My time at Citgo: What I saw in the oil and gas industry

I took school seriously. My self-esteem was low, but I knew I could do school well, so I found my self-worth in my grades. I was an achiever in High School and College. When I went to work at Citgo Petroleum, I was serious then too. But the problem was no training came when I went to work. What I learned in school was not a natural flow to the workplace, and no one had time to train me. Or even knew what they were training me for. People were also leaving finding other jobs at oil companies in Tulsa-namely, Koch Industries. Charles Koch, a man who has funneled so much money to the Republican party but says he regrets dividing the country, but not enough to rectify giving money to this party. He still has not acknowledged Biden has won the election at this point and is supporting Loeffler in Georgia who has bragged about QAnon endorsement and is accused of insider trading. Friends, I had no idea the industry I was walking into. I just wanted a job to do the best I can and be an asset to the company. And pay bills, of course.

Citgo Petroleum is owned by the Venezuelan government. Hugo Chavez was in power when I was there, and it was chaos. We went through so many CEOs in my short six years there. The first one was American, but they changed to their own shortly after I came. I loved the first one. He was so much fun, and a true friend, but they took him out quickly. The next one exhibited all the signs I was told to fear. He was not good. He was brought in at the time they were moving Citgo from Tulsa to Houston. In a full company staff meeting, the CEO told us he could replace us with people from India for $10/hr so we should be grateful. I was stunned. I kept asking people if they were upset by that statement. I do not remember the response because we all felt chaos that our jobs were moving and Venezuela was taking tighter control of our company. It was a mess, so I decided not to take the package to move to Houston. Jake got a job in Sachse, and that changed our whole world.

One thing I noticed from the start when I began my job at Citgo is they wanted to get rid of me. I wanted so badly for this feeling to be in my head, but it was not. I majored in Finance and not Accounting, so the Controller let me know that they would no longer be hiring Finance majors to give me the hint. Let the hearer also know this, he had a 2.0 in college because he partied too much. I do not judge, but he is trying to throw me away with a 3.6 average because I majored in Finance. I worked hard, but he thought there were better people than me out there. People who did not need to ask questions. I did not understand the processes. They made no sense to me. I thought I was not smart enough and that he must be right. Now I know the processes were not okay and my calling attention to it was making me an enemy. I had no idea. I lost so much sleep and cried myself to sleep so many nights trying so hard to please and do better. It is so hard writing this. When I got moved to my final rotation at Citgo, before the move to Houston, it was better. This is because I realized I was good at pulling a team together. We had a bowling league and our camaraderie made coming to work a lot more fun . When the group moved to Houston the head of the department told me at a wedding there has not been another group like ours. This man also tried to oust me, along with several other women. There is more I could write, but love keeps no record of wrong.

I am writing this to say that many of us work to do the right thing, but we are not valued. If we cannot figure things out quickly, or even if we do, they sense the threat in us and work to eliminate us. I thought I was terrible at my job. But the refinery workers loved me and valued me. They saw me as someone who cared and would take responsibility. But now I know I should not have taken that responsibility because what was placed on me was something I was not trained to bear. But bullies know who will take the fall, and I was willing to take it because I was used to abuse. I learned this after leaving. And I have had to leave several times over.

I went to work for TXU, Texas Electric Company, when Jake and I moved to Sachse. It was different not being government owned, and in many ways, that was worse. It was chaos with everyone out for themselves. Also, they were sending jobs abroad too. It is not the government doing this. Big corporations are doing this. I made good friends, but we all knew we were on borrowed time. Good thing I resigned to stay home with Kimberlyn, because eventually I would have been laid off. They accidentally paid me through my whole maternity leave, though. I called them after 6 weeks, because they were still paying me, and it was never fixed. And it should not have been. What a whacko system not to pay for full maternity leave, but I was a rule follower. I wanted to be completely honest. My boss said he thought this happened all the time because no one is paying attention. I liked him, but it makes me sad thinking about this conversation that paying women full maternity leave was a problem. We should pay men, too. Don’t @ me. I paid my school loans off with that unanticipated money. The money I made was better than teacher pay, but security was way worse. This explains a lot of the anxiety in our society and I want to speak into this.

Our energy world is changing. We are moving towards cleaner fuels whether people want to move with it or not. We do not get a choice-Mother Nature is talking. Instead of fearing change, we should embrace it. We still need energy. Why are we not training people for the change? This was our big fail with NAFTA, too. It was the right move, but we did not prepare rural areas for this change. That was a community failure. We should not leave anyone behind. Funny how we teach that in military, but everywhere else in life we are ready to leave people in the dust. Even youth sports, but I have already written that post.

Wouldn’t it be great to live life as friends? Well, I am going to quickly share how my life turned around next.

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