If you were to completely restart your career...

knuckleballz

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My son graduated with a degree as a physicist. He started his first job out of college working on testing computer hardware. He taught himself how to program/code. Now he is a senior programmer at the same company. He sits at home with his dog and puts in his 40 hours a week. When he gets married and starts a family he can be the working stay at home dad. He also makes over 6 figures plus stock options. He's 27. He plans to retire at 40. I'm sure he will be able to since his "hobby" is financial planning and investing.
 

The DFC

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I'm a little perplexed by the OP. You have an Engineering degree-probably the best undergrad degree you can get. Not only that you worked as an Engineer and were good at it. Those are excellent accomplishments and put you in the upper whatever % of the labor pool.

Don't discount your "Petroleum" Engineer degree-it's essentially a Chemical Engineering degree which not long ago was considered the Universal Engineer. Hell you still have 2 years of Calc, Fluids, Thermo, Mass Transfer, Probably some Materials Eng courses etc. The Engineering degree will get your foot in the door at many many places not Petroleum related because with that degree and experience they know you can learn anything and operate at a very high level.

And you're 32-Basically you're the muthaf**king man. Make it happen.
 
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Ironcreek

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Retired from the federal government late 2003 took a couple months off shooting and reloading then turned a hobby into a profession, began traveling and became a professional photographer specializing in landscape, nature and wildlife images. Trips to Scotland, Hawaii, Alaska, Jackson Hole and the great northwest and southwest. Also have a trip planned for Jordan and Petra next year.

Turned 72 this year and slowing down so I can shoot and reload more.
 
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blbennett1288

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The writing is on the wall for O&G. It will certainly be around for our lifetime, but I think the golden years are gone. There's a lot of barriers facing the industry: bad stigma due to the new "wokeness" and climate change, depressed commodity prices, and issues with talent attraction and retention, just to name a few.

Lots of people wanting to get out of this industry, with most people sticking with it as they don't know what else to do and are afraid to make the jump. And you are right, lots of people are very unhappy with the current state of the industry and their careers.

Wages are flat or even declining, with other industries starting to catch up and surpass O&G in pay. The work is getting more and more demanding, with executives and management demanding that the operations go cheaper and faster so they can continue to pay their shareholders their dividends even with the deflated price of the commodity. I've taken a big pay cut, took a big detour in my career which I didn't want, the quality of life on location has taken a decrease for the sake of cost cuts - I can go on and on.

One of the worst parts about it is that the safety and principals of our operations have been jeopardized by all these pay cuts. The company I worked for was excellent in regards to safety and integrity, one of the best in the industry. What I've seen lately is very concerning. We now have what I call "flexible integrity", integrity only matters if it doesn't cost the company money. Standard Operating Procedures went from being considered company law to now recommendations (and only if it doesn't cost the company more time and money). What's extra frustrating is that the company and management still pretends that our value system and SOP's are important, but the untold expectation is that we do whatever we need to in order to cut costs. This means if an incident occurs and company policy/SOP is beached (which is expected of us now), I know that management isn't going to stick their neck out for their employees. The individual employee accepts all the liability, all for the sake of enriching the shareholders.

And don't even get me started on the politics and the illegal hiring and promotion practices these companies are employing for the sake of being "woke".

Yeah, the industry has certainly gone downhill.
I suspect our views differ because of where we sit and who we work/worked for, I am a pessimist but I don't think the "writing is on the walls" for O&G. To me that means something is imminent. I certainly believe this way of operating is the new norm as long as prices stay in the same general ballpark. Prices get back up closer to $75-$80/bbl and stay there for any extended period of time and I think you will see a dynamic shift in how people are managed (Rules get forgotten. Wages come up to keep people. Things get more lenient).

I personally don't think any O&G company gives two shits about climate change or wokeness. In recent memory Shell's decision to drill in the Arctic and Exxon's misreporting carbon emissions. Yes these big O&G companies want to "follow the trends" of the leaders in corporate America, like Google and Apple, but to me that is more screaming "Hey, look, we are doing something! We care!"

O&G companies don't care about talent attraction. They are hiring back people that were bad employee's before the downturn. At this point they just need warm bodies and the cheapest labor possible. They want "Yes, men" who just follow town's orders blindly, they don't want independent thinkers.

Now the real question is does the board or primary shareholders care about these sort of things? or is it all about the numbers?

The new motto for the oilfield is "Just maintain." Don't make anything any better, don't make anything any worse, just keep the course and hope everything works out, the problem will fix itself eventually.

I don't think a lot of people are afraid to make the jump, I think a lot of people don't know where they can make the same money only working 50-65% of the year. Or where they can make the same money without a college degree. I view my compensation no longer as "services rendered" but a bullshit tax for the amount of crap I have to put up with. I have a Mechanical Engineering degree, so I could do any number of things, but I am still here for one reason or another.

