Well, it was a nice couple of weeks off from blogging. I needed to catch up on my favorite blogs, and practice my writing skills, (in between work, happy hour, and my first tennis match!)
I also wanted to take a stab at discussing careers. Although I have had a successful career, I’m hardly qualified to give career advice. Of course, I can blast my charm onto your resume, brainstorm about jobs I’m not qualified for, or tell you to join a trade association. Those things are easy. Anything beyond that is strictly from experience.
Since my experience is from working in a small bubble inside a little larger bubble, I thought I would pass on a general idea that might, well, even turn out to be something quite fun for you to ponder. When I decided to make a career change, I listed qualities I possessed from my past career that would be useful for my new career. My list morphed into silliness in the form of stories. Not fiction, but stories of insane assignments handed down by borderline insane lawyers. So, along with my jejune career advice, here is a snippet of a story I ended up with. Not quality content for a resume or interview. Aside from offering absolutely no assistance to anyone in the way of career advice, I hope it at least causes a smile, laugh, and thoughts of your own crazy experiences.
“Playing Cards in an Oil Field”
Oklahoma is always a fun place to visit, especially if you are going to the horse races, a rattlesnake hunt, or visiting oil fields? Most of my time spend in Oklahoma was in my car driving up Highway 75 to the Indian Nation Turnpike where I liked to open up all four cylinders on the only stretch of 80 mph road I have ever visited in the US. I was usually headed to Tulsa. If you could make it to the Turnpike without getting a ticket, than the trip was a success. I took this trip every few months for years after my parents took up residency in Tulsa. I even made this trip in an old car with a broken speedometer for several years avoiding all police. Unfortunately, after I bought a new black sports car I was not so lucky. Over the next 15 years, my siblings and I would map out the hotspots and compare speeding tickets.
But I have fond memories of Oklahoma, like winning money at the races, watching my best friend get married outdoors between two barns in a cathedral wedding gown, and eating fried rattlesnake. Tastes like chicken! Not far behind all of those exciting experiences was a project I worked on for one of my employers. I do not remember the exact purpose of the document search, but I was sent out to an oilfield somewhere in Oklahoma to comb through thousands of greasy, nasty carbon copies of invoices related to oil well management. Oh, did I mention the mean girls sent me out there?
I dutifully traveled to OK and found the oilfield and the building. The office was a small building that could serve many purposes, including stabling farm animals, and was literally in the middle of an oilfield. In the building was a small office housing some old filing cabinets stuffed full of papers. And again, I don’t remember what I was looking for at the time, but you could picture a young suburban girl digging through files of old carbon invoices that were originally filed by a roughneck who just finished a 12-hour shift on a derek.
The office was hot, dirty, and clearly no cleaning service had stepped into this building in a very long time. As the invitee, I was very gracious for the space I was given. I was not hounded nor was I helped. I was certain there was a snickering attorney back in Dallas that was proud of him or herself for making our firm perform this horribly filthy search in 100-degree weather in the middle of an oilfield in Oklahoma!
By lunchtime, I was about sick of digging through carbons. My hands were black, I was hot and I was hungry. I was also not the only one experiencing these same symptoms, the oilfield workers were greasier, hotter and hungrier. The small office I was working in doubled as a quaint kitchen that had never seen a cleaning product. It contained a sink (somewhere in there), an abused microwave, an even older and more abused coffee maker, a Formica table from the 60’s, and a very greasy deck of cards.
As each worker came in for lunch, they sat down at the table. Mysteriously there was no food, only cold drinks. I was puzzled and wondered who the hell was using the microwave? Why are they not hungry? What is wrong with me, I’m starving? The answer to my first and second question was they were all jacked up on caffeine from the bad coffee maker and coke machine in the barn. The rest made sense with one simple word – poker. A good poker game was far more interesting than eating.
What I observed was four guys sitting around the Formica table, grabbing poker chips and dealing a very greasy deck of cards. As they are dealing and placing bets, I hear “Do you want to join us?” I look over my shoulder, than over at them stunned. Did they really want me to bust into their lunchtime poker game? Seriously? Why not, so I accepted the offer and took my seat in the metal chair with the stuffing hanging out. (It was the only chair with a cushion).
I will admit I was a little nervous because my poker skills did not advance past camping around the living room with my brothers and parents playing black jack out of desperation for entertainment. It never got more serious than a nickel bet. When it was my turn to deal at the oilfield, the deck was so greasy that I could barely shuffle the cards. I wanted to make sure I shuffled them well because I would have hated to be accused of cheating. By the end of several hands, my fingers were sticking together.
After 30 minutes of playing cards, shooting the bull, and laughing, the workers laid down their cards, graciously thanked me for joining them, wished me well, and disappeared back into the oilfield. They were some of the nicest guys I ever met. The joke was on the fools who sent me on this task.
When I arrived back in Dallas, I immediately went to the store and bought a deck of cards. Not just any deck either. I bought my new acquaintances a deck of cards with pictures of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders pictured on them and mailed the cards the next day. A few days later, a lawyer called to tell us how much the workers loved their new deck of cards! Who knows, maybe they are still using those same cards today? Eeeewww.