Love and life on the rigs

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Written by Kimmy Nguyen

Learning to find the balance

I am a petroleum engineer and I work on the rigs. I know what you’re thinking – what is a 5’3” Asian girl doing working on the rigs?? Trust me, I get that a lot – especially from those who see me trotting around town in 5” heels.

Obviously, I took this position for career progression opportunities – field experience is invaluable for an engineer and there’s no better time to get it than right now; when I’ve just graduated, am single, and have no kids.

I was ecstatic when I signed my papers – this company has an amazing field engineer development program so what engineer wouldn’t be over the moon?

The only thing is, it’s a three-year program. So, before I started, I accepted the likelihood of having to remain single for the next three years. Why do I have to accept this, you ask? Well, there are two main reasons:

1.     I am gone for weeks at a time, not always knowing exactly when ill be home or for how long (it’s not a two weeks on, one week off kinda deal).

2.     I’d be working with mostly all guys, on these weeks away in the middle of butt-eff nowhere.

It’s probably fair to assume that any guy looking for a serious or consistent relationship wouldn’t be okay with this deal. Except maybe someone who was looking to cheat in a relationship anyways, it’d be pretty to get away with in a situation like this.

I also started speaking like a rigger after a while and, if you’ve read “Things That Make Women Less Lady-Like” , that’s definitely on the list. So, although I love my job, I concluded pretty early on that it was going to be detrimental to my love life.

But then…I met a guy. At a restaurant. The NIGHT before I had to leave for my next rig – FML! He came over to my table on a dare one of my girlfriends took to go to his table and say “my friend thinks you’re cute, you should come say hi”. Not thinking anything of it, I gave him my number without too high of an expectation for him to actually text me.

As I sat staring at the snow falling on the rig the next night, my phone buzzed and it was him – let’s call him “P”. We continued texting and I came to learn that P was a finance major and was pretty high up in his company – it’s a smaller company but, nonetheless, I was impressed.

Luckily, this rig was close enough to town that I was able to come home any time the directional drillers got a break. We had a great first date, despite a very embarrassing mishap on my part (that’s a whole other story) and went on to keep seeing each other. But after about a month, things started going a little south – we had one date that was especially awkward. I felt it and P definitely felt it too. I didn’t think too much of it, thinking I could just write it off seeing as our dates prior went pretty well – at least, I thought they did.

By this time, the well was drilled and I was on my way home for the next couple weeks. I went from having no time at all to having TOO much time, overnight. As someone who has always been busy doing her own thing, (be it a combination of school, karate, work, etc.) – this free time drove me a little crazy and I began to enter the cray-cray girl zone…YIKES!

Knowing fully well that P had things to do for work, I still asked him to go out and do things. I was doing this to all my friends though, but of course, he doesn’t know that. He probably just thought I was going crazy FOR HIM (in the worst way possible).

Needless to say, he ran and I don’t blame him – I would’ve too.

Thankfully, I’ve learned from this and it’s had a silver lining. This boredom is actually why I joined It’s Date Night social media team– it adds some balance to my life when I’m not on the rig, gives me something to do!

I admit, I have some regrets – not about P and definitely not about my career choices, but about the way I’ve handled things. P and I had our differences (he wasn’t a fan of the truck!) but I feel like things could’ve worked had I found this balance before we met.

The lesson I pass onto you from this is: find the balance in your life before you try to share it with someone else – it turns the time you spend with someone else into more of a “want” than a “need”.

This switch can make the difference between your completely sane self and some straight up cringe-worthy craziness.