The pluses and minuses of living in a boomtown

Posted By on November 18, 2013


My son Taylor checked in with me during the Bengals win over the Browns for another “battle of Ohio” NFL game this weekend. He is ‘im‘patiently waiting for his new big screen TV to arrive and complains that his little TV is not satisfactory for watching football — in the day of HD it is understandable.  This new 60″ screen will be his first big purchase since starting his first job in Williston ND; having an income is a real plus considering relatively high unemployment. It is fun to watch your kids struggle to spend their own money and make big purchases.

Work as a “Planner” seems to be good for Taylor … definitely a career that fits for him. The “boomtown” atmosphere in Williams County keeps him plenty busy and gives him a lot of responsibility (see video below for a flavor of the changes in western North Dakota). I’m amazed at the kinds of projects and developments he is responsible for, oversees and reviews — from rail spurs to huge commercial building and of course the housing developments are everywhere. He spends part of his day in the field in Williams County — and when we’re talking “field,” that exactly where he is! Thankfully is job includes a county 4×4 Ford F-150, but even a decent truck isn’t always enough to get in and out of some areas … and it isn’t even winter. I have enjoyed the video clips he sends me bouncing on dirt roads or helping his partner out of a ditch (of course those times are the highlights of his day!)

Second, I know he’s not 100% thrilled with the area. When looking at TVs, there’s Walmart and … well, there’s Walmart. He actually decided to drive to Minot (2+ hours) to visit a Best Buy only to find out they didn’t have any of the TVs in stock that he wanted. Too funny. So after driving home he decided to buy online and have his big screen shipped … thankfully free shipping.  In the meantime, he has made a few friends in his apartment complex who are in the same boat as he is. Single and a long way from home. The two guys he mentioned are deputy sheriffs and most likely have a more miserable job … all the boom and long hard oil rig work have plenty of guys releasing steam in bars, etc. Not the most idyllic setting but probably reminiscent of boomtowns in the old west.

So for Taylor the wait is on and I’m enjoying his anticipation. He’ll be taking the train to Minneapolis after getting an invitation from his cousin Justin for Thanksgiving so I know that will be fun for him. Then in December we’ll have him home for Christmas and New Years … a time-off perk not many first jobs offer, although he is burning some precious vacation time. We’re looking forward to having him back for few days.

sloppyjoesndSloppy Joes, I’m impressed!


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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