Here from an Australian mining site, a piece that is funny, sad, and downright wrong all at the same time. The author has some writing skills, but no insight or factual skills.
What would you do for $200,000? No, this isn’t a trick question. In fact, you don’t have to do anything too strenuous or consider risking your life. Forget about jumping out of a plane – no parachute in sight – or climbing a mountain sans the Sherpa or safety gear. It’s not nearly that exciting. Sorry.
All we want you to do is drive a haul truck up and down the same road for hours upon hours, while still remaining focused and alert. But that’s not too say you’d be stuck in one place. We’d make sure you were flown to places you’d never been before. Once on the ground, we’d have you back in the truck, or sent underground – no road map required. You’d know the drill by now.
And when the long day wraps up forget about the arduous journey home. Home is real close by for you – and your colleagues. Some may even say, too close. With no real separation between your work and home life, and no family member in sight, you might feel like you’re still on the job. But all this aside, you would be $200,000 richer. Worth it?
Life in a mining camp is not for the faint-hearted. Monotonous long stints on ground and underground will test even the most resilient of characters. Unstable living, where shift work rules the day/week/month, coupled with regional isolation from family and loved ones, as well as the unpredictable boom and bust nature of the resource-based sector are all unhealthy social conditions that heavily lace the industry. But only the ‘lucky ones’ can relate.
As a financially fruitful business, every year droves of mining candidates spend copious amounts of money on licenses, certificates and courses in hope of landing their ‘dream job’ – and even then there is no guarantee. But is it these ‘successful’ aspirants that are ironically better off?
In a regional mining town, a resident can wake up to an overwhelming lack of personal and social connections from family and community members, which causes a feeling of isolation and un-fulfilment. Not surprisingly this, amongst many other factors, can drive some to the bottle. When boredom comes a knockin’, a quick escape is only a pub crawl away.
So how important is the balance between work and life? Many experts say a heavy tilt toward the former is too great of a burden to bear since the human condition renders us in need of comfort and a loving environment. But not everyone is cut from the same cloth and while long hours, prolonged isolation and inconsistent sleep patterns may seem to some like a Molotov cocktail of despair, that $200,000 is all the comfort the hardy and well-educated players – we’re talking university plus specialized post grad study – require.
And that’s it. All the cards are laid out on the table. The bare facts are here to ensure applicants are committed to the industry, one that presently displays a worryingly high rate of uninformed dropouts. Our intention is not to dissuade anyone from entering the mining industry. So, you’re up. What’s your move?
Go to the link and read the comments. They range from: “No way you can earn that much in Australia,” to “You can earn that much in Fort McMurray.” From: “How can I get the job?” to “Better than your job.”
Where the author gets the idea that most truck drivers are “well-educated players, university plus post grad study,” is beyond me. The truck drivers I got to know on a big job in Fort McMurray were nice folk: a grandmother who likes to earn more than her kids; a pretty young lady making her dowry; a young lad saving for a fast car; a grizzly old man who has been at it forty years and scorns the office Johnnies. But none of them university post-grads.
As for the issues of fly-in, fly-out camps, the conditions are the same for all, from the mine manager to the truck driver. I am sure I could not take fly-in, fly-out camp living. The food is fine, but the absence of brandy soon drives me crazy. Maybe in Australia those camps have brandy on tap? So no deprivation otherwise.
Keep in mind that mining is not the only place where folk drive big trucks day after day in lonely places. Take a trip on the US I10, to I90, ad anywhere inbetween, and you will soon see many truck drivers in lonely places far away from home. The essential conditions are no different for the cross-country tuck driver and the mine truck driver. Why does the author single out mining as though it were the bed of discomfort and distress?
The fact is that you have to work to eat. Even the educated amongst us has to travel to work to eat. My boss is never at home. At 70 he is constantly on the road or in the air to yet another mine. In fact he does not have to work to eat: he has enough to eat until 100, but he does it because…..well better not go there.
Let us go home for the weekend instead.