People often describe living in mining camps as monotonous. Christie, driving a hauler in a mine, expands on her daily routine while at work, “I get up at 4:40, get dressed and go to the mess for breakfast. Then I go to my safety and other meetings or meet my cross-shift, before I get on my hauler. I drive 12 hours a day up and down the same road. I’ll have a sandwich in between before I get back to camp at 6 o`clock. I have a shower, hop in my clean pants, go for dinner and watch TV for a bit or play cards until it’s bedtime. Sometimes I do some calls or the laundry. Every day is pretty much the same.”
The camp remains quiet during the day, since fellow workers are sleeping when they get back from night shift.
Some workers say they go out for a walk in nature near the camp while it is still daylight or unwind in the gym after their working day ends. Some companies have cleared trails so their workers can take safe leisure-walks.
Veronica is a First Nation woman working as safety manager. She tells, “I sometimes pick berries or herbs for making traditional medicine. This connects me to the land while I am out here.”
Bonnie, a camp services worker, reports, “Especially young folks out here sometimes have a hard time to entertain themselves.”
It is really important that you can have a good time just being on your own. You can bring your own games, books, or whatever you like to camp.
Some people also like being by themselves out at site without having family duties. The routines and the strict schedule of the industrial mine camps can also help workers to unwind from stress at home.
The time at work helps also for transitioning from any potential alcohol abuse during off-shift, as Veronica, the safety manager, explains, “People don’t drink here and they are in a sober environment. This makes them much happier; they are self-confident and have a smile on their face.”
Satisfaction with food in the canteen is essential for good mood in the crew, which, in turn, increases the satisfaction with FIFO in general.
Coping with routines and boredom at the mine camp is different from person to person.
Ultimately, a strong mind is necessary to make the best of the mobile work lifestyle and routines in the camp.
It is good to have these routines sometimes, like getting up at the same time every day. I stick to some of these routines when I’m at home. It helps having a structure also when I am out of camp and have not much to do. Charles
The younger people, let´s say the twenty-five and thirty year old ones, have troubles to self-entertain. If you need to be active, go to the gym or for a walk. If you want quiet time read a book, watch TV or play a computer game. Just do your own thing. Entertaining yourself is absolutely good. Jenny
If people have troubles back home, it affects their work. You are thinking about home when really you should be concentrating on work. We try to socialise here amongst co-workers and that helps. This is part of the routine you need to get into. Roger
Usually my days are spread out over 17 hours. I start about 4.30 in the morning and the day ends about 7.30 at night. Sometimes even later. So my days are long but given that I am the manager I have quite a bit of flexibility during the day too. Henry