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Should I stay in the oilfield service industry or make a career change?

The oil industry is full of uncertainty and requires me to live in places I would rather not (North Dakota/West Texas). Money can be very good. Should I stay in it for the long haul or take the leap into a different industry? Currently a general manager of a $25M/year oilfield
service business. Enjoy my current position and feel confident about my future with current employer, but I want to be prepared for an uncertain future. I have a bachelor's degree in accounting. I have also partially completed an MBA.
#oilfield #energy #careeradvice #careermove #business

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Patryk’s Answer

Hi Holden

I would recommend that you don't leave your current job if you don't have another job already lined up. You're right that the oil industry is very uncertain right now, and is being hit very hard with COVID-19 and the increase in fracking. This decision is entirely up to you, and it's a very personal one. If you are enjoying your current position in the oil industry, you have to weigh whether the income is worth you living in ND/TX. However, it's always a good idea to keep improving your skills and setting yourself up for the future, so I would definitely suggest you study accounting/get certified, as a backup if anything goes wrong with your current job.

Patryk
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Patryk. I think your advice is very wise! Holden
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Kim’s Answer

Holden,
When I worked at the workforce office, I had a lot of clients from the Eagle Ford project in Texas. So I understand your situation.

Here are some questions.
1. Are you a family man? Is your spouse okay with your long absences from home? Spouses often want more than just the good paycheck coming in. If you aren't a family man, do you want to be?
2. Are you managing your money well? Working long hours in remote locations pays good money. But, it's only good if you are keeping it. Comparable jobs in urban areas typically pay a whole lot less. Prepare yourself to take a pay cut. Prepare yourself for periods of unemployment. Unemployment benefits don't replace much of your income when you are in a higher income bracket.

Oil always "comes back." In fact, One of my clients, an Unemployed Oil Company manager, offered me a job! He liked my customer service skills, and knew he would be back to work at some point! I think this pandemic has reinforced the need for our country to not be dependent on foreign suppliers.

But, yes, definitely finish the MBA! Keep your resume current. Keep an eye on the job market. If you see an opportunity that truly calls to you, explore it. You are in the driver's seat, so you have the luxury of being highly selective on the types of positions you apply for. Do not let ANYONE know that you are looking for work. Your boss does not need a reason to terminate your services.
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Frank’s Answer

Holden

In light of our current COVID situation and the start of a recession of unknown length and depth I suggest you stay in your current position to ride out these uncertain economic times.

That being said over the coming months I would put in considerable time and energy into thinking about what you want to do next in your career. Does it require switching industries or just roles in your current industry ? Would finishing your MBA better position you for that next position?

Use your best judgment about how to maximize the next year or so to get you ready for the next phase of your career
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Debby’s Answer

I would suggest you stay where you are (since you enjoy it) and finish your MBA. You should also check salaries for positions you would want in the areas you would like to live to see if they match up to your expectations. The salary difference may help you decide what to do.
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Richard’s Answer

The longer you are in a industry you become more knowledgeable and create a name for yourself. The challenge is that if you leave the industry, sometimes companies will want experience in the industry you are going too.
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Chris’s Answer

Holden,
Great question! Great advice already given as well. There are a lot of moving pieces in these uncertain times - we all look forward to getting to the other side. I would not rush into any sudden decisions. Invest in yourself through taking on some of the challenges your business faces now - learning and growing - and consider finishing your degree. Take a look at the skills you are building as a GM. These are portable to other types of Service businesses - and to other businesses in general. Leverage Service industry associations like WBR or Service Council and build your network- you can never have enough friends - see what it might be like in another type of Service business. Attend portions of a virtual Service industry conference. Also remember that any decision you make next is for that next move - not forever.
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