Working in the Canadian Oil Sands: 6 figures in 6 months!

Making this smart move early in life can give you a financial head start


canadian oil sandsI found an informative post over at (For those unfamiliar, this forum is treasure trove of travel, business, and dating information from a masculine perspective.)

The author provided first hand information about a way to make large amounts of money early in your life – without experience or education.

A better strategy than college/debt/job

Making money early is the best way to have the resources to travel and make entrepreneurial ventures when you are still young and energetic.

Conventional education/career paths revolve around retiring comfortably in your 60’s. The price of this ‘promise’ is debt and low pay through your 20’s and 30’s. Most peoples’ youth evaporates before they realize that this is a raw deal.

I propose it is better to take an unconventional path aimed at achieving a degree of financial freedom by your late 20’s or early 30’s. At this age you will have both knowledge/experience AND youthful energy, ambition, and flexibility. This is the perfect time to undertake business, family, and travel ventures.

Early earning + investing

Focusing on high earning when young is smarter now that it has ever been before. This is due to the existence of efficient investment vehicles, namely low fee index funds. They makes effective passive investing as simple as a few taps on an app on your phone. You will have a lifelong financial advantage over someone if you started investing when you are 20 and they only started investing after paying of their college debts in their 30’s.

Large Cap Growth Chart QAn example from my own life

My university education cost approximately $100k and took 5 years (5 years where I also wasn’t earning much).

If I had have never gone to university and instead invested that $100k into index funds over that same 5 year period, I would have had about $300k by age 30! This doesn’t even count any extra income I would have made by working during those same five years.

$300k is the type of money that allows you to do things like pay cash for a house, start a business, or travel for years.

Instead, I worked my ass off at university, and then worked by ass of for 7 years after that at a job. What did I have to show for it?  By age 30, I had much less that $300k, was burnt out, and had few options.

I think it is obvious from my example above that if you were to do several years of hard work in an oil field type job out of high school and invest the bulk of it you could realistically have somewhere between $500k to a $1 million by age 30.

Remote location oil work

Highlights from the post:

I wish someone told me when I was 18 that if I took a trade, I’d be making 100K by the time I was 20 and likely be my own boss by 25.

Yeah, me and you both, brother!

There are many options and many different jobs up there, it doesn’t matter if you’re a PHD in engineering, an MBA or a high school drop out with a rap sheet longer than Manute Bol (I work with A LOT of ex-cons, they don’t do criminal record checks in the oil sands!).

The biggest number of jobs are those in the building trades, they are fairly easy to get into and are all very WELL PAYING jobs, these include: welder, pipe fitter, electrician, boiler maker, scaffolder, iron worker, crane operator, industrial insulator, etc. All of these trades are in high demand, if you take a pre-employment course at a community college (4-12 weeks, depends on trade), you WILL get a job and you WILL make 6 figures, I know several welders who make 8-10,000 PER WEEK!

Then there’s also more technical trades that are less physically demanding than the building trades but still require field work in the elements; instrumentation tech, industrial automation tech, safety officer, PLC programmer, etc.

There’s many engineers too; civil, mechanical, material, chemical, electrical, etc.

And then there’s MANY other jobs that don’t require much,if any, special training: Labourer, janitor, kitchen staff, camp staff, security guards, man/hatch watch (monitoring confined space entry), water/vac truck operator, etc.

Many normal professions appear to have high barriers to entry.  You frustratingly think, “I don’t have the right education, I don’t have the right connections, I don’t have enough experience, etc.”

This is simply not a possible excuse with this kind of work.  You can literally start at the bottom sweeping floors and work your way up.

The work: It can be very difficult and for 6 months of the year, especially Dec/Jan/Feb, its FUCKING COLD!!!

It can also be very easy, I worked on a project last year (unscheduled shut down of a refinery after a major furnace explosion/fire in the coker) and for the last 10 weeks, I did absolutely nothing for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week (well I watched a lot of movies and read books, surfed web, etc).

I think burst of intense work and intermittent rest periods are more compatible with human nature than relentless Monday – Friday, 9-5.

WORK CAMPS: If you come work up here, chances are that you will be living in a work camp, they’re massive housing complexes where the workers live. Everything is taken care of and you don’t spend much money when staying in them (I think I was spending about $30/week on coffee and newspapers), I used to enjoy it but after 2 years of staying in camps, it became more and more like prison.

Some camps are VERY nice, big rooms, big beds, big plasma TV with 100 channels, nice big gyms with personal trainers, games rooms (ping pong, snooker, foosball,etc), out door hockey rinks, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, concert hall with full music sets to jam, decent pubs/bars, etc. Then again, some SUCK and don’t have any of those services! I remember one shitty camp I stayed at had a sever black bear problem, bears were getting into the camps, fucking up the kitchen, etc. One morning I got into my truck and there’s bear paw prints all over the wind screen!!!

Examples of rotations, or hitches are: 2 weeks on, 1 off (most common), 24 days on 4 off (most legally allowed to work, I did this for 8 months straight!), week on, week off, etc.

Me personally, I’m only going to work 6 months up there from now on. Its a hard lifestyle guys and not everyone is cut out for it, you have to deal with isolation, not getting laid often and probably the biggest issue for me, working with a lot of morons! Because of the severe labour shortage, they will hire anyone, including ex-cons, some crack heads, dead beats, etc. However, there are a few interesting cool people who only work there for the money then get the fuck out, like me!

Some other benefits

newsimage o rig worker alberta facebook
Canada, Alberta, Oil workers using oil drill

Yes, the work is hard.  However, in addition to the money here are some other perks:

  • It is a manhood rite-of-passage type of experience.  These are important for male development but have been mostly extinguished in modern society.
  • You make strong bonds of friendship through hard work and adversity.  You will come away with good friends.
  • Oil work is conducted all over the world.  This will give you contacts and experience that make it possible to work in other exotic locations.
  • It makes you a more interesting person.
  • It will get you comfortable with a spartan existence – could lead to life long beneficial simplifications in your lifestyle.

For more information:


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