An Object in Motion Stays in Motion
- Jarrett Dragani (Editor-in-Chief, The Way Ahead)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- The Way Ahead
- Publication Date
- February 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 3 - 3
- 2016. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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What’s Ahead–From TWA’s Editor-in-Chief
Being a young professional working in the oil and gas industry right now means learning a lot of things the tough way. Our business is changing rapidly, working to reflect the changing realities of a cyclical commodity, changes to environmental legislation, and increased technical rigor required to explore for and produce oil and gas. This means that for many young professionals, the required skill sets are changing quickly as is the need for certain expertise.
I suspect many people have gone through some major career transitions in the last year, or at minimum, have association with individuals that have gone through one. The simple truth is that we all go through major transitions during the course of our life, whether it is at work or in our personal lives. Some transitions are memorable, others are noble, and some are regrettable, but all of them provide you with an opportunity to reflect, learn, and adapt.
I can think of several major transitions that I have gone through in my life, and all of them have provided me with an opportunity to grow as a person. One of the more memorable ones was moving to Christina Lake, Alberta—located in the boreal forest of the Canadian North—where I lived for 18 months supporting the construction and commissioning of a major oil sands facility. The experience I gained on site was both rewarding and exhausting. We worked long hours, lived in an on-site camp (the baked goods always get you), and spent evenings catching up on current events. Fortunately, our camp had a great recreational center which allowed me to keep in shape and inhibit the weight gain that almost seems inevitable at such times.
I made some great friends at the site and I would say that the experience was well worth it for my career development, helping me understand our business and later transfer to more subsurface-based roles. But there was also an impact on my personal life. I was separated from the ones I loved and lost touch with many people over the 18 months. In many respects, I put my life on hold during the time I was up there.
Working in the field as a young engineer provides development opportunities that are hard to replicate elsewhere—seeing well and field operations in action, conducting inspections, troubleshooting on the fly, and most of all, working with field personnel who have a plethora of experiences and wisdom to share.
I suspect that many readers have their own stories of career transitions in the field, office, or academia. I would encourage you to share stories of your career transitions on SPE platforms like SPEConnect or SPE social media sites for the benefit of other young professionals.
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