Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Control What You Can

Hello everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the Colorado weather. I met the humidity this summer, and it can be miserable. Supposedly, the winter is worse… I’m sure by now we have all read about the recent lay-offs. Times are tough, anxiety is through the roof, and the job market is softer than ever. I wanted to share what the past six months has looked like for an Associate Landman, and provide a few takeaways from this roller-coaster ride.

After a long road trip across the country, I started in Noble’s Canonsburg, Pennsylvania office, on June 22nd. Prices were around $59.00 oil and $2.75 gas. Not good, but good enough. I began my Associate Landman Rotation within the Non-Operations group. It was tough to keep up with our Joint Venture Partner (CNX) and their optimistic plans of operating. By August, CNX had reduced their workforce substantially, and my efforts shifted to the Operations side. Unfortunately, we laid off the rest of our brokers in the field. Yet, this opened a door for me, and I jumped at the opportunity.

Up until a few weeks ago, the office morale was fine. Everyone seemed to be putting the thought of another lay-off on the “back-burner.” I had dove into my new role as an in-house broker. Spending countless hours at dinner tables discussing lease provisions, operations to expect, and the all-important Bonus check. Through this hands-on learning curve I realized that no matter how our industry is negatively or positively impacted by prices, our landowners demand respect, fairness, and honesty. Without their support, asset development is rather impossible.

The good times turned a complete one-eighty when an email arrived from our CEO, Dave Stover. A reduction in workforce was in store for Noble, and it was to be distributed by anticipated activity. Many in the office had a hunch the Land Department would be significantly cut. When the day came, phones began to ring and escort frequented the hallways. Not an ideal way to enter your fifth month outside of the safe confines of college. We lost nearly half the department. Seeing friends lose not only their jobs, but the monthly income they depend on to feed their families, pay mortgages, and live on was eye-opening. When I returned the work the next day, I had my manager stop in my office, look me in the eye and say, “We lost a lot of good people, kept a lot of good people. You keep your chin up, a good attitude, and keep working hard.” His remorse, kindness, and confidence spoke volumes.

Working within this industry, we can all expect to encounter the same challenges that my colleagues, friends, and mentors are today. No matter what happens, remember to control what you can. Your effort, attitude, and drive to continue learning is all you have. Be excited to enter an industry that is cutthroat. WSCU, the PLRM Program and Menon have prepared you for success in the best and worst of times. Continue to build your resumes with any type of industry related experience you can. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for each one of you.

All the best,
Tony Ball
PLRM Graduate, 2015
Associate Landman, Noble Energy

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