This is me, about 20 years ago, a talk to customers. My bosses, in the background, watching...
Yesterday, after 20.6 years of working with Big Oil, my employment came to an end.
20.6 years is a lot. I always ask my kids if they remember seeing me working for another employer. Your personality becomes entangled with the company's and friends and family think of you when they see the company logo and viceversa... sometimes I think I have a star already engraved on my forehead!
I remember 20-something years when I was in need of a job and looked in many places... the story itself of how I began working with Big Oil is interesting. But in that time, with my youth ideals still fresh I used to think I would not work with the brewery or the distillery - I do not agree with the excess in drinking that these companies seem to promote. I didn't want to work for Big Tobacco either, even though they called... I think it is inmoral to help produce a product that causes disease and death. But Big Oil, even though twenty years ago did not have the greenest image did not look bad to me. Besides, I always sold lubricants, even then. No one seems to notice but, who can live without lubricants? (Even reproduction would be difficult...)
Anyway, Big Oil hired me at the toughest time in my life, recently married and with a child on the way. Watching shop windows full of baby clothes and stuff I could not buy. And, in time, it gave me enough to raise and educate my children, feed and clothe them, a good life - all these, things for which I am very grateful.
Besides, Big Oil gave me the opportunity to learn to manage a business with other people's money. I made mistakes that cost the company mone. They told me "don't do it again" and I moved on. I learned so many things... I don't think many people (certainly no more than 10) in Guatemala know so much about lubricants as I do. And I met many important poeple, some of which are now offering me employment... And I knew so many places, in Guatemala and elsewhere in the world, that I would have never visited if it were not for the job. All of which has enriched my life in a wonderful way.
I cannot neglect mentioning also the opportunity to work with so many talented colleagues and some extraordinary bosses ( I always think of Ralph when I think of good bosses). Many friends, many colleagues, many customers and acquaintances, relationships that I hope will be able to continue even though I am no longer with the company.
A great experience. I would not change those 20.6 years for anything. And I defend Big Oil. It is true that BP has messed with the industry's image with this big screw-up in the Gulf but the industry, generally speaking, is not irresponsible, in spite of how much the tree-huggers may crow.
And there is much to say about our dependence from oil. A few weeks ago, a local columnist was making an apology of alternative energy. Everything fine and dandy except it does not work. Yet. The cheapest source of energy available to us at the moment is oil and that will not change in the next 20 years. Maybe in 50.
In the meantime, all the best successes to my friends and colleagues working for Big Oil. And to Big Oil, as well, because success for the companies carries with it success for their employees.
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