What are the chances of a female being successful in petroleum engineering?
G. Mark’s Answer
I am not a female, but I was an engineer for quite a long time, and I can tell you two things. First, there tends to be a great push to get females into engineering positions in larger companies. Second, even if any engineers doubt the capability of any female in an engineering position for whatever reason, engineers (admittedly a generalization, but one I've seen overwhelmingly supported in my experience) tend to evaluate other engineers in a very pragmatic and performance-based way. Now, political-correctness aside, while those sound like idealistic notions, realize that engineering is a very performance-oriented profession. Something either works or it doesn't. And engineers tend to be very, very task-oriented. But couch this in the limitations of the real world in that success in any engineering profession is very much a function of how much an engineer loves what he or she does. Not by how much he or she loves success, money or promotions. So the bottom line is that anyone seeking success in an engineering profession will largely be helped or hindered by how much that particular person really, really is interested in that profession. So, given that any female is intensely interested in petroleum engineering, I'd have to say that chances of being successful are quite, quite high.
Your chances of being successful in petroleum engineering or any career field are very good if you:
- get to know yourself well enough to select a career area which is compatible with your personality traits
- do person to person networking to get to talk to and visit people who are doing what you think that you want to do, so that you can see what they do, how they got there, and what advice and suggestions that they might have for you
Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
Ken recommends the following next steps:
I entered law enforcement at a time where not very many women did. I found that, just like every other rookie cop, I had to "prove" myself before being accepted. Luckily for me, my opportunity to do so presented itself rather early, when, according to "legend," I "slammed" a guy who was 6'6" tall. (truth is, he was off-balance and simply stumbled over his own feet when I merely touched him, but, who am I to correct a legend?)
As a new person, be prepared for team meetings. Be observant. Notice if there is a particular order in which people tend to speak - senior people first, perhaps. Give credit where credit is due. Don't let others take credit for your work. Try to find a mentor, not necessarily in the same company.
I have no idea what petroleum engineers are like. I do know what cops are like. There are moments where they say some inappropriate things. There are times where they are disrespectful, sometimes because they don't think women should be cops. I recommend that you keep your encounters professional, but not be a snitch about every little thing. If something is completely out of line, of course, you report it. But, if it is something minor, perhaps the use of profanity or an off-color joke, you may not want to do so. This is something you should think about prior to the time it happens, so you will already have your plan of action.
Hope this helps!
Hi, Emem. I' not from petroleum area, but I believe that no matters if you are a woman and where you are, you can be successful anyway. You should do your best and ignore prejudice, if there is.