One of the most common challenges about working in environmental drilling is that our jobs require frequent travel. It’s a tough decision to make as a new hire, knowing you might be away from home for days, weeks or even months at a time.
So how do we encourage job seekers to take on these jobs? Despite the downsides, frequent travel presents unique opportunities that many candidates won’t find working locally. There are tradeoffs, but also ways that drillers can leverage their time away from home.
Before leaping into a high-travel job in the drilling industry, it’s a good idea to make a pros and cons list. This isn’t a decision that should be made lightly, and the process should involve a conversation with immediate family members. Keep in mind that frequent travel can add stress to a marriage or relationship, not to mention the challenges it can add as a parent.
Compensation is a big benefit of frequent work travel. Drillers can often earn double (or sometimes even triple) their previous income when considering overtime compensation, per diems and other travel perks. As a job seeker considering a traveling job as a driller, you’ll want to inquire about the company’s total rewards and compensation package.
An increase offers a higher quality of living for employees and their families. With a bigger paycheck, employees and their families are often able to plan family vacations, enroll their children in a different school or even purchase a new home.
For some people, travel can be exhilarating. You may be the type of person who loves to travel, see new landscapes, make new friends and have new experiences. A job involving travel offers a great opportunity to satisfy your desire to see the world, while also earning a solid income.
Being away from your family for any length of time can be hard, both on the employee leaving and the family left at home. Possibly missing things like wedding anniversaries, kid’s sporting events, school activities and other important occasions can make us feel disconnected from the people we love.
For traveling workers, the key is to focus on making the most of the time you have at home with family. Take advantage of those days off to visit a new place with loved ones or set aside time just for your spouse or children to reconnect and have fun.
While on the Road
Being gone for days or weeks at a time can prove stressful, but also provide a great opportunity for you to focus on projects you may not have dedicated time for at home. Avoid secluding yourself while working out of town — not only are there potentially interesting things to see in the area, but seeing and engaging in new things also keeps your mind sharp and your mental health intact.
If you want to use time away from home more productively, focus on your goals and build your down time around achieving them. Some examples may include:
- Studying for an exam to become certified or licensed
- Reading about or researching new technologies in the drilling industry
- Exercising, either alone or with co-workers
- Taking online classes to earn a degree or technical certification
- Listening to podcasts about a topic you’re interested in learning about
- Working on a family budget or financial plan
Work is important, but I’m sure we’d all agree that family comes first. Starting a career in drilling with frequent travel may present significant challenges for you, but it may also be the right choice for you and your family in the long run.