Career Profile: Sabrina
“I first heard about Schlumberger while I was working at the Center for Water Supply in a part-time research role. My boss encouraged me to apply for a graduate position having been in the industry as a mud logger himself.”
What was your career highlight?
“It has to be becoming the unit supervisor of a rig, and leading my team of eight people. I’ve been doing that successfully now for a year. There were lots of challenges that I’ve faced but we’ve done very well as a team, and I hope that I can keep encouraging them to do better.
I hadn’t travelled before I started working for the company, so I’ve loved meeting so many different people. It’s something I’d never have been able to do before.”
How do you get to the rig?
“I’m currently based in Houston, but my rig is out in the Gulf of Mexico. To get there, I stay over in New Orleans and get a 3am helicopter out to the rig. It’s a bit loud but you get used to it. I don’t like helicopters, but it’s more of an annoyance than actually being afraid.”
What’s it like out in the field?
“Well, there really is never a dull day. For a lot of women I think it’s quite intimidating when you first start in the industry, to think that you’ll be working in the field with a bunch of guys, but now that I’ve been out there for a while it doesn’t faze me at all. Now, if I’m honest, it’s the magnitude of my jobs and the equipment that I use that I find intimidating and not the guys, many of whom are great friends of mine.
In modern rigs there are commonly separate changing rooms and facilities for women. But there was one rig I travelled to where the ‘women’s’ changing room was a converted closet! It was a bit odd but it was okay. To get to it, I had to walk through the men’s changing room but there was a curtain and the guys were respectful. I needed a changing room so that’s just what I had to do. Any awkwardness was fixed by the guys being so supportive of me being there.
I tend to take only the bare essentials with me. I’m lucky as I can leave some provisions on the rig as I always go back to the same one. I do often take make up, but I wear it to leave the rig, not really on a day-to-day basis.”
What advice would you give your younger self?
“Don’t let yourself be intimidated. Speak up if there is a situation in which you think you could do better, and don’t second-guess your own ideas. Even if you’re intimidated by the experience of the older guys on the rig (which you shouldn’t be) they will listen to you so don’t be afraid!”
What piece of technology most inspires you?
“What I actually find most inspiring isn’t one piece of technology, but our ability to use technology to have a rig set up in one spot and drill—all of the sensors and technology that help us keep in contact with the well, and the scope of all our projects.. The emphasis Schlumberger puts on health and safety, and the time and money that is invested into making sure each and every one of their employees is safe is incredibly motivating as well.”
Three words to describe culture.
“Progression, team-work, education.”
What does leadership mean to you?
“Leadership is not asking of anyone else what I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. I work hard and I expect the same from my team. I think that a leader shouldn’t be a term you use to describe yourself, but one that others choose to call you.”
What challenges do you face?
“When I first started after studying geology, I realized that we do a whole lot of other things and not much geology, and I had no clue about computers or electronics. If a sensor breaks, then you need to fix it. So, I guess it is an amazing challenge that has made me a better person. Not just because I now have more skills and knowledge than I ever thought I would, but also because I have the attitude that if I don’t know how to do something then I will have a go, and learn how to do it.”
Advice to applicants.
“Don’t look at this as a job, it’s a career. In the job you start with there will be a lot of challenges, but these all eventually help to keep you progressing. This isn’t like taking a summer job at Taco Bell or McDonalds, you have to put a lot of hard work into it.”