Chapter 7


Work Schedules

Work schedules vary among different companies. You might even find different schedules in the same company on different rigs. The general rule for drilling contractors is that for every day worked there is a day off. Transportation and catering companies usually work two weeks on and one week off. Some special service companies will go on a job and work until it is finished. This is known as a can 'til can't schedule. You can, if you are willing, work on these jobs for weeks, even months at a time. Other special service companies work on a rotating on-off basis. There are many variations.

Your time off is one of the most appealing aspects, other than the wages, of these jobs. It creates an added benefit which other companies simply do not possess. It gives you extra time to do things you would not otherwise be able to do. You can spend more time with your family, work on projects around the house, go fishing, camping, traveling, whatever you like. And, you won't be rushed to do it all on the weekend.

These lengthy periods of time also provide people who do not live right next door to the industry with an opportunity to work. The majority of offshore work in the United States is located in the Gulf of Mexico. The people who work offshore in this area do not come solely from this area. They come from all over the US, Canada, and overseas. At first this might seem like a long way to travel to work, but remember it is only once or twice a month.

Consider this; depending on who you work for and what your position is, many companies will fly you, at their expense, from the nearest airport to your work site. When I worked off the Coast of Africa, I flew from the Gulfport Regional Airport in Mississippi, to Dallas, to London, to West Africa and then to the rig. The return trip was just the opposite. All this was at the company's expense. Some companies, in lieu of flying, will reimburse your driving mileage. Don't think you live too far away. You really might not because of the travel arrangements a company may be willing to make with you.

Hourly schedules are computed on an 84-hour work week. This is a normal work schedule. Work weeks of 100 hours or more are not uncommon. This might seem like a lot of hours, but remember you are already on the job site. You don't have to hassle with getting up after a long night, worry about traffic, car problems, or any of the everyday difficulties associated with land-based jobs. If you work for a drilling contractor or oil company, you will usually work only six months out of the year. If you work for the marine services, special service companies, or catering companies, you will probably work about nine months out of the year. The most common type of schedules are 7 on and 7 off. It leads to the following variations:

  • 7 days on - 7 days off
  • 14 days on - 14 days off
  • *21 days on - 21 days off
  • *28 days on - 28 days off

*These schedules are found mostly in overseas work.

If you want to work more, then that can be arranged, too. There were several times when I worked over as opposed to going home for my time off. An extra $1,700 per week  always helped out.


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