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
- 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
Not divorced, stuck single but paid well
- I understand maintaining a marriage is difficult with the job, but how about starting a new relationship? Yeah, I get two weeks off and feel like a stranger in the town I live in because no one knows or bothers to call me. Meet a nice girl? "Yeah great, well I guess I'll see you in a few weeks... and then maybe a 3rd date in 2 months from now?" I plan on stressing my heart only a bit longer after doing this for 4 years. It's good money and interesting travel, but hard to keep up for a long time. I don't regret it at all. Life's never going to be easy, and living in a different style is great. What would you rather be... an Accountant? pfff!
- —Guest Ryan
Over the Hill Mudlogger
- I have always done things a little backwards so after I got my degree in Geology at age 29, I put my career on the back burner to raise my 3 children while my husband worked until retiring from UPS. I am now just beginning my career as a geologist, starting at the bottom as a mudlogger. My first attempt went out the window with the economy in 2008. Now, I am at it again working in Colorado on a well that was predicted to take 2 months and is now in it's 85th day with perhaps another month to TD. My husband has been taking care of our home in Montana and is absolutely miserable with the separation we are going through. Fortunately, after this project is over we have decided to do this together and go where needed. With no children at home except the dog, this is the perfect time for me to pursue this career that I have always been passionate about. If our marriage of 32 years can survive this next month, we'll be on our way to a new life together in the oil patch.
- —Guest Lois Martin
It depends on your status
- If you are married and have children while they are young your wife can take care of them. But, before having a child, or you have to marry someone with your specialty and travel together, or forget familial life. Unless your wife has the same occupation problem with her job and understand you.
- —Guest Hamid Sadeghipour
Australian Geologist - 31/10/2010
- Hi, I'm an exploration Geologist and have to travel a lot. I flyin-flyout to work on a 19 days on 9 days off roster. The travel can be very tiring and it is difficult on relationships with friends and family. I could move permanently to where I work but that would mean leaving everything to go "live in the sticks". You do make many friends in the industry though. I think it depends on the type of person you are; if you enjoy your time with friends and family and that's whats important to you geology probably isn't for you; if you are independent and enjoy traveling it is for you. I think I'm discovering with myself that I'm the former. I know its not that simple and everyone's situation is unique. You will have to work out yourself what you want in life. I'm now thinking of getting into the finance side of the industry, like a financial analyst or something like that. Any geologists that have changed careers want to share their stories?
- —Guest Michael
Geology is like a subduction zone
- Geology is like a subduction zone, it destroys the "family plate". I'm a 26-year old licensed geologist, I obtained my license when I was 21. I never had an idea that Geologist should be away from the family to work in the field, and it's too late to regret. I liked Geology back then because it is all about the Earth, then when I'm working I'm starting to realize that Geology serves as a hiatus between a geologist and his family. . . life is so short to spend most of the time of your life in the field than in your family. . . geology can last up to million years as long as the Earth is there, but a family very short. Now, I'm thinking I'm losing passion for geology, I like it just to study and for myself and not to give it for a company who doesn't know the importance of quality time with family. I feel what Sue is expressing! I'm feeling it right now, I'm always thinking of my family. I want to improve their lives and at the same time get some more time with them together.
- —Guest McNeil A. Gaila
VERY different for Women
- You will notice the very positive reviews are written by men with supportive wives at home with the kids. Your experience as a woman, likely with a husband also working, cannot possibly be the same as those reviewers. I totally believe women can do anything and know some amazing women in the profession BUT those women have made the decision to put geology ahead of having a family. My experience is similar to Sue's. I put many years of education and work into my geology career but decided to leave the profession because it is very difficult to have a family and quite frankly you can work just as hard in a business profession and earn a much better salary. Science is wonderful and can be embraced other ways. I continue to teach part time at a community college, volunteer at the natural history museum and encourage my son to enjoy nature.... so it does not have to be an all or nothing thing.... but if I had to do it again I would not have done my undergrad and grad education in geology.
State of Alaska DOT&PF Engineering Geol.
- If you like weddings, you can have quite a few with a career as a working geologist (not teacher or author). I am on #3. My boss is on #3. Of the two in the central region, one is currently in process of divorce and the other was always single. In the northern region, two married ones just quit, the other two are single and their boss is on #2. Be realistic, folks. Get out of it before you have kids because then, divorces are much more complicated.
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