MAKE A VACATION OF YOUR JOB SEARCH
Many young graduates regard the whole prospect and process of job-hunting distasteful, if not downright painful. Nobody likes to beat on doors to ask for a job and be turned down time after time, particularly when the stakes of failure may be to leave the industry for which one has been educated. There's probably a limit of time and cash available to conduct a search. It can be a frustrating and humiliating experience.
Let me suggest that you view job-hunting in a very different perspective--a more positive one; one that can change the way you assess the objectives of the task ahead. It can make the entire process of looking for work more interesting and rewarding than you might have thought possible.
Think of it as a vacation; not one you'll spend on the beach in Bermuda, but one you'll use as a launching pad for your geological career. You may visit parts of the country, perhaps for the first time, that can offer employment and new learning experiences. You'll meet people you've always wanted to meet, talk with successful oil finders about how they run their companies, and perhaps establish friendships that will enrich your life and future.
Even though you may feel apprehensive about the jobhunting routine, try to give yourself sufficient time, a month or so if possible, to go about it properly. It's difficult to enjoy working at any task "under the gun." If you haven't yet graduated, you can do a lot of preliminary activities which can shorten the search time after graduation. If you're already out of school and are underway in your quest, perhaps some of the suggestions presented herein will provide short-cuts.
Ironically, perhaps at no other time in your career will you have the time and the opportunity to visit some of the people you can now. The very fact that you are unemployed and need help may elicit a sympathetic response from people who would otherwise be too busy or uninterested to see you.
Maybe you've read or heard about a geologist whose ideas or work appeals to you. He may be a successful explorationist, researcher or businessman. Now's the time to meet him. If he understands that you're not coming to put the hard sell on him about employment, he'll probably be flattered by your call. Even if the meeting doesn't directly result in employment, and you shouldn't expect it to, several positive results may be achieved. You may meet someone you will possibly remember for the rest of your life. A friendship may develop and a basis for later communication may be established. You may explore mutual interests, and you may learn of others whose interests and activities are similar to yours. And maybe you will find an advocate - someone who can help you in your search (more about "advocates" later).
I believe you may be surprised how friendly and helpful the persons you contact may be. Most employers realize that it's not to anyone's advantage to have a large group of unemployed geologists on the streets looking for work. I've found that, taken as a whole, the geological community is an exceedingly open and cooperative one, and its members
generally respond actively in helping find employment for other members. You may contact someone who is momentarily too busy or preoccupied to have time to help, but most will try to "create" time if contacted. Nevertheless, if you find someone who is unresponsive or uncooperative, thank him for his time and move on.
As you go from office to office and person to person, keep in mind that meeting other industry people and finding out what their interests are is as important as any other activity of your professional life. Even though you're not being paid for this part of your education, you'll find it can pay significant dividends if you use the opportunity well.
Keep a diary of the names and dates of persons visited, what they tell you, and any other observations of your visit. You'll be amazed at how fast your book fills and how important your notes can become to you later.
DON'T LET A DEGREE SPOIL YOUR CHANCE FOR EMPLOYMENT
From my parochial, oil industry-related viewpoint, I have observed that some universities, not all located outside of oil producing areas, refuse to accept geology as a vocation as well as a science. On more than one campus visit, faculty members remarked to me that they were concerned that if a substantial number of their graduates found employment in the oil industry their departments might come to be regarded as "trade schools."
Students vaccinated with that attitude may have to rethink what defines "proper" work for a geology major.
I am not suggesting that a geoscience department's primary responsibility is to supply industry with graduates. But for a department to imbue its students with the attitude that a career which utilizes the practical applications of geology is of less value than one spent in research or academia does a disservice to its graduates.
One of the benefits of education is its usefulness in helping integrate persons into productive society. If it imposes limitations on the work we can and should do, it becomes a liability rather than an asset.
In this sense, a geologist who selects employment as a mud engineer or logging specialist, or as a representative of geological equipment and services is using his or her education to no less purpose than is a classmate engaged in teaching, research, or exploration.
Geology is an applied rather than a pure science. One of its appeals is that its usefulness covers a broad spectrum of human needs. I try in several places in this booklet to express my view that geologists should look toward wider rather than narrower horizons of geologic utilization. We should ever be seeking new applications of geology. Your best opportunity may well be in an industry or company that does not now have a single geologist on its payroll. The fact that "no geologist has ever been hired for this position before" is no argument that a geologist might not be the best qualified person for it. You may bring knowledge, experience and a viewpoint to a situation where they are needed.
Utilization of geologists in one area may lead to applications in another, and provide employment opportunities to more geologists.
The oil industry is marvelously complex and extensive. Besides the thousands of companies whose principal activities are drilling and operating, there are literally thousands more in ancillary businesses which serve the industry and are dependent on it. For every employment position in exploration and production now staffed by a geologist, there are dozens of other job possibilities which could be competently filled by geology majors.
Some of these alternative jobs may provide a track leading back to exploration. Others will not. But the important thing is that they may be just as interesting and satisfying to you as the more traditional ones. It is your task to ferret out the opportunities.