Interesting Times

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Following a meeting early on when I worked at Cessna where it was announced that layoffs were coming, my ultimate optimistic boss Jason Zagula looked at us and said: “well, they say you should live in interesting times.”  As good as his intentions were, I still wanted  to punch the guy (funny thing it worked, and the jerk made me feel better).  This week was one of those interesting times.

Back when I worked at Cessna, going through layoffs was like going through pay raises – you knew you were bound to get them so you might as well not worry about it until you go there.  Part of the reason I left was that in the last two years I was there we went through 12 rounds of layoffs.  I found out this week my old company went through another round and are expecting another later this year.  Some old friends and great colleagues were let go.  I know some of you out there reading this are people who work in the Aerospace field, and if you know of positions out there keep the old Cessnans in mind.  If you can’t help, please keep them and their families in your thoughts & prayers – there is nothing easy about that kind of transition.  While there are many things I miss about Aerospace, it was the constant threat of layoffs and (since I was lucky enough to never be laid off myself) the survivor’s guilt that hung with me after each round.

While I like to say this post is just about something that is going on in Kansas, it’s not.

BP-Alaska, my current employer, is going through two transitions of their own which are just as concerning.  Our overall organization throughout the corporation is realigning itself to ensure it is focused correctly – which usually means ‘right sizing’, a nice way of saying people are going to get laid off.  This was something in the works for 9 months already, and will take another 9 months to finish up (not to be mistaken with the 14 month project of ‘radical simplification’).  Then something heavier dropped on our laps.

BP-Alaska announced (ironically the same day the Cessna layoffs occurred) that 15% of their production would be sold off to another company.  In Alaska, BP Operates a number of locations that are all in the North Slope.  The biggest is Greater Prudhoe Bay, and is largest oil field in North America – we will remain the operator of that.  BP is selling of two smaller fields completely, and half of two others including the operating rates to one of the others.  Put simply, you reduce the amount you produce by 15%, you will need to reduce your overhead by 15%.

So questions have arise, concerns grow, and once more … I live in Interesting Times.

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