David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Career Opportunities Are The Ones Never Spam Blocked

October 8, 2014

I have received the most curious invitation to apply for a job from a recruiting company.  Of course, it doesn't bode well that I found it in my spam mail.  Perhaps I am not even dealing with an actual recruiting company, but just some fake front for malicious spyware if I respond. I certainly hope this is legitimate.  The message is too rich, as sentence after sentence makes me question the recruiter.

The first line:  "I’m recruiting on behalf of the largest midstream and the fourth-largest energy company (based on combined enterprise value) in North America."

  •  What is a "midstream" energy company and what does it mean to be the "fourth-largest" midstream energy company? I am an alternative power kind of guy, but I was pretty sure the days of waterwheels generating power, midstream or upstream, were well past us.  However, thanks to Investopedia, a source I had never heard of before consulting it today, I have learned that midstream energy companies do processing, storing, transporting and marketing of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.  (But what does this make B.P. Oil?  A small gulf energy company, smaller thanks to their impact, of course.)

The come-on line: "After accessing your online resume, I believe you may have the qualifications and experience I am looking for to fulfill one of their Sr. Project Manager positions . . . "

  • O.k., I know LinkedIn is over-valued in the recruiting and job-hunting world, but what part of my online resume suggests I have the qualifications and experience as cited here: Instructor of English? Chair of English?  Executive Director of Faculty Development?  V.P. of Academics/Instruction?  I drill down deep for metaphor not Meta Oil.

The specifics: ". . . in Houston, Texas; Colorado Springs and Lakewood, Colorado; and Birmingham, Alabama."

  • Let's see, I have spent my entire 50+ years of life living basically in a triangle between West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan, never more than a day's drive from any corner of the triangle?  What makes anyone think I want to pull up my basic atlantic/mid-west roots and move to Alabama?  Nick Saban is one West Virginia native enough in that state.

The impression: "My client either owns interest in or operates 80,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals."

  • It sounds to me like your client is overcompensating. There are only so many miles of pipeline before it all is just too much to manage.  Furthermore, your terminals make me think of airport hubs, not the best association.

The self-promotion: "With a large footprint of diversified and strategically located assets, this organization is the market leader in their core businesses."

  • First off, I might do well with that large footprint, as I do wear size 12 shoes. Did I include that on my resume?  And in my younger days, I might have wanted to date some women with diversified and strategically located assets, but not necessarily if they were the (street corner) market leaders.

The endlessly long meaningless sell: "Formed in 1997, they deliver unsurpassed value to its shareholders and is reputed for meeting, if not, exceeding customer needs. A keenly responsible upper-management places a huge emphasis on operating assets safely to protect the public, their employees and the environment—a practice that has significantly grown the company in the last 17 years."

  • Whoah, 17 years!  The company is younger than Justin Bieber.  Not a good sign.

The personalized lure: "As Sr. Project Manager, you would successfully perform the activities necessary to manage the development and execution of a broad range of natural-gas facility projects."

  • Wait a second.  Maybe I have figured out why they targeted me. They misread "Executive Director of Faculty Development" as "Executing Director of Facility Development."  Nevertheless, I'm sorry, but I have never been able to read "execution" of anything as a good thing.   Surely a headhunter would understand that in my world a well-executed strategic plan almost always means someone's head has rolled.

The technical gobbledigook: "Some of these projects will include high-pressure transmission pipeline, compression, storage, gathering, treating and processing."

  • O.k., so there is more here than I cynically first dismissed.  Maybe I can identify.  I have been included in some high-pressure transmissions (telling people you were closing their campuses is a high-pressure transmission of hot air, that's for sure).  In past years, as enrollment has lagged, I might have been asked to compress my budgets.  Certainly for many task forces, I have gathered information and then stored it like the great ark at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," never to have it used. 

The requirements completely irrelevant to the audience:  "If you have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Mechanical, Civil, Electrical or Chemical) and possess 10 or more years of project-management experience in the oil and energy industry, you could be perfect for this position!"

  • Just as I get my hopes up, this basic requirement might be tricky.  I don't have any of those degrees but the good thing is that I do have 30 years of experience -- just not in the oil and energy industry.  Otherwise, you are exactly right. I would be perfect for that position.

Additional required gobbledigook: "Other requisites include substantial cost-tracking and forecasting experience, a demonstrated history of detailed scheduling and milestone tracking, and a working knowledgeable of and background in all phases of initiation, engineering and construction. FERC 7C experience is highly desired."

  •  Excuse me, what kind of f*ing experience??  FERC 7C.  Is that a cruder (and post-beta) version of FERPA?

I guess I am going to be stuck in my academic career.  Anyone up for a good retention task force?