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The Side of FIFO No One Talks About

Posted: 23/02/2012 5:00:00 AM by AMMA Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Job-seekers, Mining, Oil-and-gas, Energy


The latest newsletter from FIFO Families came out this week. If you don’t know about the organisation, they do a lot of good work supporting the lifestyle encountered by people with jobs in mining or working offshore jobs. The FIFO life often comes with a lucrative pay cheque but it can also bring challenges most people never have to face.

If you’re looking for a mining job or thinking about starting an oil career, you should be aware of some of the drawbacks attached to a FIFO roster. It’s easy to get caught up in the lure of good salaries and long stretches of free time when you’re off roster but it’s not for everyone.

The FIFO Families Newsletter for February carried the following three stories:

Growing distance from family

I think I'm ready to give up. I've tried what I believe to be everything. Counselling, trying harder, not expecting, getting on with things....... NOTHING seems to work. My husband just no longer seems to care and I feel the only thing left to give is a goodbye. He doesn't seem to understand what it's like to stay behind with four kids, work full-time and hold it all together. I feel like I'm dying here and I don't think his pay cheque is worth it anymore. He recently went out with the boys from site all single, and came home with his wedding ring in his pocket! So my question is when do you give up on FIFO?

Extreme fatigue

Hubby will arrive home after being away for 4 weeks, and most of the time all he does is sleep. Understand we are always respectful, but when he is awake he does not want to do anything with us, or he is so grumpy and moody, that the kids and I cannot wait for him to go back.

Lost intimacy

My husband works away 4 weeks on and 1 week off. We have two children both boys one 5 years and the other coming up to 1/5 yrs. We love each other totally and we try and make the best of our FIFO roster. In the time he has been working away (relatively short in most terms) I have given birth to our youngest and suffered Post Natal depression, which with the help of our doctor and family support is under control. I was able to stop the medication after only 9 months and undertook a course of counseling which I found extremely helpful. Anyway I find that I don't have a lot of sex drive. My husband is so very lovely and patient with me and never pressures me. I still find him attractive and when he is gone there are moments of desire, but when he gets back I find the stress of having him home for such a short time and trying to fit in everything and keeping him and the kids happy tiring and overwhelming. I want to make love to my husband and enjoy it but I just would rather do something else.

Are these problems unique to people holding FIFO jobs? Absolutely not. Many, many workers maintain successful relationships and enjoy long-term careers in the mines. But for most families, it’s not an easy transition and requires careful planning. FIFO workers and their families must be prepared from the beginning of your job search for the inevitable adjustments that will be required. FIFO isn’t for everyone but it’s better to know that before you accept a position.

For more information, visit our Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) article on the Careers and Industry Guide.

Have you considered how FIFO will impact your personal life?




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