I don't really fit in with my coworkers in an O&G scheduling job.

I am a traffic rep/scheduler at a mid-sized O&G marketing/producer services shop. My feedback reviews from the higher-ups have always been very positive, and I think I'm making inroads in that regard. My eventual goal is to become a trader. I have been in this job for about 2 years now; I worked as a supply analyst at a major before. I graduated 3 years back.

In terms of compensation package, advancement opportunities, etc. I am totally happy with my job. Scheduling has definitely taught me a lot, and I have gotten to connect with a lot of traders. Although my shop (& firms like ours) don't particularly get affected by flat price, I am pretty damn lucky to even have a solid gig right now, given the whole Covid19 and oil collapse scenario.

With all that being said, I have a lot of frustrations in the day-to-day of my job.

  • Scheduling manager is difficult to work with. Imagine someone who has been doing it 15 years, with minimal education. They talk about "knowing the ins and outs of the business," and have a misguided superiority complex. They definitely have no clue about fundamentals, or even the economic side of scheduling. What bugs me is this person micromanages our department. There is limited decision making power for us, and they are extremely territorial about protecting the stuff they get to do.

  • Other schedulers at my shop aren't really like me. They are much more of a pure 9-5er type with no further aspiration to learn about the trading side of things. Some are just pure useless. I split my region with 1 other scheduler, and they pretty much defer to me on everything...except they have been here over 2 years, and did various O&G logistics jobs before. A nice enough lady, but just not bright at all.

Maybe these things are minor, but they have a huge effect on my day-to-day job satisfaction. I miss working with some of the really smart people I did at a major.

Based on comp and advancement opportunities, I have it pretty good. But I have also considered branching out to a big company again.

Can anyone relate?

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Comments (16)

Apr 7, 2020 - 3:48pm

If you want to be a trader, it sounds like you do, it is to your benefit that you are not like the rest. It will be easier to stand out when there is an opening. You sound like the EXACT type of guy that I would pull to the trading floor if I was looking for a junior guy to join my team.

Bottom line: The guys (and girls) who make it to the floor are the ones who are standouts and from what I gather it sounds like your a winner.

Array
  • 2
  • Trader in S&T - Comm
Apr 7, 2020 - 7:58pm

You're still early on. Just learn what you can and make sure you understand the ops better than anyone else. I hate this advice because it's not true in absolute terms, but be outstanding at operations which entails a lot more than not making mistakes. Let trading know they can do things they didn't previously realize were possible.

I wouldn't get too high and mighty about understanding or thinking you understand the economics. Depending on the sophistication of your shop, most of this has an "aw shucks" feel to it, but just qualify it with statements like you might be missing something. Opens the door for a lesson and shows at the very least you're head is in the right place if you have trading aspirations.

  • Operations Analyst in S&T - Comm
Apr 8, 2020 - 12:28am

Hey, thanks a lot.

I definitely don't think I am too 'high and mighty.' More, I'm just unhappy with my current group dynamic of dumb micro-manager + lazy coworker. But the other parts of the shop are OK.

Perhaps I'd be better suited checking out other general career resources, but I'm having a difficult time toughing it out right now, even though the longer term career vision is within sights.

Apr 8, 2020 - 8:04am

"micro managers and "lazy coworkers" are more common that you probably think. Best not to be too frustrated with it. It is important to keep doing a good job until the day you leave. (I am speaking from own experience.) Meanwhile, start networking to move out. I am not in S&T, so I cannot comment if this is a good time to seek open positions. But I am sure some on the forum can. Good luck!

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  • Operations Analyst in S&T - Comm
Apr 8, 2020 - 12:52pm

Thank you!

Yes, I can even kind of tell that there are a lot of micromanagers and lazy coworkers across the whole industry haha.

It is definitely a skill in learning how to push back. I haven't quite mastered it yet. My lazy coworker is actually very good at pushing back and setting boundaries. I can learn that from them!

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 8, 2020 - 8:40am

Maybe those with more insight can chip in to test this hypothesis, but it seems many roles in the majors and trading shops are filled with personalities quite unlike the typical wso-type. So there'll definitely be a lot of competence in the right places and you'll have people from no-name backgrounds rising to the top (which demonstrates that the industry rewards competence, not pedigree), but you'll also see a lot of non-traders who would otherwise have been happy going into a regular F500 or accounting gig. Competition for trading jobs/top non-trading roles will be stiff, but from a percentage of workforce standpoint most are complacent/not "traditional" rockstars (a quick search across the industry and you'll see many of these roles are filled by students with non top-100 degrees, poorly formatted profiles, many years in the same role, etc.--not making a judgment here, just a description/making a comparison to our common understanding of what constitutes a career-oriented individual).

The point though is that I think it's an exciting industry if you're driven and maintain a view of the big picture. Long-term success will be a mix of commercial acumen, luck, an ability to work with all backgrounds/peoples (which applies to your scenario), and a respect for the "experience/apprentice aspect" of the job,, which is why so many people can grow complacent/stay in the same role, because to a certain extent once you've learnt the ropes it's not rocket science (which also applies to your scenario). Learn as much as you can from these people whom for now seem not so bright-they might have more clue than you know. If you think you've reached a plateau, then it's time to think about next steps, whether's that's applying to the structured trading roles at independent shops or networking back into a major.

