled to get a job. When the demand of oil and gas decreasing, the demand of oil service workers also diminshed. That means oil service workers more likely to be affected badly than oil company employees.

For fresh graduate engineer pursuing the career in the job because of the high salary and expecting an easy job, I advise you to reconsider your choice. Please do not see a career merely based on how much it pays you. The job is very demanding, both physically and mentally. Mostly you may miss important dates for your family and countless holidays. On the other side, you have unlimited freedom on your days off.


Many thanks for my former employer for such a worthful experience for 1 year and 8 months. For all my work colleagues and friends, I wish you all good luck and prosperity. May we see in other opportunity in the future. 

Best regards,



For anyone who may perceived my post as a discouraging one, I do not intent to discourage anyone to pursue the career in oil service company. I am writing truthfully as an ex oil service worker. I strongly encourage anyone who fits in the work ethics and lifestyle of oil service worker to pursue the career in the industry. 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2020 Ronald Sukianto
Share the article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *