I warn anyone that thinks they can make an easy buck doing gate guarding to rethink their plans. This is not a day at the beach or a walk in the park. No offense meant to the snowbirds; but you really have to spend a summer in south Texas to understand what I mean. Summer brings not only the heat but winter dust amplified times ten. Yesterday I had to get the company man to water us down because the dust was so overwhelming. We have a new rig moving in, our old rig winding down and getting ready to move and a casing crew getting started. We’re still not doing the 12 pages a day some of you have written about and we get to experience air conditioning occasionally. Still, this is a hot, dusty and oft times busy vocation. Some things to remember (and I am only trying to inform you). Purchasing and stocking necessities normally is a challenge. Only once has a grocery store been less than 20 miles away from all the gates we have worked. Which reminds me to remind those of you contemplating this job-your social life will be difficult at best. Having an established network of friends and acquaintances is invaluable. If socializing is not a big thing with you, at least involve yourself with the cyber gate guard community. A lot of us out here only know one another from sites like My Old RV and Forum, Woodalls and others. It is a rich resource and can be invaluable in a time of need.
Speaking of the social networks; some of our fellow guards have been asked to sign NDA’s (non disclosure agreements). It has caused panic on the part of some that blog and otherwise use the social networks as a sort of diary of their adventures. Some even communicate that way. Blogs and forums are being shut down and people are overreacting, in my opinion. PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT A LAWYER. NDA’s have been a part of the corporate world for a very long time. They are not very common in the blue collar community, but corporate folks have routinely been forbidden from disclosing proprietary and corporate info (recipes, methods of operation, schedules, etc.) by the use of NDA’s. Those of you that disclosed well names, locations, drilling and exploration company name(s), drilling activity, etc. should have known better. We were made aware of it when we first began this gig. It may make you feel better; but airing your grievances in cyber space and including the company’s name while doing it, is also not very smart. You can discuss a wealth of things without disclosing proprietary info. I understand you don’t want to lose your job or get sued. However, don’t let anyone cower you into not communicating at all. One of my pet peeves about our judicial system is that the common working man can rarely afford to take on anyone legally. Use common sense and think before you react or overreact. Freedom of speech is a privilege we can ill afford to lose. Learn to respect others in your communications, but don’t stop communicating. The slope is far too slippery.