Navigating the Career Ladder

Photo courtesy of Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

It can be daunting to think about how one might navigate their career in the Pipeline Industry. With many career paths from technical to commercial to operational to ESG, there are no shortage of options. But what are some good tools to figure out where to take your career? On October 21st, the YPAC Calgary Chapter hosted a panel with 4 industry leaders to get their thoughts and insights on how to best navigate the career ladder. Our panelists were Carol Anne Bransby-Williams, TC Energy, Laura Kennet, Enbridge, Tran Mah-Paulson, ATCO and Nic Smith, In-line Pigging Solutions Ltd.  It was an incredibly informative session with a very engaged audience!

If you were unable to attend, you’re in luck as we’ve taken notes on some of the key points from the session.

– Your career is not going to be a linear path. There will be forks, offshoots, lateral moves and backwards moves, so be patient and agile as you look to climb.
– Learning at school is only the start, it lays a foundation for you to become an expert in your career. Work can be like learning 8 hours a day on a specific subject, within a few years you will be an expert in your industry.

Large companies can be hard to navigate internally, who is managing what, who is an expert on what, etc. Reaching out and networking internally is immensely beneficial for you!What else is networking beneficial for?

– Culture/Fit – a huge part of being successful at a company is a cultural fit. If a company is all about “Agile” and “Make your own work” but you thrive in a structured environment where your manager is giving you tasks to work towards a goal – this is NOT a fit, you probably won’t be happy.
– Relationship Building – When you are networking with people, they get to know you, what you’re like, how you think, and this can lead you to new opportunities you didn’t know existed
– Finding Experts – there isn’t any organization that “knows it all” but that expertise is out there. If you network with people in your industry you can find those experts and when you have a question – pick up the phone.
– Reach Out – Leaders are often very receptive to career conversations. However, it is important to have goals in mind when approaching the conversation. What do you want to know? What is the purpose of reaching out? Building relationships is extremely important.
– Continuously learn and improve yourself. There is always something to learn, either about your company, industry, or technically. Strive to be an expert.

Lastly, wherever your career may take you having a strong support network of like-minded peers can be an invaluable resource. YPAC strives to be an organization that catalyzes meaningful networks for young professionals in the pipeline industry. Stay tuned for more events where you can learn more about our industry and meet other keen young professionals along the way.