“Do it! Just try it!” says James, a wastewater manager. Melinda, a welder, joins in with her memories: “I had not the slightest clue, before I started working in a mine on what it means to be away for a couple of weeks from home. And what it means to be confined to a remote camp site.”
Melinda and James have both become gradually more successful in managing private life and their mobile jobs in the mines.
It helps talking to people who have already been working for a while in that business.
They know more about the loneliness that might sometimes occur, but also the friendships that occur within the crew, or how it feels not having a beer after work, sleeping in a small bed or sharing the bathroom. For James and Melinda it was also a new experience to keep up the relationship with their loved ones via Skype.
Ronnie, a heavy equipment operator, kind of knew already what he is getting into. His cousin and a neighbour are mobile miners, driving in and out to the camp right now. At another time they were flying in and out to other provinces for rotational shift work. Ronnie and his wife made a joint decision about working in the mining industry – weighing the pros and cons carefully. Then, they “just tried it”.
Ronnie said, “You never know of course what comes up and if it works out well for all of us – for my wife, my kids, for me. Nobody is the same. It might work for my neighbour but it must not necessarily work for me. My wife knew that she will be a kind of a single mother while I am on shift for two or three weeks and she was ready to try this out.”
For single people, as we were told in the many talks with workers, FIFO is easier because they had no obligations to a partner or kids. It is a worthwhile opportunity to earn money in different parts of the country and also worldwide. But there is no one-fits-all recipe to make a mobile life work for you.
The only way to know if being a mobile worker in the mining industry works for you is to experience it firsthand.
For some workers it can become a passion as well as a driver for career development and achieving aims in life.
Many folks use the opportunity of earning decent money to create the financial basis for planning a family in the future. FIFO is also convenient since you have extended leisure periods without any job obligations between shifts.
I look at it as an adventure. You know, the mining site is an adventure on its own and if you are open minded, you like these new things. Have the willingness, just be open and try to learn as much as you can. I see lots of folks out here who have broadened their mind and horizon by working in mining. Andrew
I always aimed at higher paying jobs. These are mostly men´s jobs. But I went for it! I like doing what I do. Today things have changed a lot and women do men´s jobs too. Melinda
The circumstances will change a lot as soon as you have a child, but that might go well, as it did in my case. If you realise that it doesn´t fit to your life circumstances, do not hesitate to quit. But take your time for this decision. Usually, you can transfer your skills to other sectors like trades, since people in mining are very handy people. James
Have fun and enjoy your life and money! If you don´t enjoy that kind of work, just don´t do it at all. But, yeah, go for it, for sure I recommend that. There are so many good times, but also a lot of hard times. Life is going to be different. Ian
You know its hard work and it´s going to be long days. As a boss, I tell my crew members to keep an open mind and say more yes than no to new things. Chris
A fly-in fly-out lifestyle doesn’t have to be for the whole of your life. I have done it on and off for years. Depends on the job. You take jobs, which suit you at the time, your finances, your kid’s ages and your own needs. Andrew