Gen Z'ers who aspired to work in the oil industry are feeling very sad about their future prospects

Originally published at:


Time to wake up, I guess





I’m sure there were people disappointed in the impact abolition had on the families’ business as well. Millions of people die from air pollution every year, and that industry has fought tooth and nail for the right to do so. In some cases they even massive subsidies that didn’t stop in years they made incredible profits. To hell with them, and to hell with these whiners.


A part that stood out for me:

Even before the pandemic, Ms. Burns said, she had some doubts about her chosen industry. Other students and even an Uber driver ferrying her and others to a petroleum industry banquet in 2018 raised questions about the future of oil and gas and why renewable energy might be a better bet.

“Did you ever hear of a solar panel?” she recalls the Uber driver asking her and her friends.

“The silent judgment and passing comments weighed on me a lot,” she added.


just call whatever you want to burn a “transition fuel”


These are real human beings, who were sold a certain bill of goods from an early age, only to discover as they prepare to graduate from college that maybe all of that was bullshit.

I’m sorry, the writing has been on the wall about the contraction of the oil industry for a decade. No-one was sold a bill of goods. This is about willful ignorance and greed. A case in point:

Mr. Arvie, 22, has switched careers and accepted a job at JPMorgan Chase, where he expects to get involved in derivatives and marketing in the technology industry.

His third choice was probably the tobacco industry, given his addiction to making money off toxic products.


I did have empathy for her in that moment…even though, at the same time, I was furious that an educated 20-something could still be so ignorant. (Yes, I realize that there are many communities that indoctrinate children from a young age with pro-oil propaganda, but it still blows my mind and breaks my heart that people fall for it.)


A university education should not be considered a tech school equivalent, where you train only for a specific type of job. My degree in engineering has been useful, but all my life I have worked in roles completely different from the primary subject of my diploma. Don’t high school guidance counselors still tell young students this?


You’re making me wonder what kinds of recruiters they’re allowing on college campuses these days. We used to be warned away from certain ones. Now these companies might be paying top dollar to fill seats and take resumes at seminars, internship cattle calls, and job fairs.


Trumpism is a transition fuel?

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Now, now, Like-farming by changing the subject to Trump again should be beneath us

We’re supposed to be better than that


Gas companies are also on renewables. So being a chemical engineer specialized in fuels could still have an interesting career even with gas companies.

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Alberta is of course following its time honoured tradition of temper tantrums and blaming a Trudeau when the global price of oil falls.


I grew up being told by my parents to go into the oil industry as well, i went for a degree in graphic design and ironically ended up working at a gas utility. It’s still a lively business, we’re currently busier than ever and you are correct. At my company we’re slowly moving towards renewables and there’s discussions about interesting avenues we’re looking to take beyond natural gas.

That said i do often think about working in conservation or something along those lines but i just don’t have the energy to go back to school. Long term though i would like to be able to leave my job and do something i actually care about, for now i’m getting experience i need.


Living in the middle of a fracking area (a/k/a anywhere), the political ads about the need to protect all the fracking related jobs where everyone and none made sense. Yes people make money and take care of their families with their oil-based paycheck–the subject of the Republican ads–but without fracking… what? If you work in asbestos, your job is not secure. Same with tobacco, DDT, Freon, VHS, and a million other things… and now oil. Sometimes something better (or less worse) just comes along.

The Democrats ’ ads that touted a transition to renewables were fine, but sparse. However, they missed an opportunity to address, head-on, the heartstring-pulling “they took our jobs” (ah, South Park) of the Republicans.


I remember taking a young person in for a short term job. She had gone travelling (being from Oz not a surprise) but the reason was she had graduated from her climate science masters just as the nutter right wing Oz government of the time got rid of state climate research.

I felt sorry for her as, well, who could predict the nutters would accelerate into the sun?


Exactly! Ask all the travel agents and carriage makers.


I think the problem is less that they’re prepared for a single type of job and more that (a) they had a career plan that has been disrupted and are disoriented while they figure out what to do about it, and (b) the job market is now flooded with people who have the same sets of (useful and flexible) base engineering skills and (useless and inflexible) specialized skills. To put it more concretely, their basic mechanical and chemical engineering skills will serve them well in other fields, but their skills in things like geosciences will not set them apart in any advantageous way when the main employers of geoscientists aren’t hiring.

I can sympathize with them because I went through a similar experience when I graduated. I got a degree in aerospace engineering just as the aerospace industry collapsed alongside the Soviet Union. My base engineering skills and a bit of practical experience are what eventually got me a job, but it took quite some time and I had to learn to apply for jobs I thought I could do, even if I didn’t actually have all of the qualifications. And that, I think, is something guidance counselors should be telling kids – it wasn’t obvious to me until I tried it and started getting interviews, and when I give that advice to new grads now they seem surprised that anybody would even consider it…


Once upon a time, when I was a 20-something Cannibal I sat next to a middle-aged man on a flight to San Francisco. He worked for a fuel company that claimed they could increase fuel efficiency by XX% by using their additive. For some incomprehensible reason, he attempted to recruit me into the business and was absolutely incredulous that I declined. In his mind, I was a fool for not wanting to work for a petroleum company no matter what “environmentally sound” snake oil they were selling.

Fortunately, we took the rest of the flight in glorious silence.