From the article: Geology and Home Life
Spending large amounts of time away from home may be an adventure, but what about the family? A young person asks, "I read that many geologists must be away from their families for a considerable amount of time. Did you get lonely often? How long were you away from your family? Is being away worth it?" Share Your Advice
Rock Mums do exist
- I am an exploration geologist in the petroleum industry working a 9 to 5 job. As much as I love to travel and be out in the field, I have consciously chosen to do less of it when I settled down and get married. Female geologists do not need to sit back just because they have a family. I am the main breadwinner of my family and I have chosen to follow a technical career. But I am also a very ambitious parent. I make it a point to be around my kids most of the time with only occasional work trips (longest one being now, working offshore for a month). Work-life balance works for my husband and me because we share the responsibility at home. When it gets busy at work, the other picks up the slack. I know I am very lucky that my husband understands the challenges of my job and quite rightly, he has never asked me to give it up. On the other hand, we choose locations where both of us can work contrary to options of moving to a remote location.
- —Guest Sinag
Exploration around the world
- I am a senior exploration geologist. I am currently working on a nickel project, though have worked in gold, copper and zinc. I am English, but now living in Australia but working in Tanzania. For me, work does mean being away from home for extended periods. My current roster means i am away for nearly 6 weeks and then home for 3 weeks. In previous jobs, i have worked one week away with one week home, but also 3 months away with a month home. The being away from home is hard and a understanding partner is vital. The pluses though are great. I have worked all around the world and seen lots of amazing things. I am currently paid to work in a place that lots of tourists pay thousands of dollars to visit. I have worked in China and South America and of course Australia. The financial benefit is also good. Geologists earn high incomes and when i was graduating from university, we were the highest earning graduates by a long way.
- —Guest Verystormy
Geologist (Coal) South Africa
- I am currently working as a production geologist. There is a fine line between balancing your work life and family life. I am a person loving the outdoors and love exploration geology, but I have decided to make the sacrifice and work on a mine to be able to spend more time with my family. Although my heart still lies with exploration and the outdoors, I value the time with my family as priceless. Life is too short to miss out. I am considering starting my own business in the next 5years. Luckily for me I am 27 and some time left to make a break. Good luck to all of you.
- —Guest Francois
- I recently completed college and am 23 years old, i enjoy the travelling and when am exploring in the wild it's absolute bliss. Growing up i have always been a bit of a loner so i don't really mind being away. Besides the pay is awesome, perhaps when am much older that's when geology will take its toll, I doubt it tho, totally loving geology!
- —Guest Sam
Plan and a time table
- My wife is a nurse, I married her when I was attending school for geology. During my schooling she saved three years of sallary, about quarter of a million, and soon I graduated I got hired to be away for one year got to know all the loops of the business and save a years worth of paycheck. Now me and my wife have our own oil and gas exploitation company in Asia and my wife got an additional degree for accusation all nurse were loving well. Alxamdullilah
- —Guest Ansi
- I've just completed my masters in Applied geology. My family is ready to let me move out into the world of exploration, before I settle down, to earn much; to learn; to re pay the education loans and so on. Finding a good paying job; a satisfactorily enjoyable one here in India has been so elusive. I've always dreamed of working abroad, at one stage of my life, obviously for the reasons of being paid high and the desire to get to know the different ethnic groups. Works apart, getting to see all those wonderfully crafted geological structures that I've seen in televisions since childhood would be one experience to relish. Dear proffesionals, the words that I've put down are just a few of the hundreds that I would like to convey. Your help would be greatly appreciated. My plans of going abroad doesn't seem to move beyond a step.
- —Guest ngazipmi Chahong
- If you want to know the career ups and downs, just look at the up and down cycles of commodity prices...so goes the life of a geologist...up and down. If you are a dedicated field geologist, these cycles will drastically affect your earning ability and your "family health". Think twice in this very unstable world we live in. Geologists will always be the first to be laid off in a company whose livelihood depends on the managers keeping their jobs to make decisions. They will be working, the geologist won't be. As commodity prices go up and down, this will dictate the working periods for geologists.
- —Guest Paul Gann
- I left my choice of architecture for exploration geology because I want the freedom to explore and I wanted to be 'closer to the sun' as I needed to be energized! Now being far from my wonderful wife has strained our relationship. I very much wanted to be closer to her and our three wonderful boys, so much so that I have to make a choice between sacrificing a calling I cherish so much for mining geology. That way, I could get to invite them along at times. My wife couldn't comprehend how I will claim to love her so much and yet be far away for so long. I am giving my wife and first son basic geologic lessons; hopefully someday soon we could all be together in some faraway place 'exploring for minerals'.
