Most people's parents are educators, doctors, lawyers, secretaries, plumbers, construction workers, business owners, farmers, veterinarians, etc. Most people have parents that work in pretty common jobs. They go to work at maybe 6, 7, 8 in the morning, and then come home maybe 3, 4, 5, 6 in the afternoon. They are most likely off for Christmas or Thanksgiving, with a few exceptions. Basically, they have mostly normal jobs.
I never had that normality growing up. My dad is the head electrician for an offshore oil rig off the coast of Africa. He works a month there and then comes home for a month. It has been like this for my whole life. He has had a little bit different schedule throughout the years, 14 on 14 off, 21 on, 21 off, and he has also been in different locations, Louisiana, Mexico, Brazil. He doesn't get to come home for Christmas, Birthdays, Thanksgiving, etc unless it falls during his off time. He's missed holidays, birthdays, softball games, tennis matches, barrel races, prom, etc. He only gets to call certain times, or Facebook message every now and then.
However, it is not all bad. My dad has a very important job that not many people acknowledge. He helps a company that drills oil, a very important necessity to our everyday life. He also gets to travel all over the world, and he always brings me back souvenirs, pictures, and stories about what he sees. It's also really awesome when my dad is home because, for a whole month, he is off work. He can take me fishing, go to the movies, etc. This job, while it has its many sacrifices, it pays my dad very nicely and has helped support my family tremendously, which I greatly appreciate.
There're a few ways you know your parent works offshore that I have found universal through the other kids I have met. These include being excited for gas prices to rise because you know it's better job stability for your parent. Understanding that when your parent calls, you gotta answer, no matter what you're doing because they don't get a bunch of time to call. Dealing with the hate from environmental people due to the BP oil spill. Learning the oil rig talk, and dealing with the slight increase in curse words when they come back home because it's a bunch of men on a rig together. Countless trips to the airport. Meeting the other kids like you at the schools they have to go to. And the list goes on.
It is also very scary. For any of you that remember the BP oil spill, that could have been my dad. Or if you watched the Deepwater Horizon movie, that stuff can really happen. And having to fly there and back? We all know stuff can go wrong on airplanes. It is very scary to think he could leave and I could never see him again.
With all the pros and cons, it is really cool to have a parent that works on an oil rig. So the next time you are at the beach and you see those weird structures out in the distance in the middle of the ocean, think of my dad, and all the other dads out there.
Here're some pictures...
Christmas on the rig
My dad! In his work uniform