By Peter Wang, 1st Vice President-Elect
We all knew that the Layoff Monster had only slowed down since those tough earlier years of the current industry downturn, but in late September, the Monster came for me.
For the second time since 2015, I was thrown headlong into that sickening storm of anxiety and uncertainty that has become too well known to far too many people in the GSH. For days I labored, trying to move Heaven and Earth, but unexpectedly, on the twentieth day, I was rewarded with a promise of some consulting days, to be followed by a full-time role. Had my nightmare ended that quickly? “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”, but things look promising at this point.
So how did I arrive so quickly to an apparent solution to my unemployment crisis? My crisis was solved by my network of personal connections. From the moment I announced my predicament, people went to work for me. I quickly had a dozen bona fide conversations with potential employers, and one of them has apparently struck paydirt. This agrees with outplacement firms, who say 80% of jobs found result from networking. Good news for me… but what does this have to do with you, the reader, or with the GSH?
What it has to do with you is that participating in GSH activities is your single best opportunity to build your own network, because someday your employer and you will fall out of love (and it probably won’t be you who falls out of love… you’ll get a “Dear John / Dear Jane” letter in a scary closed-door meeting with HR in a conference room which will be one of the worst days of your life.
I completely understand that if you’re an early career Geophysicist, you feel a lot of loyalty towards your employer, because they have been keeping you employed throughout this downturn, and you want to give 110% in terms of energy and hours, and maybe you don’t have anything left for the GSH at the end of the day.
But I am here to tell you, as will many in this industry, that one day you can be a Hero, and the next day you can be on the unemployment line, and the swiftness of that transition will take your breath away. And your friends at your former employer? They won’t be able to assist you in finding new work, because they’ll probably have weak external networks as well, and some of them will find it awkward to interact with you, and will avoid you. So you lose a job and friends all at once.
Don’t let this happen to you. Please, show up in real life to any of our GSH events, and if you see an opportunity to volunteer, then take it. You will be rewarded by the friendships and connections. As a matter of fact, we are looking for a new leader for the Data Processing and Acquisition Special Interest Group (SIG), which meets monthly at WesternGeco and has an excellent attendance. This is a great career-builder for someone in Data Processing or Acquisition, and I urge you to consider taking it on.