Farhan can promise new recruits two things about life in SLB: It’s not going to be easy, and you’re never going to get bored. “SLB puts you in new environments, and just when you realize you’ve got it all figured out, it’s time to move on,” says Farhan. “It’s a culture that forces you to learn new things at a fast pace. It’s not in our culture to sit back and relax.”
But none of that should put potential new employees off. In Farhan’s experience, the company provides plenty of material, innumerable training opportunities, and many, many people who are more than happy to guide you. “One person is not expected to know everything. You have to rely on your team and other functions to achieve your goals. I have learned to work with people and not isolate myself, to learn from others, and to seek help.”
Farhan began his SLB career straight out of university in 2008, working as a design engineer in Pune, India. He moved onto the rapid response team for sand control tools in 2009. “I learned that I love design. I enjoyed my work as a design engineer; it didn’t really feel like a job.”
Despite his enthusiasm for design, Farhan’s curiosity led him to take courses about operations and different technologies, and he jumped at the opportunity to join the Tech & Field program as a field engineer with sand control completions in Italy. The Tech & Field program gives technology center and field employees exposure to each other’s environments, an experience Farhan says was a huge help to him when he returned to the team at the completions center in Texas. There he moved into new product development in sand control and, eventually, liner hangers.
Farhan now leads a project to develop a new completions product that is better, more reliable and less costly than previous products. A typical day involves planning and supporting team activities to achieve project goals with aggressive timelines and responding to challenges such as test failures and investigations.
At every stage of his career, Farhan has loved the process of discovery—about the job and about himself. “Sometimes things you thought you would dislike become the most beloved to you, and sometimes what you thought you loved turns out to be less important. For instance, I felt more comfortable in a base camp in Kome, Chad, than I did in Ravenna, Italy. In Kome, I lived in a cabin five minutes walk from the workshop, worked on rotation, and had more quality time with my family. And the biggest highlight was the excellent food. Things aren’t always as they seem.”
Farhan credits the managers who have supported him along the way, be it those who were technical experts in the field who made the time to provide detailed answers to his questions, or the managers who provided him with the backing to push his career forward and make things happen.
“Everywhere I went, the people always amazed me!” says Farhan. One thing is common: wherever you are, people are always ready to help you!”