Career Profile: Shyann
“A recruiter came into my university from Schlumberger and described their experiences in the field. I’d already done numerous summer internships and knew I was interested in the industry.”
What’s it like being a field engineer?
“Long days, hard work and a great deal of responsibility, but it means you deserve every reward you get.
In the field, proving myself was a real challenge, not just because I was a woman, but also just as a young engineer. I had 6 months to learn the basics before I was out in the field using my knowledge and leading my own team. You are in control, as the lead engineer, even when your team consists of others who may have 20 years’ experience.”
What’s the best thing about working in the field?
“The camaraderie in the field is amazing. I’ve made some of the best friendships. The long hours force you to bond with your colleagues, and these are some of the strongest ties that you will ever develop.”
What’s it like being a woman in the field?
“Initially, I have to say, I received a lot of attention when I didn’t really want it. Predominantly from those who wanted to help me, as they thought I couldn’t manage. But times are changing. It’s becoming more and more normal for women to be out in the field, which makes the environment better for everyone.”
What will you never forget?
“I remember when I’d first started, it was the middle of the night (you never finish working at a normal time in the field) and we were driving through deep sand and got stuck. It was 3am and pitch black, and we couldn’t get the truck out. We had to walk back to our rig, and get a truck to pull us out of the sand.”
Describe the training you received.
“The training at Schlumberger is excellent. While I was offshore I was able to talk with employees of other companies and contractors, so really got to see and hear how our training is second to none. The first 3 years are jam packed, but this means that you get very good very quickly and become a well-rounded employee. I like that it is a requirement to pursue something that you’re really interested in and that training keeps going even after the graduate program. This is how future leaders are trained.”
How important is the issue of gender balance?
“I don’t want gender balance to be an objective. I want it to be a natural balance, something that we don’t need to force, but something that just happens naturally. Years ago, the company had a cultural objective to employ people where we work. This is now so ingrained that it is part of our blue print. I’m doing all I can to support the vision of getting 25% of women in all leadership positions within Schlumberger by 2020.”
What’s the best thing about working for Schlumberger?
“Schlumberger is a good choice if you want to work hard, be challenged and earn respect. There are so many opportunities, especially for women, who are looking to develop their career in a supportive environment, both in the different roles that you can undertake and in the locations you could be placed.”
How do you want to be remembered?
“For making a difference and doing all that I possibly can.”
What drives you?
“I want to be someone else’s mentor or role model, especially to other women, to show them that it is possible. My husband and I have a dual career and 2 children under 4 and I manage a team of 23. I do all of these to the best of my ability, I make it work because that’s what I want. I have a stable relationship and a successful career, I’m trying to be the best role model I can be.”
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
“I believe in promotion based on performance, it doesn’t matter what your background is, only about your ability to achieve now. Everyone is capable. If you push yourself in your career, then you can achieve. For example, Schlumberger has masters programs in oil and gas, to allow those who want to, to get an official qualification and to use it to their advantage.”
What would you say to women in engineering?
“Be open minded to being a manager. If you want to do it before you have children then you’ll probably want to do it after as well. If you are a people person and like communicating with a variety of people, then being a manger is a great choice.”
What are your favourite hobbies outside of work?
“Travel mixed with adventure sports. Some of my most memorable trips are canyoning in the Alps, hiking to Macchu Picchu, zip lining in Costa Rica, scuba diving off the coast of Hawaii, and motorcycling across the Himalayas (for my honeymoon).”