It's been a few months, but I should be blogging regularly once again. First things first, I no longer work in Williston. In December, I found permanent work in Minot, ND, which is a city of about 50,000 on the eastern border of the Bakken, 120 mi east of Williston. This was the closest city that I could relocate my family to when I first found work in Williston. It's a thriving city that has super low unemployment right now, just like Williston, but still has housing available. That's not to say the rental prices are cheap; on the contrary, I know people who are paying $1700/mo. for a single wide trailer. But unlike Williston, this place doesn't have the six month waiting lists for apartments.
On my first week off from Sanjel, back in December, I applied to a couple law firms here in Minot, and literally received offers the same day. This is compared to the 6-12 month negotiations for positions with a firm back out east. So now I've traded in my overalls and fresh air for a suit and working indoors. I must admit, though, that I did have to take a bit of a pay cut to return to the office. On an hourly basis, I make more now. But, I only work 40 hrs/wk, so compared to 60-70 hrs/wk I was averaging before, it totals a little less. That should change, though, over time as I progress in my career.
Take What You Need, Look For What You Want
When I was back in Williston, a leader in my church there said to me something that seems to be the motto for guys moving to the Bakken: "Take what you need, and look for what you want." This was inspiring, since in the rest of the country, since the beginning of the recession, it's only been "Take what you utterly have to." In every city in the Bakken, and generally across the entire state, there are much more jobs than people. Oil field service companies are still hiring in droves, but there's also a housing shortage of crisis proportions, especially here in Minot, where a flood last summer destroyed a few thousand homes, so there's expected to be a housing boom across the Bakken this summer. Every out-of-work guy displaced by the recession should grab his tool belt and head up here by May, cause he'll be able to name his price and work as much as he wants. Government, too, continue to go unfilled. Obviously, they can't compete on wages with the private sector, but for young professionals wanting to begin a career or older professionals not able to find employment elsewhere, there's plenty of vacant positions. And don't let the higher cost of living deter. Because of the housing crisis, the state housing authority covers much of the cost of rent for those who's monthly rent exceeds 30% of their monthly income.