Hear from a Service Rig Worker
Lee Vallis, Driller
Past: Roughneck, Driller
"At the beginning of my career, I was living in Nova Scotia, working in the construction industry. My friend had noticed that I was able to work long hours for long stretches of time, two weeks on, and two weeks off. He inspired me to look into working at a rig because of the better pay.
I then moved to Alberta, and started my career at a larger company with a reliable crew. It was amazing being able to show up, with no experience and be given an opportunity to get paid a good salary, to learn and train for the job. And when the work began, I realized that although it is a physically demanding job, paying attention and staying hydrated made the world of difference, and to top it off, I had also never made that much money.
Working on a service rig gave me experience with tools that I had never used before, and allowed me to sharpen my technical and mechanical skills. I learnt about repairs, managing situations safely, and correctly, and my confidence with machinery grew. Over time, I began adapting to different situations, and accomplishing the impossible. I learnt the important of teamwork, and changing your attitude from “there is no way to do this” to “we can figure it out”.
The lifelong skills, confidence, and mentorship I gained working in this industry is invaluable.
To be a good roughneck, or driller you must be willing to learn, listen and find the right mentors to guide you. In the patch, if you’re willing to work hard, you don’t need to know or impress anyone. The focus is on skillset and reliability, which is proven by the senior personnel at service rig companies who started on the floor, and worked their way to the top.
Even with 14 years in this industry, and the exceptional experience I’ve had, my toolbox still continues to grow. This is a job where you can be constantly learning, and the attitude towards mistakes becomes: “experience is what you get when you achieve the wrong result.”
I would recommend anyone interested to join this industry, and experience the camaraderie, and teamwork, and be able to travel to places you wouldn’t normally have seen. This job might just bring out the potential in you."
Brett Humphrey, Sales Representative
"Familiar with the oil and gas industry, my dad owned an oilfield equipment company, and I got my start in corporate and field sales of oilfield equipment. I was mostly working in an office setting, and wanted to improve my technical experience and knowledge for my job.
Working for a large service company, I decided to move from corporate sales to working in the field as a roughneck with no experience and it turned out to be one of the best, extremely hard and rewarding career choices I’d made. I was out on the field for 6 months, working on a service rig.
My appreciation for the oil and gas, and energy industry grew immensely, and I enjoyed every day. The crew grew to become like a family, and the pay was also a big plus. My goal was to acquire downhole experience so that I knew what I was talking with my sales customers about well maintenance and equipment. It would have been impossible to gain the education I did without my experience in the field.
I learnt more about the technical aspects of our industry in 6 months on the job, than 15 years of sales experience. I am now better equipped to understand the challenges that my clients face, and how to attend to their needs fully with better product knowledge.
I’d recommend this job to others who enjoy teamwork, and learning from others. There is no comparison to the rewarding feeling of being able to see the full lifecycle of the energy process, and knowing that you are a vital part of this process. Being able to provide for a family, and live comfortably is also a huge perk.
If you enjoy physical work, and working with your hands in a fast-paced environment, you’ll do well working on a rig. People say that it’s hard work, but it’s really a team effort. The opportunities for advancement are plentiful, and I am hoping to continue my career in the energy industry with my field experience as a valuable asset in my back pocket."