The End of the Oilfield Expat

Okay, I’m back. Sorry for leaving you all in the dark over the last few days, but I’ve been busy.

Last week I was back in the UK, mainly for a job interview. I never intended to come back to Britain, but always said I would for the right job, and now the right one seems to have presented itself. I will be leaving the oil and gas industry, moving into energy technologies, which I’m glad about because it looks like a far more dynamic environment. The oil industry moves at the pace of a snail.

Now maybe some of you are asking why I didn’t pursue my intention of being a freelance consultant or interim manager as I explained back in June. Well, I tried. What I quickly learned was:

1) Nobody will hire you as a consultant unless you have lots of consultancy experience or a big name consultancy on your CV. Simply knowing a lot about a particular industry and having general competence is not enough.

2) Industry experience is everything. Unless you have all the keywords related to a particular industry on your CV, forget it. A construction consultancy would rather hire a janitor who worked on a building site than an engineer who worked in oil and gas.

Now I didn’t put 100% effort in – and I thank everyone who helped me or made themselves available – because my oil and gas CV started working for me on its own. When I started getting calls about jobs which aligned with my CV out of the blue, I started to wonder if it was worth killing myself for 2-3 years building a reputation and network from scratch. And in the end I found a job which looks to be very interesting and pays well, so it became a no-brainer. It is very much an engineering-related position, and although I’ll not be using my HR knowledge directly, there will be ample scope to use it indirectly. So apologies to everyone who put themselves out to help me with my freelance plans; it was not my intention to mess you about. If you feel that aggrieved, I’ll buy you a beer.

I was initially sad I’ll no longer be able to blog about my experiences in dangerous foreign lands filled with strange-looking people with odd customs and a scant grasp of the English language, but the feeling vanished when I realised I’m probably going to be living in London. The other option is Cambridge, but I think London suits me better. I’ve been away for over 16 years and the UK has changed in that time, and so have I. I’m actually looking forward to it.

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43 thoughts on “The End of the Oilfield Expat

  1. ‘dangerous foreign lands filled with strange-looking people with odd customs and a scant grasp of the English language’

    Sounds like London…

  2. There used to be a reason for wanting to be near the Cross. I”m presuming it isn’t yours.

  3. There used to be a reason for wanting to be near the Cross. I”m presuming it isn’t yours.

    Heh. It’s been seriously cleaned up now.

  4. That said, I’ve lived in Agar Grove & for a while, off the Caledonia Road.
    Let’s just say; it’s not the most salubrious part of London & I doubt I raised the tone of the neighbourhood.. Convenient for the West End though.

  5. “It’s been seriously cleaned up now.”
    I wonder. Trouble with London is the cultural balance has always been pretty well on a street-by-street basis, rather than the area basis of most large cities. So yuppyfication always leaves pockets of the unyuppified merrily festering. Can’t imagine they’ve cleaned up the council estates unless they’ve gone in with armoured vehicles & air support. So it never goes away. It just moves round the corner & it’s round that corner that you’re living. Last two addresses I had were Crouch End & Queensway & can’t say either of them were particularly safe.
    But it does have its charms. Top end of York Way had one of those Chinese massage places. Coming home from work, knackered, wet & frozen yet again, went in & asked them if they really had a sauna. (The one up in Kentish Town is crawling with irons & a definite no-go zone.) So they took some coats & a bucket & mop out of this large cupboard & fired it up. I must have only regular customer ever left the place with a clear conscience. Even used to get a cup of tea.

  6. Good luck.

    I’m also slightly relieved because I felt that your proposed single-handed attempt to revolutionise (or make sense of) the all-powerful corporate pig’s ear that is HR was unlikely to be fulfilling or end well for you.

  7. I need to be near Kings Cross station.

    Dammit.

    If you want to live really close to KX it’s all a bit shit, as BiS says. Old Street maybe? I went for a few pints there recently and it was pleasant in a hipster-ish way. Decent beer too.

    There used to be a reason for wanting to be near the Cross.

    The Cross was the best club in London. I think it is some sort of dreadful shopping centre now.

    Anyhoo, congratulations! If you’re staying for a while and depending on circs, it might be a good time to buy on the Brexit dip.

  8. Congratulations !
    Looking forward to reading your take on London life.
    Best of luck !

  9. “, but the feeling vanished when I realised I’m probably going to be living in London”

    (slow golf clap)

    I caught the subtle sarcasm right away. 😉

    Cheers

  10. Be as central as possible. I lived on Goodge St for some years and then north of KX on Camden Mews. Goodge St wins hands down.

  11. I’m kind of glad you’re still associated with engineering. My oldest son is an engineer, and reading your columns makes me feel I have an idea of what his world is like. Hope it goes well for you, cheers from Australia.

  12. 2000 posts, god knows how many hours and what do you get? free beer?

    london based, happy to buy you drinks one day, congrats and good luck with the new role

  13. Congratulations on the job. I was one of the ones that said that it would most likely have to be in the oil and gas sector for your start up in consulting. It will do you the world of good to practice engineering in other sectors.

