The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Posted by David Bamford



During my 20+ years at Beyond Prudence there were several people who helped me think about my career, what I wanted to do, what I wanted to achieve, how to do it. For example, I recall that Peter O'Brien, David Jenkins, Peter Hill, Chris Wright, John Browne, Rodney Chase, David Pritchard were all very helpful to me as I progressed through technical leadership and into management roles (so I think of them as The Good). I also remember that as I got to slightly more senior business unit leadership roles, folk became less helpful (The Bad) and some were downright unhelpful (The Ugly), giving the impression that they saw ‘climbing the greasy pole' as some sort of competition or Darwinian exercise. More than two or three of those in the last two categories are still active, still working, and I have not named them as I don't need corporate lawyers sending me e-mails!

But I guess if you recall the company from around the turn of the Millennium, you (and they) know who I mean!

I am talking here of coaching rather than mentoring, in my mind the latter being getting help from somebody who has faced a similar problem to the one you are facing.

Despite what I said to begin with about individuals who helped me in the early and middle parts of my career at BP, nowadays I doubt that anybody should rely on the company that employs them to be the source of objective career advice or rely on them to manage your career for you, indeed for anything other than the company's benefit.

So you need to manage your career yourself and certainly in view of the history and precedents of the last 30 years in our industry, you would be perhaps unwise to do so by taking too much notice of this sort of thing! I guess this was written a couple of months before the oil price peaked in 2014 and the bottom fell out of our industry's employment market. This is probably more relevant guidance….staff as a cost!

An interesting question then is, is there any 3rd party, independent, affordable, knowledgeable career counselling out there?

Some browsing of ‘career counselling' on the Internet reveals plenty of ‘hits' though the services proffered look quite expensive to me and, a bit like some IT folk trying to sell their wares, there seems to be a distinct lack of ‘domain knowledge' i.e specific understanding of our industry.

However, I have found a couple of contacts that look useful and, if you are interested, I would be happy to share these with you. Just drop me an e-mail.

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