- Garrett Dodd is a 22-year-old welder in the North Dakota oil fields based in Watford City, North Dakota.
- He’s been unemployed since February.
- In the meantime, he’s started doing photography and media production, but he says he’s not done with welding just yet.
- This is his story, as told to Will Meyer.
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I moved to Watford City, North Dakota, from Fort Worth, Texas, in 2017.
I was part of a very active welding program in high school, and I had a really good teacher who got me interested in it. I started welding right out of high school. I worked for a city for a little while; I thought that’s where I was going to retire at one point in time. And thankfully that didn’t work out.
I ended up working in a fab[rication] shop in Dallas making $16/hour. I knew I could make more money, frankly, if I moved elsewhere. I worked in that fab shop for about a year, and every night when I was working there I would go home and get on social media and talk to people that are already in the oil fields, and try to make enough contacts for somebody to offer me a job.
I finally got to the point where somebody offered me a job, and I pondered on it for about four hours or so, and called him back to tell him I wanted the job, and he said, “Oh, that job isn’t available anymore.”
After that job slipped away, I knew the next opportunity I got I was taking.
And then a day or two later I got an email from a