Oil and Gas

Velta WorleyOr is it Vinegar?
So today I was thinking about everyone who is looking for a job. I know so many individuals who were employed in the Oil & Gas Industry who are now unemployed after decades of working hard. Some have degrees and certifications, some managed to work their way up from the bottom and be an integral part of an organization. Many have identities attached to what they have done and what they’d like to continue doing. How does anyone move forward from unemployment to the next job, when all you know is maybe one thing, one job, or one industry?

I’d like to offer three areas that you may need to evaluate in order to move forward from an uncertain future.

First, know thyself – or in other words, figure out what you do best. In your past employment history you may have been the best ‘widget’ maker ever. Think about what making ‘widgets’ required. Were you part of designing processes to get to the final outcome? Perhaps you were part of problem solving, formulating ideas, project management, or conducting tests. Only you know what those areas are. Identifying the skills that were required in your previous industry along with the strengths that you have can help you in figuring out how you can utilize those skills and strengths in another area not completely related to the industry you came from. For example, I know someone who has an engineering background which required innovation, creativity, problem solving, project management, and leadership. He has been able to take that experience and turn it into building a new business for himself and some of his family members. So far he is managing the project, hiring contractors as needed, was able to get financial backing, and purchase property and begin building. Everything he is doing is completely related to what he did as an engineer in the Oil & Gas Industry. A great resource for identifying the skills your job utilized is the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Financial issues should be considered. So my second area of evaluation is to assess what you can really live on and be realistic about finances and what minimum salary you can live with. You probably have a great work ethic, and were used to putting in tons of hours – 50 to 70 hours or more per week was the norm in the Oil & Gas Industry. If you were hourly, you may have become used to the overtime hours on your paycheck, and if you were a salaried employee you may have had a lucrative paycheck with a car allowance, a company phone, and other perks. Hopefully you did not learn to live on the extra pay from overtime and or bonuses. Now would be a great time to figure out your monthly budget and what the minimum is that you can realistically live on. For right now, the glory days of high pay may be behind you. Be prepared to look for employment not only in a different industry, but also at a differing rate of pay. Having an emergency fund that can support three to six months of household expenses during this time would certainly help. If you would like more information on managing finances and creating budgets, try www.moneymanagement.org.

Thirdly, focus on what you can control. You are responsible for you, so try to maintain a good attitude and positive mindset. Easier said than done! But avoid being home alone on the internet all day long looking for that next great job. Seek out people who are in your situation and those who can be encouraging to you. Look for networking groups and attend meetings on a regular basis. One of the best networking groups in the Houston area is “Between Jobs Ministry”, which meets once a week on Wednesday mornings at Northwest Bible Church. Try to look for positives in your situation, lessons learned, and continue to move towards a new goal.

I wish all of my Oil & Gas Industry friends a bright future with a new job in perhaps a new industry that will take the vinegar of the job loss, mix it up with some new spices to create a unique career going forward. And I would also like to hear stories from some of you on how you managed to transition your career to a new place!

Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, with over 7 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.

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