New Job

Having been unemployed for 3 months and 15 days, today I was offered a job.

In Nigeria.

Which I have accepted.

I suppose you’ll want to know why I’ve agreed to go there.  I can assure you I don’t particularly want to, I have never had any inclination to visit Africa, let alone live in one of the continent’s most violent corners.

The reason is that the offer has come from a large and well-known international oil company who has agreed to employ me in a staff position, complete with all the perks and benefits, with the aim of giving me a full career.  If this works out, I will have a secure, well-paid, interesting job with real prospects of training, career development, and promotion until I retire.  Relative to my previous jobs, this is like me playing Sunday league football and then Manchester United coming along and offering me a 10 year contract with the likelihood of renewal for a further 15.  In the oil industry this is about as good as it gets, and way beyond what I could have dreamed of getting when I got sacked in February.

So the price of entry into this highly prized position is an acceptance that I could be sent anywhere and that anywhere is Nigeria, for 2-3 years at least.  The good news is I am guaranteed to be posted somewhere else next time, so there is no danger of my being there permanently.  But I have put in time on the Burgan field in Kuwait (the most boring place on earth) and Sakhalin Island (both the best “hardship” location in the industry, and the best kept secret) so I am not in the least bit worried about being sent to Nigeria for a while.  The days of my worrying about being sent to work in a weird environment are long gone, and I am sure this was not lost on those who interviewed me.

So how did I get this job?  An old boss called for me?  A friend put my CV onto the desk of somebody in the company?  No.  I got the job in a manner which is known to be impossible in the industry: I applied cold on the corporate website.  I had a preliminary telephone interview, and then was summoned to Singapore to undergo three separate interviews.  For the first time in my life, and this is easier to say in hindsight than it was before today, I was sitting in front of people confident that I knew what I was talking about and my experience was pretty good considering my age.  They made me sweat for a few months, during which time I was offered not one other job, although I did have an interview for a contract position with another major oil company who gave me the impression they were a bunch of cowboys before not getting back to me to say if I got the job or not.

I am due to start sometime in September, but with contracts being prepared and visa applications this might shift rightwards somewhat.  I will be doing some travelling in the meantime, to Dubai and Lebanon in July and then Sakhalin in August, assuming I can get a visa.  My wife will not be coming with me to Nigeria, instead staying behind in Phuket to tough it out in our apartment, which is all of a sudden looking a lot nicer.  I will get six trips home (or anywhere else) per year so I’ll still be putting in time in Phuket, plus a couple of holidays somewhere else.  I am sure I will have much to blog about when I get to Nigeria, and I fully intend to do a similar job of reporting on local conditions to that which I did during my first year in Sakhalin.

I might also write a little bit more about the circumstances surrounding my sacking in February, which might serve to explain why I am able to get a senior position staff position in a major oil company but am seemingly not good enough for a third-rate outift masquerading as an engineering company which, as far as I could tell, had not managed to complete a single project in three years.  It’s time I started naming and shaming some people.


15 thoughts on “New Job

  1. “Its time I started naming and shaming some people.”

    You answered my question before I was even able to ask. I was always unclear what happened in Feb and was curious but figured you weren’t going to talk about it. Can’t wait to hear more (and more about Nigeria).

  2. Good luck, Tim. Be careful out there.

    Good to see someone is doing well in the industry. I’ll be happy to have my job in a year’s time.

  3. Congratulations Tim. It is very interesting to hear of the world of oil company work, thank you for all of your interesting articles.

  4. When you said in email:Africa, my first thought was: Not Nigeria, surely!

    Remember your old-old post where you said “wherever I go, a trouble stirs”? Something about terror acts – in Russia? England? Earthquake somewhere? Typhoons, mass insanity, hurricanes and volcano eruptions?

    I do hope Nigeria will be an exception.


  5. Congrats on the job. My first impression on seeing Nigeria through the window of the plane as we circled around to land was that it looked like a cancerous mole growing outward, my opinion didn’t change much in the year I spent there.


  6. Martin,

    No, not Shell. Firstly, I wanted a job which involved something other than attending meetings and avoiding making a decision; and secondly, the Shell corporate careers website is a farce: it automatically rejects any application within a couple of minutes of submission, seemingly regardless of what information you put in. A few years back I spent a couple of hours trying to dream up a profile which would not get rejected, but gave up having found my reservoir engineer with 15 years experience and fluent in 4 languages got an automatic rejection within minutes. Shell are laying off people by the thousand, they are not a serious recruiter of skilled professionals now, assuming they ever were.

  7. Congrats Tim.
    I enjoyed all your Sakhalin posts and look foward to your adventues in Nigeria.

  8. Looking forward to your views on Nigeria and heraing about your departure from your previous employer – remember as long as its true it ain’t slander!

  9. Congratulations, Tim! I’m sure you’ll do fine in Nigeria. Look forward to your posts from there. But in the meantime — relax and have some fun for a couple of months!

  10. There are certain types of jobs which, if you are not fired from them, it does indicate there is something wrong with you.

  11. John Robb has a keen interest in the Nigerian oil industry, maybe you can get cross-posted at Global Guerrillas.

  12. heya, congrats, finally, let me know when you are settled and i am sure Juls will visit you, always wanted to go to africa, so why not to visit nigeria, get in! good old days Dubai, Phuket and maybe Lagos!!!!

  13. Going to be a tough, albeit I’m sure also interesting, couple of years there Tim. But, that which does not kill us, makes us stronger:-P Good luck and looking forward to your posts from there. Oh, and while in Lebanon, see if you can swing by to the south of the border:-)

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