Coping with low Oil Prices- Career/Life Strategy Revision: A 3-Pronged Approach

As of this time of writing, it would be about 3 years and 5 months I’ve come to Alberta for a new life. My strategies for social ladder/career advancement have continuously changed after repeated failures, due primarily to deteriorating economic conditions, unexpectedly inconsistent work, and lack of knowing people. Nevertheless, I always made new plans and pursued them aggressively. The new low oil price environment now reinforces the importance of diversification and increased aggressiveness of the pursuit of career objectives. Now I have come up with a new “3-pronged approach”- 3 separate strategies to secure a Ferrari by the time I’m 30, so that if one fails, there are still 2 other remaining.

Below is a summary of each strategy I’ve had over the past 3 years and 5 months of being here, and its result, in chronological order:

(1) Work the rigs or oilfield labour camp jobs, bank and invest/trade proceeds with a heavy focus on penny stocks. Return home in glory to complete my university degree and hold a Porsche and property by the time I was 23.

Problems:

  • rig work was too inconsistent, and heavily influenced by work politics
  • drilling rig or labour camp work was competitive, with the myths of showing up in Nisku on foot and getting a job on the spot being only a pipe dream
  • penny stocks too inconsistent to be a reliable source of money growth
  • bodybuilding dramatically increased my food and supplement expenses

 

(2) Get a Class 1, get an oilfield trucking job, make $120K/year; save money and truck until getting into Power Engineering, then do Power Engineering to make big money in Fort McMurray

Problems:

  • Power Engineering programs were much more competitive than originally anticipated and the field was becoming saturated; just like university, everyone flocks to word of money
  • Plan made at $100/barrel oil
  • Better paying oilfield trucking jobs were inconsistent; many happy to make $75-100K/year, not 100-150. Took years of experience to be useful enough to consistently work for 100-150, or unless you knew someone who directed you to a steady company. 
  • At the beginning with minimal experience, little to no savings was collected, and much of savings spent paying off the cost of the program. Would take at least a couple years to save for Power Engineering school.
  • Young guy in trucking not most desirable; stereotypical trucker was an older person.

(3) Using obtained electrician apprenticeship, gradually transition from trucking to electrical. Use slow times in trucking to work on apprenticeship. Gradually collect money for downpayment for first property.

Problems:

  • Electrical companies were very close knit and didn’t like outsiders; almost impossible to be hired as a 1st year apprentice without knowing anyone. They liked to hire kids smoking weed in Mom’s basement through the buddy system. Economic slowdown only exaggerate this issue.
  • Previous oilfield experience not desirable, as you were viewed as someone who would quit for greener pastures
  • Electrical trade flocking with increasing competition like Power Engineering and University, as the word of easy money draws people into it
  • Seasonal and other inconsistent income sources useless for mortgage unless reflected on 2 tax returns; failed to obtain first mortgage using second trucking job (though was eventually successful in obtaining 1st condo in the spring of 2016).

Presently, now I’ve developed a “3-pronged approach”, where I have 3 strategies of advancement: trucking, electrical, and shares and investment properties.

(1) Keep trucking as required to get by, and keep adding to net worth with relatively high income.

In good times, truckers/operators usually made $75-150K in the oilfield/construction. Now in the downturn, many are happy to barely scrape $100K. I usually hover around $8000-10000/month (typical rate is $300-750/day), so it is still decent money, enabling me to increase my net worth by around $2000-3000/month (1-2K cash) after all living expenses and taxes. Though I have little room in earning power increases, trucking buys me time and investment money, whether for properties, shares, or more school.

Though in the downturn, many oilfield companies have a “be grateful you have a job” mentality, and young guys making money are frowned upon in times family people are suffering. Some people believe they should be entitled to work because of their background, but the reality is employment is just a business, where the employee generating the company the most revenue is desirable. Some genuine hardworking families do suffer and it is unfortunate… yet a lot of people also decided to fuck and have kids with little financial and career preparation, and the same people now feel entitled to have the world support them, and live to watch the likes of I suffer. Unfortunately, they cannot be helped, and I like to ask:

You may hate a young guy like me for making close to or $100,000/year, having a nice BMW, and a nice condo- but why should I pay for your mistakes of chasing dumb girls and a life of just fucking and having kids?

Also, there are dumb companies like the ones who just want to hire desperate workers from certain other provinces to turn their workplaces in little families, so they suffer in business for a reason. Nevertheless these forms of work politics are something to note, as anyone beside me can stab me in the back without warning.

Since growing up, I noticed local society here though not socialist, is more left-leaning. Self-maximizers like myself are viewed as an evil and they want everyone to be on a similar level; they want you to be like others, not above them. They want you to be content with yourself, not be something better everyday. While others are sitting at home not working, and/or the young people chasing dumb girls and smoking weed in Mom’s basement, people like me trying to make money for a Ferrari and multiple properties and going to the gym everyday to be the best looking man alive one day are viewed as an evil. 

(2) Seek electrical work to add hours to the blue book and hence continue apprenticeship. Use slow times at work to work on electrical schooling.

I call electrical work school, as in the beginning stages it pays bad, but it is required to start with minimal experience. Without a second part-time job, I would be in a budget deficit position every month. Confidence is not the best, as electrical companies are very close knit, allowing little opportunity for an outsider. The slow economy also does not encourage many outfits to take on new guys.

In 5 years, or sooner, I should have my Journeyman ticket by then. If the economy is good again by then, I should be making $160k+ as an industrial electrician. The idea is to add to assets and electrical hours over the years.

(3) Invest any savings in stocks in undervalued companies, and additional properties.

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, as long as I somehow acquire 2 more properties with around a total of $650K value, in 5 years I should have enough equity and appreciation in them to have a Ferrari:

In theory, having 3 properties, 2 rented out, for 5 years:

$1000000(1.04^5) – $1000000 + $133680 = $350,333

Assuming the 3 properties are on average about $333K each, a 4% appreciation rate, and 133680 being the rent money (principal contributions) put towards the mortgages. This is obviously conservative, as the predicted appreciation rate is very low. I would also have other savings and equity gains acquired over the years.

Even if my plans of the electrical trade fail, and trucking offers little to no earning power increases in the next few years, as long as I am wise with my trucking money, there are still hopes of obtaining the Ferrari by age 30.

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