Sunday, May 07, 2006

You Think YOUR Job Sucks: Driller David Writes From India Again

Indian Mine
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
My friend David works drilling for methane in Calcutta, India. For real. I posted one of his more colorful letters a while back, and have heard little from him since, except for this cryptic missive:

This place continues to impress me with it's ability to drive people insane. I found out that our last supervisor, to cut a long story short, ended his employment with us by chasing people with a front end loader.

Rather, I had heard little from Dave until last week, when I got this letter. You may be frustrated with the bozos at your office, but I can guarantee that your cubicle is about to get a whole lot more comfortable:
At this moment, I am waiting for our water truck to arrive. We can't drill without it. It’s a general election tomorrow, so driving is kind of banned for the moment. The police have apparently stopped our water truck. They have no doubt found out where it's headed and are holding it until the appropriate security measures (i.e. bribes) are carried out.

Here’s what else has happened in the last couple of shifts:

Our supervisor Liam (promoted from driller after supervisor 9 was carted off) spent last night vomiting back up all food and drink due to dehydration. It’s pretty hot here and he not only has to perform all supervisory and admin tasks, he also has to train our newly promoted driller, Abdul, who is now taking Liam's place. Liam sacked Abdul last month. The head office sent him back with a pay rise and instructions to train him to become a driller. Liam’s not getting much sleep at the moment.

I spent the first few hours of last nightshift waiting for semi trailer to come back from the old site with equipment necessary to continue rig move. I'm unable to drive back to the old site myself to find out what was the hold up as my driver had gone back to camp for some unknown reason. The crew at the old site eventually came back to tell me that the semi trailer driver got there okay, but announced he was running low on fuel and drove home instead. None of the other truck drivers were willing to go unless we made them dinner first (they'd already eaten dinner). So, I had to track down a prime mover at another site, drive it myself, hook on to the trailer, repair the seized brakes, load the trailer and drive it to the new site.

While transporting the rig yesterday, a man stopped Liam and demanded 100 rupees (3 dollars) to drive through "his" street or else Liam would be shot. This was no great drama, as the guy didn't actually have a gun on him. We met the same guy again today as he has been hired as a labourer for this well.


Everything, I mean everything, that we do here is harder than it needs to be. That is not the problem. That’s actually the challenge and the reason that we're flown over here. We’re meant to have the knowledge and the experience needed to make things happen where others can't.

The problem is that we get no support from our own company. Many of the difficulties we face can be alleviated, eliminated or just plain easier to ignore if our own employer was looking after us properly. But they're not.

There are times when it is worth gritting your teeth and working through a whole lotta crap because, eventually, things improve and you feel like you played a part in making something better than it looked like it was ever gonna be. And there are times when you are the only ones giving a shit and running yourself ragged while the people who should be making your life easier are nowhere to be found. After three months, I know where I’m at and I’d be an idiot to keep doing this.

(deep breath)

The water truck still hasn't arrived, and I’m not sure if we'll be allowed to drive back to camp in the morning, either.


At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Sweet said...

Damn dude. Thanks for sharing. I can't even imagine.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Needtsza said...

first, sorry I haven't been around.

Second, awesome pictures man. all of em. Now, to actually read =)

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Needtsza said...

sounds like basically the same ole bullshit (except for getting shot) that we deal with here: man goes to work. company could give a shit about man. Man stays for no apparent reason.

Good Luck to him. India, huh?
Tell him to get on the f'n phone when you call about your computer ;)


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