When you get an offer of employment your thoughts will turn to what
it is going to be like working in what will be a very strange
environment for most people. From your first trip away life will
change dramatically. Not only will your starting salary be on par
with middle management onshore, but you will also be living in your
place of work, completely surrounded by sea, with no sight of land.
You will also have to put up with questions and comments from
friends and relatives like "Is it really like the Roughnecks program
on the TV?"....."I bet the food's good out there isn't it?"....."Why
aren't you driving a brand new car?"......that sort of thing.
The industry has an above average staff turnover due in part to
people being unable to adjust to the lifestyle. Don't get the wrong
idea, working offshore is not as daunting or arduous as some think
it must be, conditions have improved dramatically and are continuing
to do so. Those working offshore are exactly the same people as work
in any heavy industry. They would not be there if they did not enjoy
it to a certain degree.
However statistics show that many people leave their job before
doing three 'trips' offshore. This is a mistake for a lot of people
because it really does take longer to adjust. Having said that, some
personalities are just not suited to the environment. If on a rig in
the North Sea, or overseas on a rig with a high British contingent
onboard you will likely be working with a lot of ex-forces personnel
and city boys. You will certainly need a thick skin to put up with a
lot of the 'banter' that goes on. Most of it is good natured though
and any attempt at intimidation is usually stamped out immediately.
On arrival at the rig you will be issued with safety boots, hard
hat, safety glasses and coveralls. You will then be given a guided
tour of the whole installation. Alarms, drills and muster points
among other things will be explained to you.
positive attitude will make life offshore much more enjoyable and
may increase your chances of promotion. Keep focused on why it is
that you are working out there and the plus points of the job.
Everyone has different reasons and goals that bring them to the
You will work a twelve-hour day with a break in the morning,
lunchtime and afternoon. 'Tea Shacks' or 'Smoko Shacks' are at
various places throughout the rig and at designated times filled
rolls or cakes etc. are provided.
For your lunch you will take off work gear and go into the galley.
The food is usually good quality with a wide selection at every
mealtime. The catering crews on some rigs organize theme nights with
Chinese or Mexican food making up the majority of choices on the
Offshore installations operate 24 hours a day, so depending on your
job you may have to do night shift. With some jobs you may have to
do a combination of days and nights. There are different systems
used usually dependant on helicopter arrival times and company
policies. Often you will start your 'trip' on day shift and then
move to night shift half way. For example if you do two weeks on-two
weeks off, you may do a week of days and a week of nights.
Off shift facilities vary from rig to rig. In the past there may
only have been a packet of cards and a couple of dog-eared novels as
rig leisure equipment. Today most rigs have a 'cinema' with large
screen TV showing satellite TV and a selection of videos or DVDs,
which are updated every fortnight, most also have TVs in every room.
Many have excellent gym and sauna equipment. Others have table
tennis, computers with Internet links and computer game consoles.
Pool and snooker tables are also very common, though not on the