My Response to the Question at Hand

I started a contest this week to start a conversation. I have so loved the responses I am getting and I realized this evening that I have not actually done my own work publicly to share with everyone. So, tonight I am laying it all out there.

I am a communication and learning strategist to the oil and gas industry. I consult with project owners and managers for large oil and gas companies on how to communicate with their people and help their people do their job. Prior to this, my background was in marketing…my clients were financial companies, oil and gas companies, and a smattering of companies in other fields. But mostly I work and have worked in service to oil and gas. I live in Houston, Texas, after all. The town lives and breathes oil and gas. Figuratively and literally.

I love how my knowledge is applied now. I am not a big fan of marketing and have become much less of a fan since I watched a Bill Hicks riff on it a few years ago (, forewarned…there is ugly language). I truly believe marketing has made us, as a culture, unable to make a decision on anything else but packaging and marketing. I despise my role in it…but I digress.

I love my clients now. I have always loved my clients, even in marketing. They are good people, just trying to do their job. I really believe that. I want them to be successful. It makes me happy to help them. Their individual goals are really good ones…they want to connect with their people and help them do their job well. They really do.

I love the people I work with too. I realize that my work in the organization supports the work they do and that we all need each other to be successful. They are supporting families too. I like that we have a really wonderful culture of people supporting each other in our collective work. It is an amazing feeling to go into work every day with this group. No joke. I am very lucky.

My work stretches me too. I am pushing the limits of what I know and I what I can learn. It is exciting to me to be learning so much. I love being challenged this way. Some of my work comes very easy as well, which is a good balance for me. I am also lucky in this.

There is a darker side too though. I drive 30 miles back and forth to work every day, releasing toxins into an environment that is already terrible (Houston is not known for its air quality). I am supporting clients in large companies. Large companies who must support a bottom line, regardless of the impact on the world. The work I do is to help people put their heart into their work and bond as a community over the effort. Good for the individuals, but is this good if the mission of the company is ultimately problematic?

I am not sure what to do with this information. I am trying to figure it out. I really am looking to build community around the questions and thinking. I need the brilliance of the crowd with me. I am not sure we can figure out our future alone.

I hope this helps more of you enter into the conversation. I am coming at this from a humble place. I do not believe I am operating in a clearly noble pursuit, as I have expressed in this post. Enter the conversation. Or, if you already have, has anything I have written here sparked anything for you?

Where are you?


2 thoughts on “My Response to the Question at Hand

  1. Great post. This is a fascinating subject. I too help support clients -very large clients- and my impact is ultimately their impact. Our situation has a lot more shades of gray though.The extremes are easier to classify and discuss. One of my friends used to work at a huge advertising agency as an account manager for Philip Morris. He couldn’t live with his self after a year, and decided he needed to change jobs. The ruthlessness of the strategies in capturing new smokers every day were just too much with him. The other extreme could be someone who works in a non profit organization, helping others directly.We are in the middle? There is immediate value in what we do, but what about our clients? Are they really thinking about the bottom line? Blogs like these should at least help influence from the bottom up.

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