Houston’s Energy Industry Outlook: A Path Forward for the Downsized

A former O&G client tells it like it is…

The most recent monthly employment report from the Greater Houston Partnership verifies what we already suspect. The Energy Sector—which includes exploration and oilfield service companies—continues to lose altitude. Net job losses for March and April combined were 8,500. May and June combined registered an additional 5,200, leaving a total of 13,700 O&G workers off the payroll.

All will be contemplating their next career move and now is the time for them to consider new, and even alternative, opportunities. A client of mine who spent 20 years as a reservoir engineer for a major O&G company now has multiple franchise locations across Houston, all of which are thriving in a down economy. Recently, we spoke about the dilemma facing O&G layoff victims.

Appealing to his former colleagues, he talked about the initial urge to simply replace the lost job. He witnessed some individuals who waited for months. And then months that turned into years—all the while watching their savings vanish. He left the oil and gas industry five years ago and has a message to deliver: holding on is a bad strategy and can often lead to lowered self-esteem.

Many O&G employees will be given a severance and the offer of outplacement services. And a career transition period doesn’t have to be a dreadful time. In fact, it should be the opposite. My 20-year O&G client came to me five years ago, following a similar downturn in the O&G industry, unsure of what type of business he wanted to own. But he believed franchising was the best path to establish one.

My client chose the franchising route because of the built-in support that comes from the brand backing your operation, as well as your fellow franchisees. It felt like family, something he missed about working for his O&G employer. He also appreciated how—never having run a business by himself—things like operations and procedures were already in place. He didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak…

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked my client if he thought that most O&G employees were cut out to run a business of their own. He quickly replied that they’re all certainly capable, but that the two biggest barriers to going the entrepreneurial route were a lack of curiosity and self-confidence. He wanted his former colleagues to know that a better future than before is possible.

Today, my client doesn’t have much of a commute (a big bonus with Houston traffic woes). He owns two territories within central Houston and the Heights. He gets a direct interaction with his customers daily, which he finds very rewarding. But his biggest thrill is simply getting to make his own decisions. His last piece of advice? It’s OK to look elsewhere, to reinvent yourself. You just have to try.

He ended the call with a question for downsized O&G workers. “Can you really afford to wait?”

Click here to connect with me. I’m Diana Trondsen, FranNet Market President, Franchise Consultant serving Houston and the Gulf Coast Region of Texas. To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation appointment, you can call, email, or attend one of my upcoming webinars.


Aug 28, 2020