When you get an offer of employment your thoughts will turn to what it is going to be like working in what will be a very strange environment for most people.
From your first trip away life will change dramatically. Not only will your starting salary be on par with middle management onshore, but you will also be living in your place of work, completely surrounded by sea, with no sight of land.
The industry has an above average staff turnover due in part to people being unable to adjust to the lifestyle. Don't get the wrong idea, working offshore is not as difficult or arduous as some think it must be, conditions have improved dramatically and are continuing to do so.
On arrival at the rig you will be issued with safety boots, hard hat, safety glasses and coveralls. You will then be given a guided tour of the whole installation. Alarms, drills and muster points among other things will be explained to you.
A positive attitude will make life offshore much more enjoyable and may increase your chances of promotion. Keep focused on why it is that you are working out there and the plus points of the job. Everyone has different reasons and goals that bring them to the offshore industry.
You will work a twelve-hour day with a break in the morning, lunchtime and afternoon. "Tea shacks" are at various places throughout the rig and at designated times filled rolls or cakes etc. are provided. For your lunch you will take off work gear and go into the galley. The food is usually very good quality with a wide selection at every mealtime. The catering crews on some rigs organize theme nights with Chinese or Mexican food making up the majority of choices on the menu.
Quiz nights may be a weekly event, often held after the safety meeting and perhaps involving a small prize.
Offshore installations operate 24 hours a day, so depending on your job you may have to do night shift. With some jobs you may have to do a combination of days and nights. There are different systems used usually dependent on helicopter arrival times and company policies. Often you will start your "trip" on day shift and then move to night shift on your final days before going home. For example if you do two weeks on-two weeks off, you may do a week of days and a week of nights.
Off shift facilities vary from rig to rig. In the past there may only have been a packet of cards and a couple of dog-eared novels as rig leisure equipment. Today most rigs have a cinema showing satellite TV and a selection of videos, which are updated regularly, others also have TVs in every room. Many have excellent gym and sauna equipment. Others have table tennis, computers with Internet link and computer game consoles.
It is a great feeling to step off a rig with two or three weeks off. Some people travel half way round the world to their work.