Nationally the media is telling us how the downturn in oil & gas production has effective the markets globally resulting in layoffs of the workforce.
In Midland TX the Sunday Morning show interviewed a gentleman who has worked in the industry for 20 yours. He said ‘….I’m used to the cycle of drilling – the ups and downs- but this time is longer than before’. He lives in a modest three bedroom house with his wife and two kids; his wife is a stay at home mom, a two car family with one being his two year old truck. Now this is more than a truck, it’s his office too. Like many of you, he traveled for hours a day in his truck with safety manuals, tools, colleagues, and food and drink.
When asked ‘if the industry is so unpredictable why not change professions?’ Without hesitation he replied, ‘…I love what I do. Overall it’s been good to me and my family’. How can you argue with that? But this may answer a question I’ve had for years – Why does the industry allow the workers to have their own companies in the same industry as consultants or some working two jobs? My guess is this industry recognizes with the boom and bust of drilling it’s worth it to keep good workers; people who truly love the industry and love what they do.
At the onset of drilling in the northeast when locals were hired their houses got renovated, they purchased new trucks, new homes, second homes, and some lots of big boy toys. Things were booming and we were living high.
So now what? How do we adjust to reduction in pay, reduction in hours, no per diem and maybe no commission? Here are a few things to consider; talk to your banker on how to lower your mortgage- a collateral mortgage or re-finance to a home equity or a conventional re-finance.
If your mortgage has private mortgage insurance (PMI) can you eliminate PMI altogether? Can you pay interest only for one to three months just to catch up on other loans? Do not resort to credit cards- that could lead to debt pyramiding. And then stop eating out four times a week; re-think bar hopping- the good feeling will only last while you are sitting there. Do partner with some buddies to do those house jobs that have been on your to-do list.
It’s cheaper for you to do them than pay someone else. Plus, it’s rewarding to look at a finished project. Stay connect to others in the oil & gas industry to keep abreast of what’s happening and where. Do attend some events to keep in front and in touch with others. Most of all learn to recognize the start of the down-cycle; don’t over extend yourself during the boom times – be patience- it will be back.