this is the finished side of our current Habitat for Humanity duplex, and the family who now own it. taken the day of their home dedication cerimony. a certain grannyfiddler/harpist we know provided the music.
today, a team of 9 of us from the evil oil company i work for spent the day on the other side, painting, installing light fixtures and emptying the basement of unneeded construction materials. so, obviously, the people working for the evil oil company aren't evil. they're actually mostly a really terrific bunch of people, and there are very few of them that i'm not going to miss, when, in 7 sleeps, i'm finished there. but i won't miss the corporation. and here's why.... after months of hearing boasts from the bigwigs in the headshed about what a phenomenal year the company has had, (record breaking profits) and how well positioned it is relative to others in the industry, first, annual employee bonuses were cut, then the BIG CRUNCH was announced. this is an old field. it's expected to produce well for another 15 years even without major new exploration. we're very far from the centre of the universe, where the head office, and all the 'important' people are, so, by oil compay standards, we run pretty lean. oil exploration has been cut everywhere in alberta.... mostly a political response by the big corporations to drive home the point that they are very unhappy about the new royalty regulations initiated by the current government. so even without new wells to develop known reserves in the area, this field pours money into their coffers faster than they can count it. for those who aren't in on oilco jargon, reserves are those quantities of oil and gas that are known to exist in land the company in question has the mineral rights for. it's like money buried in the back yard, left to you by very rich, Great Uncle Fred who thought of you as the child he never had. you know it's there. you know it's a LOT. all you have to do is go get it.
so, when i handed in my resignation, my area superintendent was astonished to be told that they couldn't afford to replace me. they could have afforded to keep me, but they can't afford to hire someone else to do the same job. now i'm not young enough, or pretty enough that they just kept me around because i was so ornamental, and there's no slack in the department where i work that can be taken up to make sure the work i do gets done when i'm gone. and if it doesn't get done, the maintenance department in a field where most of the work done IS maintenance, will have some serious trouble getting its bills paid (cuz i'm the one who paid those bills for them) ...and if the bills don't get paid, people sending those bills are going to make damned sure no more bills are run up. and i'm not the only one this whole chain of events has occurred to.... no one's very happy with me in that office right now. i really am counting the sleeps till i leave. trying not to feel guilty, but of course i do anyway, because the mess is left in the laps of people who, for the most part, i've enjoyed working with.
so, after spending a day painting doors and playing gopher to a crew of 20 volunteers who're all there to help a single mum with 4 kids have her own home.... after explaining the philosophy of Habitat For Humanity to those who came, who'd never heard it before, seeing the delight in their faces when they heard it.... after a day of hard work, watching them all trudge through the snow to their vehicles, tired and dirty and smiling, some asking when they could come back..... i came back to my daughter's place, where i'm staying the weekend, had a long, hot, delicious bath, and checked the email and the blog. Lindsay Lobe had posted about Albert Schweitzer and his philosophy "Reverence for Life"..... and i thought, "how appropriate; the perfect ending to the perfect day." and i knew i was doing exactly the right thing trading the oilpatch for the 'philosophy of the hammer' as HFH's principles have been called.
and i'm happier than i've been in many years.