Wow – thank you. GeoConvention was different for me this year. I felt as if everyone had more purpose. There was more intent to learn from exhibitors, to interact with fellow delegates and an appreciation for sponsors and volunteers. Time was precious and I was unable to attend all the sessions and booths that I intended to, but those that I saw were worthwhile. Thankfully we don’t have to wait a full year for the next GeoConvention. It is scheduled for 7-11 March, 2016 to accommodate the AAPG ACE held in Calgary 19-22 June, 2016. This means that the abstract deadline will be upon us before the end of the year so if you have some time over the summer it would be worth giving some thought to what you would like to share with the membership.
On another topic, I have a question for you. When you get dropped, do you bounce or go splat? Resilience is your ability to bounce back and recover after significant adversity – and it is something that we should all work on. If you tend to go splat please ask for help, and if you bounce please offer help. There are many facets of resilience that I am personally working on while ‘navigating the downturn’: social resilience, financial resilience, physical, emotional and mental resilience, technical resilience, and I’d like to discuss them here.
Do you find that when you buy a new car you suddenly see them everywhere? In my case it’s VW Beetles – trust me – they are everywhere. But this isn’t unique to car buyers. When I talked with Will McCarthy for the Volunteer Spotlight this month he mentioned that volunteering gave him a greater sense of community within the CSEG. I believe that when you start volunteering for an organisation you start to see other volunteers everywhere and expand your community. It is part of your social resilience.
I bring this up because some of our members are suffering at the moment. The loss of livelihood is a shock but to also potentially lose your community can be devastating. So during this time, if you find yourself with some time on your hands then step up and help your community where needed – you’ll also be helping yourself. There are science fairs, technical talks, new initiatives and mentorship programmes that need you. This doesn’t only apply to those with extra time, everyone should be building their network and strengthening contacts before you find yourself looking for new opportunities. Keeping in touch is a key part of social resilience and navigating the dip.
Now let’s talk about money. Do you have enough money to survive 3, 6, 12 months without employment? Some people define wealth not in terms of dollars but in terms of months that you can live at your current standard of living. How long is that? I like to think of a second time frame, and that is how long can I survive with the funds that I have available to me without any additional income? So my wealth may be 4 months but survival could be 12 months. That is without any superfluous spending. Cut cable, evenings out, international trips and wine. Regardless of what the numbers are, it is important that you know what the numbers are. With a higher degree of wealth you have more financial resilience. You can afford to be out of work for longer.
As the weather becomes warmer we see many CSEG members participating in social events including the T-Wave, Doodlebug and WiSE golf tournaments, along with the CSPG-CSEG-CAPL Fun Run and Walk. The benefits are two-fold in that you gain both social and physical resilience. Event details are available on our website and I encourage you to participate.
Whereas physical health is always so easy to talk about, we often struggle to address emotional and mental health. It is easy to tell people to ask for help, but hard for someone needing help to actually ask for help. So please be acutely aware of your colleagues, friends and family, and reach out if you sense that someone needs help. The loss of your livelihood can be emotionally devastating and many stages will often be experienced (denial/disbelief, anger, bargaining/desperation, depression and finally acceptance/recovery). Emotional resilience allows you to move through the stages and emerge with recovery.
Lastly, I’d like to address technical (and business) resilience. Have you been able to move with the technology? Are you familiar with the latest developments in seismic imaging, or aware of the new play types in Kurdistan, or the fiscal regime of Mexico? Even if you are without employment or your employer has cut the technical training budget, you are responsible for continuing your education – throughout your entire career. You don’t have to take a high cost, 5-day international course, to learn. Some dedicated days studying technical articles and meeting informally with local experts from our industry, taking an online webinar or participating in a LinkedIn forum, finding free online courses in associated topics such as coding, attending the technical luncheon (free at the ‘no food service’ table at the back of the room) or lunchbox talks, and collaborating on technical ventures with industry colleagues all contribute towards your technical resilience and fill gaps on your resume.
So don’t be afraid of gaps on the resume; it is expected during significant downturns such as the one we are experiencing. What you do with your time is what will make the difference as the curve swings upwards.
Please enjoy the summer with colleagues, friends and family, work on your resilience and keep in touch.