If there was one thing that I could tell you, just one thing, it would be this - you have got to stay plugged in somehow. I have seen three busts in my career so far. None of those was expected, anticipated, or planned for. I wish I could say that it was all a carefully thought-out plan and I made it happen but that is not true. It was all a result of the changes that happened in the industry and how I chose to react to them.
I started out as a reservoir engineer at City Service Oil & Gas Company (1980) when the boom was on. I liked my role, although it was the drilling engineers who were the most sought after since drilling activity was at its peak. Then one day, one of the vice presidents just walked in my office and said, “We have to get you some drilling experience; we need drilling engineers. Are you interested?” I said yes. And that is the rule in the industry: If you get an offer, a promotion, or a transfer, you need to take it whether you want to or not. Because if you do not, you will never get another job offer.
However, when the downturn hit in the mid-1980s, a lot of drilling engineers got laid off. I had to switch my specialization, again, and move into production. I rose through the ranks but then the company got bought by another firm. It was not a move that I particularly liked but that is what happens in difficult times: mergers, acquisitions, takeovers. People do whatever it takes to survive and stick around for the times to improve again. Like a surfboard on a wave, you just keep riding. Do not get in a rut; learn everything you can. The more you can learn, the more you can do and the more opportunities open up to you.