That's a resounding yes. Life is out there just waiting to be lived. This is a message of hope for the thousands of people being forced from their business into a transition period, loaded with uncertainty about whether oil will ever recover, and whether they'll ever be needed again.
Now is the chance to do what you've always wanted. That seems confusing and overwhelming in the pain and head-swirl of being let go. I just want to do my old job. The grief cycle of job loss involves denial, anger, sadness, worthlessness and identity crisis. It's often played out on LinkedIn. It lasts months, years even, and there is no short cut.
Well-meaning career transition experts will teach you basic survival skills. They teach networking, interviewing, and to believe in your 30 second elevator pitch. But they know as well as you do that the oil industry has changed beyond recognition in the last two years, and they know as well as you do that there's no easy or quick way back. This sounds defeatist, and it is. I went through a year of defeat, and rather than being the exceptional geologist I thought I was, found that I was just normal. The defeat is normal. It's real.
So then what. You can choose to watch job pages and be depressed that there aren't any jobs. You can apply for the two or three jobs available globally, and you can deserve at least an interview, and hear nothing. As much as it builds character, it's pointless. You can give interviews to the press about how unfair it all is. You've read them; I did that too. You can wait in coffee shops for passing managers, and make them feel totally awkward by deliberately not asking for jobs. They know that you know. There aren't any for the foreseeable future. You can drink more coffee with friends who still work there and miss you. But the best result is walking away feeling not any more depressed than you were.
How do you make yourself employable? By doing what you love. People who do that have a buzz about them. Buzzing people are more employable than grieving people. And what do you love? Has the oil industry sucked it from you? You might discover that the six-figure salary is a large shackle that has held you down and back for too long. It's time to get out there and play. Leave the city behind and go have fun. Cut your budget beyond what you think is possible, and discover you have spare change even after that. Stop spending money and break, gradually and slowly, the hold it has over you. Savings were meant for this time - they're to save you.
There's plenty of time to make false starts here. You'll look back and wonder how you were so crazy. Wild and wonderful business ideas, excited conversations with people you've just met, hobbies that briefly earn you money, volunteering nights with people you'd never thought real, and the freedom to just enjoy the summer. Madness, all of it! Beautiful, unrestrained, unshackled madness. This is real life. Not sitting in an office, getting bored, paid and old. And then eventually out of this madness, a spark of a word hits a touchpaper, and a fire lights inside you. A fire that burns away the greyness in your soul. A light that shines forward. No one can see the full length of their path: I've lost two friends of my age over the summer. But having a new passion, a new light shining, makes the next step exciting.
For me, the new passion is seeing people's lives transformed as they make bold, deliberate, empowered choices. They find out what really matters to them, and make decisions to have more of that. People choosing to thrive instead of survive, in difficult parts of life, by living their values cranked up to a 10. My passion is coaching: asking penetrating questions and being fully present to the answer, supporting and encouraging, championing and challenging, helping others discover themselves and designing their future. The new passion you discover may be different, but don't rest until you've found it. The life of getting bored, paid and old will seem incredibly pale compared to the satisfaction of deliberately living.