The outlook for students in the petroleum industry is excellent.
That's right. Due to the average age of both AAPG and SEG members and the prospects of this group retiring in the next 10-15 years, opportunities should be good for students.
At many of the AAPG Section meetings I have had an opportunity to talk to student groups about their future. I generally give them some ideas l have compiled that might help them in their future careers.
(Some of my comments are derived from Robert E. Megill's book, How To Be a More Productive Employee.)
The following is a "top ten" list of suggestions for students. Remember, we are all still students, so these pieces of advice are intended for
all of us.
School is never out, and life-long learning is important in our profession. The geoscientist who doesn't stay up with the latest ideas or technology is soon left far behind.
The adage "learn something new every day" is important. It only has to be one thing each day!
An important part of learning is to "read the books." A great one to start with is the AAPG/DPA book Guiding Your Career as a Professional Geologist. Also read the top selling business and professional development books.
If you don't know where you are going, where do you think you will end up? Develop a road map for the future. Be your own boss and control your career (regardless of where you are working). Establish long-term and short-term goals and write them down. Review your goals at least weekly and stay focused on the action steps (or tasks) needed to accomplish the goals.
Have you ever heard the saying "your attitude makes your attitude?" There are several attitudes that will help make you a productive employee. Have a service attitude. What can you do to make your boss' job easier? Get all your assignments done on time and done well. Go the "extra mile." Do more than is expected from your superiors! Do what needs to be done. Even if something is not in your job description, help out in other areas if it improves the efficiencies of the group. If you are ever a consultant you will find out that everything is in your job description.
Pride In Your Work.
Take pride in the work you do. Do the best job you are capable of every time. If you tell your boss or colleagues you will do something, then follow through. This is the essence of integrity. Have the satisfaction of doing a good job. Do the tasks without expecting any rewards (bonuses, accolades, etc.).
Believe in Yourself.
Your education and work experience are important factors to give you confidence. This confidence enables you to take on tasks others will not. You will also inspire confidence in others about your abilities. Be careful not to go beyond confidence into the arrogance category.
The Golden Rule is the foundation of ethical behavior. Treat others as you want to be treated. AAPG has one of the best code of ethics amongst professional organizations. Read it, frame it and practice it. The general principles of the code are printed at the end of this column. If a situation doesn't have the right feel to it, don't do it. Don't be tempted by riches or greed.
Learn Teamwork Skills.
Just about every company has teams that accomplish the goals and objectives of the company. It is critical that you learn how to work well within a team. You don't have to like everyone but you do need to get along. Show respect and patience for everyone.
Build Your Net.
Networking is critical for your successful career. Building a network of contacts (both business and social) is an important part of your development. Your business network will help you in future employment needs, information trades, etc. When you go to a luncheon or conference, make sure you meet new people. Sitting with your friends may not be the best way to build your net. A simple way to get to know new people is to take them to lunch.
Learn Leadership Skills.
Leaders basically direct, train, inspire, motivate and evaluate. These skills are not natural to everyone, so take the time to study them and practice them. Learning how to train, inspire and motivate people is critical. You don't have to be the boss to be a good leader.
Enjoy What You Do!
You will spend the majority of your waking hours on the job. Make sure you enjoy what you do. If you don't enjoy it, perhaps a change is necessary. Enjoying what you do at work will carry over into your home life.
An easy way to learn and practice these ideals is to get involved in AAPG. AAPG can assist you in staying up with technology and science. By joining committees you can build your network, develop leadership skills and develop teamwork skills. AAPG offers many forums on ethics, etc.
Make sure AAPG is a part of your professional career.
The general principles of the AAPG Code of Ethics (AAPG Constitution) are as follows:
- Geology is a profession, and the privilege of professional practice requires professional morality and professional responsibility.
- Honesty, integrity, loyalty, fairness, impartiality, candor, fidelity to trust and inviolability of confidence are incumbent upon every member as professional obligations.
- Each member shall be guided by high standards of business ethics, personal honor and professional conduct.
It is important that every member review the entire Code of Ethics on a regular basis. Remember that your reputation is your most important asset.