- —Guest O'muya L
How can I make this work
- I am planning on being a geologist and my significant other is planning on being a doctor. If I travel frequently and he works long days we won't be around with our children. I really want this job but I would rather I give up my career than my husband. I was thinking of just working in an office supporting other projects with the theory stuff and avoid travelling till they're older. I agree it is very different for women. If my man wanted a career I would encourage him but also try to get some time with him and the kids. I want to have three asap (soon after my degree) but doing small bits of work in that time.
- —Guest Kamilla Hassan
My Dream Job
- There are a lot of avenues you can travel down as a geologist. There is no doubt that exploration geology or petroleum geology can take you far away from family and home. Mining geology is more accommodating. You may find yourself in remote places, but you may also be able to bring your family along depending upon the locality and company. I worked as a geologist at several mines, each time being with or at least close to my wife. We are still happily married after 23 years. I am no longer in mining, however my geology background has enabled me to start my own business selling minerals online: dakotamatrix.com. Geology rocks!
- —Guest Dakota Matrix
The good, bad and ugly
- Geology as a decipline is a very lucrative job, but difficult and also causes a lot of problems in geologist lives. Leaving your kids and wife at home and working as a geologist far from home for a very long time is one of the most difficult problems. The terrain where most exploration geologist also do work is a time bomb. But i tell you your salary as a geologist is a bit better.
- —Guest Abubakarr Best kamara
A mixed bag
- I love geology/geophysics and I love travelling so being a Petroleum Geophysicist is great for me personally. As younger post-grad I spent time on marine seismic acquisition boats and had a blast with onboard processing and mapping up prospects. Saw SE Asia, Arctic Ocean (beautiful icebergs!), West Africa - ended up divorced but it was a lot more than my work that caused it. Re-married and have managed to stay in the office working up prospects on a geophysicial workstation so I've managed to keep wife #2 reasonably content. I've lived in two rather sketchy countries that have aspects that tick her off, but we've both loved the weekend and vacation travel to beautiful non-sketchy countries nearby. Places where we'd have never dreamed to have travelled to from the US and on low US wages (sketchy = big hazardous duty pay). It's not a job for a stay at home with the high-school crowd sort of person but a way better way of seeing the world than joining the Navy! more $$$ too!
- —Guest Sheikh-Bamba
Female exploration geo
- This was a career change for me--I came into it late. I am divorced with 2 grown daughters who have their own lives. I work in Africa, FIFO on 8/3 (weeks). For me its ideal, I love it. I'm single and not looking - too busy having fun. I do miss my family but i'ts such an intense way of life that you don't get time to dwell. I do tend to miss out on some family events but I did manage to recently catch a wedding and the birth of my nephew. It can be hard on relationships; I've known numerous collegues with marital problems but I have also known plenty who seem to be able to make it work. I have several married female collegues who work for consultancies and get sent all over the world for weeks at a time and they are perfectly happy. I think its really down to the individual.
- —Guest Swampy
Geology and families...not easy!
- Hi I've been a geo now for around 1.5 years and i can tell you being away from my family is extremely hard. Before my little boy was born in january this year i was in seventh heaven getting paid great money (100k + aus$) to be out in the field looking at some awesome geology exploring for new deposits was what i always wanted. But my wife was pregnant back at home but fortunately her family was nearby so she was happy enough. Then my gorgeous little boy came along and that changed everything. I'm struggling to cope with being away from my wife and bub (sometimes 2 weeks away) and when i come home my wife is snarly because she's tired from all the work she has to do and im tired from my work so it becomes pretty tense. However she understands that i must travel for my work as a geologist and that i do love my work. I'm currently trying to get work within an hour of where i live but its not that easy. Anyway think hard real hard before you dive headfirst into geology!
- —Guest Paul
It's hard and frustrating
- I love to work in the field but, and this is a big but, you must like to live close to where you are working and let's face it mining towns are not nice places to live. FIFO [fly-in, fly-out] is a good concept if and only if it is even time. As most rosters are more work than play 14/7, 19/9 you feel like a stranger at home. If it is your home and you have a huge network of friends this is good, but if you had to move to a FIFO hub (I moved to Brisbane) it sucks. I don't know anyone, I'm hardly ever around to make friends. I meet girls, yes, but they always find another guy who is around more, this might be different if you are already in a relationship but I find starting one, particularly with a low social network, difficult. I also find the state very backwards so I struggle with that also. I'm paid well, but without even time roster I can't really travel on my time off, I can't meet people, and the ones I do have normal jobs. Go into academic life if geology is a passion.
- —Guest Tim
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