Monday, October 19, 2009

Road Trip!

Made a road trip to Houston this past weekend to attend the retirement dinner for a colleague from the Flying Red Pony Oil Company, now the Tiger Horse Oil Company. Its a lot more fun going to retirement dinners than funerals and I've done a few of those this year, too. It was good to see guys I haven't seen in a while and do a little catch up over a free steak dinner.

There may be some more of them in my future as well. You see, the company announced a change in the discount factor they use to calculate a retirees retirement benefit and it wasn't to the positive. Guys close to retirement found that their retirement benefit, and most of them take it in a lump sum, would be severely affected. The company processed ten times more retirement packages than normal after that announcement.

After we had a few laughs remembering his career, he spoke about his first jobs out of college and how the oil industry back then had a tendency to throw people into the deep end and see if they could swim. He told about being given charge of projects that were probably over his head and of ordering up offshore platform design and construction with a phone call. He talked about putting together a production facility from surplus parts because time was of the essence. All of us in the room had similar experiences - we had to meld an engineering education with field experience gained on the job to obtain a successful result - but we somehow managed to muddle through. But the drive to "get things done" never left us. Nowadays, the world is run by "processes" and regulations. There is a process and a procedure and a regulation for everything, and it is long and laborious. That is why, when someone needs something to happen, they call guys like me and my ex co-workers.

1 comment:

Clay said...

A lot of veterans retiring. I went to Frank Glaviano's retirement coffee on Monday.

One thing though: the complexity today is as much a reflection of the projects as anything else. For you 20-30 years ago, deepwater meant 1,000 feet of water. The first platform I went to (Ursa) was ~3,000 feet of water. Deepwater to me is approaching 10,000 feet of water.