I have worked for the Queen for the past 2 years and they pretty much pioneered this operating precedent when O&G took the plunge. It is so bad where I work, the rig has been dubbed "Deepwater Alcatraz." When things were good 160-180 people on a drillship; we are down to about 120. I wont touch on safety or operations for obvious reasons, but I am doing the work of 2-3 people now in a 12hr shift. Yes, there is a pay increase, but hell no it is not enough.

This will be my last post on O&G so we can get back to the topic at hand of restarting your career. I don't want to derail the thread any further.
 
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Wysongdog

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What would you do?

I just put in my notice for my job, ending my career as an engineer/company man in a very large fortune 500 oil & gas (O&G) company, specifically I was working rotational on drilling rigs as a "company man" for the operator. Came at a crossroads with my company, and it was time to part ways.

Going to take a few months off before I transition into my new career, thankfully the wife has a great career so I really don't have to jump into anything right away. I'm going to enjoy not having anyone to answer to for a bit, do some traveling, shooting, getting some stuff done around the house and also will be helping my brother in law out for the entire month of June with some commercial salmon fishing in AK.

After that, I really have no clue what I'm going to do. I'm starting from a completely blank slate. Part of me wants to finally be my own boss, start up my own company and do something that's a lot more rewarding then just generating value for the shareholders while eating shit sandwiches. What exactly I would do? I'm not sure yet. Thought about possibly dabbling in the alcohol/distilling business, create my own product I'm proud of. I think there's some interesting opportunities in that industry, but also a lot of BS red tape to deal with. Keeping my mind open to the possibilities that are out there. Or perhaps there is a career out there in another industry that I would enjoy and find satisfying, that I just don't know about yet.

With the way the industry of O&G is headed, I don't see it as a forever career. I've rotated for about 8 years now, and ready for a more consistent and stable life at home. I got great experience from my career which I'm grateful for, with operational experience with horizontal shale gas wells utilizing MPD, as well as offshore deepwater experience. I can always jump back in and capitalize on the great money they are paying people in Texas for my job with my experience, be a nice injection of capital to fund other opportunities, but I definitely see that as a short term thing.

If you were starting off from a completely blank slate, what would you do? What industry would you look to joining? Would you join an established company or start your own? I'm excited about having a completely blank slate to start from, but of course it's also a bit nerve wrecking to completely start fresh.
My wife and I are in the same boat. We work for my parents’ roustabout company here in Wyoming. I started with them 89 when I was 14. I’ll be 44 this May. My wife heads up the office. I’m currently laying in the hospital for my 3rd back surgery. Being in a leadership position I’m always pushing the guys to get more done etc. and it’s catching up to me.

The roller coaster ride of the oil field is getting old, working for young engineers that have never picked up a pipe wrench in their that won’t listen because they are so much smarter than me is so frustrating. The company we were doing all our work for filed for chapter 11 owing us $400,000. The uncertainy is killing us. I don’t know what we would do differently yet but definitely looking at all our life choices before. I’m going to have our semis working in the general industry hauling gravel for construction sights. Maybe I can steer our company that direction and dig us out of the hole.

The oilfield has treated us good as I’m sure it has you being a company man. I don’t know what else you want to do to generate a income to provide for your family. I have multiple friends that are consultants. They make good money but are always the first to get cut in a slow down, which I’m sure you know... basically I really don’t have much advise looking back at my post.... we had a chance to buy a small outfitting business 8-10 years ago but we had to pass because of the wolves hitting the area so hard. I still wonder a lot of we made the right decision.....
 

Bender

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I left the army at the age of 42, after 22 years of service and all i had to rely on, was a training as machinist and electronic technician.
Eventhough, i wrote a bunch of applications to some of the local businesses and was invited to an interview by four of them and ended up being hired all four places...!
So, i had to decide, were i would like to start and i chose a position as automatition technician and has been there, ever since and has never had two days alike.
Furthermore, i got divorced, six months after i left the army, my ex was a perfect soldiers wife, but she could just not adjust to to my new life, so we parted ways, in a orderly manner.

I found a new girlfriend and we have been sharing our lives for the past eleven years now.

Starting over is not always easy, but sometimes you just has to do it.
I really like my life as it is now and could not ask for anything better.
This. Automation or Gas measurement. Money may not be oil drilling good, but it is consistent. 5 day a week job. Home by 3-5pm. I’m mid level manager but level three technicians are $100k potential. Automation is here forever. Energy is here forever.
 
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kthomas

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This. Automation or Gas measurement. Money may not be oil drilling good, but it is consistent. 5 day a week job. Home by 3-5pm. I’m mid level manager but level three technicians are $100k potential. Automation is here forever. Energy is here forever.
My wife has a few contacts at the local energy company that keep trying to hire me, so that's certainly a possibility.
 
