Carla Bodensteiner, Bismarck
As a woman working in the Bakken and living in Bismarck, I'm excited about my profession (industrial sales) and the opportunities available for other young professionals. As a North Dakota native, I'm thrilled that I am able to work in my home state and for what the Bakken will mean the state and its residents for decades to come.
Having said that, I get ask all kinds of questions and they aren't always raised with a positive attitude. Today, I'd like to share the some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q: Do you feel safe out there?
A: I have never felt unsafe while working and travelling in the area. The Bakken is not a lawless. There Will Be Blood meets Deadwood in the middle of North Dakota and I've never seen a saloon owner throw a patron from a balcony. Like anywhere, if you make smart decisions and keep good company, trouble has a tough time finding you.
Q: It must be a lot different, working up there?
A: If by different you mean bursting with opportunity, yes. Otherwise, not really. I've worked in Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota and North Dakota. The major companies in the Bakken are large, professionally managed businesses that demand excellence. It is a busy area and it is exciting to work with people from this state and across the country in an industry that benefits the nation.
Q: As a woman, don't you get harassed by men?
A: Not once! I have been in the area for more than two years where I tour industrial facilities, stop at the gas station, run errands, go for dinner, and even, yes, venture into Walmart knowing that that I'm surrounded by as many good, hardworking people as any place.
Q: Don't you feel limited? I mean, it's North Dakota.
A: Limited? Of course not it's North Dakota! I have a great job that allows me to work with people from all over and be a part of the fastest growing industry in the country, America's energy industry. I am early in my career, and I already have a job that will let me grow professionally. Also, with all the new people coming to the state and city, there are new restaurants to try, new shops to shop, new music and entertainment to be heard and great people to network with and create friendships to keep.
Q: But why?
A: Why not? I'm young and motivated. There are great jobs here. There's hope and there's pride. Together, we produce an abundant and secure supply of energy here at home.
If you have asked these questions, it's understandable. It's far more interesting to perpetuate these than talk about the everyday life of a salesperson in the Bakken. But please remember, the Bakken is giving wonderful opportunities to those of us looking.