Off The Wall: Jake Welch

One of the more annoying stereotypes that plague hardworking people, is the persistent assumption that a man who relies on a strong back and good hands to make ends meet, does so in part because he can’t express himself in writing. Of all the things I admire about this post, which I just plucked from my wall, I’m most impressed by the way it utterly debunks that foolish and unwarranted perception. Beyond that, I can only hope that re-posting it here will increase the odds of Jake Welch getting hired on with all due speed. Someone in the oil business would be damn lucky to have him…

Jake Welch
January 28 at 6:36am ·

I lost my job today.

There it is. Technically, I found out this would be my last trip on this rig nearly a month ago. Worked the whole hitch with the knowledge that when my feet touch solid ground today, I’ll receive a phone call or email to terminate me. This is the oilfield in 2016. I am not the only one. In fact, I am in the company of tens of thousands who will now sit down at their kitchen table for the modern equivalent of cutting out newspaper listings. I spent over five years on this rig, made friends from all over the world. I’ve turned wrenches alongside those who trust me with their lives, and I with theirs. There are few other careers that result in the kind of bond between crew. And after these five years, I’ll see very few of them ever again in my life. And it breaks my fucking heart.

So, now I fly home and turn the page. Because there’s no other way. I was raised to be a man of action; not to sit with my head hung low and wait for someone else to put the pieces back together. My wife and I will do that together, with the support of the greatest circle of friends and family we could ever dream of. I don’t want a single “I’m so sorry” in the comments of this post, or anyone’s condolences. Please, hang on to them. It’s not about my own pride, or dignity. It’s simply that I am grateful for the life I have and the opportunities before me. There are people blindsided by horrific tragedies every day, and mine is not one of them. Offer your apologies to those individuals, as they could surely benefit more than me.

We will move forward because it’s all we know. And if it gets harder before it gets easier, then so it shall be. I’m admittedly a little anxious about what the future holds, but I am unafraid. This month at work has been the most challenging period I’ve ever worked through, and it has served to demonstrate the strength of the woman who holds my home together in my absence. Everyone says their significant other is the greatest on earth; as they rightly should. But I will tell you without a shadow of doubt, that my wife is made of something very few would even understand. She is my better half, and I would not have lasted two minutes offshore this trip if not for her guidance and support. I work to be everything a real man should be, and part of that means appreciating that sometimes he is not strong enough to take the world on alone.

Here’s to pouring a glass with my family and friends who’ve stood by my side every day, and to getting back on the rails. It simply is what it is, and it’s time to move on. The world is full of compression ignition engines and screaming turbochargers, waiting for a worthy hand on the throttle. I am that man.

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