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Bender

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I just lost my best tech to the refinery here in town. $350-400 a day, five days a week no nights or shift work. He is only 25 and will be $150k easy on a turn-around year. I’ll miss him. But I’m getting him started on long range so I’ll still see him.
 
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flyer

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A degree in petroleum engineering is valuable beyond working on an oil rig.

People are making oil from algea, ethanol from corn.

Then there is what people make from oil. Plastics, synthetic fibers, grease, fake butter and a whole bunch of other things I'm sure.

There will always be an oil industry even if fossil fuels become a thing of the past.

Your degree will always have value.

A friend of mine wants me to get in to the space industry. In my opinion I'm a lot less qualified to go in to that than you are to pivot off of oil rigs. If I can do the space thing, that will be another good story but my problem is that I have a lot of great stories but not so many marketable job qualifications.
 
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kthomas

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A degree in petroleum engineering is valuable beyond working on an oil rig.

People are making oil from algea, ethanol from corn.

Then there is what people make from oil. Plastics, synthetic fibers, grease, fake butter and a whole bunch of other things I'm sure.

There will always be an oil industry even of fossil fuels become a thing of the past.

Your degree will always have value.

A friend of mine wants me to get in to the space industry. In my opinion I'm a lot less qualified to go in to that than you are to pivot off of oil rigs. If I can do the space thing, that will be another good story but my problem is that I have a lot of great stories but not so many marketable job qualifications.
I certainly don't give my degree much credit, as another poster also pointed out. I'm sure there's lot's that I could do with it that I don't realize. It certainly warrants more investigating.
 
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Walter Haas

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Dec 20, 2019
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What would you do?

I just put in my notice for my job, ending my career as an engineer/company man in a very large fortune 500 oil & gas (O&G) company, specifically I was working rotational on drilling rigs as a "company man" for the operator. Came at a crossroads with my company, and it was time to part ways.

Going to take a few months off before I transition into my new career, thankfully the wife has a great career so I really don't have to jump into anything right away. I'm going to enjoy not having anyone to answer to for a bit, do some traveling, shooting, getting some stuff done around the house and also will be helping my brother in law out for the entire month of June with some commercial salmon fishing in AK.

After that, I really have no clue what I'm going to do. I'm starting from a completely blank slate. Part of me wants to finally be my own boss, start up my own company and do something that's a lot more rewarding then just generating value for the shareholders while eating shit sandwiches. What exactly I would do? I'm not sure yet. Thought about possibly dabbling in the alcohol/distilling business, create my own product I'm proud of. I think there's some interesting opportunities in that industry, but also a lot of BS red tape to deal with. Keeping my mind open to the possibilities that are out there. Or perhaps there is a career out there in another industry that I would enjoy and find satisfying, that I just don't know about yet.

With the way the industry of O&G is headed, I don't see it as a forever career. I've rotated for about 8 years now, and ready for a more consistent and stable life at home. I got great experience from my career which I'm grateful for, with operational experience with horizontal shale gas wells utilizing MPD, as well as offshore deepwater experience. I can always jump back in and capitalize on the great money they are paying people in Texas for my job with my experience, be a nice injection of capital to fund other opportunities, but I definitely see that as a short term thing.

If you were starting off from a completely blank slate, what would you do? What industry would you look to joining? Would you join an established company or start your own? I'm excited about having a completely blank slate to start from, but of course it's also a bit nerve wrecking to completely start fresh.
That's funny because my "go to" answer to anyone asking what career they should go into is petroleum engineering. The school system has students fooled into thinking there's no future in petroleum and they are so wrong.

One career you might think about is land surveying with the new gps software technology. Puts you outside a lot. Not hard to transition into. Its an interesting job and lots of opportunities because there's a mismatch, a clash, between the old documentation of land and the new way of documenting in software that is producing a lot of work. Its called GIS, geographical information systems. Lots of different levels, don't need a degree, but you might need a certificate.
 

C_R_Slacker

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I would say if you want to be your own boss, any type of trade. Where i live you can't find a contractor that will take on a small job. They are booked up with big jobs and don't have time to piddle with little stuff. Supply of good tradesmen/contractors is only going down because young people have been told college and stem degrees are the only path. I see an opportunity for someone in your situation (wife has a good job, don't have to have instant success, has a good career to fall back on) to build a business doing the jobs others in the field don't want to do. Charge people a premium for getting in, getting the job done, and getting out of their hair quickly.
 

mtrmn

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Thanks, Buddy. 36 is a hell of an age to up and move and start from rock bottom again, but phuck it.
I was 35 in 1996 when I first set foot on an offshore drilling rig as a roustabout. Never worked in oilfield before. Making more annually than I did as lead tech at an automotive dealership. People think the mechanics at these dealerships are rich, but the dealership keeps probably 85% of that 120 bucks an hour.
 
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