    I lived in Kings Cross, loved it, close to everything. I actually cycled around from there all over London and remember cycling to and from Live Aid. I also squatted in Bloomsbury Square as well, back in the day when that was the done thing, it still had a Bohemian touch but I guess that has all gone now. I also lived in Islington which is fairly close to the station as well.

    Time to shed a skin and continue your way to the top or whatever it is you want to achieve in your career.

  14. “Energy technologies”?
    Is that a polite term for windfarms? 🙂

    As long as you are putting horsepower (or even mere Watts) at workers’ elbows, you are doing the Lord’s Work.

    Good luck! Wishing you every success in this new venture.

  15. Two trains an hour in each direction from Cambridge to Royston to London St Pancras in each direction continue through the Thameslink tunnel via Blackfriars and London Bridge and then continue all the way to Brighton. There are more frequent services to King’s Cross, but there are direct services from Royston to far more places than there were a couple of years back. (Commuting from Brighton is probably a bit far though…)

  16. More congrats Tim. Yes, got the joke straight away 😉 Pity you’re not coming to Cambridge – I’m not too far from there.

    I’ll be intrigued to see what you think of London / the UK, once you’re living back here, proper. Drop a blog or two on the subject. Perhaps things will seem different, for better or worse. Or, perhaps not. Plus ca change, and all that.

  17. Tim,

    Come live near me in the muesli belt of north london (Highgate, Muswell Hill, Crouch End), its pretty safe and nice. Live alongside some utter petit-bourgeois scum suckers but its quick to the Kings X and central London and quite nice, just dont indulge the locals.

  18. I’ve been gone from London for twenty-five years. I still miss the place and, as I get older, think ever more frequently about returning permanently. So I’m looking forward to you blogging about new life there after sixteen years away.

    And the very best of luck in your new career.

  19. @Rob Harries
    “Come live near me in the muesli belt of north london (Highgate, Muswell Hill, Crouch End), its pretty safe and nice.”
    You are taking the proverbial, aren’t you? My neighbour, in Crouch End, was stabbed to death on her front doorstep at 8 AM. I had three attempted muggings (I’m a Londoner & trying to mug me isn’t a recommended life choice) within a couple minutes walk of home. It’s North London’s favourite restaurant go-to with zero night-time policing & a YMCA hostel packed to the doors with lowlifes. And it’s the favourite grazing ground for Broadwater Farm’s enrichment, not to mention Chettle Court’s. The short road I lived in, off the Broadway, scored 92 reported crimes in a single week.

  20. @bloke in spain

    I lived in Highgate for 2 and a half years and Crouch End for coming up 4 years.

    I think its changed a fair bit over the years. I’ll give you that the area has zero nighttime policing and I might be extra protected that I look like a stocky polish skinhead so no one attempts to mess with me.

    But its pretty safe, sure nearer the Hornsey end is a bit more spicy and I lived off the broadway for a bit and never had any interactions with the YMCA crowd, despite them being a craned neck out the view view from me.

    But I’ve never had anything remotely sketchy happen to me or around me and I regularly go late to and from the gym in the dark around those parts.

    There was for a while a huge problem with moped robberies but the cops decided to ram them off the road and it went away.

    What years were you there for?

  21. “There was for a while a huge problem with moped robberies but the cops decided to ram them off the road and it went away.”

    Good lord, a link between effective policing and a decrease in crime? Someone get Cressida Dick on the phone.

  22. I would happily welcome you to London’s Knowledge Quarter TM.
    King’s X ain’t so bad to visit as I do fortnightly.
    Happy to buy you a beer any time.

  23. If you are short of a beer buddy I will happily stand you a beer, though there are enough offers above. I work next to King’s X. The part behind is all fancy pants googleified now. You really don’t need to live there unless you want to do a short walk to work, plenty of other options.

  24. Snorbans. A few minutes from KX by train, a pub rich environment, little crime (I’m tempting fate there), and I’ll only be around the corner to share a few beers.

    As for engineers; I’ve often said that we need engineers in government and the Civil Service. Simple, elegant, and effective solutions to every problem. Politicians would need to cease to exist.

    I wish you happiness and success, and look forward to your take on London culture. Not that which belongs in a Petri dish.

  25. You really don’t need to live there unless you want to do a short walk to work, plenty of other options.

    Ah no, I need to catch an early morning train from Kings Cross, that’s why I need to live nearby.

  26. I work near kings cross. Assume your early morning train would be to Cambridge? On your way home here’s a beer buddy!

  27. Assume your early morning train would be to Cambridge?

    Not quite, about 3/4 of the way.

    On your way home here’s a beer buddy!

    Good! And thanks to everyone else who’s responded positively to the suggestion of meeting for a beer. I’ll let you know when I’m properly set up in London, and we’ll sort something out.

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