To be honest I don't know if I answered your question, and I might be completely off here so please do correct me if anyone has deeper insight into the industry. Just a few quick thoughts.

  • Operations Analyst in S&T - Comm
Apr 8, 2020 - 12:51pm

Hey, pretty much everything you have said is spot on!

Some of the industry legends for my particular product are people from absolute no name schools. Tiny Baptist colleges, etc. It is very different from high finance in that sense.

Yes, my scheduling supervisor is pretty unique. They are pretty good at their job. What is a bit bizarre, though, is they pretty much don't have a clue what they're actually doing. IE, they have no idea about the actual products, etc. It's borderline insane.

But yeah, right now I'm focused on learning how to manage the informal workplace politics, etc. For example, my lazy coworker I mentioned is actually really good at dodging blame when shit goes sideways.

I actually don't think I've reached a plateau. I think there's a good chance I can move up internally here. More, I'm just trying to stay happy and sane.

Thanks

Apr 11, 2020 - 6:53am

Hi there, I come from a similar background to yourself: currently working as an Analyst in a major with aspirations of being a trader one day. I would very much echo your sentiments as well as those of a previous poster around personalities within some O&G majors being quite unlike what you would typically find on WSO.

In fact, for every 1 fascinating and commercially-acute dealmaker you meet on the floor, there are probably 9 others who got too complacent in their careers and are fundamentally aiming to get consistent pay checks and fat bonuses for as little effort as possible. It bothered me initially that most of my coworkers had a different work ethic than myself - but as another poster shared - it's just something that we have to come to terms with in certain companies and focus instead on learning to work with them and being polite and cordial where possible.

In this regard, what helped for me is to remind myself consistently of the long-term picture and maintaining the drive to learn all the time. Continue to read as much as you can about the industry, learn from the traders and demonstrate to both your manager and the trade floor that you are hungry for opportunities and are willing to put in the effort to get there. I initiated a weekly trade idea report, for example, which has received positive feedback from some deal makers.

Bottom line, what helped for me was to not let the work ethics of others affect your fundamental long-term drive and keep on hustling for opportunities all the time.

  • Operations Analyst in S&T - Comm
Apr 15, 2020 - 10:56am

Right on!

Thanks a lot for your comment.

Glad to see other people have a similar experience.

I like your idea around a weekly trade idea report. Maybe I could implement something similar.

  • Trader in S&T - FI
Oct 25, 2020 - 3:02am

Hi @LongGamma94, sounds like someone as motivated as yourself should rightly move to a trading house such as Glencore for instance. Have you considered such exit options ?

  • Manager in S&T - Other
Apr 16, 2020 - 1:13am

If you get promoted to trading you're going to be working with that same scheduling manager and scheduler that are frustrating you now. There are people like this throughout the business and you have to work with them effectively. I get your frustration but there is a reason management has a mix of personality types and motivations on each desk.

Try to shift your focus away from your colleagues. Instead think about the ambitious, motivated and smart people in middle/back office that would kill for a scheduling job. Your job is the next step for them. You cannot be complacent. You need to drive business and PNL in whatever capacity you are able. This will help you stay ahead of them and make yourself the obvious choice when a commercial opportunity becomes available.

I personally would stay at this smaller shop and try to get a trading seat there. It will be easier to stand out versus a major. Once you are trading it will be an easier lateral move to go from small shop to major.

  • Operations Analyst in S&T - Comm
Apr 17, 2020 - 11:58pm

Hey, thanks a lot for the advice.

Yes, I would agree on staying at a small shop. I think I have a semi clear path to a Jr. Trader job here. Whereas at major shops, I've known super smart schedulers who are kind of resigned to doing it 5+ years with little possibility of getting a commercial seat.

All the best.

Jun 11, 2020 - 2:07pm

I'm an experienced physical trader and got my start in scheduling. Don't talk about or focus on the negatives and don't let them get you frustrated. Focus on learning and becoming an expert on your "region" as you put it. Master your daily scheduling responsibilities and then find a way for the trader(s) to give you analyst work that is helpful for them but will also help you learn components of trading. It'll keep you positive and help you grow and it'll position you for a trading spot when one opens up.

Oct 25, 2020 - 3:30pm

I know this was posted a while ago but this mix of people seems pretty consistent across much of the commodities industry. I have even dealt with the authoritative past his prime operations manager.

All I can say is, as others have mentioned, there are things to learn from ops lifers. Yes I am very grateful to have very quickly spent more time in commercial discussions but knowing the ins and outs of ops makes a big difference in the long run. Some shops don't have that kind of crowd to learn from at and their ops people are often terrible. You would be surprised how many shops lose way too much on ops because they don't know or bother to ask about certain things.

Oct 25, 2020 - 8:16pm

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

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