Travelin’ Man

Blogging might be a bit sporadic over the next few days. This morning I’m busy cleaning the apartment in Annecy and packing my bags, and this afternoon I’ll drive to Paris. Tomorrow I’ll meet a couple of people – one of them being this chap, assuming the Metro strike doesn’t interfere with that plan – then Saturday I’ll drive to Calais, take the ferry to Dover, and head up to London. On Sunday I’ll drive to Cambridge, where I’ll be living for the next month so if anyone is around and fancies a beer, let me know. I start my new job on Monday, where I don’t suppose I’ll be loafing around with time to blog. I’ll see what I can do to keep you all entertained.


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.



I’m going to be migrating the blog over to a new hosting service over the next few days, so if you see the site has disappeared, don’t start panicking.


Well, I would have migrated the site if my new hosts weren’t taking the best part of a week to process the order. Harrumph.


The migration is complete. It took longer than it should have mainly because I was being dumb.



I have a favour to ask. A friend from my MBA course – who happens to be pretty, blonde, and Austrian – is doing a survey for her dissertation and is struggling for respondents. I posted it on Twitter and several people said the questions are poorly designed and contradictory, but that’s by-the-by: she’s a friend and I’m helping her out.

So if anyone is bored and has some time, would they mind completing the survey here? Thanks.


Travel Again

By the time this is posted I’ll be on en route to Florida were I’ll be spending the next nine days. I’m killing several birds with one stone: going to my brother’s 50th birthday bash in Miami, taking part in this bluegrass jam session outside Orlando, visiting an old vet buddy I worked with in Kuwait up in Pensacola, and meeting a mysterious Russian woman who I suspect is a spy sent to kill me with polonium for blogging unkindly about Putin. If I’m not back blogging within a few weeks, start looking for alligators that glow in the dark.

Until then, enjoy yourselves.



I’ll not be posting for a few days as I’m going to Tarragona in Spain to meet up with a Venezuelan mate and, probably, drink rum until I fall over. I’ll be driving down, and this afternoon I hope to stop at the Pont du Gard to marvel at Roman engineering and construction. I’ll spend the night in Perpignan and continue on my way tomorrow.

Be good while I’m gone.


Random Question

Here’s a random question for my readers concerning something which might become very important or perhaps not at all.

How easy is it for a Brit to get a US residency permit? Presumably the best way is to get a job with a US company willing to sponsor you, but how likely is that in the DC or north Virginia area? Is this something they generally do, or they avoid? Bearing in mind I’m a project manager/general manager with an engineering background. Anyone know?

Serious answers here, please folks. I know I could switch my name to something ethnic and swim the Rio Grande, but I’m looking at something more robust. And more studying is out of the question.



Sorry folks, but this week suddenly got busy. I’ve got a rather intense exam to prepare for on Friday, plus some mid-week assignments, and I have other stuff on my plate. Blogging’s going to have to take a back seat until I get this lot cleared.

In the meantime, feel free to chat among yourselves. Thanks for your patience.


Accounting Software

Do any of my readers run a small business? Can anyone recommend an accounting software which either allows you to do your tax returns and financial reporting yourself, or keeps track of everything such that you can hand it to an accountant?


Open Thread

Sorry folks, I’ve got final exams all this week so posting might be a bit sporadic unless something really jumps out at me. Feel free to talk among yourselves.