In an earlier column I referred to
AAPG’s big audacious goal: YOU MUST BE A MEMBER TO DO YOUR JOB WELL.
This year we have been educating members and potential members on
the “Membership Pyramid of Existing Programs and Services,” as well
as new programs such as GIS-UDRIL (see my April
The initiative of AAPG becoming every member’s “Career
Partner for Life” will propel us into a new era of greater responsiveness
to the needs of members, thus attaining our big audacious goal.
Companies once offered this relationship to their
employees, but today that interdependent policy is seldom found.
AAPG members deserve no less from our association.
AAPG’s focus is primarily, by stated purpose in the
AAPG constitution, furthering the science of petroleum geology.
You might ask: So, are we a purely scientific society?
The answer is this: An additional purpose of AAPG,
as also stated in our constitution, is “Advancing the Professional
Well-Being of Its Members.” This purpose was added to the constitution
in 1974-75, and is significant because it came from the House of
Delegates as a grassroots movement.
If a member loses his or her job, AAPG wants to continue
to “be there for you” with programs and services that can make a
meaningful difference in finding that next career opportunity.
Before continuing with this thought, here’s a true
I once knew a geologist with a major company who was one of the
best oil finders ever. The day he got the ax was the worst day of
What bad luck.
Or was it in reality good luck?
He was picked up by a wise independent who gave him
an override, and he became wealthy as he continued to be a super
oil finder. And, by the way, he also made the independent wealthy.
His situation brought to mind an old Chinese story
about a man who had a horse and a son:
One day his horse broke out of the corral and fled
to the freedom of the hills.
“Your horse got out? What bad luck!” said his neighbor.
“Why?” the old man responded. “How do you know it’s
Sure enough, the next night the horse came back to
his feeding and watering, leading 12 wild stallions with him! The
farmer’s son saw the 13 horses in the corral, slipped out and locked
the gate. Suddenly he had 13 horses instead of none.
The neighbor heard the good news and came chattering
to the farmer. “Oh, you have 13 horses,” the neighbor said. “What
The old man answered, “How do you know that’s good
Some days later his strong, young son was trying
to break one of the wild stallions only to be thrown off and break
a leg. The neighbor came back that night and passed another hasty
judgment: “Your son broke his leg. What bad luck!”
The wise father answered again “How do you know it’s
Sure enough, a few days later a Chinese warlord came
through and conscripted every able-bodied young man, taking them
off to war, never to return again. But the young man was saved because
of his broken leg.
The moral of the story is -- what is fortune? What
is misfortune? It is in the eye of the beholder and how they feel
-- and how they react -- about the circumstances.
My once-disappointed friend had this to say, “I’m
a geologist who got lucky. You work hard, work your sources, make
your contacts, play into your strengths, not get discouraged, just
He also said: “My involvement with AAPG and other
professional societies have given me the tools to continue on.”
Misfortune can bring paralysis -- an inability to
come up with alternate solutions. My acquaintance was not just lucky.
He had learned how to turn his misfortune, which happens to all
of us at one time or another, into an opportunity for further achievement.
So, where does a professional society such as AAPG
come into this picture?
Our individual response to inevitable change is ultimately
our individual responsibility as professionals. It takes individual
initiative -- and no organization or institution can wave a magic
wand and make a job appear before you. But AAPG can forge a partnership
with each of its members to be a critical part of the foundation
for dealing with that change by providing even more opportunities
of which members may avail themselves.
In addition to an already full “pyramid of programs,”
here are some new initiatives and suggestions on what can be done
to fulfill my theme of “Value, Value, Value.”
- I have created an exciting new ad hoc
committee to develop a “skills inventory registry system” for
members. I’ve named the committee the “Member Registry Committee,”
and have charged it with preparing a comprehensive list of skill/competencies
for an AAPG system.
- Create a Web site resumé posting (aka
“Consultant’s Marketing System”) -- to provide a marketing Web
portal for our members. It is estimated that within a few years,
50 percent of all geoscientists will be consultants/independents.
- Consider establishing, or linking to,
a career counseling service -- to provide advice and counsel on
how to seek new opportunities in addition to our existing careers
services (including listing of jobs available) at http://www.aapg.org/careers/
(and, don’t miss the Shell job opportunities advertisement on
the site as well).
- Offer education seminars on how to search
for that next job.
- Provide adequate staff support for career
When I was growing up, the main rule was that successes
and achievements resulted from, and were directly related to, hard
work. One just cannot depend on “pure luck.” You get back in proportion
to the effort you put forth.
That’s the way it has worked for me, and AAPG involvement
has played a significant role.
“Life has two rules: Number one -- never quit; Number
two -- always remember rule number one.”
-- Duke Ellington
“To get profit without risk, experience without danger
and reward without work is as impossible as it is to live without
-- A.P. Gouthey