5 priceless lessons I learned from the Oil and Gas downturn

“Did you see the news? It went up to 45!”

 “Let me check… I see it dropped back to 38!”

“I heard it’s going back to 60 end of this year.. ”

“Naah.. it will never go back like before”

“It’s just another cycle… we will recover soon”

If you work(ed) in the oil and gas industry, chances are high that you have come across a similar interaction. You could already notice that one of the above is an optimist and the other one is a pessimist, both speculating based on something they heard or read somewhere!

Since the end of 2014 when it all started, we have all gone through a lot of changes to adapt to the downturn. A year and a half later, I could say now that I have been fortunate to be part of it. For it taught me lessons, I wouldn’t have learned in years of stable market conditions:

1)      No one is immune - When I learned the concept of supply and demand in university, I thought it was just another interesting economics theory. I thought, why would an industry ever over supply? I’m sure there would be a balance somehow. Little did I know that this actually happens in the real life more often than what I’ve imagined. And hence no one is ever 100 percent safe. We are all exposed to market dynamics. The government, the private sector, even your own dream business! We all happen to experience some action every now and then.


2)      Plan B must exist – “Savings? Tomorrow ?  …. More like figuring out what to have for dinner today first?” That was my immature mindset before the downturn. But now I learned that The benefits of having a plan B extends beyond just “find another way to make profit just in case!”. Having a plan B – in case things do get worse – weather its savings, exploring future investment opportunities, networking,  moving back home…etc …helps you create a sense of purpose, and actually refocuses you back to your current job. Now that you got yourself sorted, you could now work passionately with minimum distractions. And once you ask yourself the powerful question “What’s the worst that could happen” You still have a plan!. In fact Plan B should exist in good times too!


3)      There’s nothing such “I should not be emotional” –  “Business and emotions don’t mix. Use logic. Don’t be a drama queen. Move on”...Now that's the biggest lie I used to tell myself.. During the downturn, I gained a vast amount of emotional intelligence that made me a better person at home as well! I learned that positive perspective and rationalizing is not the first step. It’s actually the second step. Step one should be the awareness that I am a human being. I am regulated by chemical reactions. Just like how these reactions are responsible of my motivation and happiness. They are also responsible of my fear, insecurities, and sadness. Losing colleagues and business activities is meant to be sad and concerning. And that’s ok.  Being emotional is perfectly fine. Taking it personal, is what you want to watch out for. Release away these emotions in the right way. Then move towards positivity and common sense.


4)      If you have no values to stand for. This is going to be triple as hard! . – Being insecure may push you to behave in a very interesting way. You’d catch yourself speculating or making up conspiracy theories. Finger pointing. Your natural instinct would push you to protect yourself. Taking shortcuts, losing passion and loyalty… watch out for such behaviors. Remember your core values such as integrity. Let them guide you. Work accordingly. And hold your head up high.


5)      I am capable of doing more Truth is ..we all have crazy amount of potential to achieve more. But sometimes, it takes a downturn to explore this potential.

When business is good, we have the tendency to “stay in the zone” and not explore or leverage on that potential. Weather you are a “survival” or not. The downturn is meant to inspire you to learn more about what you really want to do in your life. Taking calculated risk. Exploring alternatives. Managing cost. Doing more with less resources. All these exciting learning opportunities tend to exist more during adversity.

I am not a Bloomberg expert! Nor do I know much about supply and demand. But I know that there’s an opportunity for all of us out there in this adversity. Our job is to figure out what this opportunity is. Focus on it. And trust the stress that follows.

Hope you enjoyed my article!

Reem Kendeel

Source LinkedIn : Click here to view the article 

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